KC Unbound

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Update, September 2011: Since this blog entry was posted, more e-readers and devices have become available for use with Library e-books, including the Amazon Kindle. Visit our e-reader tutorial page for the latest information.

With an estimated 10 percent of adults planning to give e-readers as gifts over the holidays, the season of the e-book is truly upon us. As you prepare to wrap – or unwrap – that shiny new Nook or Kindle, check out this guide to checking out e-books from the Kansas City Public Library.

Just as with printed books, when it comes to affordable e-reading, libraries are a bountiful resource. The Library has a growing collection of more than a thousand e-books that you can download and transfer to your e-reader. We also have many more that can be read online through NetLibrary. This blog post will focus on downloadable e-books, which are provided to the Library through a service called OverDrive.

It takes a little time and a teensy bit of effort to check out e-books, but once you’re familiar with the process, it’s a breeze.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Day is November 2. Do you know where your ballot box is? Because we love helping people exercise their right to participate in democracy, we thought we’d compile a short list of some resources to help you get your vote on in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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.

Developed by trained readers' advisory librarians, NoveList by EBSCOhost is a comprehensive fiction recommendation engine that you can use for free with your Kansas City Public Library card. To access it, go to our databases page and search by topic (Languages & Literature) or alphabetically (“N”). Or just click here. Log in by typing in the number on the back of your Library card and entering your PIN. (If you forgot your PIN, fill out this online form to have it immediately emailed to you.)

Death of Socrates (detail) by Jacques-Louis David
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The good. The bad. The thirsty. In honor of Adrienne Mayor’s arrival on Thursday, July 22, to present her book The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most famous cases of poisoning in history and literature.

Note: To get sources for this list, we didn’t use Wikipedia or the top results from Google searches. Instead, we used a combination of books from our collection and the research databases that are available for free to anyone with a KCPL library card. Some of the links below will require you to enter your card and PIN in order to view the articles. (All images from Wikimedia Commons.)

And these are just our picks. Can you think of any other noteworthy fictional or historic poison stories? Post them in the comments at the end of this entry!

Without further ado, in chronological order...

10. Hercules
Antiquity (mythical)
Poison: Robe dipped in blood tainted with hydra venom

Chronic City book jacket
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Looking for a good book to read or give? Check out these end-of-year “best of 2009” lists for some ideas.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

These books at the Library explore the history of African Americans in aviation, with a special emphasis on the Tuskegee airmen who fought in World War II.

Related exhibit:
The Test: Tuskegee Airmen Project, Dec. 12, 2009 – Jan. 31, 2010

Blue Skies, Black Wings: African American Pioneers of Aviation
By Samuel L. Broadnax
Blue Skies, Black Wings recounts the history of African Americans in the skies from the very beginnings of manned flight. From Charles Wesley Peters, who flew his own plane in 1911, and Eugene Bullard, a black American pilot with the French in World War I, to the 1945 Freeman Field mutiny against segregationist policies in the Air Corps, Broadnax paints a vivid picture of the people who fought oppression to make the skies their own.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The National Book Foundation announced the 2009 National Book Award winners on November 18, 2009. Check out this year’s winners or take a look at the winners from previous years to find some great reading material.

Fiction

Let the Great World Spin book jacket

Let the Great World Spin
By Colum McCann
McCann offers a dazzling and hauntingly rich vision of the loveliness, pain, and mystery of life in New York City in the 1970s.

More National Book Award Winners for Fiction…

Nonfiction

The First Tycoon book jacket

The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
By T. J. Stiles
From the award-winning author of Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War comes an authoritative look at the life of Cornelius Vanderbilt – the complex and combative man whose genius and force of will gave birth to modern capitalism.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Learn all about the business of real estate in these books at the Library.

Creating and Growing Real Estate Wealth: The 4 Stages to a Lifetime of Success
By William Poorvu
Drawing on his personal experience – and hundreds of interviews with many of the most successful real estate investors and entrepreneurs – Poorvu illuminates every stage of "life" in real estate: creating wealth, growing it, and managing it successfully.

