Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Wishes for 2012!

What are you doing New Year's Eve?  The 13 regularly-scheduled Saturday branches are open on December 31st, but all Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Libraries will be closed on Sunday, January 1st & Monday, January 2nd.  Libraries will reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd.  Have a festive & safe holiday! See you next year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Science Corner

Was our last science post really in March?  I've been remiss.  Let me try to make it up to the scientifically minded with some end-of-year book recommendations & a contest for kids!


A fun blog that I've recently discovered, Handsome Science, recommends these science tomes:

The Clockwork Universe by Edward Dolnick - A rousing tale, focusing mainly on Isaac Newton and his contemporaries, friends and rivals alike, of the early science of finding the workings of the solar system. Newton, like many others of his day, believed God had set a beautifully systematic solar system in motion aeons ago, or perhaps still had His hand in the motions. That either/or was actually a huge dilemma for these thinkers, since either God was no longer necessary for the universe to function, or had created an imperfect universe requiring His constant intervention!

The 4% Universe by Richard Panek - While this book isn't bogged down in jargon, it doesn't make for the lightest reading, either. But pick it up if you're interested in the story of how the evidence and theories of dark matter and dark energy accumulated over the last century, culminating in two ground-breaking theories of the cosmos emerging in the last few decades. The book covers many personal stories of the researchers and mathematicians who had to reconcile the known effects of gravity with new, baffling observations of distant galaxies.

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean - Pick this up for a great read on some very interesting elements, beginning from the earliest to be isolated, like hydrogen and oxygen, to those being created in modern atom-smashing labs today. Elements with interesting properties or histories are covered in more detail, such as gallium, a metal that melts somewhere between room and body temperature, used in an early practical joke chemists would play on their guests. (1. Make spoon of gallium. 2. Give spoon to guest to stir their hot tea with. 3. Laugh as guest pulls spoon handle out the tea, wondering where the other half went! 4. Make sure the guest does not drink the gallium-poisoned tea.)

Death by Black Hole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson - If you're anything like me, you've probably seen Dr. Tyson on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report about a dozen times now. He just might have the greatest stage presence and sense of humor of any astrophysicist in history. In fact, Carl Sagan of the TV show Cosmos was one of his idols and mentors. I think I first started seeing Neil DeGrasse Tyson on various Discovery Channel specials about the solar system and the rest of the universe. Death by Black Hole gave me the first clear picture of why a black hole is the way it is. And Dr. Tyson also gives one of his favorite thought experiments: what it would be like to fall into a black hole, feet first. He uses the term "spaghettification."

Death from the Skies by Phil Plait - Another dark title, from one of the most recognized names in astronomy blogging, Death from the Skies covers a myriad of different doomsday scenarios for our little blue planet, from asteroid impacts to the heat-death of the universe. (Warning: both are pretty much inevitable, but the latter is the subject of perhaps the most depressing thoughts I've ever had.) Phil Plait writes the blog Bad Astronomy, which is always worth checking out.

Sciencia: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Astronomy for All by Burkard Polster, Gerard Cheshire, Matt Tweed and Matthew Watkins - This one could very easily make my job here obsolete, but I'll recommend you pick it up anyway. This is the only book on the list I haven't read cover to cover, and I almost bought myself a copy, but based on my wife's behavior at the bookstore, I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be getting it sometime soon after all... The reason I mention this one in particular is that it jumped out at me as a layman's encyclopedia of every major scientific concept out there: cellular life, evolution, galaxies, stars, you name it. (I'd have more examples, but I only got a quick peek!) And each concept is covered in one page of clear language and a picture. Beautiful.

All comments are taken from the blog. Thanks, Robert Stewart-Rogers!
The Kids' Science Challenge
Where kids discover that science is cool!
What is the Kids’ Science Challenge?
The Kids’ Science Challenge (KSC), the premiere elementary school science competition in the US, is a free, nationwide science competition for students in grades 3 through 6. The KSC is funded primarily by the National Science Foundation but also receives support from other foundations and corporations. The KSC engages kids to use their creativity to make connections and innovate on our current conceptions of how things work. By participating in the competition, engaging in KSC activities and following the experiences of the winners, all students learn more about the process of innovation and about how those curious “what if” questions are the foundation of scientific thinking.

