The Raven's 35th Birthday Bash: A discussion with anthropologist Lucas Bessire and the Jayhawk Audubon Society

We're celebrating our birthday with a booked September events calendar!

September 2022 marks 35 years since the Raven first took flight as Lawrence’s corner bookshop specializing in mysteries. To make it all the more exciting, this August marks one year since we hauled all of our shelves over to our new Mass Street location, putting us in the heart of our beloved downtown. We want to commemorate these major milestones with the community we’ve been a part of for 35 years now. And since we believe in celebrating birth months rather than just birthdays, we’ve planned a whole month packed to the gills with fantastic and free literary events, like this one!

So be sure you swing by the store to join the party and treat your shelves to some bookish goodness. You can head over to our events calendar to check out the full docket of our birthday bash events. Please note that masks and proof of vaccination are required to attend events at the Raven.

We’re excited to celebrate with you!


About the Event

Spend an evening with author and anthropologist Lucas Bessire and the Jayhawk Audubon Society at the Raven on September 26 at 7 p.m.! Bessire will be in conversation with members of JAS about his book Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains. Running Out, a National Book Award finalist and Kansas Notable Book award winner, tells a disturbing and revealing tale about the depletion of the Ogallala aquifer, while offering ways forward into a more sustainable future. This is an extraordinary opportunity to learn from the experts about the plains of Western Kansas, including the “stark realities of industrial agriculture, eroding democratic norms, and surreal interpretations of a looming disaster.”


About the Author

Lucas Bessire is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma and the author of Behold the Black Caiman: A Chronicle of Ayoreo Life.


About the Event Partner

Jayhawk Audubon is the chapter of the National Audubon Society serving Lawrence, Douglas County, and surrounding communities in eastern Kansas.

Their mission is to provide opportunities for greater understanding and appreciation of birds and other wildlife, to encourage sustainable practices, and to advocate for actions and policies which result in protection and preservation of intact ecosystems.


About the Book

Finalist for the National Book Award
An intimate reckoning with aquifer depletion in America's heartland

The Ogallala aquifer has nourished life on the American Great Plains for millennia. But less than a century of unsustainable irrigation farming has taxed much of the aquifer beyond repair. The imminent depletion of the Ogallala and other aquifers around the world is a defining planetary crisis of our times. Running Out offers a uniquely personal account of aquifer depletion and the deeper layers through which it gains meaning and force.

Anthropologist Lucas Bessire journeyed back to western Kansas, where five generations of his family lived as irrigation farmers and ranchers, to try to make sense of this vital resource and its loss. His search for water across the drying High Plains brings the reader face to face with the stark realities of industrial agriculture, eroding democratic norms, and surreal interpretations of a looming disaster. Yet the destination is far from predictable, as the book seeks to move beyond the words and genres through which destruction is often known. Instead, this journey into the morass of eradication offers a series of unexpected discoveries about what it means to inherit the troubled legacies of the past and how we can take responsibility for a more inclusive, sustainable future.

An urgent and unsettling meditation on environmental change, Running Out is a revelatory account of family, complicity, loss, and what it means to find your way back home.


Event date: 
Monday, September 26, 2022 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Event address: 
809 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS 66049
Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains By Lucas Bessire Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780691212647
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Princeton University Press - May 18th, 2021

Finalist for the National Book Award
An intimate reckoning with aquifer depletion in America's heartland


Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains By Lucas Bessire Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780691216430
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Princeton University Press - October 4th, 2022

Finalist for the National Book Award
An intimate reckoning with aquifer depletion in America's heartland


Event Category: