State celebrates Kansas authors on notable book list

Mary Newkirk: At the Library

By A Contributor

Every year a handful of Kansas book lovers have the difficult job of choosing their favorite books written by Kansans or about Kansas. This group of representatives from the Kansas Center for the Book,  choose a list of the best books published the previous year by Kansas authors or about our state and then forward this list to the state librarian for the final selections.

They must consider many titles including fiction, nonfiction, adult and young adult books. In early July, the 2012 list was announced. Yesterday, the winning authors were awarded medals at the Kansas Book Festival in Topeka. The following titles were chosen as the winners of the seventh Kansas Notable Book list.

The “8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook” is a 272-page book filled with over 800 beautiful photos of the 216 entries in the eight wonders of Kansas contests. Author Marci Penner has created another useful tour guide to help us enjoy our state’s highlights.

“The Afterlives of Trees,”
a collection of poems by Wyatt Townley, uses trees as a motif to explore the theme of transformation.

“Amelia Lost: The Life and Dissappearance of Amelia Earheart” by Candace Fleming is the thrilling story of America’s most celebrated female flyer, Amelia Earhart, who was born in Atchison.  It is told alternating between Amelia’s life from childhood up until her last flight and the exhaustive search for her and her missing plane. Level: middle graders.

In “Bent Road: A Novel” by Lori Roy, Arthur Scott tries to escape the race riots of 1967 Detroit by returning with his family to the tiny Kansas town he left 25 years ago after the violent death of his sister.

For a man forced into the presidency, the legacy of James Garfield extended far beyond his lifetime, “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President” by Candice Millard, revisits his meteoric rise within the military and government with meticulous research and intimate focus.

Dr. John Henry Holliday, an ailing Southern gentleman, arrives in Dodge City with a prostitute who helps him find high-stakes poker games that will support them both in high style. The unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and a fearless lawman named Wyatt Earp begins here in “Doc: A Novel” by Mary Doria Russell.

Roderick Townley spins a magical tale of lies and truths, of secrets kept and secrets revealed in this adventure story for youth or the adventurous at heart in “The Door in the Forest.”

One of Kirkus Blog’s Favorite YA Novels of 2011, “Liar’s Moon” by Elizabeth C. Bunce is a sequel to StarCrossed.  These are high-fantasy, forbidden magic with castles, prisons, poisons and passion.

At 39, settled in San Francisco, a midlife crisis shakes Tracy Seeley to her roots —she tells the story of a search for Kansas roots in “My Ruby Slippers: The Road BAck to Kansas,” the tale of a woman with an impassioned if vague sense of mission: to find the meaning of home.

“The Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History and Memory” by James N. Leiker and Ramon Powers focuses on the event in 1878, when the Cheyenne attempted to flee from Indian Territory back to their Montana homeland. This important event in American Indian history is equally important in the history of towns like Oberlin, Kan., where Cheyenne warriors killed more than 40 settlers and in turn suffered great losses through violent encounters with the U.S. Army.

Legendary film makers and adventurers Osa and Martin Johnson, via film, brought the jungles of Africa and the South Pacific to millions of Americans from the 1910s to 1940s. Kelly Enright brings this amazing couple fully to life, chronicling their journey from a honeymoon among cannibals to safari camps in lion country in “Osa and Martin: For the Love of Adventure.”

Prairie Fire: A Great Plains History by Julie Courtwright

This traces the history of both natural and intentional fires from Native American practices to the current use of controlled burns as an effective land management tool, along the way sharing the personal accounts of people whose lives have been touched by fire.

“Rode”  by Thomas Fox Averill is the imagined story behind Jimmy Driftwood’s ballad “Tennessee Stud”, a story of the legendary exploits of the greatest horse that ever lived and his owner.

In “Send Me Work”, a collection of short stories, Katherine Karlin offers rare insight into the place of work in the lives of women.

Tapped Out: Rear Naked Chokes, the Octagon, and the Last Emperor: An Odyssey in Mixed Martial Arts by Matthew Polly

At 36, author Matthew Polly decides to immerse himself in Mixed Martial Arts training and competition in order to write a book about it.

This is the only honor for Kansas books by Kansans, highlighting our lively contemporary writing community and encouraging readers to enjoy some of the best writing of the authors among us.

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