The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decision-Making and Investment
By William Poorvu with Jeffrey L. Cruikshank
The Real Estate Game is a comprehensive guide to successful real estate investment from one of the masters in the field. Drawing upon four decades of experience developing, owning, and managing properties and on almost thirty years of teaching at the Harvard Business School, William J. Poorvu offers an insider's perspective on how to make smart decisions about real estate.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

President James K. Polk was responsible for America’s second largest expansion, including parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming, as well as all of California, Nevada, and Utah, as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican War (1846-48). These books include biographies of Polk and histories of the Mexican War.

Related event:
Robert Merry discusses A Country of Vast Designs, Nov. 17, 2009

James K. Polk

A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent
By Robert W. Merry
In A Country of Vast Designs, Merry casts Polk’s accomplishments against the issues of the day, including debates over slavery and expansion, the appropriate use of military force, federal power and states’ rights, civility in the public square, and the fundamental principles of American foreign policy.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the Little Rock Nine, had the courage to face daily insults and challenges as a teenager in the newly integrated Little Rock Central High School in the late 1950s. These books tell the stories of other everyday heroes who helped to turn civil rights from a cause into a movement that relied on the willingness of average citizens to make sacrifices for equality.

A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
By Carlotta Walls LaNier; Foreword by Bill Clinton
When 14-year-old Carlotta Walls walks up the stairs of Little Rock Central High School on September 25, 1957, she and eight other black students only want to make it to class. But the journey of the "Little Rock Nine" would lead the nation on an even longer and much more turbulent path, one that would forever change the landscape of America.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Robert Altman’s successful filmmaking career spanned over forty years. This list includes books that explore his work and a selection of movies directed by him.

Related:
Event: Mitchell Zuckoff discusses his book Robert Altman, Nov. 9, 2009
Film series: Unscripted: The Films of Robert Altman, November 2009

Robert Altman: The Oral Biography
By Mitchell Zuckoff
The book is based on exclusive interviews with Altman as well as interviews with family and friends, a few enemies, agents, writers, crew members, and the stars who worked with him, including: Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty, Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Paul Newman, Julie Christie, Elliott Gould, Martin Scorsese, and Robin Williams.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Learn about the Chinese economy, its success, and growth in these books at the Library.

Related event:
Zachary Karabell discusses his book Superfusion, Nov. 11, 2009

Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World's Prosperity Depends On It
By Zachary Karabell
The emergence of China as an economic superpower is now widely recognized, but as Zachary Karabell reveals, that is only one aspect of the story. Over the past decade, the Chinese and U.S. economies have fused to become one integrated system. How China and the United States manage their relationship will determine whether the coming decades witness increased global prosperity or greater instability.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

November 9, 2009, is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. These books at the Library explore the history of the Wall and modern Berlin.

Tear Down This Wall: A City, a President, and the Speech That Ended the Cold War
By Romesh Ratnesar
This book explores the events leading up to and after the “Tear Down this Wall” speech that President Ronald Reagan gave in front of 20,000 people in West Berlin. 

The Fall of the Berlin Wall
By William F. Buckley
The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 was the turning point in the struggle against Communism in Eastern Europe. William F. Buckley, conservative pundit, explains how and why the Cold War ended as it did – and what lessons we can draw from the experience.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

These books at the Library tell the personal stories of people who have experienced homelessness firsthand.

Related event:
Steve Lopez discusses his book The Soloist, Nov. 4, 2009

The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music
By Steve Lopez
This moving story of a remarkable bond between a journalist in search of a story and a homeless, classically trained musician, The Soloist was also made into a feature film starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr.

Nomads of a Desert City book jacket

Nomads of a Desert City: Personal Stories from Citizens of the Street
Photographs & interviews by Barbara Seyda
Seyda interviewed and photographed thirteen homeless men and women, young and old, in Tucson, Arizona. This book presents a portrait of life on the street and in homeless shelters in the words of those who live it.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

These memoirs and histories depict life in Hungary – from World War II to living under Communist rule to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America
By Kati Marton
Renowned author Kati Marton tells how her journalist parents survived the Nazis in Budapest and were imprisoned by the Soviets. After obtaining secret police files detailing her family's activities in Budapest during Nazi and Communist regimes, Marton discovered terrifying truths: secret love affairs, betrayals inside the family circle, and brutalities alongside acts of stunning courage - and, above all, deep family love. Based on reports and her own interviews, she reveals how her parents - pawns in the Cold War between Washington and Moscow - were betrayed by friends and colleagues, even their babysitter, and eventually imprisoned.

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