KC Unbound

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School is out, the temperature is reaching toward the 90s – it’s officially time for summer reading. But, what to read? These summer reading lists should have more than enough suggestions to last you through the heat.

National Public Radio (NPR) picks its favorites for the season at Summer Books 2009. Here, you can find the Best Fiction for Every Kind of Summer Day. If you’re looking for something a little weightier, try this list called On the Hunt for Fabulous Fiction. Or, maybe you’re in the mood for suspense and intrigue? Check out For Summer Sleuths: Best Mystery, Crime Novels for some great suggestions. For readers who like to check out the latest cookbooks, NPR has you covered with The 10 Best Summer Cookbooks Of 2009.

Arthur Stilwell

Discover the dreamer and visionary, Arthur Stilwell, whose crowning achievement was the railroad that became the Kansas City Southern.

Arthur E. Stilwell, Promoter with a Hunch
By Keith L. Bryant, Jr.
This comprehensive biography covers Arthur Stilwell’s complete life. Bryant discusses Stilwell’s childhood, his career with the railroads, life in Kansas City, the creation of Port Arthur, Texas, projects that were never completed, and his final years as an author.

City of the Future: A Narrative History of Kansas City, 1850-1950
By Henry C. Haskell, Jr. and Richard B. Fowler
Written by two Kansas City Star newspapermen, City of the Future tells the story of Kansas City on its 100th anniversary and sets that story against the larger backdrop of U.S. history.

Related event:
Meet the Past: Arthur Stilwell, June 9

These memoirs depict modern farm life – many from the perspective of recently displaced city dwellers.

Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting
By Michael Perry
In over his head with two pigs, a dozen chickens, and baby due any minute, the acclaimed author of Truck: A Love Story gives readers a humorous, heartfelt memoir of a new life in the country.

Stronger Than Dirt: How One Urban Couple Grew a Business, a Family, and a New Way of Life from the Ground Up
By Kimberly Schaye and Christopher Losee
Kim and Chris battle mulch, bugs, dirt, and snow, as well as their own inexperience, to launch Silverpetals Farm. Now, seven years and one successful business later, they wouldn't trade their new life for anything. For gardeners of every description, Stronger Than Dirt is joyous reading.

These memoirs depict the daily life, culture, politics, and upheaval in recent Chinese history.

Lake With No Name: A True Story of Love and Conflict in Modern China
By Diane Wei Liang
Lake with No Name is Diane Wei Liang's remembrance of the time surrounding the events of Tiananmen Square in 1989, of her own role in the democratic movement and of the friends and lovers who stood beside her and made history on that terrible day.

Escape from China: The Long Journey from Tiananmen to Freedom
By Zhang Boli
One of the top student leaders at Tiananmen Square traces his amazing path to liberty in this spine-tingling and vivid memoir.

Women have had a huge impact on architecture. These books explore the work of women architects and their role in the field.

The First American Women Architects
By Sarah Allaback
By 1920, there were over two hundred women practicing architecture in the United States, actively working on major design and building projects before they were even given the right to vote. These women designed thousands of buildings nationwide. In this book, Sarah Allaback chronicles the lives and careers of more than seventy pioneering female architects practicing in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

These books at the Library explore the intersection of art and society in the United States.

American Art

Framing America: A Social History of American Art
By Frances K. Phol
For more than a generation, critics and scholars have been revising and expanding the customary definition of American art. A tradition once assumed to be mainly European and oriented toward painting and sculpture has been enriched by the inclusion of other media such as ceramics, needlework, and illustration, and the work of previously marginalized groups such as Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. Frances Pohl's Framing America provides a comprehensive survey of this new, enlarged vision of American art.

These books at the library explore Latin American sayings and proverbs, folktales, arts and crafts.

For adults | For kids

For adults

Mexican Sayings: The Treasure of a People = Dichos mexicanos: el tesoro de una gente
Compiled by Octavio A. Ballesteros and María del Carmen Ballesteros
This collection contains more than 400 Mexican dichos about love, religion, and advice.

These books examine how we can preserve and restore our historic buildings—why historic preservation adds to the vibrancy of contemporary neighborhoods and cities.

Adventures with Old Houses
By Richard Hampton Jenrette
This is the story of one man's adventures in acquiring and bringing back to life some of America's most enticing and historically significant dwellings. This uniquely personal account of the quest, the acquisition, the restoration, and the furnishing of each property is instructive and entertaining. Along the way, he introduces the artisans, curators, furniture specialists, designers, antiquarians, preservationists, and collectors who have played a part in his Adventures with Old Houses.

