Monday, January 31, 2011

Cavemen Didn't Get Fat

Take a step back in time to achieve greater health and wellbeing! This is the message from Mark Sisson in the book The Primal Blueprint and the companion volume The Primal Blueprint Cookbook. The Primal Blueprint presents Mr Sisson's complete plan for achieving a healthier life, eschewing what he calls conventional wisdom and taking us back to a more natural way of life. We cannot become the hunter-gatherers our ancestors were, but we can model our diets and our exercise routines to live more in harmony with our evolution. Not exactly a low-carb diet because of its emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, he does recommend avoiding all types of grains to model our diet after what our primitive ancestors would have eaten. His advice on exercise leans towards regular, extended slow cardio (like long walks and hikes) with a few sporadic high-intensity strength training sessions and occasional sprints. It's a "new" approach to health and wellbeing that harkens back to a primitive time. If you find any of these ideas interesting you might also want to check out The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet & Neanderthin: Eat like a Caveman to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body, which explore similiar dietary themes. Also, the book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen explores some of the benefits of barefoot running/exercising which is addressed in The Primal Blueprint and is itself a funny and enjoyable read about long distance running and runners. Take a step back in time with these interesting books and see if their ideas may fit into your modern life!

Visit Mark's Daily Apple: Primal Living in the Modern World, the Primal Blueprint website, for success stories, freebies, & more! Also, the library's Resource Center has a Health & Medicine section you can browse for more wellness tips.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What Not to Read into Fashion

There are a lot of people writing (& hosting TV shows) about fashion. We've all heard the catchwords: "What Not to Wear", "Fierce Style", "fashionista" & so on. You can read books about Audrey Hepburn's & Jackie O's style. But most of us are not America's Top Model or have an unlimited budget. Where can we look for style advice?

I like the following books on fashion as they reinforce the fact that there is no stereotypical beauty in real life, unlike the ideal created (usually by men) in the fashion world. Women come in all shapes & sizes, just needing a little guidance on their own attributes & how to enhance them. All women can make the best of what they have, given a little direction, & be beautiful in their own style.

Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia

Glamour's Big Book of Dos and Don'ts: Fashion Help for Every Woman by Cindi Leive

Style 101: What Every Stylish Woman Should Know from the editors of In Style magazine

Redefining Beauty: Discovering Your Individual Beauty, Enhancing Your Self-Esteem by Victoria Jackson with Paddy Calistro

Just to give you an idea of what goes on, here's a peek into today's fashion world, Chanel-style:

This year, Islamabad has its first Fashion Week!

Also, check out next month's - "FROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS" , NEW WORKS BY RECYCLED TIN ARTIST MARCIA SEDNEK - Mariposa Gallery - Reception Fri, Feb 4 from 5:00pm-8:00pm. "Combining fashion & folk art, Albuquerque artist Marcia Sednek creates mini dresses & ball gowns from vintage tin & found objects." ~from Local IQ

Check out this list of "Worn-Out Fashion Terms" from the New York Times!

Also visit James Laver and Laws on the Timeline of Style.

& here's a question we've all been asking ourselves at the branch:

Sandra Bullock Golden Globes 2011: Hit or Miss?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Art Things Considered

"Art is either plagiarism or revolution."
~Paul Gauguin

This year I am determined to increase my art knowledge. I am currently reading Sarah Thornton's fascinating Seven Days in the Art World-this is a great introduction, because in each chapter she delves into a different facet of the art world: The Auction; The Crit; The Fair; The Prize; The Magazine; The Studio Visit; The Biennale.Each chapter is a "day-in-the-life" narrative based on interviews & "participant observation" as Thornton attends a Christie's auction, a Los Angeles art school seminar, and so on. Published in 2008, Thornton writes about a booming art market-I don't know if it still is booming.

I also picked up a book called The Daily Book of Art: 365 Readings that Teach, Inspire, & Entertain. (It was cheaper than taking an Art History class.) Several authors contributed to it, & it features writings on "unexpected art forms", "profiles in art", "a picture's worth 200 words", "art around the world", & "art from the inside out". So far I have learned such tidbits as:

Tupilaks (day 7)

The Elephant Artists of Thailand (day 9)

That the paintings of Jan Vermeer "exemplify repoussir (French for "to push back"), a technique used to give the illusion of depth by situating large objects or figures in the foreground." Also, did you know there are only 36 surviving Vermeer paintings?

