Books

C.J. Janovy

Kansas City author Christine Taylor-Butler is an advocate for more diversity in children’s and young adult literature. She has written more than 70 books, most of them for Scholastic, the massive publisher of books and educational materials for kids. Taylor-Butler spoke with me about her newest book,  The Lost Tribes, and how she quit her management job to be a full-time writer.

Little, Brown and Company

If we learned anything from the David and Goliath legend, it's that underdogs can win, right? On this edition of Up To Date, journalist, author and critical thinker Malcolm Gladwell speaks with Steve Kraske about the traditional understandings of the weak and the powerful. Plus, the advantages of thinking outside the box. 

University of California Press

KU professors wrote a lot of books about arts and culture last year.

They wrote about painters Georgia O'Keeffe and Albert Bloch, about composer Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked), film legends Douglas Fairbanks and Peter Weir. They wrote books of short stories and poetry. They wrote about heavier topics such as aging among minorities, transgender rights, African literature and environmental justice. One wrote a historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet foreign policy.

In all, faculty in the arts, humanities and social sciences wrote 32 books in 2014. On Tuesday afternoon, the Hall Center for the Humanities recognized them at its Annual Celebration of Books.

“We are a research university,” Hall Center Director Victor Bailey emphasized.

Bailey said he wished all of the faculty members whose books were for sale at the back of the room could speak, but instead he introduced three who would give short presentations, as if proxies for their research peers.

In May 1915, a German U-boat sunk one of the world's greatest ocean liners, the Lusitania. Erik Larson's new book, Dead Wake: the Last Crossing of the Lusitania, maps the tale known to many as the event that launched America into the Great War. On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Erik Larson about his research process, the captains behind the ships involved, and the mystery of Room 40.

Guest:

From Narnia to The Hunger Games, young adult literature has an age-old obsession with right versus wrong. But moral conundrums on teens' bookshelves are more complex than ever. What does the changing moral landscape say about growing up today? 

Guests: 

  • Melissa Lenos, associate professor of English, Donnelly College
  • Naphtali Faris, early literacy manager, The Kansas City Public Library

For good or bad, we have all told lies and been lied to. On this edition of Up to Date, we talk with philosopher and author Clancy Martin about the impact of lies on love and how deceiving those we love can help preserve our most intimate relationships. 

Guest:

  • Clancy Martin is a professor of philosophy at UMKC and the author of Love and Lies: An Essay on Truthfulness, Deceit, and the Growth and Care of Erotic Love.
Cody Newill / KCUR

Los Angeles based performance and visual artist Tim Youd has taken up residence in Kansas City for the next three weeks to re-type two novels set in the city.

Youd is re-typing Evan Connell's novels "Mrs. Bridge" and "Mr. Bridge," two books that depict Kansas City's upper-middle class in the 1920s and 30s. The performance is part of a larger project where Youd visits a city and reproduces a book written or set there on just two pages of paper. 

Gayle Levy / courtesy of the author

In 2006, Whitney Terrell experienced the conflict in Iraq first-hand as an embedded reporter — and wrote about it for NPR, Slate, and The Washington Post. 

University of Missouri Press

  Any prominent public figure has private citizens supporting him or her without much recognition. The name Grenville Clark may not roll off your tongue, but the people he supported-- including both presidential Roosevelts-- changed the history of the United States.  

Guest:

  • Nancy Peterson Hill, author of A Very Private Public Citizen: The Life of Grenville Clark

  When it comes to personal technology in America, Google and Apple are locked in a battle of the titans for supremacy. We take a look at that fierce competition, and the risks each is willing to take, in their quest to be on top.

Guest:

  • Fred Vogelstein, author of Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution

HEAR MORE: Fred Vogelstein speaks at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Central branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

After spending his childhood in abject poverty, Dr. William Reed eventually climbed his way to director of Cardiac Surgery at KU Medical Center. In his new book, The Pulse of Hope: A Surgeon's Memoirs from Poverty to Prosperity, Reed reflects on his long journey.

HEAR MORE: Dr. Reed will speak Tuesday Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza. For information on the event, click here.

"Problems are the gasoline that runs the self-help car." So says David Wayne Reed, who wrote the play Help Yourself. On the heels of a discussion of this darkly humorous new play, a librarian and a psychologist discuss the self-help genre, its history and the human condition that fuels it. Is change possible? And when might acceptance be just as important?

Guests:

Patrick Quick / KCUR

It’s cold outside, so now is the perfect time to curl up with a good book.

Central Standard took the opportunity to seek out some of the best books about Kansas City history. After all, even if you can't get outside to explore the city, you can still do it from the comfort of your home.

Local historian Monroe Dodd and Missouri Valley Special Collections manager Eli Paul gave us their recommendations of the best books for local history lovers, focusing on those that are a really good read.