How do I enter and how does the competition work?

Each year the KSC selects 3 science topics and a panel of expert scientists and engineers. The entry process is 3 easy steps:
STEP 1: Kids research the three topics.

STEP 2: Kids brainstorm their ideas, experiments or problems.

STEP 3: Kids submit their ideas or experiments for scientists to solve.
Students may enter in more than one science topic (Zero Waste, Animal Smarts, Meals on Mars), but must complete and submit a new application for each entry. There is a limit of one entry per topic for an individual or team.

What are the topics this year?

The Challenge: Can you invent a package that never ends up in a landfill?

The Challenge: Can you design a toy, game or experiment that enhances the life of a pet or zoo animal and demonstrates its particular intelligence?

The Challenge: Can you come up with a new way to preserve, cook, deliver or sustainably produce food in flight or on Mars?

What is the entry deadline?

The Kids’ Science Challenge is open for entries from October 1, 2011 thru February 29, 2012. You can complete the entry online or mail/fax a copy to the KSC. As of December 27th, there are still 62 days left to register for the Kids Science Challenge!  You can find out more at their website.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The ABC Libraries' Best Books of 2011

All books listed below are recommended by library staff.  Thanks to all the staff members who suggested titles!


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch

Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The Free World by David Bezmozgis

There But For The by Ali Smith

Deathless by Catherynne Valente

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

Where the Shadows Lie by Michael Ridpath

Love You More by Lisa Gardner

Fallen by Karin Slaughter

The Bride's House by Sandra Dallas

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

Heartless by Gail Carriger

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Children's & Young Adult Fiction

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

The Isle of Blood by William James Henry ; edited by Rick Yancey

Lost & Found: three by Shaun Tan


It Looked Different on the Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy by Laurie Notaro

Life by Keith Richards, James Fox

View From Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World by Carl Safina

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter by Mark Seal

Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan by Jeff Greenfield

Bird Cloud: A Memoir by Annie Proulx

Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects by Amy Stewart

The Churchills: In Love & War by Mary Lovell

Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past by Simon Reynolds

Just My Type: A Book about Fonts by Simon Garfield

Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

Here are the ABC Libraries' customers' favorites - or at least the ones that had the highest circulation in November & December.

Top 20 Book Checkouts for ABC Libraries (system-wide)

  1. Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
  2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  3. The Confession by John Grisham
  4. The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
  5. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  6. Toys by James Patterson
  7. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson
  8. Bel-Air Dead by Stuart Woods
  9. The Reversal by Michael Connelly
  10. Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
  11. Tick Tock by James Patterson
  12. Cross Fire by James Patterson
  13. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  14. Live Wire by Harlan Coben
  15. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  16. Sixkill by Robert B. Parker
  17. Mystery by Jonathan Kellerman
  18. I'll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark
  19. Now You See Her by James Patterson
  20. Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson

  1. Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
  2. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  3. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
  4. Cracking the GED
  5. The World Book Encyclopedia
  6. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  7. The Guinness Book of Records
  8. Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
  9. Moon Handbooks
  10. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  11. The Greater Journey by David G. McCullough
  12. Barron's Pass Key to the GED High School Equivalency Exam
  13. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  14. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Lee Dugard
  15. Troublemaker by Janet Evanovich
  16. Kill-A-Watt energy detector
  17. Cracking the SAT
  18. Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff
  19. I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron
  20. Cracking the ACT
Just for fun:  check out Stereotyping You by Your Favorite Book of 2011!  If I were to pick my favorite off this list, it would be Bossypants, putting me in the "Hilarious ladies and the ladies who want to be them" category.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays to all!  All Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Libraries will be closed on Sunday, December 25th & Monday, December 26th.  Libraries will reopen on Tuesday, December 27th.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What to Read Next

This year, I did a personal book challenge called Take a Chance.  Sadly, the site that hosts this challenge will not be doing so in 2012, but I wanted to share with you the websites & methods that  they recommended to find new books to read.  I had a lot of fun finding books to read using these methods!

