Clavinova

For this month’s Crafty Reads (a KC Unbound Blog series for people looking to take up new crafts and hobbies) we’ll be exploring the Kansas City Public Library’s resources for music performance and musical instruments. I’m pleased to report we have a good selection of materials! 

By the Book

Now, first things first – what if you don’t already play an instrument, or perhaps you’re helping your child find an instrument to learn? You might want to check out Which Musical Instrument Shall I Play, which describes string, woodwind, brass, percussion, and keyboard instruments, and outlines their importance in the production of various types of music. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments: From All Eras and Regions of the World might also be a good place to start. You might also want to browse shelves in the 784.19 call number area at any Library location for general books on musical instruments. 

Teen Tech Week

Book reviews came in at all hours of the day and night during Teen Tech Week! After you read some of them below, why not check out the book? We'll put up more soon. BTW - no need to stop just because TTW is over. Text in some more!

Beautiful Creatures By: kami garcia & margaret dtohl
A girl. A boy. A hidden family secret. And a love story. What more could you want in a good book?

Warriors Into the Wild by Erin Hunter: I like it because it tells how it all begins, the saga, the friendship, and the struggle to prove his worth. Try it soon.

Paul Smith by Lauren Hunt

The newest issue of Library Journal has a familiar face on its cover. Familiar, at least, to anyone who’s been to a film screening, book discussion group, or special event at the Kansas City Public Library anytime in the past four and a half years.

Paul Smith, communications specialist in the Library’s Public Affairs department, has just been named one of LJ’s 2011 Movers & Shakers. He is the first Kansas City Public Library employee to receive this award.

Each year, only 50 librarians from both public and academic library settings are named Movers & Shakers, defined as library professionals “who are doing extraordinary work to serve their users and to move libraries of all types and library services forward.”

Paul is definitely doing his part to shape the Library’s future.

Since joining the Public Affairs team in December of 2006, Smith has been a driving force in the Library’s citywide Big Read programs, the annual Adult Winter Reading program, and the Off-the-Wall Film Series (which returns to the Central Library’s Rooftop Terrace this summer with films chosen by Roger Ebert).

Do you think of Heaven as a place where disembodied spirits float in the clouds, listening to harp music for eternity? Many people stereotype life in Heaven as a church service that never ends.

In his thought-provoking new book, Randy Alcorn dispels all misconceptions about a believer’s eternal destination and presents a compelling case for one of the least-talked-about subjects in Christianity.

The founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries, a nonprofit organization that promotes an eternal viewpoint and helps underprivileged people around the world, Alcorn based his entire book on biblical study, research, and extensive reading on the subject of Heaven. The book is divided into three sections: “A Theology of Heaven,” “Questions and Answers about Heaven,” and “Living in Light of Heaven”.

In “A Theology of Heaven,” Alcorn explains that contrary to a popular belief, Heaven is a real, physical place where bodily resurrected people live and engage in various meaningful creative activities. Heaven will not be a foreign place for us but we will recognize it as home: “Too often we’ve been taught that Heaven is a non-physical realm, which cannot have real gardens, cities, kingdoms, buildings…So we fail to take seriously what Scripture tells us about Heaven as a familiar, physical, tangible place.”

In advance of bestselling author Jasper Fforde’s appearance at the Plaza Branch on March 17, 2011, the Kansas City Public Library is giving away two first-edition hardback copies of his new book, One of Our Thursdays Is Missing, the latest installment in the Thursday Next series. The Library will give away both books via a random drawing facilitated by Twitter.

Move over Jane Austen, there are new “It Girls” in town. After getting their fill of the witty, drawing-room banter of impoverished spinsters with no prospects in the Regency period, readers and viewers are ready for the lusty power plays of spirited wealthy heiresses and socially manipulative dowager countesses and their secret sidekicks, butlers and ladies’ maids. In short – it's a whole new century!

Fans of reggae music in Kansas City know the name "Sista G" like their favorite Royals player or barbecue joint. She's the host of KKFI 90.1 FM's Sunset Reggae - at 16 years and change, the city's longest-running reggae radio show. But what many fans of her Sunday-night show don't realize is that when she's not spinning cool island sounds, this Sista is working with teens at the Southeast Branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

She may have dreadlocks, but Gabi Otto (as she's known around these parts), hails from a part of the world known more for producing Riesling wine than Rastafarianism. Raised on her family's farm near Frankfurt in Michelsbach, Germany, Otto grew up milking cows, growing vegetables, and reading books from the only library in town, which was inside a Catholic church.

Readers and Cineastes assemble! The Kansas City Public Library brings together a great read and its equally great film adaptation for one sprawling conversation when the Read It / Watch It Discussion Group tackles P.D. JamesThe Children of Men on Sunday, March 13, at 2 p.m. at the Plaza Branch.

The Children of Men is arguably the best book featured in the Suggested Reading list for our 2011 Adult Winter Reading Program – at least it’s my current favorite (which is saying something, because I also love The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell).

