Thursday, December 18, 2014

Come Fly With Me

Are you traveling by air this holiday season? Travel in the past has seemed so glamorous - loading your steamer trunk onto a passenger ship (unless, of course, it's the Titanic, Lusitania, or other famous disaster), flying in a propeller plane.  Maybe we've watched old movies too many times, or too many Indiana Jones movies (where you see Indy's itinerary traced out on a map), but in our heads, every time we get on our plane and sit in our economy class seat and are served our lackluster airplane meal (if we get one), it's a bit disappointing.  Whether you are an armchair traveler or heading out into the wild blue yonder this season - well, you can dream, can't you?  Or, at least, check out what travel was really like in the past.

In October 1958, Pan American World Airways began making regularly scheduled flights between New York and Paris, courtesy of its newly minted wonder jet, the Boeing 707. Almost overnight, the moneyed celebrities of the era made Europe their playground. At the same time, the dream of international travel came true for thousands of ordinary Americans who longed to emulate the "jet set" lifestyle. Bestselling author and Vanity Fair contributor William Stadiem brings that Jet Age dream to life again in the first-ever book about the glamorous decade when Americans took to the skies in massive numbers as never before, with the rich and famous elbowing their way to the front of the line. Dishy anecdotes and finely rendered character sketches re-create the world of luxurious airplanes, exclusive destinations, and beautiful, wealthy trendsetters who turned transatlantic travel into an inalienable right. 

written and designed by Keith Lovegrove
This fascinating book examines every aspect of airline style, from the company liveries and interior designs of planes to advertising, haute couture and airborne haute cuisine. Divided into four sections covering fashion, food, interior design and identity, Airline shows how airborne culture has changed since the 1920s. The book spans the conservative to the outrageous, from saris to hotpants, from Hugh Hefner's private jet to the huge Airbus A380. A wide selection of retro styles are illustrated with illuminating archive material and images of ephemera. Airline uncovers the style, image and experience of the parallel universe that exists at 39,000 feet.   *book blurbs are taken from the catalog unless otherwise noted  Links   Take a One-Way Trip from Tatty to Natty [Slate]   All Aboard AirBnB's Airplane Apartment [Messy Nessy Chic]   Come Fly Away [RL Magazine]   What It Was Really Like to Fly During the Golden Age of Travel [Fast Company]  Forget 1960, The Golden Age Is Now [New York Times]   The Endless Holiday [Vanity Fair]  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Funny Books: What's Your Humor Style?

Laughter is the best medicine, they say. We all love to laugh - but we certainly don't all find the same things funny! Psychology Today once featured an article about humor styles - according to them, there are four. In the spirit of reader's advisory (that's what librarians call book suggestions), we thought we we would try to suggest new humorous stories based on your humor style. So, if your style is:

Put-Down Humor
"This aggressive type of humor is used to criticize and manipulate others through teasing, sarcasm and ridicule."

Bonding Humor
"People who use bonding humor are fun to have around; they say amusing things, tell jokes, engage in witty banter and generally lighten the mood."
Try: The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Hate-Me Humor
"In this style of humor, you are the butt of the joke for the amusement of others."

Laughing at Life
"When we admire someone who 'doesn't take himself too seriously,' this is the temperament we're talking about. More than just a way of relating to other people, it's a prism that colors the world in rosier shades. Someone with this outlook deploys humor to cope with challenges, taking a step back and laughing at the absurdities of everyday life."
Try: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

How did we do? If none of the suggestions suit, you can also try:

  •  A search of "Humorous stories" in the catalog. This will include funny kids' books.
  • A search of "Humorous stories" in the library catalog, using the Advanced Search to filter out "juvenile" and "easy". Should be primarily YA and above.
  • A search "Wit and humor" in the catalog for jokes, quotes, and miscellaneous.

For books about  humor, try:

American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny by Christopher Miller

The Humor Code: A Global Search For What Makes Things Funny by Peter McGraw, PhD, and Joel Warner


25 Books Guaranteed to Make You Laugh [Flavorwire]

32 Books Guaranteed to Make You Laugh Out Loud [Buzzfeed]

Ten Funny Books You Might Not Have Read [Electric Lit]

Laughing Matters: Five Funny Books With Substance [NPR]

15 funniest travel books every written (in English) [CNN]

The 15 best comedy books of all time [Telegraph]

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Serial is Almost Over... Now What?

On Thursday, December 18, one question will be on millions of people's minds: Did Adnan Syed commit the murder of Hae Min Lee?

Confused? If you haven't been following Serial, the new podcast from the creators of This American Life that has riveted listeners across the nation, there's still time to catch up before this Thursday's season finale (but hurry!). What's it all about? In journalist and Serial host Sarah Koenig's words, it's about "the basics: love and death and justice and truth. All these big, big things.”