1: Staff Member’s Choice: Go to a bookstore or library that has a “Staff Picks” section. Read one of the picks from that section.

2: Loved One’s Choice: Ask a loved one to pick a book for you to read. (If you can convince them to buy it for you, that is even better!)

3: Blogger’s Choice: Find a “Best Books Read” post from a favorite blogger. Read a book from their list.

4: Critic’s Choice: Find a “Best of the Year” list from a magazine, newspaper or professional critic. Read a book from their Top 10 list.

5: Blurb Book: Find a book that has a blurb on it from another author. Read a book by the author that wrote the blurb.

6: Book Seer Pick: Go to The Book Seer and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.

7: What Should I Read Next Pick : Go to What Should I Read Next and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.

8: Which Book Pick: Go to Which Book and use the software to generate a list of books. Read a book from that list.

9: LibraryThing Pick: Go to LibraryThing’s Zeitgeist page. Look at the lists for 25 Most Reviewed Books or Top Books and pick a book you’ve never read. Read the book. (Yes … you can click on MORE if you have to.)

10: Pick A Method: Pick a method for finding a book from the choices listed below.

Random Book Selection. Go to the library. Position yourself in a section such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Children (whatever section you want). Then write down random directions for yourself (for example, third row, second shelf, fifth book from right). Follow your directions and see what book you find. Check that book out of the library, read it and then write about it. (If you prefer, you can do the same at a bookstore and buy the book!)

Public Spying. Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it.

Random Bestseller. Go to and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the number 1950 for the min. and 2010 for the max. and then hit generate. Then go to this site and find the year that generated for you and click on it. Then find the bestseller list for the week that would contain your birthday for that year. Choose one of the bestsellers from the list that comes up, read it and write about it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What are your goals for 2012?

I blame Julie and Julia:365 days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen-How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living for starting this trend of challenging yourself to follow a year long quest, & then write a book about it.  In the past, didn't people just make New Year's resolutions & then give them up after a couple of months?  Suddenly, everyone's spending a year travelling with kids (& in one memorable case, a cat) or following all the advice from women's magazines or saying yes to everyone who asks for a date or spending the last months of their twenties embarking on a multitide of adventures for a  "year of fear".  Below you can find a list of memoirs by folks who have dedicated themselves to changing up their lives, in one form or another, for a year (or thereabouts).  What do you think?  Could you do it?  Would you do it?  What challenge would you consider taking on for a year?

365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life

Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of  the Queen of Talk

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible 

The Year of Living like Jesus: My Journey of Discovering What Jesus Would Really Do

The Year of the Goat: 40,000 Miles and the Quest for the Perfect Cheese

The Year of Eating Dangerously: A Global Adventure in Search of Culinary Extremes

The Year of Yes: A Memoir

A Year of Sundays: Taking the Plunge (and Our Cat) to Explore Europe

Living a Year of Kaddish

Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously

Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Twelve Self-Help Programs, One Whirlwind Year of Improvement

Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally

Diary of a Real Estate Rookie: My Year of Flipping, Selling, and Rebuilding-- and What I Learned (The Hard Way)

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Give it Up: My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading

Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously

Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life

The Feast Nearby: How I Lost My Job, Buried a Marriage, and Found My Way by Keeping Chickens, Foraging, Preserving, Bartering, and Eating Locally (All on $40 a Week)

My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir

Chastened: The Unexpected Story of My Year Without Sex

A Year Without "Made in China": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy

One Year Off: Leaving it All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children

The Happiness Project, or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

Up for Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me about Love, Sex, and Starting Over

Still Life with Chickens: Starting Over in a House by the Sea

The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time

Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living

No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes about Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process

The Know-it-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping

The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment that Transformed Their Lives

52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust

The One-Week Job Project: One Man, 1 Year, 52 Jobs

Or, if you'd prefer not to take on a major quest next year, here are some self-improvement titles to help you just have a great year!

