Check out some of the poetry, prose, and plays written by Langston Hughes, the Missouri-born writer who became a leader of the Harlem Renaissance, or learn more about his life and work in these books at the library.

His work

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes
By Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes's poetry launched a revolution among black writers in America. The poems in this volume were chosen by Hughes shortly before his death in 1967 and encompass work from his entire career.

Modern Dance, Photo by Kevin Eddy

Renowned dancer and choreographer Karole Armitage will talk about her career at the Library in April. Learn more about modern dance and its dancers, watch this dance form on film, or check out a few movies choreographed by Armitage.

Modern dance | Modern dance on film | Movies choreographed by Karole Armitage

Spartacus, a Roman gladiator and slave, led a slave uprising against Rome in 73 B.C. Learn more about his dramatic history or explore the world of gladiators in these books at the library.

Spartacus | Gladiators | Books by Barry Strauss

Spartacus

The Spartacus War (nonfiction)
By Barry Strauss
From an esteemed historian of the ancient world and popular guest on The History Channel comes the true story of the gladiator Spartacus, who led a slave rebellion that rocked and nearly destroyed the Roman Republic.

Spartacus (feature film, 1960)
A gladiator slave leads a revolt in decadent Rome in this film directed by Stanley Kubrick that won four Academy Awards.

Old School

The Libraries of Greater Kansas City have joined The Big Read to celebrate the Tobias Wolff novel Old School through a series of talks and workshops, movie screenings, book groups, a public discussion with Wolff, and a regular radio broadcast. This book is a modern classic about an ambitious but insecure teenager attending an elite prep school in the early 1960s who competes in a writing contest in which the prize is a personal meeting with a visiting famous author – Robert Frost, Ayn Rand, and Ernest Hemingway.

So, go Old School and read this novel, check out a few of the authors featured in this work, pick up a novel with a prep school theme, or read some more work by Tobias Wolff.

The Authors in Old School | Prep School Novels | Books by Tobias Wolff

Related:
Program:  The Big Read in Kansas City, April – May 2009

Tennessee Williams

Wish American playwright Tennessee Williams a happy birthday this week. Born on March 26, 1911, Williams spent much of his youth in Missouri and went on to win two Pultizer Prizes and four New York Drama Critics’ Circle awards for his plays.

Cindi, Jennifer and Briana discuss The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty

Six readers gathered at the Plaza Library on Sunday, March 22 to discuss the second novel from local author, Laura Moriarty, The Rest of Her Life. Comments and perceptions focused on the realistic and sympathetic, but not always likeable, characters.

At the end of March 2009, Buddhist monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in India will construct a sand mandala at the Central Library. This month also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising that sent the Dalai Lama into exile. Learn more about Tibetan Buddhism, sand mandalas, and the Dalai Lama in these books.

Sand Mandalas | Tibetan Buddhism | The Dalai Lama

Related:
Event: Buddhist monks construct a sand mandala, Mar. 29 – Apr. 4

Film series: Back in the World: Monks Amid Society, March 2009

Even today, Depression-era outlaws Bonnie and Clyde have a notorious reputation. Get the real story on these two celebrity criminals.

Bonnie & Clyde | Books by Jeff Guinn

Bonnie & Clyde

The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde
By E.R. Milner
Relying on primary sources (oral history interviews, personal memoirs, newspaper articles, official records, diaries, and letters), E. R. Milner cuts through myth and legend to create this startling portrait of the real Bonnie and Clyde. Although the mythology surrounding Bonnie and Clyde is charged with drama and fascination, Milner reveals the truth behind the bloody legend, carefully gleaning materials from obscure locally published accounts, previously untapped court records, and archived but unpublished oral history accounts from some sixty victims, neighbors, relatives, and police who were involved in the exploits of the infamous duo.

Learn all about the practice of graphology, or handwriting analysis, in these books that explain what it is and how it works or check out a few novels where graphology plays a part in the plot.

Graphology

Edgar Allan Poe Analyzes Handwriting: A Chapter on Autobiography
By Edgar Allen Poe
Edgar Allan Poe's classic work of graphology includes as much literary criticism as it does handwriting analysis. It also serves as an overview of the major literary figures of his time - some still well-known, many forgotten.

Has the quilting inspiration hit you in time for National Quilting Day on March 21? If sewing quilts isn’t your thing, pick up one of these “quilt lit” novels that feature the quilting craft.

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! Delve into the turbulent history of Ireland through these historical novels.

Many books get made into movies, including the recent Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire (Q & A by Vikas Swarup) and Oscar nominee The Reader (The Reader by Bernard Schlink). So, I started thinking about my favorite books that have been adapted into film. Here are my top 10 (in alphabetical order).

Americans love food (well, doesn’t everyone?). If you like to read about food, check out these food writing anthologies or books about Clementine Paddleford, a food writer raised in Kansas who achieved international renown.

Clementine Paddleford

Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate
Kelly Alexander and Cynthia Harris
In Hometown Appetites, an award-winning food writer and a leading university archivist come together to revive the legacy of the most important food writer you have never heard of. Clementine Paddleford was a Kansas farm girl who grew up to chronicle America’s culinary habits.

Read all about the art of writing poetry from those who do it. This book list includes selections in which poets discuss their craft, handbooks on how to write poetry, as well as some poetry by C.D. Wright.

Poets discuss their craft | How to write poetry | Poetry by C.D. Wright

Dig into the life of the great artist, Leonardo da Vinci, with these books or enjoy a few novels with da Vinci at the center.

Life & Art | Science | In fiction

Life & Art

Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind
By Charles Nicholl
In this acclaimed biography, Charles Nicholl uncovers the man behind the myth of the "Renaissance master," tracing the journey from an illegitimate child in Tuscany to his service with some of the most powerful families of Renaissance Europe.

Leonardo
By Martin Kemp
A leading authority on Leonardo da Vinci offers a stunning account of the life and thought of this unique artist. It includes 60 illustrations, including a thumbnail gallery in full color.

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