Nonfiction, Right Here

lego LEGO, Ancient Languages and Taekwon-do

Are you an adult? Are you a fan? A fan of, you know, anything that would warrant the explanation of “adult” before it? Perhaps you are  an adult fan of playdough, or of Sesame Street. Generally this suggests that this activity is something that should have been given up before one becomes adult. Jonathan Bender disagrees and so do I. In his memoir, LEGO: A Love Story, Bender explores the world of AFOL’s, Adult Fans Of LEGO and discusses the joys of fandom and their place in art and culture. For adults with both conventional and unconventional hobbies or obsessions, LEGO: A Love Story combines the loves of craft and family, the complex relationships with a plastic brick and the starting of a new family.Do LEGO’s not quite connect with you? Almost 30 other nonfiction writers will also be in attendance at Great Writers, Right Here on December 6, from 1-5 pm, when over 60 authors from the region will pack our library auditorium to answer questions and offer books for holiday purchase. Meet a few for the adults and not-so adults in your life below.

Cheryl Unruhcheryl unruh

Cheryl Unruh loves the wide open landscape of Kansas – and the skies. Especially the skies. She grew up with those endless skies in Central Kansas, was raised in the small town of Pawnee Rock, along the Santa Fe Trail. Unruh wrote the “Flyover People” column for The Emporia Gazette for 11 years, covering the Kansas experience: weather, seasons, nostalgia, touring small towns, and growing up in one. She writes fondly about her native state. Her books are collections of those columns. In 2011, she won the Kansas Notable Book Award for her first book, Flyover People: Life on the Ground in a Rectangular State. Her second book, Waiting on the Sky, was released in June 2014.


 Ken Ohm ken ohm

Retired after 50 years as a college professor. Two of his books, “Spatzies and Brass BBs,” and “Ducks across the Moon,” were selected as two of the “150 Best Books of Kansas,” as part of the Kansas 150 year celebration (1861-2011). Since then, he co-authored a novel ,”Hidden Gold: Lost Treasure of the Flint Hills.” Then, in late October, 2014 released a third book following the theme of “Spatzies” and “Ducks” of his growing up in the Flint Hills during the Depression and World War II. This title is “Spirit of the Flint HIlls.” Dr. Ohm earned his BS and MS in Mathematics and Physics at Emporia State University and his doctorate in Physics at the University of Wyoming.


Roy Birdroy bird

Roy Bird has been a writer since publishing his first article in college. He published his 18th book, IN GOD WE TRUSTED: PIONEER STORIES FROM KANSAS, in 2014. His books include scholarly and popular history, photo books, and children’s books. He has also been a professional librarian and taught composition at Washburn University and as an adjunct at three other colleges. In addition to writing, he teaches for KU’s Osher Institute and is on the Kansas Humanities Council Speakers Bureau.


 Deb Goodrich Bisel Deb Goodrich Bisel

Deb is the resident historian at Historic Topeka Cemetery and is co-host of the weekly TV show Around Kansas. Her co-host, Frank Chaffin, is a long-time radio personality and is a partner in the internet reincarnation of WREN. He counts among his friends Randy Sparks, of the New Christy Minstrels, who wrote and performed the theme song for Around Kansas. Deb has appeared in numerous documentaries including the recently released Road to Valhalla and the Gunslingers on the American Heroes Channel. Despite its sparse population, Kansas is well represented in the annals of music history. Join Deb Bisel in celebrating this lyrical legacy, from “Home on the Range” to “Dust in the Wind” and beyond.


Loretta Rossloretta ross

Loretta F. Ross stalks holiness. Her poetry, dramas, and essays are widely published. In Letters from the Holy Ground – Seeing God Where You Are (Sheed & Ward), Loretta writes that “we are all platforms for the dancing God.” A chapter from her forthcoming book, What Is Deep as Love Is Deep – a Memoir of a Praying Life, will be published in the Iowa regional literary journal, The Wapsipinicon Almanac this month. She has published Holy Ground, a quarterly reflection on the contemplative life for over 25 years. A postmodern hermit mystic and caretaker of souls, Loretta lives with her black lab, Elijah. They believe in dancing before breakfast and getting the giggles every day.


 Harriet Lerner harriet lerner

Psychologist Harriet Lerner is the author of the New York Times bestseller, THE DANCE OF ANGER and many other books. She and her husband Steve raised their sons, Matt and Ben, in Topeka where she served as a staff psychologist at Menninger for several decades. Harriet currently lives and works in Lawrence. THE DANCE OF ANGER has sold over 3 million copies, and has helped men and women navigate the swamps and quicksands of difficult relationships.



Caryn Mirrian-Goldberg Caryn Mirrian Goldberg

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., Kansas Poet Laureate Emeritus, is the author of 16 books, including a novel, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community, and four poetry collections. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, particularly for people living with serious illness and their caregivers. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-leads writing and singing retreats.


 Brian Allen brian allen

Brian Allen grew up in an American enclave on the banks of the famous Panama Canal. It was a socialist paradise of mangoes and maids surrounded by a military dictatorship. Written in an adult Tom Sawyer voice, this funny and poignant coming of age story, My Paradise Lost, will make you laugh and cry. A chapter author for the community novel, Superimposed. Author of My Paradise Lost, Misadventures to manhood in the Panama Canal Zone. Author of more than 24 magazine articles. Published in Washburn University’s literary journal, Inscape, and the Little Balkan Review.


Tad Pritchett Tad pritchett

A Kansas author and historian specializing in WWII, Mr. Pritchett served in Vietnam with the Third Marine Division in 1968-69. He has visited many WWI and WWII Asian/European battlefields with veterans and local historians. He has written numerous articles and reviews, producing library and museum presentations at the Topeka Library, the Combat Air Museum in Topeka, The Shepard’s Center, Veterans organizations and local high schools. He recently returned from a two week study of WWI battle sites in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, visiting battlefields, museums and military cemeteries. Tad is on the Board of Directors for the Combat Air Museum and Kansas Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.


Great Writers, Right Here–More Non-fiction writers!

  1.  Ken Ohm–Spatzies and Brass BBs  and Spirit of the Flint Hills (Two titles selected for the 150 best of Kansas)
  2.  Cathy Callen– Running out of Footprints
  3.  Roy Bird– In God We Trusted: Pioneer Stories from Kansas contains 25 previously published articles in five different categories. It is a large print, easy-to-read paperback original that shares little known tales from Kansas.  (Many, many nonfiction selections in our library, but not this one).
  4.  Cheryl Unruh– Waiting on the Sky: More Flyover People Essays and Flyover People: Life on the Ground in a Rectangular State (We don’t have these, and I’m not sure why!  Very cool collections. Might be worth digging up some info on.)
  5.  Jonathan Bender—Lego: A Love Story
  6.  Kevin Wilson— Woman Talk! The Encrypted Language Women Never Wanted Men To Know and Change One Thing: Take Your First Steps Towards Massive Success
  7.  Loretta Ross– Letters from the Holy Ground : Seeing God Where You Are
  8.  Deb Goodrich Bisel– Kansas Music: Stories of a Rich Tradition (Don’t have this book yet, but some of her other work)
  9.  Julie Unruh– Vegetable Garden
  10.  Jeff Guernsey– The Cozy Inn, My Fight With Cancer, History of Korea And Taekwon-do
  11.  Sharon Highberger– Dancing with Depression
  12.  Oliver Hall– Dr.King Memorial book and Ancient Languages
  13.  Ronald Lizar– Zero to Zero and End Poverty by Getting Smarter
  15.  Thea Rademacher– A Drop in the Night, The Life and Secret Mission of a World War II Hero
  16.  Eleanor Liu– THE RED THREAD = a memoir
  17.  Duane L. Herrmann– It’s About Living
  18.  Brian Allen—My Paradise Lost
  19.  Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg–Chasing Weather: Tornadoes, Tempests, and Thunderous Skies in Word and Image, Poem on the Range: A Poet Laureate’s Love Song to Kansas, Transformative Language Arts in Action
  20.  Mary Christine Adams and Teresa Ann Thomas–Spires for All Time: the Art and History of St. Joseph German Catholic Church
  21.  Gladys Hargis–You Live Forever
  22.  Nicole Muchmore, editor–Echoes from the Prairie, Voices of the Great Plains
  23.  Carol Luttjohann–She’s Not An Old Lady With Dementia She’s My Mother, Did You Know My Grandma?
  24.  Tad Pritchett–From Farm to Field
  25.  Melvin Bruntzel–Quick Reference to Kansas: Lost-Found-Missing, Towns and Places with Selected Trivia and Truths
  26.  Mark Scheel—Of Youth and the River
  27.  Jennifer Lynn– Deadly Secret: Purging Inner Demons

Meet these great writers and more at Great Writers, Right Here–December 6, from 1-5pm, at your library!