The Best Year of Your Life: Dream It, Plan It, Live It

The Gift of a Year: How to Give Yourself the Most Meaningful, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Year of Your Life

A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as if It Were Your Last

Romancing the Ordinary: A Year of Simple Splendor

Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time

One way or another, here's hoping you have a happy new year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fads & Trends, Curiosities & Wonders

I don't profess to be fashionable.  I am on the cutting edge of nothing.  So, when the Weekly Alibi ran a feature recently on "Planking/Flanking", I was fairly clueless.  Then, yesterday, a co-worker turned me on to Tebowing, & as a corollary, I discovered Owling.  How have I missed all the fun fads?

As I am wont to do when I want to learn about something, I turned to my friendly local library catalog.  A keyword search of "fads" turned up titles such as Panati's Parade of Fads, Follies, and Manias: The Origins of Our Most Cherished Obsessions, Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads,& Poplorica: A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions, and Lore that Shaped Modern AmericaA good background, but none of these books were going to keep me au courant.  We do have the I Can Has Cheezburger?: A LOLcat Collekshun book-wasn't that all the rage not too long ago?  Are people still doing PostSecret? How about Sh*t My Dad Says?  I guess people are still loving The Onion, since you can now pick up a copy locally.  The literary mashup genre still seems to be going strong, though I stopped reading at Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter.

However, what my search for fads did lead me to was a couple of very interesting subject headings (when looking an item record, you can find subject headings under the "Find Similar Items" tab): Popular Culture, seven glorious pages of off-the-wall books from Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now to Hip, The History; & Curiosities & Wonders, which brings you New Mexico Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff, The Book of Useless Information, & Charles Fort: The Man who Invented the Supernatural. I'm sure I'll be reading in these subjects for quite some time.

Some other fun things you might enjoy:

Garfield minus Garfield

Simon's Cat on YouTube

Awkward Family Photos

The Bad Fads Museum

Cake Wrecks

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers

For our next book review in the Oceans 11 reading challenge, here's a few words from library patron & friend of abcreads Susan:

The Riddle of the Sands is said to be the first espionage/thriller novel. In 1903, 11 years before WWI, Erskine Childers felt compelled to awaken Britain to Germany's growing sea power and the potential for invasion, so Britain would organize effective naval defense. The book was effective, and triggered plans for better coastal defenses. Although Childers provided a key warning to protect Britain, he later supported the Irish cause and was executed for treason.

Charles Carruthers,working at the Foreign Office, receives a letter from acquaintance Arthur Davies, inviting him to travel on his yacht to hunt ducks in the Frisian islands off Germany. Carruthers expects a luxury cruise, but upon arrival finds he and Davies are the entire crew of the far-from-luxurious Dulcibella. He soon comes to respect Davies' seamanship, and the landscape melts his condescension.

As they explore "the sands", Davies confesses his ulterior motive for having Carruthers along....Carruthers can speak German. Davies is certain they must uncover a military plot against Britain based on the tidal sands of the Frisians.

The writing is relaxed and descriptive, and the story proceeds at a slow pace, enjoyable for readers who enjoy detailed settings and gradual plot buildup. The narrative includes and frequently references maps to describe in detail how Carruthers and Davies navigate the waterways. The late season (October) is an important factor in their quest, creating many challenges and the occasional advantage due to weather.

A few suspenseful scenes qualify the book as a thriller, but this is a story to savor at leisure, not a page-turner that keeps you up late to finish. Carruthers and Davies are on a quest for evidence to back up their hypothesis and solve an intellectual puzzle (what is the signifcance of the sands?). The wealth of nautical and historical detail will delight pre-WWI naval buffs.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Georgette Heyer

I profess that I have never read one book by Georgette Heyer, but yet I found myself curious as to the staying power of her novels through the years.  Who was this woman who continues to charm women the world over with her light, often witty romance novels?  Although, they are not just frippy romance works, they are often historical in nature, with details that took a lot of research.  Georgette wanted her works to be accurate and had over 1,000 reference books to help with certain facts about clothing, hats, prices, shops, foods, and how people addressed each other.  She even purchased a letter written by the Duke of Wellington to accurately portray his style of writing in the novel An Infamous Army

Ms. Heyer was born in 1902 in Wimbeldon, London and grew up with two younger brothers, Boris and Frank.  She was named Georgette after her father George, who after serving with the British Army in World War I went on to teach at King's College London.  He encouraged his children to read and no restrictions were placed on the titles they chose.  When she was 17, she began a serial work titled The Black Moth to amuse her brother Boris who was often sick and her father felt it had great potential.  He found a publisher for the book and it was published in 1921. 

