KC Unbound

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.

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.

With “Fat Tuesday” on the calendar this week, Mardi Gras and mysteries partner up in these books.

Keepsake Crimes book jacket

Two novels in Laura Childs’ Scrapbooking Mystery series fit the Mardi Gras mystery bill. Set in the French Quarter of New Orleans, these books include lots of scrapbooking tips and feature Carmela Bertrand, owner of a scrapbook shop and amateur sleuth. In Keepsake Crimes, the first in the series, someone dies during Mardi Gras and Carmela’s estranged husband is the top suspect. When he asks Carmela for help, she agrees and finds an unexpected clue.

Death Swatch, the sixth book in the Scrapbooking Mystery series by Laura Childs, also takes place during Mardi Gras. A float designer ends up dead at a party attended by Carmela and her friend Ava and the two investigate.

Marcus Garvey was one of the most influential leaders of the early 20th century civil rights movement. On March 5, 2009, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Hahn presents “Marcus Garvey Reconsidered” at the Library. Learn more about Garvey and his lasting legacy in these books.

By Steven Hahn | Marcus Garvey

By Steven Hahn

A Nation Under Our Feet book jacket

A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration
By Steven Hahn
Presenting both an inspiring and a troubling perspective on American democracy, this 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner is the epic story of how African Americans, in the six decades following slavery, transformed themselves to a political people--an embryonic black nation.

Today there are more than 2.5 million Filipino Americans in the U.S. This book list includes literature written by Filipino American authors, as well as histories of Filipinos in America, and America in the Philippines.

Filipino American Authors | Filipinos in America | America in the Philippines

Polish architect Czeslaw Bielecki discusses his work and the Polish transition from Communism to democracy at the Library in March. This related reading list includes books about memory and architecture, as well as books about Polish history.

Monuments & Memorials | Polish History

Related event:
Polish architect Czeslaw Bielecki, March 4

Monuments & Memorials

Monuments: America's History in Art and Memory
By Judith Dupré
From the award-winning, bestselling author of Skyscrapers, Churches, and Bridges comes a visual history that serves as a tribute to classic American landmarks. Monuments features more than 200 duotone photographs, as well as fascinating stories, rare illustrations, candid interviews with artists and architects, and a unique chronology of milestones in the history of time and memory.

The state of Missouri provides a multitude of opportunities for enjoying its many beautiful natural areas. This reading list includes books about the Show-Me State’s parks and trails, as well as books on camping, cycling, caving, backpacking, and fishing in Missouri.

Missouri | Camping | Cycling | Caving | Backpacking | Fishing

How do you discuss a book when it is not at all what the readers expected? This was the conundrum that faced the Downtowners book group at yesterday's meeting. We gathered to talk about Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou and the book did not fail to meet expectations, but it didn't meet reader assumptions.

Check out these military histories about the battles near the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War or a few regimental histories from other wars.

Korean War, Chosin Reservoir | Regimental histories | Books by Tom Clavin

Korean War, Chosin Reservoir

The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat
By Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
This work offers a fast-paced and gripping account of heroism and self-sacrifice in the face of impossible odds. The authors have conducted dozens of firsthand interviews with the survivors of the deadly Korean War battle known as Fox Hill.

Award-winning comics artist, editor, and writer Art Spiegelman celebrates his birthday this week. Born on February 15, 1948, Spiegelman’s two-volume graphic novel Maus won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and helped establish graphic novels as a form of literature.

Maus I book jacket

Maus tells his parents’ story of surviving the Holocaust, depicting Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History moves between modern day New York where Spiegelman discusses the past with his father and the story his father recounts of Nazi-occupied Poland. In Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began, Spiegelman continues his parents’ tale while also depicting his difficult relationship with his father.

Explore the relationships between two sets of influential brothers in these books about John and Robert Kennedy and Fidel and Raúl Castro.

John & Robert Kennedy

Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros, and the Politics of Murder
By Gus Russo and Stephen Molton
Using breakthrough reporting, Russo and Molton craft a dramatic retelling of the time before, during, and after the John F. Kennedy assassination--a groundbreaking review of the historical drama linking the Kennedys and the Castros that sheds new light on this pivotal event.

Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years
By David Talbot
Acclaimed journalist Talbot tells in a riveting, well-researched narrative just how explosively alienated the Kennedy administration was from its own national security apparatus and that Robert Kennedy planned to open an investigation into his brother's assassination.

Jane Wood, chair of the English Department at Park University, served as armchair travel guide for many Mark Twain fans on Monday, February 9, when she presented her program "A Not So Innocent Abroad: The Travels of Mark Twain."

Travel writing has many proponents, according to Jane. Merchants, explorers, captives, castaways, even pirates and scientists, all recorded their exploits for future generations to enjoy.