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Bibliofiles: The Best Essays And Think Pieces

Do you devour 'think pieces' online? Or perhaps you read essays the old-fashioned way: in books. Either way, you're participating in the timeless art of making sense of the world through words. Today, the Bibliofiles discuss the latest trends of long-form literary journalism and recommend their favorite works in the genre.

Jeffrey Ann Goudie, freelance journalist and book critic:

  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  • We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • "Street Haunting" by Virginia Woolf
  • Sharp: The Women Who Made An Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean

Mark Luce, teacher, The Barstow School

  • "Consider the Lobster" and "Federer as Religious Experience" by David Foster Wallace
  • "Torch Song" by Charles Bowden
  • "The Pain Scale" by Eula Biss
  • "The White Album, Why I Write" by Joan Didion
  • "Notes of a Native Son" by James Baldwin 
  • "One Hundred Thousand Straightened Nails" by Donald Hall
  • "Total Eclipse" by Annie Dillard
  • "The Fourth State of Matter" by Jo Ann Beard

Kaite Stover, Director of Readers' Services, Kansas City Public Library 

  • Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America
  • The Best American Essays 2017
  • The Best American Sports Writing 2017
  • Dear Fahrenheit 451: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence
  • Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver
  • "The Really Big One" by Kathryn Schulz
  • "Los Angeles Notebook" by Joan Didion
  • "Awake in the Dark" by Roger Ebert
  • "Holidays on Ice" by David Sedaris
  • "How to Write A Rotten Poem With Almost No Effort" by Richard Howey
  • "How it Was in America a Week Ago Tuesday" by Kathryn Schulz
  • "We Do Abortions Here" by Sally Tisdale

KCUR staff recommendations:

Gina Kaufmann

  • On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

CJ Janovy

  • "Poor Teeth" by Sarah Smarsh
  • "Rock She Wrote: Women Write about Rock, Pop and Rap" 
  • "When Women Became Men at Wellesley" by Ruth Padawer
  • "Saying Goodbye to the First good Ol' Boy of American Pop" by David Cantwell

Sam Zeff

  • "Investigators Are Scrutinizing Newly Uncovered Payments By The Russian Embassy" an article on BuzzFeed

Dan Margolies

  • Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives by Jesse Eisenger

Peggy Lowe

  • The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright

Erica Hunzinger

  • "A Kingdom From Dust" by Mark Arax
  • "Notes to Self: Lincoln's Private Thoughts on Fate, Failure, Slavery and Belief" by Ronald C. White
  • "When Winter Never Ends" by Wright Thompson

Frank Morris

  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Listener recommendations: 
Lindsay from Prairie Village

  • "Federer as Religious Experience" by David Foster Wallace

Chris from Prairie Village

  • "A Sense of Where You Are" and Oranges by John McPhee

Judy from Lawrence

  • "When Twenty-Six Thousand Stinkbugs Invade Your Home" by Kathryn Schulz

Robert from Lawrence

  • "I Wants to go to Prose" by Suzanne B. Jordan
People don't make cameos in news stories; the human story is the story, with characters affected by news events, not defined by them. As a columnist and podcaster, I want to acknowledge what it feels like to live through this time in Kansas City, one vantage point at a time. Together, these weekly vignettes form a collage of daily life in Kansas City as it changes in some ways, and stubbornly resists change in others. You can follow me on Twitter @GinaKCUR or email me at gina@kcur.org.