In 1920 she met a young man by the name of George Ronald Rougier and after her father passed away in the spring of 1925, they became engaged and married in August of that year.  Ronald was a mining engineer and soon after they were married he was sent to the Caucasus Mountains in Russia and Georgetter stayed home and wrote her next novel, These Old Shades.  The book came out in the middle of the 1926 General Strike and no publicity was put out about the novel, but yet it sold 190,000 copies.  She realized she could sell books without having to deal with interviewers and never once gave another interview or helped to promote her published works.  Ms. Heyer also wrote thrillers and detective novels, but those books were never quite as popular as her historical fiction. 

Her books did very well during the Great Depression and World War II as many readers felt her books were great escapist literature that helped them cope with the difficulties of their lives.  Readers in the United States were introduced to her works via mass-market paperbacks in 1966 and many felt she had invented the historical romance and its subgenre, the Regency romance.  She received no mentions from most critics, but it was not something she was concerned with.  As long as her readers liked them, that was good enough for her.  Yet, the many authors today who style their works in the historical romance or Regency genre owe much to Georgette Heyer, who blazed the trail for them to follow.  In fact under "Regency fiction" as a keyword search in the catalog there are over 332 titles listed!

Ms. Heyer passed away in 1974 and at the time of her death, forty-eight of her novels were still in print.  Her last novel, My Lord John was published posthumously.  The library does not own all of them, but there are thirty-two titles in the catalog and others could be ordered through Interlibrary Loan if you wish to challenge yourself to read them all. 

Here are some of the titles that the library has in the catalog:


Devil's Cub

The Talisman Ring



April Lady


Black Sheep

Sprig Muslin

The Masqueraders

While searching the web for information on Ms. Heyer I came across several websites that may be of interest. to the Georgette Heyer section with some quotes from some of her best novels and testimonials by her fans. short article on an appreciaton of her work. link has an extensive listing of her titles provided by her representative and most of her titles are available as e-books. article, with covers of her works is a Perpetual Reading Challenge with no set time or date to complete this link you can send Georgette Heyer e-cards to all your friends! listing of a majority of her titles.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Dead Cat Bounce by Sarah Graves

For our next book review in the Oceans 11 reading challenge, here's a few words from library patron & friend of abcreads Susan:

"Dead cat bounce": stock market jargon for a small temporary rise in a stock's trading price, after a sharp drop.

The Dead Cat Bounce is the first installment of the Home Repair is Homicide series, set in Eastport Maine, the easternmost US city, in the modern day. Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree has traded her fast-track life as an investment analyst for 'fat cats' including high-level mobsters, and escaped her marriage with an egotistic, narcissistic brain surgeon, for a more peaceful life in Maine with her son Sam. Returning from a business trip, she found and impulsively purchased a 200-year-old home, which requires endless repair. She has a new and rewarding relationship with Wade, a boat pilot, and a new best friend Ellie, a calm and steady "down easter" (lifetime local). When a shady millionaire with local roots is murdered, and her best friend Ellie confesses to the murder but asks Jacobia to investigate, of course she must. What she doesn't expect are the threats followed by serious attempts on her life and her son Sam's, including burning her house. Complicating matters further is the unexpected appearance of her ex-husband the brain surgeon with his latest young girlfriend, in his latest attempt to dictate their son's life. Jacobia prevails due to her loyalty and integrity. Look forward to many more in this series.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2012 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

The Eclectic Bookshelf blog is hosting a 2012 reading challenge very dear to our librarian hearts: Support Your Local Library! 

Here are the rules:

  • Anyone can join.

  • You don't need a blog to participate. If you are a non-blogger please leave a comment with a link (if you review elsewhere) to your review or with the book(s) you read.

