On October 8 at the Central Library, Richard Moe explained how the preservation of historic and older buildings should be an important component of sustainable development efforts. Explore a few books about historic preservation, green remodeling, and architectural styles before his talk.

Climate change, or global warming, is a hot topic today. On October 3 at the Plaza Branch, the Library will host a conversation about climate change and global justice. The following week on October 8, the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will discuss how the preservation of older buildings should be an important component of sustainable development efforts, including efforts to combat climate change. This list of resources features some books about climate change for adults and kids, a few novels with climate change themes, and several documentary films about the topic.

At last night’s second meeting of the Jewish American Literature book discussion series, Demons, Golems, and Dybbuks: Monsters of Jewish Imagination, over 30 eager readers gathered a the Waldo Branch to discuss S. Ansky’s seminal play, The Dybbuk.

What books did you love as a child? On October 1, 2008 at the Plaza Branch, children’s book historian Leonard S. Marcus discussed his most recent book, Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature. Explore some of his work about children’s books, learn more about children’s literature, or check out a few classic Little Golden Books.

Books by Leonard S. Marcus | Children’s Literature & Publishing |
Classic Little Golden Books for Kids

Books by Leonard S. Marcus

Minders of Make-Believe book jacket

Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature
By Leonard S. Marcus
Marcus offers this animated history of the visionaries--editors, illustrators, and others--whose books have transformed American childhood and American culture.

There are infinitely worse ways to spend a Saturday night in Kansas City, and not many better ones, than to spend it with Robert Day and the Kansas City Symphony at The Writers Place.

On September 25, 2008 at the Central Library, Jennet Conant discussed her new book, titled The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington. Explore Conant’s earlier books surrounding American involvement in World War II, learn more about author and spy Roald Dahl through his own memoirs, or pick up a title about British intelligence during wartime.

It was a hard weekend in the book world. Two of its most respected and revered authors turned the last page.

A couple of Sundays ago the New York Times Book Review devoted their front page to Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt. This scholarly and intriguing work of nonfiction explores the history of traffic patterns and driver culture, particularly in America. It was a glowing review of a book that deserves to be read by anyone holding a drivers’ license.

September marks the 100th birthday of influential African-American author Richard Wright. Born on September 4, 1908, Wright revolutionized the literary landscape with his depictions of African American culture, paving the way for future writers.

Saddle up for Kansas City’s American Royal, running from September through November. On September 16, 2008 at the Plaza Branch, Dr. Jim Hoy gave a presentation inspired in part by Western novelist Louis L’Amour’s legacy entitled American Icon: The Enduring Appeal of the Cowboy. Check out a few books by Jim Hoy, enjoy a few classic cowboy novels, or discover a recent award-winning Western.

Books by Jim Hoy | Cowboys | Award-winning Westerns

Books by Dr. Jim Hoy

Flint Hills Cowboys book jacket

Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales From the Tallgrass Prairie

By Jim Hoy
This 2007 Kansas Notable Book tells the story of exemplary cowboys from the rugged hills. These stories run from the late 19th through the mid-20th century and they are told by a scholar who is one of them.

Dr. Dale Herspring discussed his book Rumsfeld's Wars: The Arrogance of Power at the Central Library on September 11, 2008. Learn more about the man who served as the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2001-06 under President George W. Bush or read a book about recent or current U.S. foreign relations.

Books by Dale Herspring | Donald Rumsfeld | Recent U.S. Foreign Relations

Books by Dale Herspring

book jacket

Rumsfeld's Wars: The Arrogance of Power
By Dale Herspring
Dale Herspring, a political conservative and lifelong Republican, offers a nonpartisan assessment of Rumsfeld's impact on the U.S. military establishment from 2001 to 2006, focusing especially on the Iraq War – from the decision to invade through the development and execution of operational strategy and the enormous failures associated with the postwar reconstruction of Iraq.

On September 9, 2008 at the Central Library, Steven Pinker discussed his book The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. Check out other books by this two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize or a few books that explore the philosophy of language.

Books by Steven Pinker | Philosophy of Language

Books by Steven Pinker

book jacket

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
By Steven Pinker
Bestselling author Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best: language and human nature. The result is a fascinating look at how words explain human nature.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
By Steven Pinker
Widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading experts on language and the workings of the mind, Pulitzer Prize finalist Pinker has undertaken an ambitious and controversial work – a reexamination of the concept of human nature.

"The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out." --Voltaire

Welcome to the inaugural post of Off the Page, the Kansas City Public Library’s blog for readers. Like most bloggy ideas, this one has many mothers. It started first with, "Hey, we should have a blog! Other libraries have blogs. Can we have one, too?" No one’s really sure who said this first. The folks who make up the Readers’ Advisory Team were enthusiastic about the notion and looked at lots of other library’s blogs. We made a list of what we liked, what we didn’t and what we wanted to see in a blog of our very own and then we met the person who could make it happen for us.

The KCPL Webgoddess. She waved her magic mouse-shaped wand, translated all her web spells into this mysterious code, and presented us with a forum in which to wax prolific on all things bookish.

And get this. She has expectations. She actually insists upon timely, interesting, entertaining, edifying posts. Bwahahahahahah! No. Seriously. We’re going to do this.

At least once a week, our faithful readers can expect to see reading suggestions, musings on the book news of the day, interesting facts and tidbits about authors, books, biblio-history, beloved characters and all things literary that strike our contributors’ fancy.

Enjoy a few novels set in the Renaissance before the Kansas City Renaissance Festival starts on August 30, 2008. From mysteries to romances to art-inspired works of fiction, authors depict this influential era to great effect in these books.

Mystery

The Savage Garden book jacket

Renaissance era Venice provides the backdrop for the novel Dirge for a Doge by Elizabeth Eyre. Signor Sigismondo, with the help of his faithful servant Benno, investigates the aristocrat Niccolo Ermolin’s murder. The list of suspects is long, more corpses appear, and a secret diary seems to hold some of the answers.

For a literary mystery that delves into the architecture and landscape of the Renaissance, try The Savage Garden by Mark Mills. Cambridge student Adam Banting travels to Tuscany in 1958 to study a famous Renaissance garden at the Villa Docci estate. He discovers a connection between the garden and two deaths: one in 1548, the other during World War II.

The Kansas City Public Library hosted two events in September that offered a look at the influence of Zimbabwe on international art. On September 4, 2008 at the Central Library, Roy Guthrie, the owner of Chapungu Sculpture Park, talked about how the troubled country of Zimbabwe became a destination for contemporary art collectors. On September 6, 2008 at the Plaza Branch, children enjoyed the works of a master stone carver from Zimbabwe as he chiseled stone into art. Explore the country and culture of Zimbabwe through these books or take a look at some news sources to learn more about current events in this nation.

Zimbabwe culture | Life in Zimbabwe | Fiction by Zimbabwean authors | Zimbabwe in the news

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