Books have the remarkable ability to enthrall, captivate and inspire. When kids are trapped indoors during the cold winter months books  can transport them into new and fascinating worlds.

On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske and three Johnson County librarians review their top picks in children's literature. 

The Best Children's Books of 2014:

From Kate McNair, young adult librarian at the Johnson County Library: 

Gay marriage advocates have been gaining key victories all over the country. These successes are part of a larger strategy that's been in the works for years.

On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with the author of a new book about why winning at the state level is a key part of the plan to change laws nationwide. We also check out what's next in the campaign for marriage equality.

Guest:

Gerald Ford bumped Nelson Rockefeller off the 1976 presidential ticket. Two years later, the colorful four-term governor of New York managed to create scandalous headlines with the circumstances of his death.

On this broadcast of Up to Date, Steve Kraske and historian Richard Norton Smithe delve into the life and times of the former vice-president. They discuss his rise to political prominence and his rocky, but unapologetic, personal life.

Guest:

Courtesy

What do you do when your sleep schedule is routinely disrupted by the demands of parenthood?

If you're Refe and Susan Tuma, you respond with the spark of creative genius that only delirium can inspire. You get some plastic dinosaurs, put them in the sink, put toothbrushes in their hands, smear toothpaste all over the place, and then?

You go to bed. 

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

For five months, from December 2012 to May 2013, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield served as the commander of the International Space Station.

Hadfield conducted a record-setting number of scientific experiments. He also gained a reputation as the "most social media savvy astronaut" by sharing his daily life, posting photos on Tumblr and Twitter and videos on YouTube. 

Kate Hiscock / Flickr, Creative Commons

With eaters taking an interest in food extending beyond recipes, food writing is gaining a voracious audience. Food can be a character, or a source of potent metaphor. It can also tell us something important about ourselves and our society. Kansas City experts offer insights and recommendations.

Guests and their recommendations:

Cat Neville, founder, Feast Magazine

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

The book business is alive and well at Prospero's Books in Kansas City, Mo. The store gained notoriety a few years ago when co-owners Tom Wayne and Will Leathem burned a funeral pyre of books out of frustration at the state of the business.

On Friday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske stopped by the store to discuss its history, good reads and more.

Guests: 

  • Tom Wayne, co-owner of Prospero's Books
  • Will Leathem, co-owner of Prospero's Books

Behind the front lines of the Civil War, a world of spies lurked, full of cloak, dagger and... petticoats?

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about the true stories of four women who became spies-- some for the North and some for the South.

Guest:

  • Karen Abbott, author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War
Shane Evans

 “Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

Artist Shane Evans first came to Kansas City from New York City in 1993, when he got a job working for Hallmark Cards as an illustrator. He worked at Hallmark for seven years before deciding to leave the company to become an independent artist. Evans travels and works all around the world, but continues to keep Kansas City as his home base.

Michael McDonald/MKD Photography Ltd

Belfast bard Gearóid Mac Lochlainn is back in Kansas City, Mo., this weekend to perform at the Irish Fest. Known for his bilingual work with poetry and music, his most recent book and CD is called Criss-Cross Mo Chara

In 2008, after then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, honored him for his contribution to Irish arts, he talked with New Letters on the Air host, Angela Elam, about his first book and CD called Stream of Tongues.

Writer Lois Lowry On 'The Giver'

Aug 25, 2014
courtesy: NEH

Acclaimed Newbery Award-winning children's author Lois Lowry's book for young people, The Giver, is now a film. 

"The Giver was the first book that I wrote that veered out of the realistic, and tiptoed a bit into fantasy. Some people call it science fiction. I don't like to think of it that way," Lowry tells our New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.

  Tanks and ammo certainly played a big part in winning World War II, but the Pacific theater had another large asset—elephants.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about the man who led these animals against the Axis powers and the bond he developed with these surprisingly gentle giants.

Guest:

Vicki Constantine Croke, author of Elephant Company

When you think about presidents and pop culture, you might picture Obama’s Twitter account, but you might not realize that other ventures with mass-appeal have been affecting the White House for a few centuries.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we’ll talk about the influence everything from theater to books to the internet have had on the presidency since Thomas Jefferson was in charge.

HEAR MORE: Tevi Troy speaks at 6:30 p.m. July 24 at the Plaza branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

Imagine watching a group of men mutilate the body of your mother.  This is what poet Edgar Allan Poe experienced as a hallucination brought on by alcohol-induced delirium tremens, DT’s.  On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with historian Matthew Osborn to discover how this condition, first described in 1813, was the catalyst for changing how the medical profession diagnosed and treated the problems of alcohol abuse.

Guest:

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