Books

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

When the best Irish musicians get together to practice, it might as well be a concert. And some of Kansas City’s most talented players now have a regular place to do that in front of an audience.

On a recent Sunday night at Prospero’s Books, while customers thumbed through used paperbacks and lounged in armchairs, the sound of music drifted down from the second floor, where a couple dozen people were watching flute player Turlach Boylan and guitar player Davey Mathias.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Everyone shares the same biology, but that doesn't mean we all enjoy the same access to unprejudiced medical training, health care or advice. Today, we speak with Dr. Damon Tweedy about being a Black Man in a White Coat in a country where being African-American can be bad for your health. Then, we get a quick recap of results from Tuesday's election in Kansas City, Missouri.

frankieleon / Flickr - CC

Just because court filings suggest illegal opioid use is down in Kansas' wealthiest county doesn't mean its residents are unaffected by rising usage nationwide. Today, we'll find out what opiate use looks like in Johnson County. Then, we learn what exactly makes sports fandom such a big deal in Kansas City, whether it's for the Chiefs, the Royals or Sporting KC.

Harris & Ewing / U.S. Library of Congress

People generally get their history lessons from a book or movie, not from a vending machine. Today, we learn about a novel way to put historical photos of Kansas City into the hands of City Market Park visitors.

From Oxford-educated surgeon to body-builder to Cerner executive, Daphne Bascom joins us to talk about the journey that now brings her to community health at the YMCA.

Plus, Dodge City, Kansas-native Robert Rebein just published a new memoir on his home state.

Guests:

Fantasy Records / Heinrich Klaffs / Creative Commons

Songs like Proud Mary and Midnight Train to Georgia are well-known and much-loved, but the versions that got radio play went through multiple iterations on the part of numerous song writers, musicians, and producers, whose names you may not find in the liner notes. Today, we hear the evolution stories of iconic American pop, rock, and R&B anthems with music writer and critic Marc Myers.  Then sports reporter Greg Echlin updates us on Missouri and Kansas Olympians.

The similarities between Native American and Middle Eastern cultures, as told by poets in a new anthology that was published here. Then, two of the musicians from the local band Making Movies; their new album, I Am Another You, just made it onto the Billboard and Billboard Latin Charts.

Guests:

Ryan Bavetta / Flickr - CC

It's easy to claim that Mexican immigrants, workers or political policies are what ails the American economy, but the problem is more complex than that. Today, we learn why simple solutions won't solve complicated issues between the United States and its southern neighbor. Then, we meet a journalist and author who toured small towns throughout the Midwest, and was pleasantly surprised by the resilience and hope she found in them.

Marleah Campbell / KCUR 89.3

Former relief pitcher Jeff Montgomery saved more games for the Royals than any other player to step on the mound. Today, we talk with the slinger-turned-broadcaster about his experiences with the boys in blue.

Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

After the Civil War, violence and crime continued in the Missouri Ozarks, highlighted by gun fights, murders and lynchings. Today, we learn about that region's "Wild West" years and the vigilantes who prowled the territory. Then, Ryan O'Callaghan grappled for years with suicidal thoughts and hiding his homosexuality.

A photographer discusses her new book about homelessness in Johnson County, and a comics artist shares his thoughts on the trials and tribulations of the creative process.

Plus: an encore presentation our award-winning piece about a man who learns how to hear again after years of deafness.

Guests:

Phil Roeder / Flickr - CC

Drawing voting districts to favor one party or another, a process known as gerrymandering, is widely considered a key factor behind the country's intensely partisan climate. Today, we discuss the practice of "packing and cracking" in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's announcement this week to take up the issue.

Paul Sableman / Flickr - CC

Violent crime rates in Kansas City are on the rise, yet again. Today, we hear the first installment of KCUR's "The Argument," a reporting series that looks beyond the worrying statistics, and into the arguments that escalate to homicide. Then, we discuss how an 1878 eclipse, similar to the one that will cross the country on August 21, catalyzed scientific thought in America.

tylerhoff / Flickr - CC

How do you know if your child's day care facility is licensed, and why should you care if it is or not? Today we discuss child care regulation, and why it's so hard to find a trustworthy place that's affordable. Then, sit in the passenger seat as we talk with a "bedbugging" trucker who's got a tale or two to tell about Life on the Road. From a blindfolded trip to a warrior burial ceremony, to what piece of furniture says the most about you in a move — you'll want to hear this.