  • Audio, ebooks (some libraries allow ebooks to be checked out), bound books are ok.

  • No re-reads
  • Challenge goes from January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012


Level 1 - Read 12 library books

Level 2 - Read 24 library books

Level 3 - Read 36 library books

Level 4 - Read 37+ library books

We'd like to encourage all our patrons to challenge themselves to read, read, read in 2012!  Sign up for this challenge at the host blog, or if you'd like to participate, but don't want to sign up at Eclectic Bookshelf, we'll have a spot in our abcreads book banter forums where you can tell us about what (& how much) you've been reading during the year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Celebrate 15 Years of the BioPark Botanic Garden and Aquarium!

The BioPark invites you to join the party as they celebrate their 15th birthday!

The 15-day celebration is from December 9 - 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. There will be a birthday party on  December 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.! Enjoy amazing education stations, a giant birthday card and a birthday cake at noon.

As a thank you to BioPark guests, the Botanic Garden and Aquarium will offer specials and exciting events!

•The 15th person who visits the Botanic Garden and Aquarium each day will win a pair of tickets to River of Lights at the Botanic Garden!

•15% off select items and giveaways in the Aquarium Gift Shop.

•15% off select breakfast and lunch items at the Shark Reef Cafe.

•Anyone born on the 15th day of any month will get into the Garden and Aquarium for free! ID must be shown for admission, and does not include admission to River of Lights.

Planning a visit to the BioPark?  Look up books about zoos, gardens, & aquariums in the library catalog!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gizmo Garage

eBooks are all the rage these days, & we here at ABC Libraries aim to please.  Our Digital Library offers a bevy of eBooks & eAudiobooks for your literary pleasure!  Since we know that some of our customers will be looking to give & receive eReaders during the holiday season, we'd like to invite you to the Gizmo Garage

The Gizmo Garage is your chance to take a look at some of the devices that are out there, such as the Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, and iPod Touch. You'll be able to ask our friendly & knowledgeable staff questions about the different eReaders available. A visit to the Gizmo Garage is also a great way to test potential holiday gifts! There are several Gizmo Garages scheduled this month at different branches!

Wednesday, December 7
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Thursday, December 8
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Saturday, December 10
10 am - 11 am

Saturday, December 10
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Tuesday, December 13
6 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Wednesday, December 14
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Friday, December 16
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Saturday, December 17
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Wednesday, December 21
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Wednesday, December 28
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Once you have committed to the gizmo of your choice, make sure to check out our free instructor-led computer classes, which include Downloading Digital Media sessions!  Check out this list of the most downloaded books this season according to Overdrive, our provider for all things downloadable, for an idea of how many popular titles are available digitally these days!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Literary Links: This Day in History in the Library Catalog

December 5 is the 339th day of the year  in the Gregorian calendar. There are 26 days remaining until the end of the year.

On December 5th...

In 1830, 1837, and 1890, works by Hector Berlioz premiered.

In 1901, Walt Disney, the pioneer of animated cartoon films and founder of the Disney theme parks, was born.

In 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.
In 1974, Monty Python's Flying Circus is last shown on the BBC.
In 1978, Sam Shepard's Pulitzer-winning play Buried Child premiered in New York City.

In 1994, Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the first GOP speaker of the House in four decades.

December 5th birthdays

Little Richard

Joan Didion

Calvin Trillin

J. J. Cale

Margaret Cho

Historical Birthdays

Martin Van Buren

Christina Rossetti

George Armstrong Custer

Fritz Lang

Otto Preminger

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Which are the best books of 2011?

It's that time of The Reader's Advisor Online calls it, "Best Books of the Year season".  So far, the Reader's Advisor has compiled over 20 "best of" lists, ranging from "Best Children's Books" to the "Top Ten Food Books", from sources as varied as magazines, bookstores, & the Vampire Book Club. Here are some lists you may enjoy:

What were your favorite books of 2011?  I haven't read a lot of books that made any lists this year, but I did enjoy Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, Donna Leon's Drawing Conclusions, & Bossypants by Tina Fey.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Inner Music Nerd

I know a lot of guys who are into music.  I know a lot of guys who are in bands.  Not so many girls, in my limited experience. That's why I am so glad we have books in the system such as: Record Collecting for Girls: Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Time by Courtney E. Smith; Cinderella's Big Score: Women of the Punk and Indie Underground by Maria Raha; Girls Rock!: Fifty Years of Women Making Music by Mina Carson et al.; & The Girls' Guide to Rocking: How to Start a Band, Book Gigs, and Get Rolling to Rock Stardom by Jessica Hopper.

