Sarah Vowell is obsessed with history. Also: death. Where does a person with these two intertwined fascinations go on vacation? The answer to that question turns out to be some pretty surprising places.
Vowell's sense of humor and wit keep her travelogue Assassination Vacation from reading like a college textbook on the subject of Presidential assassinations
Part travel memoir, part history, and with a keen eye for the ridiculous (including a self-awareness of her own almost religious zeal for the subject), Vowel's book manages to look into the history of the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley in such a way that keeps you on your toes.
Vowell is a native of Montana, but you’d never know it the way she clings to the East Coast. She doesn’t drive (phobia), so she considers one of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth’s greater faults to be “that he did not have the decency to die within walking distance of a metro stop.” In many ways, Vowell is herself a character as interesting to read about as the historical figures she portrays with such detail.
The school year’s winding down, and pressure to nail those grades is going up. As always, the Kansas City Public Library’s here to help. Whether you’re sweating that English paper or gearing up for a long night of calculus crunching, Brainfuse can hook you up with free online homework help from expert tutors any day of the week. All you need is a Library card.
Brainfuse is a suite of online tutoring services designed to help you master an academic skill, prepare for a test, or just get through a difficult homework problem by connecting you with certified online tutors offering a wide array of interactive, state-aligned activities for grades K-12. Tutoring help is also available in Spanish.
Brainfuse provides one-on-one homework help every day from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Access is available online on the Library homework help page. You must log in to Brainfuse using a Kansas City Public Library card and your PIN. (Forgot your PIN?) You can use Brainfuse from home, but you must first access it through the Library’s website.
Chat with a Tutor
Brainfuse has a lot of features. But if you want to start working with a live tutor right away, begin with Homework Help or Live Skills Building.
The Kansas City Public Library encouraged patrons to get creative in celebration of National Library Week (April 10-16), and a lot of readers heard the call. Check out a gallery of crafty book spine poems sent in by members of the community, and get ideas for making your own.
'Til Morning Light is the third novel in the Gracelin O'Malley series by Ann Moore. This historical fiction series follows heroine Gracelin as she travels from Ireland to New York to San Francisco in the mid-1800s. 'Til Morning Light concludes Gracelin's journey as she struggles to balance her own personal happiness with the best life possible for her two young children.
Gracelin is planning to marry Captain Reinders as she waits in San Francisco, working as a cook in a house for a local doctor. But many surprises are waiting for Gracelin in San Francisco – a headstrong housekeeper, her own brother hidden in Chinatown, and her one true love.
Gracelin is an extremely strong female character who survived a great deal of turmoil in Ireland before escaping to America. I was surprised at her openness and her ability to adapt to her surroundings.
I also enjoyed the debates on morality and other issues between Gracelin and Dr. Wakefield. I felt that the author was able to delicately handle sensitive issues that did not interfere with the story. I also noticed an appreciation for faith throughout the book, but it was essential to the story and I did not feel as though the author was preaching to me.
For you my heart and soul to take....
Theia Alderson is a quiet girl from the UK living in a small California town. But living in her creepy Victorian Style house she always has these weird dreams. First it starts with the "Burning man". He falls out of the sky and lands on her father’s perfectly manicured grass and burns it. Then a bonfire with lively skeletons. Then she meets this mystery man dressed in Victorian clothing. Then the next day sees him at her school and her knees go weak.... Who is he and why is he in her dreams?
Hayden is not from this world. He doesn’t belong here but saw her and wanted her so bad it makes his whole body hurt. Him being in this world wreaks havoc and causes disruptions...but he wants to meet her.
He knows he can't then he won’t be able to control his self, she should hate him, yeah, that’s the best thing for her to do. But she keeps coming to him and inviting him in.
For Theia it’s even harder to ignore him seeing as though every night they see each other in their dreams and he still reveals nothing. He beckons to her in their eerie fantasy world and in the "real world" pushes her away and treats her as another outcast. Her pull toward him is stronger than her fear. If she can resist it might just save her life.
Photographs are treasured items you want to hold on to for as long as possible. Careless handling, improper storage, and exposure to the elements can all ruin precious memories. Whether a 150-year-old Daguerrotype or a Kodak snapshot from a few years ago, all photos require care. Here are some tips to help make sure you don't lose these valuable artifacts.
The Kansas City Public Library is recognizing Preservation Week (April 24-30, 2011) with two special sessions on caring for your photos, both print and digital (because digital images can be lost, too).
This Saturday, April 16, at 11 a.m., Missouri Valley Special Collections Librarian Lucinda Adams leads a presentation on Caring for Print Photographs. The following Saturday, Digital Projects Manager Jordan Fields will lead a presentation on Preserving Digital Images. Both presentations are free; RSVP online to attend.
“Lookin’ for a wedding?” he asked in a lazy drawl. When G.W. Vandermark first meets beautiful Lizzy Decker, his world is turned upside down. At the busy train station in Philadelphia, Lizzy, a stunning, blue-eyed petite blonde, is accompanied by G.W.’s level-headed sister, Deborah Vandermark.
Lizzy and Deborah have just finished college and are returning to Deborah’s hometown in Eastern Texas.
For G.W, the most unusual thing about his sister’s companion is a long bridal gown she chooses to wear for the arduous trip. Lizzy has barely escaped a wedding and an overbearing groom she does not love. She now depends on Deborah and Deborah’s “backwoods bumpkin” brother to provide a safe refuge for her.
Embers of Love is the first of the three novels by Tracie Peterson in her latest historical inspirational series, Striking a Match (Embers of Love, Hearts Aglow, Hope Rekindled). Set in a small logging community of Perkinsville in June 1885, this novel portrays lives of two intelligent, educated young women whose thinking are ahead of their time.