Courtesy Tom Shawver

Some people contend that James Joyce's Ulysses is the best novel of the 20th century. I'm not jumping into that debate. But as the annual worldwide literary holiday known as Bloomsday celebrating Ulysses rolls around again, I've made one more attempt to understand the book.

Not by reading it, but by speaking to some local experts.

Danie Alexander / KCUR 89.3

Summer break is here, and for students that means sunshine, fresh air and months away from school. For youths looking to keep the heat from melting their minds, there's nothing like a good book. Today, our panel of librarians have reading recommendations that are sure to divert young eyes from the television, and keep young brains active and engaged.

For preschool through 2nd grade

Quixotic Cirque Nouveau

For centuries, research about women has been flawed. Today, we learn how gender and cultural bias has affected scientific study.  Author and journalist Angela Saine says new research refutes the long-held view that women are inferior. Also, we explore the creative process behind the Kansas City performance art group Quixotic.

Marleah Campbell / KCUR 89.3

Television has rapidly evolved since its humble, black-and-white beginnings. Today, we discuss how  TV has forever changed the American culture. Then, actress and activist Morgan Fairchild joins us to discuss her advocacy work and insights on current events and politics.

New America / Flickr - CC

Today, Kansas's newest poet laureate discusses how to find extraordinary meaning in the seemingly ordinary events of our lives. Then, we speak with political journalist and long-time confidant to Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, whose new writing delves into the complex life of one of America's great presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri General Assembly’s first special session during Eric Greitens' governorship has come and gone, but the state's chief executive has signaled that more legislative overtime could be on the way. Today, we discuss that might mean for Missouri's part-time lawmakers.

Joan Marcus

In America, the split between conservatives and liberals can be dramatic. Today, we find out how the concept of American exceptionalism can divide and separate us from ourselves and our Western counterparts. Then,  Actors' Equity president Kate Shindle makes the economic argument to keep funding of the National Endowment for the Arts in the federal budget. She also talks about her role and the issues explored in the groundbreaking musical Fun Home.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Monday's bombing in Manchester, England, shows the global war on terrorism has been unsuccessful thus far in stopping extremist violence. Today, former Department of State advisor Steven Koltai suggests a new approach to stopping the bloodshed: encouraging entrepreneurship.

The University of Edinburgh

Nearly all your Web activity — from Google searches to your Amazon shopping cart — is saved, stored, and used to individualize the internet to you, or at least what an algorithm thinks is you. Today, we find out how your online footprint creates a digital profile, and where that profile goes wrong. Then, we consider whether the paradigm through which prospective reformers view problems in the education system needs to be changed.

The New York Times calls him "one of the most acclaimed travel writers of his time." In this encore presentation, a chat with William Least Heat-Moon about his Kansas City roots, his new novel and how he got his name.

Guest:

  • William Least Heat-Moon

Lynsey Addario

Your job might be challenging, but Lynsey Addario's is literally a battlefield. She's been injured, ambushed, and kidnapped while working as a photojournalist in war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Today, we learn why the results motivate her to continue crafting stories out of conflict. Then, the life of a major league ace isn't all about 100 mile-per-hour fastballs ... or is it? We talk about the evolution of pitching with writer Terry McDermott.

Richard Nixon Presidential Library

Before President Donald Trump's thin-skinned, media-obsessed administration over a country deeply divided, there was Richard M. Nixon. Historian John A. Farrell's new biography includes astonishing revelations about the 37th president that have some drawing political parallels to the current chief executive.

Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoman Collection / Doubleday

Even suave people blunder a bit here and there, but research suggests those weird traits have some advantages. Today, we look at the science behind social awkwardness. Then, we learn how vast new oil wealth among Oklahoma's Osage tribe engendered a heart-rending greed that led to a series of murders in the 1920s, and helped the fledgling FBI make a name for itself.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

For many people, it is a career change, a promotion, or maybe an industry award that propels their professional life to the next level.

For Tom Toro, it was the first time he sold a cartoon to The New Yorker.

"It happened in a very modern way," says Toro. "My life changed via email."

It seems like a somewhat underwhelming email. The subject line, Toro says, read simply, 'Okay.'

Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr - CC

As V-E Day approaches, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Rick Atkinson discusses the lasting impact and significance of World War II. Then, many consumers remain wary of check-cashing and payday-lending businesses. We speak with a professor of city planning who worked as a check casher in New York City to research the industry and find out why low- and middle-income Americans are using them in increasing numbers.

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