Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Apple-Picking Time! (Almost)

I have not been myself, but some of my co-workers have visited Dixon Farms in Peña Blanca a couple times to buy apples, available by the bushel or by the peck. The apples from Dixon are very tasty & you can choose from different varieties-including Champagne, Red Delicious, Sparkling Burgundy & Red Rome. Also, while you are visiting, you can sample many apple-based culinary creations, drink cider, even take a hayride! You can get an apple gift box, but they do not ship out of state. Be warned-leave your credit cards & debit cards at home. Dixon's accepts checks or cash only.

The Dixon Apples website recommends calling (505-465-2976) around September 15th for their opening date, though they will also will also post these dates on their website. Not all varieties will be available until later in the season, so make sure you check if the kind you're looking for have come in yet!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Poetry in Everyday Life

This is a guest post by Jenn from the Itch to Stitch group.

My sister and I have corresponded by email almost every day since about 1998. That was during the time that my sister, Stevie, was caring for our mother in Stevie's home. A couple of years later Mom moved to assisted living, then to a nursing home, but she was always near my sister's home in North Carolina, and Stevie did most of the caregiving and care management. We spoke every day via computer, though, and she has always said that she felt my support in that way.

Mom died in 2007, but Stevie and I were well in the habit of keeping in touch by then. We are 6 years apart in age, and we'd never been close as children, but we are best friends, now. During Mom's last years and since, we have treasured the time we get together in person. We share interests--dolls, crafts, cooking, family of course--and though we don't see one another as often as we did when Mom was alive, we still correspond almost every day. For years, the subject lines of the letters were simple greetings, or more often, a row of Re:Re:Re:Re and a simple greeting. Then one day, my brilliant sister had a brainstorm. She chose a poem. I don't even remember what the first poem was, but she used the first line for the subject line, and sent me an online link to the whole poem in the body of the letter, with the instruction to use the next line as my return subject line.

We have read a lot of poems together since then. One spring "When April with his showers sweet with fruit/The drought of March [had] pierced unto the root" we got onto Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and went through the Prologue and several pilgrims, right into midsummer. Recently we've had Where the Sidewalk Ends and some Maya Angelou. We take turns, when a poem ends, choosing the next poem. What makes it even better is this: our mom loved poetry. She memorized poems in high school, and would recite them to entertain us at bedtime or while waiting for buses or during any of the times when restless kids need entertainment. So now one of us may start a poem and say, "Do you remember? This was one of Mom's favorites." Stevie doesn't know this, but around Halloween, we will be reading Robert Burns' story poem, "Tam O'Shanter", which is a long, spooky ghost story and Mother loved it!

So that's the story of how my sister and I have shared memories of our mother, and personal poetry favorites and all sorts of other ideas while staying connected and enriching our minds, or something! Now I'll close, and check whether I have email from Stevie yet today. We're about done with a favorite of Mother's and mine, "The Bacchante to her Babe", by Eunice Tietjens, and I can't wait to see what Stevie is going to share with me next.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Edgar Lee Masters

There are some people whose eyes glaze over when they hear the word poetry and I am one of them. In high school when the English teacher would assign the class a certain number of poems to read, I knew that my grades would suffer as poetry was something I didn't understand. Iambic pentameter sounded like something from merry old England and what did feet have to do with the words on the page? But, as the years rolled by I began to understand what all those terms meant and soon found some poets out there in the literary world that really opened up my mind to what poetry is all about.

Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all are sleeping on the hill.
One passed in a fever,
One was burned in a mine,
One was killed in a brawl,
One died in a jail,
One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife—
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
~from "The Hill"

One of my favorite books of poems is Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, who was born on this date in 1868. It is an unflattering look at small-town life with the poems being titled for each of its citizens, such as Tom Merritt, Amos Sibley, Carl Hamblin, Fiddler Jones and A.D. Blood. The unique part of this anthology is the dead are the ones telling stories or lies about their life in Spoon River. The words are dark and forceful, breaking down the pretty facades and revealing that what you see is not necessarily what is true. Edgar Lee Masters is thought to have based this book on actual people from the towns of Petersburg and Lewiston, Illinois and needless to say he was not very welcome after the book was published. But, by the time he passed away in 1950, all must have been forgiven, as he was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Petersburg, Illinois. Masters also authored several more books of poetry, plays, biographies and novels that can be ordered through Interlibrary Loan system.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Literary Albuquerque

Here are some sites you might want to check out for upcoming local literary events!

A lot of the monthly tea menus are themed around a person. September's menu focuses on Sherlock Holmes! Additionally, they are having 2 special tea events in September: Airship H.M.S. St. James Flight #274-What if the World were Powered by Steam and the Victorian Age had Not Ended?, which is a tea with a steampunk theme; and Murder and Mayhem at the St. James Mansion, which is a mystery tea. Sounds fun!

Includes their Wordstream Reading Series & a look at their Poets' Plaza.

Saturday, November 6, 7:30pm
Amiri Baraka + Cecil Taylor: Diction and Contra Diction
Idris Goodwin + Chaz Bojórquez: New Mexico Remix

Collaboration takes center stage with AMIRI BARAKA + CECIL TAYLOR and IDRIS GOODWIN + CHAZ BOJORQUEZ. The Outpost Performance Space, 516 ARTS and ACLU-NM have joined together to present a unique evening of performance and art, featuring legendary jazz artist Cecil Taylor and literary luminary Amiri Baraka performing Diction and Contra Diction, and Hip Hop poet/playwright Idris Goodwin performing New Mexico Remix with Chaz Bojórquez’s calligraphic mural inspired by this piece.

Eventful has a listing of literary events in Albuquerque & Santa Fe, including lectures & book clubs. Also check out the New Mexico Arts Calendar.

Last, but definitely not least, don't miss Bubonicon 42, Albuquerque's own science fiction/fantasy convention-this year's schedule includes a Vogon Poetry Slam!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sister Act

All kinds of weather, we stick together
The same in the rain or sun
Two different faces, but in tight places
We think and we act as one
Those who've seen us
Know that not a thing could come between us
Many men have tried to split us up
But no one can, nobody can
Lord help the mister
Who comes between me and my sister
~"Sisters" by Irving Berlin (from the movie White Christmas)

I've been reading a lot about Zsa Zsa Gabor in the news recently, since she's been ailing (as of today, she appears to be on the mend). Zsa Zsa is the last surviving Gabor sister-there were three, although most people are least familiar with the oldest, Magda-& when she does pass on that will be the end of an era. There's a cute book about the Gabors called Gaborabilia: An Illustrated Celebration of the Fabulous, Legendary Gabor Sisters.

Maybe it's because I'm one of 2 sisters, but I have always been interested in reading about sisters-from the sisters growing up in Noel Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes to Three Sisters by Chekhov & In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez to famous sisters from history. I first became aware of the Mitford sisters via the biography The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell. That's quite a story-there were five sisters: Nancy, a writer; Pamela, a farmer (& probably the least notorious); Diana, who married Sir Oswald Mosley & spent time in prison during WWII for being a fascist; Unity, who is most infamous for her adulation of & friendship with Hitler; Jessica, a Communist; & Deborah, the only surviving sister, who is the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. They were so famous in the early 20th century that they had a song & a musical written about them. You can check out books from our library system by Nancy & Jessica Mitford, & also the letters of the Mitford sisters.

There have been many famous sisters in history that you can read about:

by Nancy Goldstone
Four sisters — Marguerite, Eleanor, Sanchia and Beatrice — born to Raymond Berenger V, the Count of Provence, and his wife, Beatrice of Savoy in the 13th century.

Alice, Agnes, Georgiana, and Louisa MacDonald grew up to become the wives and mothers of some of Victorian England's most celebrated and influential men. Georgie would marry renowned pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones; Agnes, Edward Poynter, administrator of the Royal Academy of Art and the National and Tate galleries. Louisa's son, Stanley Baldwin, would be a three-term prime minister, and Alice Kipling's son, Rudyard, would give the world classic literature.

Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia Peabody were in many ways our American Brontes.

The Garman sisters were members of London's bohemian Bloomsbury set. The complicated lives of Mary, Kathleen and Lorna included affairs with writer Vita Sackville-West, composer Ferruccio Busoni, painter Bernard Meninsky, sculptor Jacob Epstein, poet Laurie Lee and painter Lucian Freud.

Daughters of a wealthy Wall Street speculator and his heiress wife, all three Jerome sisters—Clara, Jennie and Leonie—married titled English husbands, setting a trend for upper-crust Anglo-American liaisons at a time when Britain's landed gentry were in dire need of cash.

Southern beauties who wielded a powerful influence in politics and culture during the tumultuous years from the turn of the 20th century through the Second World War. Lizzie married a Virginian and stayed home, but her siblings conquered Yankee America and England. Irene married Charles Dana Gibson and served as the model for that all-American icon, the Gibson girl. Baby sister Nora, dreamy and artistic, had a turbulent life scattered with lovers including, perhaps, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Nancy entered English society through second husband Waldorf Astor and focused her formidable energies on politics as the first female member of Parliament and hostess to the notorious "Cliveden set." Sensitive, introspective Phyllis survived a bad first marriage and an affair with a British officer to happily wed the brilliant English economist Bob Brand.

by Stella Tillyard
A biography of the 18th century Duke of Richmond's four daughters-great-granddaughters of a king, daughters of a cabinet minister, and wives of politicians and peers. Caroline, the eldest, who eloped at 19; Emily, who married for love at 16, settled in Ireland and bore 19 children; and the two younger sisters, Louisa and Sarah, left home for arranged marriages. Sarah was courted by a young King George III.

by David Grafton
Though they had two brothers, Betsey, Babe &Minnie became well-known in the social world as the "Cushing Sisters", heralded for their charm and beauty from their debutante days onward. They were schooled by their social-climbing mother to pursue husbands of wealth and prominence, and coached to become socially acceptable to important men.

Happy Times by Lee Radziwill

A well-researched and skillfully written look at the aristocratic, Irish Protestant King family, in particular the sisters Margaret and Mary and the role they played in the ill-fated 1798 Irish Rising.

by Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany
Sadie & Bessie Delany collaborated with Amy Hill Hearth this bestseller from 1992, which deals with the trials and tribulations the sisters had faced during their century of life.

The Brontës by Juliet Barker

by Anne Edwards

Also consider watching Hilary & Jackie, about cellist Jacqueline du Pré & her tumultuous relationship with her sister.

Monday, August 16, 2010

This Week in Music History

This week marks the anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, which was held August 15 to August 18, 1969. To find books & DVDs about this event, do a keyword search in the catalog with the word "Woodstock". Other music festival related items in the library's catalog include: Telluride Bluegrass Festival: 30 Years (DVD); Festival Express (DVD); Recorded Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival by John Hardy (CD); Great Festivals 2 (DVD); New Orleans Jazz Fest: A Pictorial History by Michael P. Smith (book); At the Montreux Jazz Festival by Bill Evans (CD); & Music from Glastonbury: The Film (CD).

Also, today is the last day of Elvis Week, an annual celebration that includes a meet & greet, fan reception, a benefit, trivia tour, tribute artist contest, & more! To see photos of the 2010 Elvis Week, click here. For a list of Elvis books & media, just search the catalog under the keywords "Elvis Presley". For more information about the King, check out his official website.

ABC Libraries boasts a wide offering of music CDs in our catalog. For a list of some of the newest holdings, click here; for a specific genre, try a keyword search by genre (you might also click on the dropdown menu & change "View Entire Collection" to "Music on CD").

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What We're Reading: Boneshaker

I've been interested in the steampunk genre lately, so I was happy to get my hands on Cherie Priest's Boneshaker-"A steampunk-zombie-airship adventure of rollicking pace & sweeping proportions, full of wonderfully gnarly details," as Scott Westerfeld describes it.

Boneshaker is set in Seattle of the late 1800s. In a clever alternate history, part of Seattle was destroyed by inventor Leviticus Blue's "Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine". This device, the titular Boneshaker, was supposed to help Russians mining for gold to drill through Klondike ice. Instead, Blue, in testing it on his hometown, released a poisonous gas called 'the Blight' & part of Seattle-& anyone unfortunate to be left inside-has been walled off. Boneshaker is the story of the late (& not lamented) Blue's wife Briar & son Zeke. Zeke finds his way into the sealed area, looking for evidence that will clear this father's name, & Briar must follow him & bring him back out.

I'm finding Boneshaker to be a quick read, inventively plotted & full of colorful characters. It started slowly, but now I sometimes think that the author is hurtling through the plot a little too speedily, as one adventure doesn't so much lead to the next but instead each new twist is brought up & dropped in quick succession. The idea that Dr. Minnericht, the head honcho in the walled city, might be Briar's husband, is drummed into the reader a bit heavily. But the action is steady, the historical technology (bellows! airships! a mechanical arm!) well thought out, & all in all it's pretty entertaining.

Cherie Priest is also the author of the Southern Gothic Eden Moore trilogy, which starts with Four & Twenty Blackbirds.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Van of Enchantment

Today we had a visit from the Van of Enchantment featuring the exhibit Trails & Tales. Our intrepid roving reporter Mercedes snapped some photos of the event.

If you missed them today, you can catch them at the Taylor Ranch Library tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Well Done

I think I've written before about my obsession with cookery. However, since I just finished reading (with gusto) Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw, I thought now might be a good time to talk about new cookbooks in the library system.

A keyword search by "cooking" (sorted by date) will show you the latest additions to our catalog-including offerings from Emeril, Jillian Michaels, & local author Deborah Madison-& will also show you if we have any upcoming cooking classes. Some of the latest finds I have savored:

Life's Too Short to Chop Onions: 99 Dishes to Make When You'd Rather Be Doing Something Else by Kitty Greenwald
This small volume had some good, easy recipes. Plus the author has a fun style-chapters have clever titles like "Shut the Oven Door and Run".

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin
This is one of those "memoirs with recipes". Possibly the best of its kind!

Taste of Venice/Brunetti's Cookbook by Roberta Pianaro & Donna Leon (recipes by Roberta Pianaro ; culinary stories by Donna Leon)
Taste of Venice has exquisite recipes-some of the meat & fish dishes have ingredients like cuttlefish, which I'm not sure how to find, & veal, which I don't care to eat, but there are many other delights to choose from. None of the recipes are more than a couple of pages in length, most are less, & all are straightforward, if not easy. The cookbook is enhanced by mouth-watering excerpts from Donna Leon's mystery series & essays about Venetian life on culture by Leon & Roberta Pianaro.

A co-worker has been watching Daisy Martinez on PBS & loving her, so I thought I would put in a plug for her new cookbook: Daisy, Morning, Noon, and Night: Bringing Your Family Together with Everyday Latin Dishes. Another co-worker is enjoying the recipes from The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano.

I'm also curious to take a look at: Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches by Crystal Watanabe and Maki Ogawa; Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton; & The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food, One Recipe at a Time by Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafziger.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Man on Wire

On August 7, 1974, French stuntman Philippe Petit walked a tightrope strung between the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center. This iconic event has recently been the subject of 2 movies & 2 books that you can find in the library's catalog!

Man on Wire is the film based on Petit's own memoir. This excellent documentary incorporates Petit's personal footage to show how he overcame seemingly insurmountable challenges to achieve the "artistic crime of the century".

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann is a novel that uses the 1974 tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers as a central motif to join together several storylines. This novel got a starred review from Booklist & was one of the New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2009.

The Man who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein is a children's book about the event. A companion film was also made. The book won the 2004 Caldecott Medal.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gashlycrumb 2010

I am a huge fan of the late writer & artist Edward Gorey (you might recognize his art from the opening titles of the PBS show Mystery). Wikipedia says: "Gorey's illustrated (and sometimes wordless) books, with their vaguely ominous air and ostensibly Victorian and Edwardian settings, have long had a cult following"-& I am a devout follower. So I am always glad to find a fellow fan, as I did today in the author Carolyn Parkhurst.

One of my favorite Gorey books is the gloriously macabre Gashlycrumb Tinies (I have a poster of it in my house & frequently wear the matching T-shirt)-you can view it online here, from "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs" to "Z is for Zillah who drank too much gin". Carolyn Parkhurst has updated Gorey's words for 2010. Read her version here, from "A is for Avery, whose Wii was miswired" to "Z is for Zuma, who died of the snark" & see how you think her version compares.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Getting Ready for A Wizard of Earthsea

It's time to start reading A Wizard of Earthsea for our online reading group! Don't forget to post comments & questions either on the blog or on the abc book banter forums.Click here to visit the official website of Ursula K. Le Guin-the site links to articles, biography, bibliography, & includes selected works by Le Guin onsite!

About the author:

Ursula Kroeber was born in 1929 in Berkeley, California, where she grew up. Her parents were the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and the writer Theodora Kroeber, author of Ishi. She went to Radcliffe College and did graduate work at Columbia University. She married Charles A. Le Guin, a historian, in Paris in 1953; they have lived in Portland, Oregon, since 1958, and have three children and four grandchildren.

Ursula K. Le Guin writes both poetry and prose, and in various modes including realistic fiction, science fiction, fantasy, young children's books, books for young adults, screenplays, essays, verbal texts for musicians, and voicetexts. She has published seven books of poetry, twenty-two novels, over a hundred short stories (collected in eleven volumes), four collections of essays, twelve books for children, and four volumes of translation.

Most of Le Guin's major titles have remained continuously in print, some for over forty years. Her best known fantasy works, the six Books of Earthsea, have sold millions of copies in America and England, and have been translated into sixteen languages. Her first major work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness, is considered epoch-making in the field for its radical investigation of gender roles and its moral and literary complexity. Her novels The Dispossessed and Always Coming Home redefine the scope and style of utopian fiction, while the realistic stories of a small Oregon beach town in Searoad show her permanent sympathy with the ordinary griefs of ordinary people. Among her books for children, the Catwings series has become a particular favorite. Her version of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, a translation she worked on for forty years, has received high praise.

Three of Le Guin's books have been finalists for the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and among the many honors her writing has received are a National Book Award, five Hugo Awards, five Nebula Awards, SFWA's Grand Master, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Howard Vursell Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the L.A. Times Robert Kirsch Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Margaret A. Edwards Award, etc.

Le Guin leads an intensely private life, with sporadic forays into political activism and steady participation in the literary community of her city. Having taught writing workshops from Vermont to Australia, she is now retired from teaching. She limits her public appearances mostly to the West Coast.

[abridged from her website]

Some things to think about as you delve into your reading:

Ged grows up in the course of this novel. What are the qualities that mark him as childish in his early youth? What are the qualities that mark him as adult at the end?

What meanings are associated with Ged's Shadow? Why does it flee from him when he begins to pursue it?

Discuss pride. Is it Ged's pride that causes all his problems? Is the shadow a part of Ged's pride? Is pride always a bad thing? Are there times when pride is appropriate?

Discuss names. Names are important to a lot of cultures. Name one culture that treats names in a similar fashion to this novel. Why is it important to Ged that he not reveal his name to anyone?

What are the rules that govern magic in Earthsea? What can magic do and what is impossible using magic?

This novel is similar to traditional fairy tales in which characters succeed by confronting frightening beings, such as "Hansel and Gretel" and "Little Red Riding Hood." What are the similiarites & differences between those fairy tales & this novel?

The Big Read's A Wizard of Earthsea Reader's Guide