KC Public Library Blog

Book Reviews

Book Review: Percival's Planet

Do you ever look up at the night sky and wonder …What else is out there? What’s left to discover in all those stars? What will they find in space in my lifetime? If so, you might enjoy reading Percival’s Planet, the new novel by Michael Byers.

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Cleopatra: The E(gypt)! True Hollywood Story

In the brilliant and gritty HBO series Rome, Cleopatra is a crafty and ambitious seductress who charms first Caesar and then Mark Antony for the sake of preserving Egypt (and her power over it) at a time when Rome was transitioning from republic to empire.

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Banned Books Week: The Most Controversial Books in Kansas and Missouri

Despite the debate over the future of the printed book, the written word will never lose its power to enflame – a term that takes on new meaning when you consider cases like that of Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who made headlines when he called upon Americans to burn copies of the Quran on September 11 (and then subsequently backed down).

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Kennedy vs. Nixon: Behind the Scenes, 1960

Thanks to CBS, Richard Nixon lost his first presidential election six weeks before Election Day – at least according to his running mate, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.

Book Reviews

Book Club Review: The Botany of Desire

In Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire, we get four stories: the histories of apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes. You might not think the story of a plant would be very compelling, but as our Plaza Branch Barista’s Book Club learned, Pollan intrigues readers through careful management of historical facts, research, and personal anecdotes.

Book Reviews

Book Review: My Fair Lazy

Ever had a friend who would blurt out all the wrong things at the all the wrong times and yet was always funny in a screwball sort of way? That describes the wacky vibe and self-deprecating tone of Jen Lancaster’s new memoir, My Fair Lazy.

Library Life

Know Your Librarians: Wick Thomas

Wick Thomas

From sowing community gardens to starting grassroots organizations, Wick Thomas has fought for more causes than you can shake a picket sign at. When he's not planning a rally or hitting the political-science textbooks for school at UMKC, Thomas is championing libraries as beacons of free speech.

Lithe, bedecked with body piercings and sporting a different hair color every week, Thomas cuts a dashing, unconventional figure among the stacks in Central Youth Services, where he works as a Library associate.

Book Reviews

Classics Reviewed: Tolstoy's Great Meditation on History

Leo Tolstoy

At about 1,400 pages (depending on the translation), War and Peace is quite a challenge. The weak of heart, or those who suffer easily from eye strain, need not apply themselves to this work. That said, Leo Tolstoy’s epic is well worth the effort.

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Twain and Benton: A Match Made in Missouri

Riverboat Illustration

A leader of the regionalist movement in 20th century American art, Thomas Hart Benton showed the same fascination for ordinary people and bucolic settings that his fellow Missourian Mark Twain popularized in his writings the century before. Benton was the natural choice to illustrate three of Twain's books reprinted in the 1930s and '40s.

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How to Find the Perfect Novel

What's next? It’s the book lover's eternal question. Your Facebook friends may have suggestions, but have they done the research? Amazon tells you what other people bought, but how relevant is that, really? When you're looking for that next great read, the book recommendation database NoveList finds fiction to match your tastes.

Library Life

Know Your Librarians: Kim Patton

Kim Patton by Elise Del Vecchio

Kim Patton likes books with lots of angst. This is one reason why she’s perfectly suited for life as a teen librarian. When she talks about the sci-fi thriller Unwind by Neal Shusterman or the apocalyptic Gone by Michael Grant, she radiates enthusiasm.

Bill Murray's Brilliant Sadness

Lost in Translation

When thinking of the post-Ghostbusters Bill Murray, whose career is being featured this month in our Film Vault, one tends to assume that his acting career has taken a turn for the serious in recent years, a veritable Tom Hanksian transformation, if you will.

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Changing KC, One Corrected Typo at a Time

The Great Typo Hunt: Deck and Herson come to the Plaza Branch Wednesday, September 8.

Misspellings on marquees, apostrophe abuse in ads – Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson have seen it all. The Great Typo Hunt documents their road trip with friends ridding America of grammatical errors. In honor of their presentation at the Plaza Branch (click here for details), we conducted a typo hunt of our own around Kansas City.

Library Life

Social Networkers Plug Into Local History at the Westport Branch

Tim Westcott lectures on General Order No. 11

On a hot Saturday last month, 50 people gathered at the Westport Branch to learn about another August day 147 years ago, when soldiers ordered 20,000 Missouri civilians from their homes. It was a period in local history as regrettable as it is compelling. In the Union Army's reprisal for guerrilla raids against places like Lawrence, Kansas, lives were lost and houses burned.

Library Life

Back to School, Westside-style

Uncle Sam juggles with schoolkids at the Ruiz Branch. (Photos by Elise Del Vecchio)

It’s the first week of the 2010 school year in Kansas City, Missouri, a time of energy and excitement. And for many parents, it’s a time for cutting back – those no. 2 pencils and spiral notebooks add up. Thanks to the KC Public Library’s Ruiz Branch, nearly 200 Westside families got a break from the school-supply squeeze.