Sunday, October 30, 2011

Expect a Masterpiece!

I don't know about you, but I have been very much enjoying the adaptations of Kate Atkinson's novels on PBS' Masterpiece.  Case Histories is not the first Masterpiece show I have enjoyed!  There have been any number of wonderful productions in the past to fill up my Sunday night viewing.  Visit the PBS site to read more about Masterpiece Classic, Mystery!, & Contemporary  (including exclusive video of Downton Abbey II!).  Or, if you are already a fan, there are many Masterpiece DVDs in the library catalog.  Here are some my favorites:

Downton Abbey
Set in an Edwardian country house in 1912, Downton Abbey portrays the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them. In the drawing rooms, library, and beautiful bedrooms, with their tall windows looking across the park, lives the family, but below stairs are other residents, the servants, as fiercely possessive of their ranks as anyone above.

The Forsyte Saga
It is late in the Victorian era, and two branches of an upper-crust family--the "good" Forsytes, headed by well-meaning Old Jolyon, and the "bad" Forsytes, headed by crusty barrister James--are at odds, eternally squabbling. The 'saga' focuses on the younger generations - Young Jolyon, Soames, Winifred, June - and their struggles with emotional repression, the rejection of Victorian mores, and the sea changes taking place as a less repressive society emerged. Every family may indeed have its vicissitudes, but few have as many as John Galsworthy's Forsytes.

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders
Moll is a headstrong woman whose lowly station in 18th century London leaves her in the most dire of circumstances forcing her into a lifestyle that could easily break her spirit. Her story involves husbands and numerous lovers, shocking family secrets, and travels to bustling London and the New World's Virginia. Moll's dangerous misdeeds stretch from sexual adventures to criminal acts, leaving her with a price on her head as she strives to triumph against overwhelming odds.

My Family and Other Animals
When the dreary English weather of 1935 gets to be too much for the eccentric Durrell family, they set off for the rustic, sun-drenched Greek island of Corfu, and the unknown.

Based on the novel by Jane Austen.

Bleak House
The icily beautiful Lady Dedlock faces the revelation of her dark past once Mr. Tulkinghorn catches wind of it. Esther's background also comes to light after the murder of a strange man. An all-star cast comes together for this Dickens classics.

Sally Lockhart Mysteries: Ruby in the Smoke
Set in Victorian London, fearless young Sally Lockhart has a mind for numbers and for sleuthing. Recently orphaned Sally is armed with a pearl-handled pistol and her keen mind, uncovers the secrets of her father's death aboard the sunken schooner Lavinia, discovers hidden cursed jewels, and faces England's deadliest villains with bold courage.

Cranford, in 1842, is a market town in northwest England. It is a place governed by etiquette, custom and above all, an intricate network of ladies. It seems that life has always been conducted according to their social rules. For spinsters Deborah Jenkyns, the arbiter of correctness, and Matty, her dumurring sister, the town is a hub of intrigue. Handsome new doctor Frank Harrison has arrived from London; a retired Captain and his daughters move in across the street and preparations for Lady Ludlows garden party are underway. The town has some secrets which are about to be revealed. But news comes that shakes the town, a railway line from Manchester is coming to Cranford.

Inspector Lewis
Following the death in 2000 of his eponymous mentor in Inspector Morse, Sergeant Lewis was promoted to Inspector and took a two-year sabbatical in the British Virgin Isles. Newly widowed, he now returns to Oxford and soon finds himself in charge of his own murder case. But it is notes that Morse made on an earlier case which help Lewis solve his case.

Prime Suspect 2
This case involves a death in the Afro-Caribbean community that puts Detective Chief Inspector Tennison and the rest of the police force in the middle of racial controversy. Emmy Award Winner - Outstanding Miniseries.

Masterpiece Contemporary begins November 6th with Page Eight & continues on November 13th with A Song of Lunch.  Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson star in The Song of Lunch, about a book editor and his former lover who reconnect over lunch. Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon and Ralph Fiennes star in the spy thriller Page Eight about an MI-5 officer caught in a conspiracy.

Also, from 1996 but still an entertaining read: Masterpiece Theatre: A Celebration of 25 Years of Outstanding Television by Terrence O'Flaherty.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Banter

Those of you familiar with our blog may have noticed a teeny change in one part of it!  Our forums, the abcreads Book Banter, have changed format.  We have become a Google Group!

