Books

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.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Renowned historian David McCullough has produced many books and speeches that touch on the country's stories and accomplishments. In a new collection, he samples those words to remind readers of The American Spirit. Then, Kansas City cartoonist Tom Toro shares his approach to successfully churning out editorial satire.

LitFestKC

Today, Jon Scieszka and Javaka Steptoe, heavy-hitters on the kid's lit scene, talk about promoting literacy and how the environment for fostering it has changed since they were little. They also reveal the creative processes behind some of their best-known works.

Advocate Jamie Manzer, right, shows reporter Mike Tobias a bag of essential items that a nonprofit gives trafficking victims.
David Koehn / NET News

The suburbs and shopping malls don't excite modern urban planners, but they were innovations in their own time. Today, we learn about urban designs that shape our cities. Then: Contrary to popular belief, sex trafficking is not just an urban phenomenon.

Courtesy Unbound Book Festival

On a recent Wednesday morning at his home Columbia, Missouri, Alex George was ignoring his day job. He’s an attorney and author whose second novel, Setting Free the Kites, was released in February. But on this day he was working on neither writing nor lawyering.

Candice Millard

Apr 14, 2017
Paul Andrews / http://paulandrewsphotography.com/

She's a bestselling author who has written books about James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. We talk with Candice Millard about how she found her niche of writing about the lesser-known incidents in a historical figure's life, and how her work and her life have intersected.

Guest:

Blake Stoppel

Kansas City’s BkMk Press has a new collection of poetry by Native American writers about the Middle East.

The book's title — The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East — was inspired by advice given to BkMk managing editor Ben Furnish by a teacher years ago.

End-of-the-world scenarios have always been a popular fiction trope. Now, there's one scenario that doesn't seem so fictional, at least not anymore: climate change. Our Bibliofiles join us to talk about climate-fiction, or "cli-fi," and recommend their favorites in the genre.

Guests:

Joyce N. Boghosian / National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution / Flickr - CC

Scott Simon, journalist and longtime host of Weekend Edition Saturday, is known for his calm, civilized demeanor, but that attitude quickly changes when it comes to the Chicago Cubs. We speak with NPR's Saturday morning voice about his ties to the baseball team and how their thrilling 2016 World Series win drove him to write a book about his beloved Cubbies.

Kashif Pathan / Flickr - CC

If President Donald Trump's budget blueprint were to become law, the agency that administers federal museum and library programs would cease to exist.

In the 2016 fiscal year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) had a budget of $230 million. Nearly 80 percent of that money went to fund library services throughout the country, according to their website.

Jim Mathis / Johnson County Library

Kansas City, Missouri, voters approved a series of general obligation bonds aimed at improving infrastructure throughout the metro, and totaling more than $800 million. Today, Councilman Quinton Lucas tells us how he expects the investments to affect local communities. Then, public libraries may be facing cuts at both federal and state levels. We speak with local library directors to find out how they are faring in an era of "skinny budgets."

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