Happenings & the Fluxus Movement (day 18)

The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA): Art Too Bad to Be Ignored (day 19)

I hope to share more of my art knowledge with you throughout the year.

For more books like Sarah Thornton's, try a subject search under Art Criticism, Art -- Marketing, or Art -- Competitions in the library catalog. I would also like to recommend some of the movies that got me thinking about art: The Cats of Mirikitani; The Art of the Steal; Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child; L'heure d'été/Summer Hours; & Séraphine.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Albuquerque Comic Con

"Albuquerque Comic Con 2011 was an amazing success and a testament to the amazing people of New Mexico. Every celebrity guest that attended said that it was you, the people and fans of this event that made this one of the most memorable experiences of their convention lives. With over 10,000 of you passing through the doors for the 2 day event, we met so many great friends and can't wait to start planning 2012. ACC will begin selling tickets to our 2012 event as well as booth spaces to all of you vendors who enjoyed your time with us. Guest list is currently in the works. Any thoughts on who you would like to see? Let us know."
~from the website

Science fiction & fantasy & comic fans, keep an eye out for this fun event next year! Events at this year's ACC, which took place January 15th & 16th, included: Star Wars Costuming and Armor Building with 501st Dewback Legion; Self Publishing 7000 BC and others; Mixed Martial Arts with Herb Dean and Michael Westbrook; & a film festival. Special guests included Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Peter Mayhew, & Lou Ferrigno.

One of our library staff members attended the wildly successful Albuquerque Comic Con & brought back these pictures!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Science Corner: Immanuel Velikovsky

"History is written by the winners, including that of science. Unorthodoxies that flourish at the grassroots are often beneath the contempt of historians. Zetetic astronomy (flat-Earth science) was a household term in Victorian England, but not a single reference to it is found in conventional histories. We ignore such histories at our peril."
~from Worlds of Their Own: A Brief History of Misguided Ideas: Creationism, Flat-Earthism, Energy Scams, and the Velikovsky Affair by Robert Schadewald

"For one thing Velikfovskianism, and indeed, any exoheretical view that becomes prominent enough to force itself on science, acts to puncture scientific complacency-and that is good. An exoheresy may cause scientists to bestir themselves for the purpose of reexamining the bases of their beliefs, even if only to gather firm and logical reasons for the rejection of the exoheresy-and that is good too. An exoheresy may cause scientific activity which, in a serendipitous fashion, may uncover something worthwhile that has nothing to do with the exoheresy-and that is very good, if it happens."
~Isaac Asimov

Immanuel Velikovsky was a Russian-born American "futurist, prophet, mythologist, historian, scientific renegade." His most famous work is probably 1950's Worlds in Collision, which was criticized & controversial-& a New York Times bestseller. The book "proposes that many myths and traditions of ancient peoples and cultures are based on actual events: worldwide global catastrophes of a celestial origin, which had a profound effect on the lives, beliefs and writings of early mankind." Velikovsky's theory was that Venus was originally a comet made from a piece of Jupiter, & that, as a comet, it travelled the solar system, its gravitational field causing catastrophes on our planet along the way. The controversy surrounding his work and its reception is often referred to as "the Velikovsky affair". Carl Sagan was one of Velikovsky's most vocal critics.

Despite his detractors, Velikovsky's theories still have many followers & in fact his theories got a mention in the article "Quakes, Tectonic and Theoretical" in the New York Times on January 15th.

For more on Velikovsky:

Find Velikovsky's books in the catalog. Or in our Science in Context database with your valid library card!

Find Velikovsky in...The UnMuseum

...The Immanuel Velikovsky Archive

...The Immanuel Velikovsky Encyclopedia

Friday, January 21, 2011

Adventures in Deltiology

deltiology (ˌdɛltɪˈɒlədʒɪ)
— n, the collection and study of picture postcards
[C20: from Greek deltion, diminutive of deltos a writing tablet + -logy ]


Every day, I still visit my mailbox when I get home with a sense of hope-even though the bulk of my correspondence is online these days. There's such a thrill in receiving "snail mail", I always think. My father used to write me regularly, & still sends postcards when he travels. Postcards have always been my favorite mail-whenever someone leaves town, I'll be begging them to send me a postcard from wherever their journey takes them.