But the one thing that The Children of Men has that no other Altered States Suggest Reading can claim is a stunning film adaptation! (Though both Yiddish Policemen and Jonathan Strange are in the works…)

Now here is the really important part: the book and the film are completely different. Aside from the main character being named Theo Faron, the book and the film have little else in common – aside from the hopelessness of a world where humanity has become sterile.

Imagine an American Jane Austen writing about 19th century America, but more tragic than comic, and with a strangely helpless man at its center – and there you have Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. Like Ms. Austen’s novels, Ms. Wharton’s work is focused on the mores and manners of the aristocracy.

Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy grow up in what appears to be an idyllic English boarding school – but not everything is what it seems. The children at this school are groomed for a specific and special purpose. They are genetically engineered clones, bred to end their lives as organ donors for the rest of the population.

It is almost impossible to review a book like Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go without giving away major plot points. This is because the author gives you all the information you need to know from page one. The plot is not what makes this book remarkable; this is a book about characters, and the ways they react to extraordinary circumstances.

Kathy narrates the story, relating her memories of her childhood, and her friendship with Ruth – a manipulative but sensitive classmate – and Tommy, a kindred spirit with a volatile temper. The narration moves from memories of the children’s years at Hailsham, the boarding in the English countryside, to their time spent together after graduating, to Kathy’s present, as she reviews the path her life has taken.

Mad Max

In Patton Oswalt's new book, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, the literate comedian divides his friends from childhood into three categories: worshippers of zombie-flick sire George Romero; Star Wars geeks; and Mad Max maniacs. This is the month for that last group – teenage "Wastelands" – at the Library, with a film series including the post-apocalyptic epic that introduced leather-clad Mel Gibson to the American teen psyche.

For those seeking gentler fare, there's a series highlighting the early film career of the great American actress Natalie Wood.

Oswalt's right. An imagined worldwide holocaust can make for a good story (also in agreement: Pulitzer Prize-winner Cormac McCarthy). Post-apocalytptic films offer unforgettable images of scarred and broken worlds as well as the unforgettable struggles of survivors. The Badlands film series complements Altered States, the Kansas City Public Library’s 2011 Adult Winter Reading Program, which concludes on March 13.

The Kansas City Public Library screens Badlands on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. throughout March 2011 in the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Is your e-reader running on empty? You may love your new Nook or Kindle, but building an e-book library can be costly. The good news is there’s plenty of free e-reading online, but you have to know where to look. Though libraries are becoming the best sources of free, newer e-books from major publishers (learn more), you can also find lots of new, classic, and unusual titles for the taking at a variety of sites.

Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Meet Solange...A soon to be vampire and the only girl vampire to be born, not made. And being born the Drake family, the most powerful vampire clan in the world,she's surrounded by danger and even though she has her seven brothers and her parents to keep her safe, will it be enough? All her life she's known that she'll change on her 16th birthday but with danger and "suitors" lurking around every corner will she want to? But one night that all changes when her family captures a Helios-Ra,Vampire hunter, named Kieran and she starts falling for him. But when he escapes and she is called to court, everyone goes on high alert including her best friend Lucy...

Meet Lucy...Solange's best friend and probally the only human that is almost immune to vampire pheromones, which is what makes vamps so irresistable. For Lucy hanging out with the Drakes is a part of life. But with The Drakes nothing is normal. But when Solange is kidnapped she has to focus on saving her best friend instead of Solange's hot older brother Nicholas. But with all the distractions of Helios-Ra trying to recruit her, Nicholas and oh yeah every vampire and vampire hunter after you, your best friend and her family how can she focus entirely on saving Sol?

What scares you most about yourself? Is it the other person you hide just beneath your facade? The one you pretend doesn’t exist – the one capable of performing acts you could never commit on your own? That primeval fear is confronted in Stephen King’s new book, Full Dark, No Stars.

First, let’s clarify what Full Dark, No Stars is not. It isn’t a classic Stephen King horror story filled with vampires, scary monsters or zombies. It won’t have you looking under your bed at night for a pair of glowing eyes or wondering what’s lurking in your closet while you cower beneath your covers. Instead, you’ll be pondering a much darker thought, “Am I the real monster disguised in a costume of skin and hair?”

"Library books lead many lives," says Kevin Craig. As a Library volunteer in the Collection Maintenance department, he would know. He sorts countless books, shelving and reshelving, shuffling in new purchases, finding misplaced volumes, and plucking out worn-out ones for the Friends of the Library book sales. Without workers like Craig, the Library couldn't function.

For the past two years, Craig has moved hundreds of thousands of books from the sorting department of Collection Management Services on B2 at the Central Library to the stacks on the upper floors and back again. He works four hours a day, five days a week, shelving as many as 500 books a day.

"I don't think there's enough you can say about his value," says Dee Sharp, a Library aide who is Craig's colleague in sorting. "I don't know how we would've made it the past two years without him."

But before the Library depended on him, Craig depended on the Library.

Until a car accident a few years ago turned his life upside down, Craig had worked for 12 years as an executive searcher or "headhunter," recruiting IT consultants who raked in salaries in the middle six figures.

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