Wednesday, February 24, 2010

10 in '10: Take the Challenge

Last month we challenged you, our readers, to read 10 books in 2010 either about New Mexico, set in New Mexico, or by a New Mexico author-fiction (any genre) or non-fiction. Have any of you taken up the gauntlet? If so, what are you reading? We recommend: Juniper Tree Burning by Goldberry Long Oh Pure and Radiant Heart by Lydia Millet Timing is Everything by Sabra Brown Steinsiek The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey Lonely Street by Steve Brewer A Killing in New Town by Kate Horsley The Killing Cards by Lou Campanozzi

Monday, February 22, 2010

What We're Reading

I just read The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim. Set in Japanese-occupied Korea, it is a fictionalized account of the life of the author's mother. Anyone who has lived in Korea will find it will bring back memories. It will also be of interest for those who like to read about other cultures (such as books by Amy Tan, Gail Tsukiyama, and Lisa See).

Part of what makes this such an engaging read is the detailed and accurate portrayal of village and religious leadership and family hierarchies, as I remember them from when I lived there. Village elders played a big part in everyday decision-making. The Calligrapher's Daughter also gives glimpses into what remained of court life in Korea, the bitterness of the people who had the Japanese language and a revised history imposed upon them, and the risks they took to secretly teach traditional Korean culture at home. The vivid descriptions bring to life the houses, the food, and the clothing of the era. The story has touches of humor in some of the characters, too.

This fabulous read is Eugenia Kim's first novel. I look forward to more books by this author!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Disastrous Mrs. Weldon

Georgina Weldon was born on the 18th birthday of the then Princess Victoria & her parents liked to believe that that fact made their baby's birthday auspicious--that little Georgina was destined for great things. Georgina agreed whole-heartedly with this assessment & spent her whole life scheming & planning for fame & fortune--& doing the wrong thing with every step she took.

Instead of making a good marriage that would ensure good marriages for her younger siblings, Georgina chose to marry a penniless soldier. She had a reasonably good voice but despite no voice training, she was sure stardom was in her future--kind of the Paris Hilton of the Victorian age, without the pedigree. Her affection for music led to a calamitous involvement with the composer Gounod & an ill-fated 'musical orphanage' in which children plucked off the streets were subjected to a health regimen of cold morning baths & no shoes, & taught to sing. Georgina took up with the villainous Angele & Anarcharsis Menier, who over the years encouraged her, but also swindled her. They were just a few of her poorly chosen cronies.

Georgina blundered through life, seeking fame but finding notoriety, picking up & discarding people & causes, always the center of her own universe. Brian Thompson's The Disastrous Mrs. Weldon presents her foibles with verve & humor, chronicling her affairs, her litigious nature (25 cases in court in one year), her two stays in prison, & her fight against being committed to a mental institution by her own husband in a way that will make you shake your head in disbelief & yet admire this Victorian eccentric's tenacity as she muddles through it all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Online Social Networking for Book Lovers!

Looking to share your love of reading with likeminded Consider these 3 social networking websites centered around books! You can review books, read recommendations, catalog your personal library, and more!

Check out goodreads! From their website-

Have you ever wanted a better way to:

  • Get great book recommendations from people you know.
  • Keep track of what you've read and what you'd like to read.
  • Form a book club, answer book trivia, collect your favorite quotes.

To learn how goodreads works, check here.

There's also Shelfari:

Welcome to Shelfari! Shelfari is the premier social network for people who love books. Create a virtual shelf to show off your books, see what your friends are reading and discover new books - all for free!

From their website, you can take a virtual tour of the site.

I am a fan of Librarything:

  • A home for your books.
  • Enter what you’re reading or your whole library. It’s an easy, library-quality catalog.
  • A community of 1,000,000 book lovers.
  • LibraryThing connects you to people who read what you do

Librarything also has an online tour.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Check This Out!

I like to check out the Guardian's book section periodically--there's always something interesting. Here are a couple of today's tidbits... --Interested in what they're reading across the pond? Check out this list of 250 Most Borrowed Titles from UK Libraries 2008-09. Three of the top four titles belong to James Patterson. --There's a new book about Emily Dickinson out in the U.K., & this review makes an interesting read for scholars of Dickinson. --Rules for Writers: This is a new series they're doing, with writers like Hilary Mantel, Roddy Doyle, Zadie Smith, & Sarah Waters weighing in. Here are Margaret Atwood's rules. --Also check out their quizzes on literature & current events! They even have an online bookclub!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Beginning Mosaics

We had Celeste Boals at our branch today for the second run of her Beginning Mosaics program. Here are a couple of pictures from this popular event! Celeste Boals will be back on Sunday, March 7th with a program on Clay African Pots & Drums-sign up now at the Information Desk!

Here are some pictures from the Mosaics program:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Bowl Snacks

Another Super Bowl is upon us! Time to settle in for the game, the halftime show, the commercials...but how are you fixed for snacks?

If you need snacking ideas, the library can help. A search of our catalog (a subject search under 'dips' or 'appetizers' is recommended) brings up Dip It: Great Party Food to Spread, Spoon, and Scoop by Rick Rodgers, Hellish Relish: Sizzling Salsas and Devilish Dips from the Kitchens of New Mexico by Sharon Niederman (both available at Cherry Hills, one of the 3 libraries open tomorrow!) & Great Bar Food at Home by Kate Heyhoe.

All copies of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond are currently checked out, but if you are unfamiliar with her website, be sure & check it out-she has an entire section devoted to appetizers & her February 5th post details her Super Bowl plans!

Other websites you could check out in a pinch for Super Bowl suggestions include CooksRecipes, Allrecipes, Epicurious, & the Food Network.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Spirit of Competition

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
--Pierre de Coubertin (founder of modern Olympic Games)

Every two years athletes from around the world gather together in order to celebrate their sport of choice, and to embody what has become known as the Olympic Spirit - a spirit which unites the world through sportsmanship as athletes compete to achieve their dreams of victory representing their home countries. This month all the nations will watch as their representative athletes meet in Vancouver, Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The games run from February 12th – February 28th, and coverage of the games will be provided on multiple NBC TV affiliates, as well as on the internet. The many sports of the Winter Olympics include figure and speed skating, bobsleighing, ice hockey, skiing and snowboarding, and the little known sport of curling. Click on the Olympics widget in our sidebar to get programming details, look up individual athletes, and more!

To get yourself in the spirit for the Olympics, the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County library system has quite a few books of interest. If you want an overall view of Winter Olympic sports, you might look for Freeze Frame: A Photographic History of the Winter Olympics. If you prefer the graceful performances of figure skating, you might be interested in Figure Skating Now: Olympic and World Champions, or for a more intimate behind the scenes look at the sport, Inside Edge: A Revealing Journey into the Secret World of Figure Skating. Younger readers might enjoy Boitano's Edge: Inside the Real World of Figure Skating to get a glimpse of what it might be like to be an Olympic figure skater. If you want to delve deep into what the library system has to offer, simply type in “Winter Olympics” in the “Find it” search field on the library’s home page! You can also do a keyword search by sport.

The goal of the Olympic Games is to bring all the nations together and celebrate competition, athleticism, solidarity, and fair play. Be sure to tune in to the games this year and celebrate, along with the rest of the world, all the athletes as they strive for Olympic Gold and to spread the spirit of the Olympic Games to us all.