The Book Banter is place for online book discussion.  You can find the icon (& link) on your right.  In the past we have used this forum to start discussions on book recommendations & for online book group "meetings".  These forums are open to all abcreads readers to join & post.  To join the group & post, simply click on "Sign in to post".  You can sign in straight away if you already have a Google account; if not, it is still easy-peasy to sign up, & you can use your already established account with AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, or a different email provider to join.

When we lost our former forum provider, we decided to replace them with Google Group forums because it seemed like a safe, secure & fun way for our readers to share their thoughts on books & media (CDs, audiobooks, & movies can also be stimulating discussion topics!).  We hope you will take a moment to join the Book Banter & let us know what you think.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Steamy Reads

Steampunk is a term not a lot of people understand, but for those that do, it is an exciting new genre that brings together modern technology, steam-powered engines and Victorian literature in one seamless package.  The actual word was coined by K.W. Jeter in a letter to Locus Magazine when trying to describe Victorian fantasy as a one-word term that would interest more people in these types of novels. 

There are several recent authors that have become part of the steampunk scene: Gail Carriger, Neal Stephenson, Cherie Priest, China Miéville, Jay Lake, and Alan Moore, who find themselves in great company of the early authors who blazed the way.  Who would have thought that Jules Verne or H.G. Wells would have been considered leaders in this movement all those years ago when we were starry-eyed kids reveling in the adventures of Captain Nemo or going along on a wild time-travel ride to the land of the Morluks, Eloi and Weena?  ABC Libraries has added a few new titles to the system for your perusing pleasure. 

Brand new to the catalog are:

Also, these are some other titles that you may be interested in checking out:

Infernal Devices: A Mad Victorian Fantasy by K.W. Jeter

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

The Iron Council by China Mieville

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest

Mainspring by Jay Lake

Worldshaker by Richard Harland

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman

The Peshawar Lancers by S.M. Stirling

Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances edited by Trisha Telep

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Here are a few other links that may pique your interest from the Steampunk world:

-There is going to be a Steampunk ball on Friday, November 11, 2011 at the Launchpad, starting time is 9:00 PM.  It's called Captain Lionel Gearpunk's Steam-Powered Ball and will feature local bands, steampunk crafts, and a costume contest!

-The Steampunk Tribune  A great site related to all things Steampunk since 2007

-Steampunk Tales  An online website of Steampunk stories and you can even read them on your iPhone!

-Steampunk Week and Beyond from Tor Books

There are also several Facebook pages relating to Steampunk which you can find from a link on The Steampunk Tribune website. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Graphic Novels for Reluctant Readers

"I hate reading" may be every librarian's worst nightmare come true. However, even the most reluctant of readers can usually be drawn in when handed a graphic novel.

Graphic novels grab students' attention. The combination of text and illustrations can often draw in even the most hesitant of readers. Like anything, reading is a learned skill; it needs to be practiced. If I can get a student to read a graphic novel, they are practicing their reading skills and they may then be intrigued enough to pick up a book that is al or mostly all text.

Reading is a crucial life skill. There is almost no job or opportunity available to people who have not learned the skill of reading. I want my students to not only be able to read, but to excel at reading. It all starts with the first book that really hooks a student - and often that can be a graphic novel.
   ~Ms. Dame, a teacher from the Shoreline School District, Washington

Personally, I have always been a graphic novel reader.  I started out in elementary school on a steady diet of Archie comics, Asterix, & Tintin.  I never was a huge fan of superhero comics (though I love the movies) & I have never gotten into manga, but I do love a good graphic novel.  It's amazing right now, the variety of graphic novels out there-biographies such as Feynman; graphic versions of popular titles such as Twilight; even graphic histories such as The Creation of the U.S. ConstitutionWhen kids come up asking for the latest Garfield, I am inclined to tell them how many great graphic novels await them out there.  Here are a few fun titles!  Some are children's fiction & some are Young Adult fiction-you decide whatat what level you want your kid reading.