Two long-standing schools of thought have dominated discussion in grammar. The prescriptive school looks at the way the language ought to be used. Its adherents set out the rules of grammar as the standard to follow. The alternative, descriptive approach views language as living and evolving – language as it's used.
In The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Mystery and Magic of Practical English, Roy Peter Clark thoroughly explores the shift from the notions of how people ought to speak (prescriptive) versus how they do in fact speak (descriptive).
For instance, “Where you at?” is a common question in current, regional discourse. The prescriptive approach would pronounce this a faulty use of grammar, arguing it violates both the rule of a complete sentence needing a verb, and the rule not to end a sentence with a preposition. Prescriptivists may go even so far as to suggest that the speaker is uneducated, using sub-standard English.
By contrast, the descriptive perspective would recognize this question as an expression commonly used. The only measure it must meet is: Does it, in fact, communicate? If the person hearing it understands what is being asked, it qualifies as acceptable, and may be considered even to be an advancement or evolution of the English language.
There aren't many household items that you can stack into a pile and make poetry out of. Coat hanger hymns? Mop bucket sonnets? Not so much. Books, on the other hand, lend themselves well to verse – after all, they do have words printed on their spines. Watch a video on how you can make your own Book Spine Poem for National Library Week.
Kids' art is fit for more than the refrigerator. We're reminded of this every year at the Kansas City Public Library during the annual Children's Bookmark Contest.
It's a time when crayons and colored pencils burst forth like the first shoots of spring, and all the branches end up furnished with batches of fresh, colorful, and 100-percent-kid-designed bookmarks.
In its fourth year of leading up to Children's Book Week (May 2-8), the contest ran from February 21 through March 18, 2011. The winners will be announced at the Friday Night Family Fun event on May 6 at the Plaza Branch, where all of this year's 119 entries will be displayed on the big screen in Truman Forum.
In February, bookmark design forms were distributed to all Library locations, where kids in two different age groups (grades K-3 and 4-6) were asked to make their own designs based on the theme "One World, Many Stories," which is the theme for the 2011 Summer Reading program.
Once the entries were collected, Director of Children's Services Helma Hawkins turned to her trusty panel of judges: Kansas City-based professional children's book authors and illustrators Laura Huliska-Beith, Jenny Whitehead, and Shane Evans, to choose the winners from each branch and age group.
Humor is so subjective. And sometimes it's gender specific. We've tried, guys. Honestly, we have. But we just don't understand why you're so amused with the sound effects produced from every orifice and contortion of your bodies.
Women have enough body issues, thankyouverymuch, and rarely do we find anything to laugh at, even if it is slipping faster than a buffalo on a banana peel.
Here are four classic literary romps guaranteed to tickle your feminine funnybone.
Women find enough humor in the comedies that pass for our daily lives. Which is why we love Judy Blume's pre-teen classic, Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. Our gal suffers through all the growing pains some of us still experience: boy-girl parties, looking for religion, and wearing handknit sweaters made "expressly for you" by grandma.
Nothing sends us into gales of laughter quicker than the phrase "fix up." Our favorite matchmaker is Emma. Jane Austen's heroine is so loveably clueless and stubborn in her altruistic righteousness, we can't help but smile when she fashionably wears egg on her face once all her love schemes implode.
John McPhee is 80 years old, has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1965 and has written 28 books. Mr. McPhee has written about Arthur Ashe, Bill Bradley, oranges, Alaska, human-powered flight, a cattle-brands inspector and several books on geology. While factual in nature, his work has the power to draw the reader into the world of each essay’s topic like a good novel.
Reading any McPhee book is a joy but Silk Parachute is something new for him. His beautiful craftsmanship, highly detailed description and ability to turn what, at first glance, would seem mundane into a can't-put-it-down page-turner are all here. But in one significant way, it's different. He writes about himself.
The titular first essay is about his mother and things she did for him when he was young that formed his life -- taking him to the theater and the observation deck at LaGuardia to watch the DC3s land and the gift of a toy silk parachute that "always returned safely to earth". In three-and-a-half pages he calls up scores of images that leave you overflowing with admiration for this now 99-year-old woman.
Entrepreneurs know hard work, long hours, and difficult times. Every year, the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City salutes the Top 10 Small Businesses for their contributions to the well-being of our community.
Selection of the companies is based on growth or sustainability, excellence in employee relations, and outstanding service to the community.
This year’s nominees represent many industries and include an advertising agency, a pizzeria, a pet service business, and a company operating in the railroad industry.
Entrepreneurs are not only vital to the economy, many of them are interesting people as well. Pick up one of these books from the Kansas City Public Library’s H&R Block Business & Career Center to read about what makes them tick and their secrets to success.
Omar Khayyam (1048-1131 AD) was a mathematician and philosopher at a time and place where such were highly valued fields of endeavor. His work on algebra was a pioneering effort in the discipline. Outside of Persia (modern-day Iran), Khayyam is known primarily as the author of the Rubaiyat.
During his lifetime he was not renowned for his poetry, nor was this type of poetry considered high art. It wasn't until the 19th Century, in fact, that Khayyam got his due.
It was largely thanks to Edward FitzGerald’s translation of some of these poems that the Rubaiyat is regarded a classic work today. From 1859 to 1889, FitzGerald published 5 translations (numbers 2-5 were modifications and expansions of his first attempt – the fifth translation was published posthumously).
It must be noted that FitzGerald’s translations are not strictly accurate – they owe a lot to FitzGerald’s own poetic sense. Still, they capture the spirit of Khayyam’s work, even if in a somewhat romanticized way. The title comes from the ruba’i – a Persian poetic form consisting of couplets, in which there is a rhyme scheme of AA BA in the two lines. FitzGerald cast the couplets as quatrains, with each line roughly equal to a half line in the original.