I have been thinking about women in music a lot lately, since I saw the inspiring movie Girls Rock!  a few years ago, about Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls.  (The camp that started it all is in Portland, OR, but there are now camps all over the U.S., in Canada, & in the U.K.) So, when I read the Library Journal article Music for the Masses: Q & A with Courtney E. Smith, the author of the latest of the books listed above, Record Collecting for Girls, I knew I had to check it out.

I have not been disappointed!  Courtney Smith's book starts out with a reference to one of my favorite books/movies, High Fidelity, & "the art of the Top Five List"-because, as Nick Hornby's book declares, for lots of music snobs, "what you like is what you're like". Smith offers hints to creating your own Top Five lists-her example is her Top Five artists. Always a fun time-waster.

Smith then moves on to covering topics such as "Where Have All the Girl Bands Gone?", a little slice of musical history; music blogs & sites like; movie soundtracks; "Guilty Pleasures" (every music snob has them);  break-up songs mirroring the stages of grief; from Madonna to Lady Gaga & M.I.A.; rock 'n' roll consorts; and possibly my favorite chapter in the whole book, "The Smiths Syndrome", with its classic advice, "Never date a guy who likes the Smiths too who are afflicted by the Smiths Syndrome tend to embody [Morrissey's] angst in an unfortunate way".

There is also a short chapter on actual record collecting, which features a discussion on "it isn't just the format of available music that have changed-everything about the way we listen to and consume music has changed as well." Do you need to own a physical copy of an album?  Does that make you a traditionalist? What makes listening to music on vinyl special? The only thing I thought this section lacked was a discussion of alternate audio file formats-I know there's more than MP3s out there, but that's what I hear about most.

Record Collecting for Girls is an informal & anecdotal look into the world of music by women (although it's "for girls", I think those born in the '80s or later might miss some of the references). I hope it will join the ranks of Songbook, Love is a Mix Tape, But Enough about Me, Fargo Rock CityRock and Roll Will Save Your Life & other books that, aimed at music geeks like myself, seem to make music a character in their story.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Shatnerverse

William Shatner.  Love him or hate him, he's ubiquitous & larger than life.  This 80-year old sci-fi icon is always juggling his many hats: actor, author, spokesperson, equestrian, self-promoter. A keyword search of his name brings up 34 items in the library catalog that he's been involved in on some level, from The Encyclopedia Shatnerica to Over the Hedge to Star Trek: I'm Working on That - A Trek from Science Fiction to Science Fact.

Like the Energizer Bunny, Shatner just keeps going...and going...and going.  ABC Libraries features 3 brand-spanking-new items by William Shatner in the catalog in 3 different mediums!  They are:

Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large
Nobody works his personal mythology better than Shatner. A tongue-in-cheek guide for living which features rules for common & uncommon situations, including turning 80, & "Fun Factners".

The Captains, a film by William Shatner
A vanity project, but one that diehard Trekkers won't want to miss! Shatner "travels around the globe to interview the elite group of actors who have portrayed the role of Enterprise Captain, giving fans an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the pop culture phenomenon".

Seeking Major Tom
As puts it, "William Shatner returns to the final frontier of music recording with this space-themed concept album that boldly goes where no man has gone before!"  This 2-disc music CD includes Shatneriffic covers of "Space Oddity", "Rocket Man", "She Blinded Me with Science", even Duran Duran's "Planet Earth". The supporting cast includes Lyle Lovett, Bootsy Collins, Sheryl Crow, & Peter Frampton.

It's time to accept it.  We are living in the Shatnerverse. Might as well live as large as Shatner.