Since I love mail but rarely find anything in the mailbox but bills & ads, I have joined an online project called Postcrossing. The website explains: "The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive at least one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world." How does it work? After you sign up for your (free) account, it works like this:

1.Request an address and a Postcard ID
2.Mail the postcard to that address
3.Receive a postcard from another postcrosser!
4.Register the Postcard ID you have received
5.Go to number 1 to receive more postcards!

Postcrossing boasts 214,501 members in 205 countries; 766 postcards/hour; 6,154,685 postcards received; 207,549 postcards traveling; 33,699,683,074 km traveled! I have had a lot of fun with it over the last couple of years, sending postcards to the Netherlands, Taiwan, Brazil, & Iceland, & receiving cards from Japan, Iran, Thailand, Finland, & Estonia.

If, like me, you love postcards, consider checking out these offerings from the library catalog:

Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence written and illustrated by Nick Bantock

Frank Warren's Postsecret books (PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard. See more on the website.)

Real Photo Postcards: Unbelievable Images from the Collection of Harvey Tulcenskyedited by Laetitia Wolff

Postcards from the Boys by Ringo Starr

Had a Good Time: Stories from American Postcards by Robert Olen Butler

Delivering Views: Distant Cultures in Early Postcards edited by Christraud M. Geary and Virginia-Lee Webb

A Postcard Memoir by Lawrence Sutin

Border Fury: A Picture Postcard Record of Mexico's Revolution and U.S. War Preparedness, 1910-1917 by Paul J. Vanderwood and Frank N. Samponaro

For children, try a subject search under "Postcards Juvenile".

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Game Begins April 17th!

George R.R. Martin fans! Are you ready to watch A Game of Thrones on HBO this spring? This series, starring Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, & Lena Headey, is based on Martin's A Song of Fire & Ice books:

o A Game of Thrones
o A Clash of Kings
o A Storm of Swords
o A Feast for Crows
o A Dance with Dragons (forthcoming)
o The Winds of Winter (forthcoming)
o A Dream of Spring (forthcoming)

For more titles by George R. R. Martin, pay your local library catalog a visit!

Looking to find out the latest news & award winners in science fiction? Check out SF Signal & Science Fiction Awards Watch.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Buy India a Library!

Buy India a Library is an appeal from four librarians on Twitter. They want to raise enough money via PayPal donations, to buy a mobile library in India, or even a permanent library with books, furniture and staff! The video below tells more about how it works.

As of January 14th, £750 has been raised! That’s 60% of what is needed to build a library in India.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

90-Second Newbery Film Festival

Blogger & YA fiction author James Kennedy (check out The Order of Odd-Fish in our catalog)has inaugurated the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival contest on his blog! Watch the video below to get a taste of what's to come.

"A Wrinkle In Time" In 90 Seconds from James Kennedy on Vimeo.

"That’s a lot of Newbery winners. Maybe too many? You can’t read all 90 books! But you do have 90 seconds to spare, right? So here’s our contest, open to anyone: make a video that compresses the story of a Newbery award-winning book into 90 seconds or less." ~from the blog

Also check for Newbery Awards in the library catalog.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Falling into a Series Relationship

Library Journal had a great article back in November called "Falling into a Series Relationship: Six Top Mysteries". I say great, probably because I agree with their choices: Martha Grimes' Richard Jury series (I love Richard Jury & Melrose Plant as characters, even if the writing can sometimes be uneven); Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series; the Adam Dalgliesh books by P.D. James; the Two Pines mysteries by Louise Penny, featuring Armand Gamache. I haven't read anything by Elizabeth Peters or Ruth Downie as yet, but now I'm considering them based on the article's other recommendations!

I love to read books in a series, especially mysteries. I am a real stickler for reading them in chronological order, so Fictfact has been a really useful tool for me. Here's a sampling of the many series I'm wading through, as viewed on Fictfact:

Another good source for mysteries is the site Stop, You're Killing Me. This site has many great features, include links to lists of the latest mystery award winners & a great selection of indexes-location, job, historical, diversity, genre. I tend to like mysteries from the British Isles & Police Procedurals. One of my co-workers is a Cozy Mystery fan, with an emphasis on Food & Drink or Crafts & Needlework. What's your poison, so to speak?

