Readers were once considered loners of the nonrebel variety. But somewhere along the way, reading became much more cool, as did glasses -- both developments occurring too late to help us through middle school. Take, for example, BookCrossing.com, which Kansas City's Ron Hornbaker started in 2001. People use it to register books they can no longer fit on their shelves, securing ID numbers and releasing marked tomes in coffee shops or bus stops with notes directing lucky finders to the site. If the book "catcher" follows the note's instructions, releaser and catcher can begin an online chat. Local BookCrosser Celeste Lindell has gotten the best responses from books released in a chiropractor's waiting room. Neither Lindell nor Hornbaker has had the fortune of making finds in the wild, though both eye unattended books with hope.
For information on Tuesday's meetup, see bookcrossing.meetup.com. This month's agenda: "Let's try to find out which release locations (coffee shops, sandwich shops, etc.) are BookCrossing-friendly." And because Hornbaker's a local fellow, there's a chance he'll be there.-- Gina Kaufmann
Frank Sinatra sounds best when backed by Count Basie and his orchestra. If you don't believe us, you'll have to listen to the first album on which the two collaborated, 1962's Sinatra-Basie. But wait until after you've gone to My Way, a tribute to Sinatra that opens Friday, because -- with all due respect -- there's no way to top the versions of "Pennies From Heaven," "My Kind of Girl" or "(Looking at the World Through) Rose Colored Glasses" found on this recording. My Way has been known to inspire standing ovations, so we're willing to bet it's good. It's just that Sinatra and Basie are a hell of an act to follow. Since we can't hear them live, this may be the next best thing. For information, call the American Heartland Theatre (2450 Grand) at 816-842-9999.-- Kaufmann
A Lawrence artist opens a graphic diary.
Pink-skinned girls in bikinis chase a boy around a pool as a kimono-clad man in the foreground observes from behind a lawn mower. This is the biographical scene depicted in "Japanese Gardener," one of 24 paintings by Roger Shimomura on display at the Jan Weiner Studio (816-931-8755) through January 15. For his Stereotypes and Admonitions exhibit, Shimomura uses acrylic on canvas to illustrate scenes of racial insensitivity from his own experience as a Japanese-American. In "Not an Indian," Shimomura presents an episode of shopping gone wrong, illustrating himself with a combination of Japanese and Native American stereotypes: a samurai with kabuki face paint and a feathered headdress. The artist shares insights about his personal paintings in a free 7 p.m. lecture Friday in the Atkins Auditorium of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak. For details, call 816-561-4000.-- Michael Vennard