Archive for the ‘Library programs’ Category

Reading Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”

October 6, 2008

Reading Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” is a strange and unsettling experience in and of itself.  Reading some of the studies Kafka has inspired in also a wild and weird experience.

· Take a look at Kafka Goes to the Movies by Hans Zischler.  This film actor poured over Kafka’s diaries and letters to compile a list of the films that the author viewed in his lifetime.  Zischler tracked down the old prints of films from the beginning of the twentieth century, hunted for the movie theatres that Kafka frequented and turned the whole into a very odd book.

· If you like your Kafka graphic, the famous underground cartoonist/graphic novelist R. Crumb has illustrated the author’s life – R. Crumb’s Kafka with text by David Mairowitz

· For the militant Kafka lovers there is always Why you Should Read Kafka before You Waste your Life by James Hawes

· Kafka’s friend Max Brod wrote Franz Kafka, A Biography based on the author’s papers which he had been instructed to destroy upon Kafka’s death.  He obviously didn’t destroy them.

· Franz Kafka by Franz Baumer, part of the Unger Publishing Company’s monographs on modern literature, is a moody obscure explication of his works, more difficult by far than the author’s novels and short stories.

My advice, stick to the original.

by Andrea Kempf, Professor/Librarian, Billington Library 229 /Johnson County Community College


Book Group Leaders

August 28, 2008

Once again we have expanded program to fit the demand and have added two additional book group leaders:

Kaite Stover is Head of Reader’s Services for the Kansas City Public Library and also manages the circulation department at our Central Library. She is a respected reviewer for Booklist and is also a regular guest on the Walt Bodine show where she appears with her fellow “book doctors”.

Linda Rodriquez is past director of the UMKC Women’s Center and is the author of two forthcoming books, including a poetry collection Heart Migration. She has contributed to respected reference sources including Encyclopedia Judaica and Contemporary Jewish-American Poets and Dramatists.

Andrea Kempf

August 18, 2008

The books have been handed out and, this Thursday our first book discussion will take place. Demand has been overwhelming. So overwhelming, in fact, that we have brought in additional discussion leader and librarian Andrea Kempf from the Johnson County Community College to assist. Andrea is a Professor and Librarian at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. She earned a B.A. in Literature from Brandeis University, an M.A.T. in Literature from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.S.L.S. from Simmons College. She is an alumna of the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center, and a regular reviewer of fiction for Library Journal. Her specialty is international fiction.

All sessions are currently filled but if you are still interested in participating, please fill out the form to get put on our waiting list.

Kansas City Public Library to Host: Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature Reading and Discussion Series

July 7, 2008

The Kansas City Public Library will host the first of five monthly discussions in a series titled “Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature – Identity and Imagination” at the Waldo Branch, 201 E. 75th St., on Thursday, August 21.

Designed to explore Jewish literature and culture through scholar-led discussions of contemporary and classic books, the Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature program at the Kansas City Public Library will explore the theme of Demons, Golems, and Dybbuks: Monsters of the Jewish Imagination over the course of five sessions scheduled for the third Thursday of every month.

Each 60-90 minute session begins at 7 p.m. and will be led by Dr. Ben Furnish, author of Nostalgia in Jewish-American Theatre and Film, 1979-2004. Furnish is also managing editor of BkMk Press and a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. All sessions will be limited to 30 attendees. To register for one or more of these sessions call 816.701.3407 or you may RSVP online.

The Kansas City Public Library is one of 83 libraries across the country that received competitively-awarded grants to host the Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature program that was developed by Nextbook and the American Library Association (ALA). The majority of the funding will be used to provide program participants with free paperback copies of the five books that will be discussed in the series – Satan in Goray by Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Dybbuk and Other Writings by S. Ansky, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, The Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick, and Angels in America by Tony Kushner.

“We are delighted that the ALA has selected us to host this unique book discussion series,” noted Henry Fortunato, director of public affairs at the Kansas City Public Library and lead grant writer for the project. “These five sessions at the Waldo Branch led by Ben Furnish will further our mission of encouraging public dialogue by enabling community members to engage in deep discussion on major themes in Jewish literature.”

“Monster theory is a hot area of literary research now,” added Furnish. “Monster theorists say that these supernatural literary beings can reveal a great deal about evolving cultural identity and difference. Just as medieval England’s Beowulf gives us Grendel and a dragon, so modern Jewish literature gives readers unforgettable figures like Gregor Samsa and a dybbuk, which speak powerfully to audiences making sense of their lives amid the turbulent cultural changes of the 20th century and beyond.”

The first program in the five-part series, scheduled for Thursday, August 21, 2008, will explore Satan in Goray by Isaac Bashevis Singer. An epic story of desperation and religious fervor, this first novel by the Nobel Prize-winning Singer was originally published in Poland in 1935. A dark, chilling tale that clearly reflects the anxieties of its era, Satan in Goray concerns the survivors of a 1648 massacre in an isolated Polish village who become convinced that the Messiah will arrive at any moment. Their high hopes lead to disastrous results.

Registrants for this first program in the series will be able to pick up their free paperback copy of Satan in Goray after July 15, 2008, at the Waldo Branch, 201 E. 75th St.

The remaining dates and books in the Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature series at the Waldo Branch include: Thursday, September 18, 2008, The Dybbuk and Other Writings by S. Ansky; Thursday, October 16, 2008, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka; Thursday, November 20, 2008, The Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick; and Thursday, December 18, 2008, Angels in America by Tony Kushner.