If you are a mystery reader, three of the ABC Libraries' branches have book groups that focus on mysteries-Main has The Wide World of Mystery book group, Tony Hillerman has the Who Dunnit? Mystery Book Club & there's also the Mystery Book Group at Cherry Hills Library.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


We have literary festival envy.

In our peregrinations around the interwebs, we sometimes discover things we've never heard of before. Such is the case with San Francisco's literary festival, Litquake, which has been going on since 2002. This weeklong event includes Off the Scale Readings, a literary film festival, literary walking tours, a new writers night, Litquake in the Bookstore, Kidquake, & a Literary Death Match. As the website explains, "Now grown to the largest independent literary festival on the West Coast, Litquake continues its mission as a week-long literary spectacle for booklovers, complete with cutting-edge panel discussions, unique cross-media events, and hundreds of readings. Litquake seeks to foster interest in literature for people of all ages, perpetuate a sense of literary community, and provide a vibrant forum for Bay Area writing as a complement to the city’s music, film, and cultural festivals."

What do you think, Albuquerque? Are we ready to host a literary festival? Let's get Litquerque!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Writing on the Web-It's Not All About Blogs!

The November/December issue of Writer's Digest featured a very interesting section called The Writer's Guide to the Web. Articles in this section included "The 75 Best Online Markets", "How to Lose Blog Traffic & Alienate Readers", "The Price of Privacy", "Elements of a Successful Fiction Platform", & "Be an Online Critique Geek".

"How to Lose Blog Traffic..." was addressed specifically to bloggers, but the other articles were geared towards writers seeking online publication in web-based magazines & literary journals. The 50 best online markets included: The Adirondack Review; Allegory; Word Riot; & Every Day Poetry. Best consumer magazine markets featured big named such as Slate & Tips for submitting to these markets were included in the article.

The "Online Critique Geek" article was interesting as it suggested virtual critique groups for aspiring writers. So you can connect with other writers from your computer now! The article recommends that newbies take an online workshop, followed by getting involved with an online writing community such as Absolute Write. Other communities such as Critique Circle feature critique forums for those "ready to start getting feedback".

In a nutshell, this is a useful feature for anybody writing on the web today. The Writer's Digest is currently available for perusal (& checkout of older issues) at the Cherry Hills, Juan Tabo, & Main Libraries.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Year of One Hundred Stories

Local writers Lisa Barrow & Mike Smith are short story buffs (as are your friends here at abcreads). This year, Lisa & Mike will be reading 100 stories each to "try to figure out what makes them tick", posting reviews of their reading on their blog, Year of One Hundred Stories.

The new year has only just begun & they have already read 2 stories each! Lisa has read "Lull" by Kelly Link & "Levitation" by Cynthia Ozick; Mike has read "Death in the Desert" by James Agee & "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka. We look forward to checking in with them all year to see what insights they've gleaned!

When you visit their blog, make sure you check out the hilarious "FAQ-esque Blatherings" section, which discusses the impetus for this project & reminds readers that it's nearly impossible to discuss a short story without divulging some plot spoilers.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

This Day in History

Happy birthday, Stephen Hawking, David Bowie, & Elvis Presley! (Who knew Bowie & Presley were born on the same day 12 years apart?)

Ever wanted to know what happened today in history? Or maybe who shares your birthday? Here are some of our favorite sources:

On This Day in History (part of

This Day in History (

Holiday Insights (bizarre, wacky, unique holidays)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

Karen Armstrong has written a lot about religion. From her memoir about her time as a nun, Through the Narrow Gate, through Islam: A Short History (both of which we've read) & beyond, this is an author who has explored many different religious traditions. In 2008, she won the TED Prize-awarded annually to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, "One Wish to Change the World." Karen Armstrong's wish was create The Charter for Compassion.

The Charter for Compassion was "crafted in 2009 by prominent religious leaders of many faiths and the general public. [Armstrong] believes that all religions are saying the same things, albeit in different ways, and that we must restore compassion to the heart of our religious practices." [BookPage] You can read the charter here. 60,963 people have affirmed the charter so far; famous charter affirmers include author Isabel Allende.