If you're looking for specifics: Since October, Sarah has been reporting on her year-long investigation into Adnan, a Baltimore high school student sentenced to life in prison for strangling his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee to death in 1999, even though he claimed his innocence. Sarah had two questions on her mind: was Adnan wrongly convicted? If so, what really happened? Since then, listeners have closely followed every twist and turn in her investigation and heard from Adnan and Hae's friends, his family, witnesses, jurors, and lawyers -- with few definitive answers.

And now, millions of people are hooked, talking about the new evidence unfolded in each week's episode, providing their own theories (even conducting their own investigations), and asking the same questions: did he do it? If not, who did?

Moreover, Serial has prompted discussions of its potential to revitalize long-term, in-depth investigative journalism and change the podcast landscape, the role of listeners in the age of social media and websites like Reddit (and their impact), and the ethical questions involved in crime reporting of this nature and representation of its subjects.

While we hope to have some answers on Thursday, many of us are coming to terms with idea that there may not be a clear resolution or justice for Adnan. The only thing we know for sure is that we'll have an extra hour or so of spare time every week. And if you're looking to fill that void with something like Serial, we have a some items here at ABC Library that you may enjoy.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote [ebook / eaudiobook]
     (If you haven't read it yet, start here. Controversy aside, it's not to be missed!)
The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science by Douglas Starr
Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson [ebook]
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson [ebook]
Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America's Heartland by Patricia L. Bryan and Thomas Wolf
The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer

Capturing the Friedmans [DVD]

P.S. Have you tried our Playaways? If you have a pair of headphones, a AAA battery, and a library card, you have access our Playaway audio player collection. Check them out at any branch and listen to audiobooks without needing a CD player or other device!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Featured Author: Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore is a professor of history at Harvard University and a staff writer at the New Yorker. Her acclaimed books ("dramatic", "provides rare insight", "delightful, learned, and altogether beguiling") about topics in American history have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award for Non-Fiction. Her subjects have included colonial war, slavery in New York City, the Tea Party, and "a history of curiosity".  Lepore has also written a satirical novel, set in the 18th century, with a fellow historian.

In an essay called “Historians Who Love Too Much: Reflections on microhistory and biography", Lepore, herself a microhistorian, set out four propositions to show the difference between one and the other:

1) Unlike biography, the assumption in microhistory is that the value of an individual’s life story “lies in how it serves as an allegory for the culture as the whole”.
2) Microhistorians eschew cradle-to-grave projects because their interest lies in solving “small mysteries about a person’s life as a means to exploring the culture”.
3) Biography is about not betraying intimacy; by contrast, microhistory will use any means necessary “to resurrect those who did not [leave abundant records]”.
4) Biographers tend to identify with their subjects; microhistorians tend to judge them: “For this reason, a microhistorian may be a character in his own book”.*

We first heard of Jill Lepore with the publication of  her biography of Jane Franklin, Ben Franklin's sister, in 2013. Turns out she has an impressive back catalog, as well as publishing a new book on Wonder Woman this year. If you like to read about history, why not give Jill Lepore a try?

King Philip's War, the excruciating racial war--colonists against Indians--that erupted in New England in 1675, was, in proportion to population, the bloodiest in American history. Some even argued that the massacres and outrages on both sides were too horrific to "deserve the name of a war." Telling the story of what may have been the bitterest of American conflicts, and its reverberations over the centuries, Lepore has enabled us to see how the ways in which we remember past events are as important in their effect on our history as were the events themselves.

Over a frigid few weeks in the winter of 1741, ten fires blazed across Manhattan. With each new fire, panicked whites saw more evidence of a slave uprising. In the end, thirteen black men were burned at the stake, seventeen were hanged and more than one hundred black men and women were thrown into a dungeon beneath City Hall. In New York Burning, Bancroft Prize-winning historian Jill Lepore recounts these dramatic events, re-creating, with path-breaking research, the nascent New York of the seventeenth century. Even then, the city was a rich mosaic of cultures, communities and colors, with slaves making up a full one-fifth of the population. Exploring the political and social climate of the times, Lepore dramatically shows how, in a city rife with state intrigue and terror, the threat of black rebellion united the white political pluralities in a frenzy of racial fear and violence.

Stewart Jameson, a Scottish portrait painter fleeing his debtors in Edinburgh, has washed up on the British Empire's far shores—in the city of Boston, lately seized with the spirit of liberty. Eager to begin anew, he advertises for an apprentice, but the lad who comes knocking is no lad at all. Fanny Easton is a fallen woman from Boston's most prominent family who has disguised herself as a boy to become Jameson's defiant and seductive apprentice. Written with wit and exuberance by accomplished historians, Blindspot is an affectionate send-up of the best of eighteenth-century fiction. It celebrates the art of the Enlightenment and the passion of the American Revolution by telling stories of ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary time.

Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, offers a wry and bemused look at American history according to the far right, from the "rant heard round the world," which launched the Tea Party, to the Texas School Board's adoption of a social-studies curriculum that teaches that the United States was established as a Christian nation. Along the way, she provides rare insight into the eighteenth-century struggle for independence--the real one, that is. Lepore traces the roots of the far right's reactionary history to the bicentennial in the 1970s, when no one could agree on what story a divided nation should tell about its unruly beginnings. Behind the Tea Party's Revolution, she argues, lies a nostalgic and even heartbreaking yearning for an imagined past--a time less troubled by ambiguity, strife, and uncertainty--a yearning for an America that never was.

How does life begin? What does it mean? What happens when we die? “All anyone can do is ask,” Lepore writes. “That's why any history of ideas about life and death has to be, like this book, a history of curiosity.” Lepore starts that history with the story of a seventeenth-century Englishman who had the idea that all life begins with an egg and ends it with an American who, in the 1970s, began freezing the dead. In between, life got longer, the stages of life multiplied, and matters of life and death moved from the library to the laboratory, from the humanities to the sciences. Lately, debates about life and death have determined the course of American politics. Each of these debates has a history. Investigating the surprising origins of the stuff of everyday life—from board games to breast pumps—Lepore argues that the age of discovery, Darwin, and the Space Age turned ideas about life on earth topsy-turvy. “New worlds were found,” she writes, and “old paradises were lost.” As much a meditation on the present as an excavation of the past, The Mansion of Happiness is delightful, learned, and altogether beguiling.

From one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians—a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin's youngest sister, Jane, whose obscurity and poverty were matched only by her brother’s fame and wealth but who, like him, was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator.    

A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origins of one the worlds most iconic superheroes hides within it a fascinating family story and a crucial history of twentieth-century feminism Wonder Woman, created in 1941, is the most popular female superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no superhero has lasted as long or commanded so vast and wildly passionate a following. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she has also has a secret history. Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has uncovered an astonishing trove of documents, including the never-before-seen private papers of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman's creator... The Secret History of Wonder Woman is a tour de force of intellectual and cultural history. Wonder Woman, Lepore argues, is the missing link in the history of the struggle for women's rights a chain of events that begins with the women's suffrage campaigns of the early 1900s and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later.   **all book blurbs taken from the library catalog unless otherwise noted 
 Jill Lepore: A Historian's History [The Harvard Crimson]   The Microhistorian [Dissent]   The Public Historian [Humanities]

Jill Lepore and the microhistory of America [TLS] *  Inside the List [New York Times]     

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New & Novel: Fashion

Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well.
~Vivienne Westwood

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
~Coco Chanel

We don't fancy ourselves to be fashionistas here at abcreads, but we do love discovering fashion! Whether it's about Marie Antoinette or Diana Vreeland, about creating the perfect frock or reminiscing about your favorite piece of clothing, pictures of shoes or a movie about Donatella Versace's triumph as the head designer of her brother's fashion empire, the library catalog has plenty of items to make you feel like you've got a front row seat at a fashion show!  We've compiled a list of items for you that includes several fashion topics, but if you have any requests, let us know in the comments!

History of Fashion

The Vogue Factor: The Inside Story of Fashion's Most Illustrious Magazine by Kirstie Clements

Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture For $200 and Turned It Into a Global Brand by Pamela Levy

The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski

Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution by Will Bashor [eBook]

Art & Sole by Jane Gershon Weitzman

Great War Fashion: Tales From the History Wardrobe by Lucy Adlington

Elegance In an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s edited by Patricia Mears and G Bruce Boyer


Stylish Skirts: 23 Simple Designs to Flatter Every Figure by Sato Watanabe

Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials for the Modern Wardrobe by Sato Watanabe

Buffi's Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles by Buffi Jashanmal

Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress - Patterns For 20 Garments Inspired by Fashion Icons by Dolin Bliss O'Shea

The Language of Fashion Design: 26 Principles Every Fashion Designer Should Know by Laura Volpintesta

Fashion-Forward Faces 

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane Von Furstenberg

Mademoiselle C  [DVD]

Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History by Rhonda K. Garelick

House of Versace [DVD]

The Master of Us All: Balenciaga, His Workrooms, His World by Mary Blume

Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography by Meryle Secrest

Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and the '90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion by Maureen Callahan

Bold, Beautiful and Damned: The World of 1980s Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes by Dean Rhys Morgan


Worn Stories by Emily Spivack

Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, [et al.]

Saturday, December 6, 2014

NBA: Teams to Watch and Books to Read

Basketball season for the NBA is in full swing, and I couldn't be more excited. I've been watching as many games as I can, and stocking up on books about the NBA and/or by NBA players and coaches. Today, I'm sharing which teams I think you should be watching, and which books I'm adding to my stack of books to read.

Teams to watch: Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers: With a record of 5-14*, the Lakers aren't having a great season so far. Multiple players have had injuries so far this season, and Steve Nash is out for the season due to an injury. Still, the Lakers could make a comeback, and I'm keeping an eye on them to see if they do.

Los Angeles Clippers: Fortunately, Los Angeles basketball fans have two teams to root for, and the Clippers are doing well. Their record is 13-5*, and with Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick, and DeAndre Jordan, they have a strong team. Griffin was recently named the Western Conference Player of the Week, and if they keep playing as well as they have been, I think they have a shot at making the playoffs.

Dallas Mavericks: The Western Conference wouldn't be complete without the Mavs, who won the NBA Championship in 2011. Their record is 15-5*. Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 19.4 points per game, while Monta Ellis is averaging 19.6 points per game, and Chandler Parsons is averaging 14.4 points per game. The Mavs are another team who could make the playoffs.

Teams to watch: Eastern Conference

Chicago Bulls: The Bulls are 11-7* so far, and now that Pau Gasol is on the team, I've been keeping a close eye on them. Gasol, who struggled in his last few years on the Lakers, is averaging 19.4 points per game. In addition, the Bulls have two players from UNM, Cameron Bairstow and Tony Snell, which is reason enough to keep an eye on the team.

Philadelphia 76ers: The 76ers are a good team to watch if only for their losing record of 1-17*.  Despite their losing records, the 76ers haven't been losing by much; on December 1, they lost to the San Antonio Spurs by only six points, and on November 29, they lost to the Mavericks by seven points. With only one win under their belt, they're not going to make the playoffs, but it'll be interesting to see how the season turns out for them.

Cleveland Cavaliers: No list of teams to watch would be complete with LeBron James's team. So far, they're 9-7*, and now that James is back on the team, it'll be interesting to see how well they do this year.

Books to read

Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA by Lance Allred

I May Be Wrong But I Doubt It by Charles Barkley

Taking Shots: Tall Tales, Bizarre Battles, and the Incredible Truth About the NBA by Keith Glass

The Official NBA Encyclopedia edited by Jan Hubbard

Vintage NBA Basketball: The Pioneer Era (1946-56): A Mostly Oral History by Neil D. Isaacs

The Last Season: A Team in Search of its Soul by Phil Jackson

Operation Yao Ming: Inside China's Great Leap to the NBA by Brook Larmer

Season of the 76ers: The Story of Wilt Chamberlain and the 1967 NBA Champion Philadelphia 76ers by  Wayne Lynch

Doc: The Rise and Rise of Julius Erving by Vincent M. Mallozzi

Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered 
the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever by Jack McCallum

The Perfect Team: The Best Players, Coach, and GM: Let the Debate Begin! by the NBA

Shaq Uncut: My Story by Shaquille O'Neal

Keepin' It Real: A Turbulent Season at the Crossroads With the NBA by Larry Platt

The First Tip-Off: The Incredible Story of the Birth of the NBA by Charley Rosen

Mr. Basketball: George Mikan, the Minneapolis Lakers, and the Birth of the NBA by Michael Schumacher

The Book of Basketball: the NBA According to the Sports Guy by Bill Simmons

Assisted: An Autobiography by John Stockton

A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball by Dwayne Wade

West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life by Jerry West

Loose Balls: Easy Money, Hard Fouls, Cheap Laughs, and True Love in the NBA by Jayson Williams

*All team records are as of December 3, 2014.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Romances

Ah, winter holidays. Hanukkah! Winter Solstice! Christmas! Kwanzaa!  New Year's Eve! 'Tis the season for shopping,and gathering together for extravagant meals, and going to parties, and participating in winter sports.  A great time for...romance? Whether you want a little light reading by the fireside or something a little steamy to keep you as warm as a Snuggie despite winter's chill, we've got some reading suggestions for you!

What a Lady Needs for Christmas by Grace Burrowes

A Gift to Remember by Melissa Hill

Cowboy Boots for Christmas (Cowboy Not Included) by Carolyn Brown

Huckleberry Christmas by Jennifer Beckstrand

All He Wants for Christmas by Lisa Plumley

Christmas Brides by Suzanne Enoch... [et al.]

Season for Desire by Theresa Romain

A Highland Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear

Clara's Wish: An Amish Christmas Romance by Beth Shriver

A Very Merry Temptation by Kimberly Kaye Terry, Pamela Yaye & Farrah Rochon

Hot Christmas Nights by Farrah Rochon, Terra Little, Velvet Carter

Where Treetops Glisten: Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, Sarah Sundin 

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Holly Black ...[et al], edited by Stephanie Perkins [Young Adult]