Reading Inspired by Local Events: Lincoln, Wizard of Oz, and Sports Galore

The many fun events going on in Topeka this summer are helping me to fill up my summer reading list. By reading these books I’ll have extra fun at these events and I’ll be on my way to making my summerfest reading goals!

Film and Theaterlincoln

July 10th the Kansas Museum of History will show the second film in their Sundown Film Festival series–Lincolnthe 2013 film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day Lewis, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of our 16th president.  I’m definitely looking forward to watching this one and to reading Team of Rivals by Doris Goodwin–the book upon which the film is based.  Her biography is team of rivalscentered on Lincoln’s mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation’s history.  She shows how Lincoln was able to bring his disgruntled opponents together to create the most unusual cabinet in history and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union.
Of course, there are a plethora of other books about Lincoln in the Library’s collection to choose from–abraham lincolnsuch as the fictionalized biography Lincoln by Gore Vidal, the Caldecott winning children’s book Abraham Lincoln by Ingri d’Aulaire,  the bestselling Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly, and the imaginative Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.  Or hear from the man himself in one of these collections of his speeches and writings.

wizard of ozThe weekend of July 10th also brings us the opening of the popular musical The Wizard of Oz at the Topeka Civic Theatre.  I loved reading all of the Oz books as a child and I’ll gladly re-read this classic anytime–or watch the movie version with Judy Garland.
Baum’s creation of the land of Oz has inspired a lot of other authors — such as D.M. Paige whose Dorothy Must Die series (written for teens) creates a new heroine from Kansas–a teen named Amy-finding oz-and turns Dorothy and her companions into villains that Amy must defeat in order to restore order to Oz.  On an adult level there is the Wicked Years series by Gregory Maguire, which tells backstory of Elphaba, otherwise known as the Wicked Witch of the West.  It is  the basis for the Wicked musical but the book is quite different–and has more mature content–than the play.  For a more traditional take on the Oz story, there are the graphic novel adaptations by Eric Shanower.  I think I’m most interested in reading about the “man behind the curtain” , L. Frank Baum himself,  so I may try The Real Wizard of Oz by Rebecca Loncraine or Finding Oz by Evan Schwartz.

Sporting Eventssunflower state games

The Capital City will be fill of sporting events as the Sunflower Games makes its annual appearance.  The games kick off on July 10th and continue through July 26th as a variety of sports –from archery to wrestling–are played at venues around town.

Horseshoe players from around the world will descend upon Topeka for the World Horseshoe Tournament, world horseshoe tournamentJuly 13-25th.  The Kansas Expocentre will have 60 indoor clay courts for pitchers from all over the world to compete on. ESPN is planning to feature this event on their July 18th Sports Center on the Road program, which will air from 8-10 AM Central time on ESPN2.  Admission to the event is free.horseshoes

If your watching (or participating) in some of these events and you need a refresher on the rules the Library has you covered–from horseshoes to archery, table tennis, baseball, volleyball, bowling, track & field, cycling, running, darts, fishing, soccer, martial arts, jiu-jitsu, judo, pickleball, racquetball, tennis, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming and wrestling.  If you can’t find a specific book about your sport in ourpickleball sports neighborhood, try one of our books on general sports rules.  And may your team or player win!


Have fun reading and attending (or participating in) our local events!  If you’re planning ahead, the Fiesta Mexicana and West Fest: National Day of the Cowboy will be coming up next.

Some of my many roles at the Library include: Tax Form guru, Collectibles collection promoter, Inspirational fiction evangelist, Adult Literacy promoter, Book Group in a Bag cheerleader, So Many Books book discussion group leader, Reader's Advisor and many more.