Every country dweller out there knows that gossip is as much a part of rural living as rocking chairs on the porch. It's all too easy for neighbors to stick their noses in one another's business, and any outsiders to the area are likely to become instant fodder for rumors. It is this countrified experience that inspired award-winning author Sara Paretsky
to write Bleeding Kansas
. Growing up in the Kaw River Valley, just outside Lawrence, Paretsky not only knew the country gossip mill but also had a front-row seat to long-standing religious and political feuds among three multigenerational farm families. Long after Paretsky grew up and moved away, her parents sold their farmhouse to a young Wiccan lesbian couple who sought solace in the country. Instead, as gossip spread of their pagan lifestyle, increased turmoil and resentment grew among the area's feuding families, and harassment ensued all around. Tonight at 6:30, Paretsky is in town to talk about Bleeding Kansas
, her life and her work. She'll answer audience questions in the Helzberg Auditorium at the Kansas City, Missouri, Central Library (14 West 10th Street, 816-701-3407.) For more information or to make reservations, call 816-701-3407.
Wed., Jan. 9, 6:30 p.m., 2008