Now Karen Armstrong has written a book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, which outlines a program to show us how to “dethrone ourselves from the centre of our worlds.” This book was reviewed in a BookPage article called "Books to Inspire Change"-read the rest of the reviews here. You can also watch an interesting Bill Moyers Journal featuring Karen Armstrong here. Or check out the video below of Armstrong making her TED Prize wish!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Paris: The Luminous Years (a 2011 reading challenge)

We recently saw the program "Paris, The Luminous Years: Toward the Making of the Modern" on PBS. We had been thinking of coming up with our own book challenge for 2011, since we enjoyed Our Mutual Read so much, but so far have not been inspired by any of the book challenges for next year that we'd seen.

"Paris, The Luminous Years spotlights now-famous figures in the world’s first international avant-garde, tracing who came to Paris, when and why, whom they met, what they made there..." [from the PBS fact sheet]

We recommend you watch "The Luminous Years" before starting the challenge, but even if you don't (the New York Times was rather dismissive about it), you can still explore this fertile territory in your 2011 reading. Not only is it an important literary period (Hemingway, Joyce, Dos Passos-you've got practically the whole Lost Generation to choose from-& then also Anais Nin, Henry Miller, & Langston Hughes), but you might also read about composers (Aaron Copland to Les Six); dance (Ballets Russes to Isadora Duncan); artists including Picasso, Matisse, & Miró; architecture; movements such as Dada, Surrealism, Fauvism, & Cubism; café culture; Montparnasse or Montmartre; Left Bank women; famous expatriates such as Josephine Baker; & of course jazz.

We'll be trying to read Luminous Years books ourselves this year & blogging about our reading periodically. Feel free to leave Luminous Years related comments on these posts, or check out the Luminous Years section on our Book Banter (top right of the sidebar) to leave some posts of your own!

Guidelines for the challenge:
1) Read 6-12 books in 2011 that have some connection with Paris during the years 1905-1930

2) 3 books must be non-fiction (biographies, books about the period)

3) 3 books must be fiction, plays or poetry. These must be either: set during 1905-1930 in Paris; written during 1905-1930 in Paris; or written by authors who lived in Paris during those years.

4) If you read more than 6 books, you can choose to read fiction or non-fiction for the remainder of the challenge.

5) Anyone can participate in this challenge, but we'd love to know if you're doing it, so please leave a comment!

6) Challenge begins 1/1/11 & ends 12/31/11.

Books we may read:

Le Corbusier: A Life by Nicholas Fox Weber
Genêt: A Biography of Janet Flanner by Brenda Wineapple
Chagall: A Biography by Jackie Wullschlager
Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties by Noel Riley Fitch
Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light by Tyler Stovall
Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet
Down & Out in Paris & London by George Orwell
Man Ray's Montparnasse by Herbert R. Lottman
Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story between the Great Wars by William A. Shack
Quartet by Jean Rhys
The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy
by Andre Breton

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Oceans '11 Reading Challenge

Welcome to 2011! Here is or first reading challenge for library readers this year: read 11 books with an OCEAN theme in 2011. ("Ocean" here is defined broadly: it includes fiction or non-fiction, set on, near, in, or under the sea.) You may have already noticed the Oceans '11 icon on the sidebar (lower right). Click on the sailor to be directed to our page of suggested titles for the challenge! Booklists include:

- Ocean Classics
- Maritime Adventure (thrillers)
- Old Salts (biographies)
- War on the Waves (naval history)
- Brigands and Booty (pirate yarns)
- Flotsam & Jetsam (mystery & misc.)

We'll be trying to read 11 ocean books ourselves this year & blogging about our reading periodically. Feel free to leave Oceans '11 related comments on these posts, or check out the Oceans '11 section on our Book Banter (top right of the sidebar) to leave some posts of your own!

If you're interested in taking part in our Oceans '11 Reading Challenge, please let us know by leaving us a comment on this post! If you know the 11 titles you'll be reading (or some of them),let us know what you've chosen. Feel free to suggest titles to add to the above lists.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year from ABC Libraries!

What are your resolutions this year?