If you’re in the mood for a page-turning mystery, take a look at these recent winners of the Edgar Awards and Agatha Awards.

Edgar Awards

Named after Edgar Allan Poe, the annual Edgar Awards honor excellence in mystery, crime, suspense, and intrigue writing.

Blue Heaven book jacket

Best Novel
Blue Heaven by C.J. Box
A 12-year-old girl and her younger brother are on the run in the Idaho woods, pursued by four men they have just watched commit murder – four men who know exactly who the children are.

Best First Novel by an American Author
The Foreigner by Francie Lin
A noirish work about family, fraternity, conscience, and the curious gulf between a man's culture and his deepest self, The Foreigner is a darkly comic tale of crime and contrition, and a riveting story about what it means to be a foreigner – even in one's own family.

Learn all about William Allen White, the famous newspaper editor from Emporia, Kansas, and close friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, in these books at the Library.

Related event:
Meet the Past: William Allen White, May 19

By William Allen White

The Autobiography of William Allen White
By William Allen White
William Allen White was one of the most unforgettable personalities of his age – a gifted writer, highly admired journalist, politician, and friend of presidents. White's life history spans from the time of buffalo in his native Kansas to the age of F.D.R. This autobiography won the Pulitzer Prize in 1947.

Forty Years on Main Street
By William Allen White
Published in 1937, this collection of White's editorial writings covers life in Emporia, Kansas.

These books at the library explore the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The Mormon Trail: Yesterday and Today
By William E. Hill
Part history, part resource book, part guide, and part photographic essay, The Mormon Trail Yesterday and Today is a reference for readers of all ages who are interested in the Mormon trek west. Driven from their home in Nauvoo, Illinois, Mormons, under the leadership of Brigham Young, began in 1846 their journey west to an expected haven in the Great Salt Lake Valley. The first party arrived there in July 1847. Thousands of members and converts later followed the Mormon Trail. This book includes a chronology of trail-related events, excerpts from diaries and guidebooks, songs, historical maps, over 200 then and now illustrations, descriptions of major museums and displays on the trail, and recommendations for further reading.

18th and Vine Jazz Fest

Bring out the barbecue grill – it’s National Barbecue Month! These books will inspire mouth-watering flavors.

Barbecue and Kansas City go hand-in-hand. Doug Worgul has written The Grand Barbecue: A Celebration of the History, Places, Personalities and Technique of Kansas City Barbecue that explores everything BBQ in KC.

For some grilling tips and over 150 recipes, pick up Kansas City Barbeque: From the Kansas City Barbeque Inner Circle by Bill Venable, Rick Welch and Bruce Daniel.

Find out the secrets of the Kansas City Barbeque Society in Barbeque -- It's Not Just for Breakfast Anymore: A Collection of Favorite Barbeque Recipes from the Society Members. This cookbook includes a history of the society as well as recipes for beef, pork, seafood, lamb, and much more.

Read all about the tumultuous life of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln, in these biographies at the Library.

Mrs. Lincoln: A Life
By Catherine Clinton
In this biography, Catherine Clinton draws on important new research to illuminate the remarkable life of Mary Lincoln. Mary Lincoln's story is inextricably tied with the story of America and with her husband's presidency, yet her life is an extraordinary chronicle on its own.

The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage
By Daniel Mark Epstein
This fascinating work on the Lincoln marriage by a noted historical biographer sheds new light on both the personal and political lives of one of American history's most important couples.

These memoirs of the war in Afghanistan provide firsthand accounts of those who experienced it and can help provide insight into the conflict.

One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
By Nathaniel Fick
A former captain of the U.S. Marine Corps First Reconnaissance Battalion unveils the process that makes Marine officers such legendary leaders and shares his hard-won insights into the differences between the military ideals he learned and military practice, which can mock those ideals. One Bullet Away never shrinks from blunt truths, but it is an ultimately inspiring account of mastering the art of war.

These books at the Library explore the fate of news publications in our digital media society.

American Carnival: Journalism under Siege in an Age of New Media
By Neil Henry
Journalist Neil Henry confronts the crisis facing professional journalism in this era of rapid technological transformation. American Carnival combines elements of memoir with media research to explore critical contemporary issues ranging from reporting on the Iraq War, to American race relations, to the exploitation of journalism by advertisers and politicians. Drawing on significant currents in U.S. press and social history, Henry argues that in an age marked by fraud in many institutions in American life, the decline of journalistic professionalism sparked by the economic challenge of new media has especially serious implications for democracy.