Readers Scene

Maya Angelou

Angelou died Wednesday at her home in North Carolina, closing an extraordinary life that began in Missouri and yielded what President Obama described as “one of the brightest lights of our time.”

Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World

Columbia University released the roll of 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists this week, and one name — Leo Damrosch — caught our eye. He’s speaking at the Library next month.

Daniel Handler

What secrets are lurking in the mind of Daniel Handler? I recently had the opportunity to speak with the author, better known as his character/alter-ego Lemony Snicket, the narrator of the 13-book saga A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Jon Klassen

I recently had the opportunity to speak with children’s author and illustrator Jon Klassen. His book This Is Not My Hat just won the 2013 Caldecott Medal.

Mr. Civil Defense

In the decade spanning the 1950s, the U.S. government churned out roughly 400 million pieces of Civil Defense propaganda. If that fact alone is not enough to make you want to “duck and cover,” consider the actual threat of nuclear annihilation Americans lived under during the Atomic Age.

Frank White: One Man's Dream

It’s official: Frank White has been inducted into the Library Hall of Fame. What did the Royals’ former star second baseman do to receive this singular honor? Simple. He got on camera and testified to the power of reading and libraries.

Kansas City Spirit

In 1951, as Kansas City was recovering from a devastating flood, Hallmark founder Joyce Hall asked Norman Rockwell to create an image that would forever capture the Kansas City Spirit.

Jamal Joseph

“It’s been an incredible journey.” That’s how Jamal Joseph describes his life, and nobody is likely to contradict him. He speaks about his memoir Panther Baby on Friday, September 21, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch.

David Thomson

David Thomson, regarded by many as our finest writer about cinema, introduces and talks about the history of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the monster hit of 1975, on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch.

Watergate by Thomas Mallon book cover

Non Fiction is good when it comes to facts. Fiction is most effective when it comes to feelings. These truths come up frequently in Watergate, Thomas Mallon’s novel about the political scandal that brought down a president.

The Mormon War book cover

Missouri’s so-called Mormon War was fought in 1838. But in a sense it’s still being fought today. Just ask Brandon G. Kinney, who will discuss his book The Mormon War: Zion and the Missouri Extermination Order of 1838 on Sunday, June 24.

Dan Rather

You’ve seen him on CBS and HDNet. Soon, you’ll see him live at the Library – and on YouTube. On June 20, 2012, the Library's public conversation with legendary anchorman Dan Rather will be livestreamed to viewers around the world at

The stream begins at 6:30 p.m. CST, as Rather joins Library Director Crosby Kemper III for a discussion of his new book, Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News before an expected capacity crowd in Kirk Hall at the Central Library. (RSVP and come early to attend.)

It should be a lively discussion. The 80-year-old newsman’s tell-all memoir has been drawing attention for his lambasting of his former employer, CBS News, whom he’s accused of folding under corporate pressure and exhibiting an “absence of executive backbone” during crucial investigations, such as Abu Ghraib. Check out Lloyd Grove’s great coverage of the book in The Daily Beast.

Masters of Command book cover

The basic questions of war haven't changed since antiquity, according to Barry Strauss. He'll examine the lessons that ancient military leaders continue to teach us in Masters of Command on Friday, May 29, at 6:30 p.m.

Ghost of the Ozarks book cover

“I’m a country guy and always will be,” explains author Brooks Blevins. “Being an Ozarker means being able to get away from everything and be out in the country.” It also meant a career studying the region of his birth and its inhabitants.

When the Sirens Were Silent: How the Warning System Failed a Community

It takes some serious moxie to claim @USWeatherExpert as your Twitter handle, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Mike Smith. As the founder and CEO of WeatherData, Smith makes it his business to warn people about extreme weather, and, in doing so, saving lives.