Book Reviews

Visit our Recommended Reading page in the Kids section for reviews of children's books >

It’s a jungle out there, and you need to be prepared. What are you going to do if you run out of food, and all you have are houseplants? Suppose you’re on a road trip and you need to heat up a convenience-store hot dog?

What if you need to start a fire and all you have is a Coke and a Hershey bar?

You’re at the Starbucks and you want to know if it’s going to rain – now what?

These are all jobs for the urban bushman. That would be Matthew Cole, confirmed city dweller with a dad who taught him how to “rig something up, son.”

His latest book is a cosmopolitan DIY guide for better living in overpopulated areas, whether it’s managing a stressful bus commute or entertaining yourself and a buddy at the consumer-soul-eating mall.

How to Predict the Weather with a Cup of Coffee and Other Techniques for Surviving the 9-5 Jungle may save your life after the great world-ending tsunami hits and recedes, leaving you all by your lonesome in Sheboygan, WI.

The Mermaid's Mirror book cover

In my mind, mermaids are cartoon characters with fishy tales who have a tendency to sing about everything. The Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Madigan is a great departure from these children’s tales...although there is a little singing.

The Flame Alphabet

Each week on KC Unbound, we hit the new books section at the Central Library and round up an omnivorous sampling of what’s new on the shelves.

If you see something you like, click the title and place a hold to have it delivered to your nearest branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

And let us know: What are you excited to read? Share what new books are on your radar in the comments.


Most of us think that our consumer decisions; the deodorant we use, the shoes we wear, the car we drive, are based on logic and reason.  Martin Lindstrom, a highly successful consumer product marketing consultant, disagrees. 

Blood, Bones, & Butter

January 20-29 is Restaurant Week in Kansas City, a time when area foodies line up to taste off-menu offerings at dozens of local eateries. We’ve rounded up recent culinary memoirs that have arrived at a Kansas City Public Library near you.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Home Cooks
Kathleen Flinn
After persuading a stranger in a grocery store to swap her cartful of ultra-processed foods for fresher stuff, recent Le Cordon Bleu grad Kathleen Flinn began a crusade to teach nine women from different backgrounds the basics of simple, healthy cooking. The reality-TV-esque narrative interweaves 20 recipes.