Library staff members share their best reading experiences of the past year.
The Kansas City community lost an iconic writer this past week. Charles W. Gusewelle died Tuesday, November 15th at age 83. He wrote for The Kansas City Star for six decades. A few years ago, Gusewelle took part in the Library’s Dial-A-Story program. He recorded a child’s version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. We are positing this encore reading of in celebration of Charles Gusewelle’s life.
There are three poets who really break the mold, and set the stage for the modern poetry of the 20th century – these are Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman in America, and Gerard Manley Hopkins in Britain.
First, we updated our website. Next, we began implementing a new tagging system for library materials. And now we are changing our online catalog system.
The catalog allows you to search our materials, place holds on items, and interact with your account. The system will allow you to interact with our library staff more easily, create themed lists, review books, and share your recommendations within the library community.
The Kansas City Public Library will begin temporarily closing its branches in early November 2016 to upgrade its checkout system. The staggered closures will allow staffers to install new Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on books and other materials available to patrons. The process will last into early 2017.
Basho is famous as a composer of haiku. Some even suggest he invented the form, though he did not. One of his most famous works is Oku No Hosomichi (trans. as The Narrow Road to the Interior). This work is considered one of the masterpieces of classical Japanese literature. In form, the work is an haibun, a mixture of prose and haiku. It is an impressionistic journal of a journey Basho made, mostly on foot, in the Spring of 1689. Over the course of 156 days, he traversed about 1500 miles. At the conclusion of his journey from Edo (Tokyo) to the north, and back again, he spent five years refining and completing the work for publication. There are people who go to Japan to retrace Basho’s steps. Given the great changes from Japan of 1689 to Japan in the 21st century, this is impossible in any real sense. In any event, we are not Basho and cannot replicate what happened to him over 400 years ago. But we can appreciate his own depiction of that experience. It is unclear whether Basho attained enlightenment, but, in his haiku, and his other verse, he does aim at the annihilation of subject and object that is key to enlightenment. Haiku is all about the distilling of experience to its essence and somehow summoning the moment that led to an “aha!” moment.
The library contains this work, together with some of Basho’s other haibu and selected haiku, in The Essential Basho, trans. By Sam Hamill.
Do you have your child's favorite book memorized? Kids love to hear the same story over, and over, and OVER again. And again. And again. (Do you see the pattern here?)
In our household, when my daughter was a toddler her beloved book was Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton You can tell from the photo that it was much-loved, and it was not a library copy. I can't swear that I recited it in my sleep, but I probably could have. I know that I performed it, verbatim, for pretty much whoever was willing to listen to me.
There is a reason why kids adore repetition. It builds their brains. Neural connections get stronger by being exposed to the same information time after time after time. A 2015 study at the University of Maryland showed better vocabulary scores for two-year-old kids who had specific words repeated to them when they were seven-month-olds than the outcomes for their peers who didn't experience the repeated phrases as babies.
Strike by Delilah S. Dawson
publication date: 2016
Strike was the action-packed sequel to Delilah S. Dawson's 2015 book Hit. Strike began with the main character, Patsy, on the run from her past, her employer, and the pseudo-government. She was also on the run from herself: experiencing guilt and PTSD after killing people to keep herself alive.
Although Patsy struggled with her ethics, she was definitely one of the good guys in this quasi-dystopian very near future. Her and her boyfriend, Wyatt, were caught between Valor Bank – an omnipresent, violent entity that used people's debts and credit cards against them – and Citizens for Freedom – the citizens militia that was using unscrupulous methods to stop Valor Bank.
Messages bombard you constantly. At the recent KC Youth Services Summit, Teen Librarian Wick Thomas shared that teens see an average of 3,000 advertisements a day. He got that statistic from SF Environment: A Department of the City and County of San Francisco Somebody else is spending a lot of money in the hopes that they can make you spend even more money than you already are.
The Romans sometimes get grief for "copying" everything from other cultures. The Romans were masters at taking what worked from different cultures they encountered, adopting it, and adapting it to Roman use.
Klickitat by Peter Rock
publication date: 2016
In Klickitat, Rock explored the subtle danger and loneliness that exists in contemporary suburban America.
The setting for Klickitat was a dreamy Portland, Oregon, full of tucked-away forests and hidden tunnels in the ground. The book focused on Vivian and her older sister Audra. Vivian was a young girl with a vague health issue that gave her “agitations” and led her parents to force her to take medications. Audra saw their parents' reaction to Vivian's agitations as just another example of the unnaturalness and captivity of modern life. Vivian didn’t think much beyond her life and what it is now, that is, until Audra met someone named Henry and ran away from the constraints of her childhood home.
Rock's writing style infused the book with otherworldliness and a low-level dread throughout. Here was Rock's description of a domestic argument between Audra and her mother, from Vivian’s perspective: