Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Fun

I always enjoy the array of events offered in Albuquerque during the month of December. From the River of Lights at the Botanic Garden to the Nob Hill Shop & Stroll (this year-free parking behind O'Niell's & free shuttle!), this month I plan to be thoroughly entertained.

Historic Nob Hill (includes information about the Shop & Stroll on December 2nd)

Old Town New Fun (includes details of the Holiday Stroll on December 3rd)

First Friday Artscrawl (December 3rd)

Twinkle Light Parade (December 4th)

Grand Menorah Lighting at Civic Plaza
Sunday, December 5th at 4 p.m.
-Fantastic Chanukah celebration will follow inside the Convention Center!

Roadrunner Food Bank Holiday Virtual Food Drive

Nutcracker on the Rocks

A Mariachi Christmas

Winter Solstice: Music of the Season @ the Juan Tabo Library
December 15th at 6:30 p.m.
-Celebrate the season with harpist Linda Kennedy and flautist Victoria Beatty. The duo will perform traditional music from northern Europe and the British Isles.

Feast of Guadelupe Celebration & Concert

You can already buy tickets for the Luminaria Tour!

Also visit the City of Albuquerque Events page! There's a upcoming Holiday Adoptathon Extravaganza by Animal Welfare, Sunport Serenades, the Nutcracker playing at the KiMo, & the Mayor & First Lady's Dog Ball to look forward to as well.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Science Corner

Recommended Reads from a retired engineer-books that are good reading & good science!

One of our customers came up with this booklist for us-comments after the title are the customer's. If you have a list of recommended reads on any subject that you'd like to share, let us know!

Science and Pseudoscience

Michael Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of our Time.
Carefully examines why we are so easily misled into believing things that are not real.

John Brignell, The Epidemiologists: Have They Got Scares For You!
Traces the history of epidemiology from its proud beginnings in stopping the cholera epidemic at the Broad Street Pump, to its current position as a purveyor of unscientific scares based upon fallacious statistics.

John Brignell, Sorry, Wrong Number: The Abuse of Measurement.*
Misuse of numbers and measurements by government, environmentalists, and single-issue fanatics to mislead us into believing and acting on false conclusions

Alan Sokal, Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science.
Builds on his—hoax--article, published in Social Text (“a journal at the forefront of cultural theory”) that gravity is not real, but only a social construct. Fun reading.

Joel Best, Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists.
Title says it all. Debunks the worst social statistic ever published.
Expands on the earlier book and gives tools for critically examining claims and counterclaims.

Victor J. Stenger, Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World Beyond the Senses.
Critically examines evidence for theories of a transcendent reality, and shows that no replicable data exists to support them.

Terence Hines, Pseudoscience and the Paranormal.
Readable debunking of popularized non-science.

Human Behavior
Pinker’s best book to date. A balanced approach to how heredity and environment influence behavior.

Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works.
Best explanation I’ve yet read on how and why we think the way we do.

Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life.
An honest and surprisingly compassionate treatment of how mental capability affects our lives.

Jared Diamond, The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal.
How we got here and why we act the way we do.
A “history of everyone” for the last 11,000 years. His thesis is narrow but the book is fun to read.

Robert Wright, The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are.*
Uses Charles Darwin as a vehicle to explain morality.

Robert Wright, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny.*
Gives an intriguing explanation of how human relationships might have developed.


Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder. Excellent book on how science enhances, rather than destroys, poetry and beauty.

Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene.
Don’t be put off by the title.
Very readable account of our ancestry.

Edward O. Wilson, Sociobiology. *
The book that launched the field of evolutionary psychology.

Edward O. Wilson, Biophilia. *
Readable account of species.

Edward O. Wilson, On Human Nature.
Nice explanation of the biological aspects of human behavior.

Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan, Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species.
Intriguing thesis that large organisms are formed by symbiotic assemblies of well-functioning smaller units.

Martin Jones, The Molecule Hunt: Archaeology and the Search for Ancient DNA.

Physics, Engineering, and Math

James E. Gordon, The Science of Structures and Materials. *

James E. Gordon, Structures, or Why Things Don’t Fall Down. *
Both of this title & the one above are the most readable treatments of structural mechanics I have ever seen. Considers animal as well as inanimate structures.

James E. Gordon, The New Science of Strong Materials, or, Why You Don’t Fall through the Floor. *
Gordon is the only author I’ve ever read who makes the mechanical behavior of materials both interesting and understandable to the non-practitioner.

Amir Aczel, Pendulum: Leon Foucault and the Triumph of Science.
About an amazing and ingenious French scientist.
An excellent practical introduction to using probability in ordinary life.

Steven Vogel, Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle.
Title says it all.

Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything.
Good introductory science treatment
*Not in the ABC Libraries catalog.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from ABC Libraries!

All ABC Libraries will be closed for the holiday on Thursday, November 25th & Friday, November 26th.

Cherry Hills Library will reopen on Saturday, November 27th at 10 a.m. For a list of other libraries open on Saturday, check here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Living French

I am wellnigh obsessed with France. I like to read about France, watch French movies, & listen to French music. If only I spoke French, my life would be complete. (Someday, maybe I'll actually take a class at Alliance Française d'Albuquerque.) In the meantime, here are some of the France-related items that have helped me maintain my joie de vivre.

Books about France
Almost French: Love And A New Life In Paris by Sarah Turnbull

Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl by Debra Ollivier

C'est La Vie: An American Conquers the City of Light, Begins a New Life, and Becomes-Zut Alors!-Almost French by Suzy Gershman

Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag by Michael Tonello (technically not about France, but the Birkin bag is by Hermès, a French high fashion house)

Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong: (Why We Love France but Not the French) by Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow

French by Heart: An American Family's Adventures in La Belle France by Rebecca S. Ramsey

Books by the French
French Women Don't Get Fat byMireille Guiliano

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

I Wish Someone were Waiting for Me Somewhere by Anna Gavalda

Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

French movies
Summer Hours

Man on Wire



I've Loved You So Long

Tell No One


Paris, Je T'Aime

La Vie en Rose

2 Days in Paris

The Page Turner

Avenue Montaigne

French music
One Step Forward
by Les Nubians

Comic Strip by Serge Gainsbourg

Dimanche à Bamako by Amadou & Mariam (they are from Mali, but sing mostly in French)

For Kids of All Ages

Also consider the Asterix & Tintin graphic novels; both are translated from the French.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Books & Blogs

Last year my reading list was full of books written by bloggers. Here are some of my favorites! (Warning: most of these will be about food and/or France...both are kind of idée fixe with me.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

National Tie One On Day

"Women clad in aprons have traditionally prepared the Thanksgiving meal, and it is within our historical linkage to share our bounty.” ~EllynAnne Geisel

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Maybe you are thankful for getting together with friends & family...maybe you are thankful that the food is finally cooked & you get a chance to sit down! Whatever you are thankful for, perhaps you would like to use this holiday to share your bounty with another less fortunate. Consider National Tie One On Day!

As it is explained on the Apron Memories site, "Put the give back into Thanksgiving. Participation is simple. On the day before Thanksgiving, November 24th this year, pause in the preparation of your own meal, wrap a loaf of bread or other baked good in an apron, tuck a prayer or note of encouragement in the pocket, and tie one on…an apron, of course! and deliver the wrapped bundle to someone without your bounty… a neighbor, friend or family member in need of physical or spiritual sustenance, a bit of recognition or just a kind word." Apron Memories also provides you with a printable National Tie One On Day notecard to go with your gift.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Top 10 Reading Lists

Library Journal's Top 10

American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of our Woods, Water, and Fields by Rowan Jacobsen *
By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
How to Live, Or, a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell *
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Tiger by John Vaillant
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
Walker Evans: Decade by Decade by Hatje Cantz *

Publisher's Weekly Top 10

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee
The Big Short by Michael Lewis
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Man in the Woods by Scott Spencer *
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
*not in the ABC Libraries catalog

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Geography Databases

Our Resource Center-which offers free 24/7 access to databases containing articles from encyclopedias, magazines, newspapers and more with your valid Albuquerque/Bernalillo County library card-has a couple of great new databases, particularly if you're planning on traveling anytime soon!

A to Z Maps- is one of the world’s largest online sources for world, continent, country and state maps. In A to Z Maps you’ll have access to proprietary maps, games, images and puzzles developed by World Trade Press — plus public domain maps and images culled from hundreds of resources worldwide. Available maps include earthquake maps, climate change maps, bathymetric & fishing maps, Holy Land maps & NASA maps.
Tip Sheet /Find it!

Global Road Warrior -As a “one-stop” source for country, geographic, cultural, social, business and travel information, Global Road Warrior presents robust, practical and continuously expanding content of interest to all ages. Easy-to-navigate interface and intuitive browsing features help users to find information quickly and concisely. For instance, a search of Finland will give you the title Republic of Finland /Suomen Tasavalta, & you can look up its climate, internet details, look at city views, check out a security briefing, & view travel essentials. There are also printable reports on Finland's business culture, banknotes & coinage, points of interest, & more!
Tip Sheet /Find it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Keyword Searches, or More Books About Books

I tend to search by keyword in the library catalog. Some librarians will tell you that subject heading searches are more accurate, & they probably are, but then you have to know the subject headings, which I don't always find straightforward (for instance, when I'm looking for a biography of Elizabeth Taylor, the subject "Motion picture actors and actresses -- United States -- Biography" just doesn't come naturally to my brain). If you're interested in checking out subject headings, each book in the catalog has a list of them under the "Find Similar Items" tab. If you click on the subject headings, you will be directed to books with the same subject. However, using a keyword search of part of a subject heading for Jane's Fame-using just the word "appreciation"-brought up a couple more books I'm considering reading. I have often used pieces of subject headings to find books I'm looking for-in my chick lit phase I used combinations of "chick lit", "London" (I like English authors), "single women", & "humorous stories" to search in the catalog for more titles to read.

-The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People who Read Them by Elif Batuman
-Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime by Patricia Hampl

The following two books I have read & highly recommend! Winterson's book is more about art & theory, & Thurman's essays-many of which were previously published in the New Yorker-range from performance art to literature to fashion. Both these books made me want to read more books!

-Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery by Jeanette Winterson
Cleopatra's Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire by Judith Thurman

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Science Corner

I confess, I'm not much for science. You've probably noticed that science & math don't much feature in this blog. Well, I'd like to remedy that. I don't exactly have the background to go in-depth, but I thought the occasional foray might be appreciated, so here goes!

A co-worker of mine has recommended The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray. He says that he often feels that in science classes, they teach you about the periodic table so fast, you don't really get a feeling for everything that the elements do & the history of the elements. He recommends this read for anyone wanting to learn more in-depth about the elements. Also consider the new Stephen Hawking book, The Grand Design; The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman; & Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox.

For the kids, I'd like to share a couple of recipes other co-workers have recommended: Slime (made from Borax & Elmer's Glue) & Oobleck (as in Bartholomew & the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss). I guess these might have been more timely had I introduced them before Halloween, but is there really a right or a wrong time to make slime? Also, if you need to entertain a child who loves science, the system has many science experiment books for kids of all ages!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Community Calendar

On our home page, in the sidebar under Research Assistance, you'll find the link to our Resource Center. This is a grouping of websites & databases for your use-great if you need last minute help with a research paper, or copies of legal forms, even investment advice. But did you know you can also connect to many local sites of interest, from the Albuquerque Journal to New Mexico Magazine? Did you know you can find out local events from New Mexico CultureNet & other resources? New Mexico CultureNet lists events for Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, & surrounding areas. You can search the calendar, check out just this weekend's happenings, & limit your search by category. Adult & children's events are included.

Here are some events highlighted by CultureNet for this weekend:

  • 19th Annual National Pastel Painting Exhibition AND Small Works Exhibition, Saturday, Nov 06 2010 to Sunday, Nov 28 2010, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, at EXPO NM-Hispanic Arts Center
  • Words Afire Festival of New Plays Directed Readings: Words Afire Fall Reading Series, an exciting “first look” at new plays in development for the 2011 Words Afire Festival by Georgina Escobar, Nic Wehrwein, Riti Sachdeva, and Law Chavez, with guest directors and special guest adjudicator Megan Monaghan.
    UNM Department of Theatre and Dance Experimental Theatre, November 5-7
  • Scandinavian Festival: The festival features Norwegian and Swedish folk art, books, Christmas ornaments, cards, jewelry, t-shirts & cookbooks. The women will be dressed in ethnic costumes and the Scandinavian Club will serve Old World cookies and coffee. Live fiddle music and Scandinavian dancing at 11 am, 12 noon and 1 pm. There will also be a kids' craft corner. Saturday November 6th, 10 am - 4 pm, at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 114 Carlisle SE
  • Festival de Cine: El Bola (2000) at National Hispanic Cultural Center, Wells Fargo Auditorium, Saturday, November 6th at 6:30 pm. El Bola is a Spanish film (shown with subtitles), directed by Achero Mañas. It won the Mejor Película (Best Film) Goya Award in 2001.
&, just out of interest, here's a literaryevent a bit further down the road:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shhhhhh . . . Libraries at Work

The Bob Edwards Show on Sirius Satellite Radio recently ran a series called "Libraries at Work".

From the site: "In recent years, public libraries have worked hard to shed their reputation for dusty stacks and tight lipped librarians; look no further than the youtube video of librarians dancing to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” to see that the public library is cutting loose. And as many people are turning to their public library for support during the current recession, using the library internet to apply for jobs, and to check out books, movies, and music, the new laid-back image is well-timed. But just as the recession hit many citizens’ pocket books, libraries are also struggling to keep their doors open for patrons and provide the services people need. To celebrate National Book Month, we will look at the successes and problems of our national library system." Interviewees included current American Library Association president Roberta Stevens, library historian Matthew Battles, & Glennor Shirley, Library Coordinator for the Maryland Correctional Education Libraries.

The Bob Edwards Show airs Monday through Friday 8-9 AM (eastern time) on XM Channel 133 and Sirius Channel 196. Anyone catch any of the series? I'm curious to find out if it was good.