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (J)

The Dragon Players by Frank Cammuso (J)

Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires (J)

To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Siegel (J)

Bone: The Quest for the Spark by Tom Sniegoski (YA)

Stormbreaker (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz (YA)

Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi (J)

Daniel X: Alien Hunter by James Patterson & Leopoldo Gout (YA)

Smile by Raina Telgemeier (J)

Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel adapted by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin (J)

The Unsinkable Walker Bean  by Aaron Renier (J)

Stickman Odyssey: An Epic Doodle by Christopher Ford (YA)

Adventures in Oz by Eric Shanower (J)

Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess by George O'Connor (J)

Sita's Ramayana text by Samhita Arni (J)

Meanwhile by Jason Shiga (J)

Trickster: Native American Tales compiled and edited by Matt Dembicki

Marvel Fairy Tales by C.B. Cebulski

Salem Brownstone : all along the watchtowers / John Harris Dunning and Nikhil Singh (J)

Babymouse: Queen of the World! by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm (J)

The Little Prince by Joann Sfar ; adapted from the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (J)

Houdini: The Handcuff King by Jason Lutes & Nick Bertozzi (YA)

The Castaways by Rob Vollmar & Pablo Callego (YA)

Kampung Boy by Lat (YA)

The Arrival by Shaun Tan (YA)

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg (YA)

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol (YA)

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (YA)

Gabby & Gator by James Burks (J Easy)

Did you know you can also encourage your kids to read Graphic Classics such as the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, & Jack London? Look also for graphic versions of Anna Sewell's Black Beauty, William Shakespeare's Macbeth, & The Best of Ray Bradbury.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Caribbean Cultures: Puerto Rico

Last week I watched the movie Piñero, which is a 2001 biopic celebrating the Latino poet-playwright-actor Miguel Piñero, whose urban poetry is recognized as a precursor to rap and hip-hop.  Piñero used to call himself "Nuyorican" in homage to his Puerto Rican heritage-he was one of the founders of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.  The same day, I watched the movie based on Julia Alvarez's wonderful book In the Time of the Butterflies, set in the Dominican Republic, which got me thinking that it might be interesting to showcase different cultures of the Caribbean with a short list of selected items for all ages from our library catalog. So, here goes-Puerto Rico! Some related fiction, poetry, a play, & music for you to enjoy.

Latino Visions: Contemporary Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Cuban American Artists by James D. Cockcroft

Growing Up Puerto Rican: An Anthology edited by Joy L. De Jesus

Puerto Rican Cookery by Carmen Aboy Valldejuli

Juan Bobo and the Pig: A Puerto Rican Folktale retold by Felix Pitre

Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa by Micol Ostow

Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box by Juan Felipe Herrera

When the Spirits Dance Mambo: Growing up Nuyorican in El Barrio by Marta Moreno Vega
Short Eyes : A Play by Miguel Piñero

Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriquenas by Aurora Levins Morales

Song of the Simple Truth = Obras Completa Poética = The Complete Poems by Julia de Burgos

The House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferré

Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share Their Holiday Memories edited by Esmeralda Santiago and Joie Davidow

Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago

Puerto Rico Mio: Four Decades of Change = Cuatro Decadas de Cambio photographs by Jack Delano

Captain of the Sleepers by Mayra Montero

Los Puertorriqueños (DVD)

Música + Alma + Sexo, Ricky Martin (CD)

Visit the Welcome to Puerto Rico! website or the  CIA World Factbook to learn more about its history, culture, & people.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall in Love with Nature

Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. Cooler temperatures, autumn foliage, hot air balloons in the mornings (at least here in the Albuquerque) - these are what I start to look forward to as soon as the autumnal equinox rolls around (this year, September 23rd).  Now is the perfect time of year to build appreciation and understanding of nature for kids 2-8 with a craft or walking/observing adventure!  Here's some titles we recommend:

Lois Ehlert's Growing Vegetable Soup- work your way through the alphabet when you visit the farmer's market or grocery store vegetable counter each week.

Lois Ehlert's Leaf Man- collect leaves and press them, then create a picture with the leaves on wax paper and hang it in the window.

Jim Arnosky's Drawing From Nature explains how to observe and sketch nature, and his Crinkleroot series suggests ways to observe nature.

Also check out this subject search of nature crafts.

Here are some poetry books about nature for kids:

Jane Yolen's Shape Me a Rhyme: Nature's Forms in Poetry combines poetry and photographs to illustrate shapes in nature.

The book Stone Bench in an Empty Park, selected by Paul Janeczko with photographs by Henri Silberman, is an anthology of haiku accompanied by photographs reflecting nature  in the city.

Ralph Fletcher's Ordinary Things: Poems from a Walk in Early Spring recalls the sights and feelings experienced on a springtime walk--from home, through the woods, and back again. (Wrong season, but a pretty book.)

Betsy Lewin's Walk a Green Path has lush watercolor paintings to accompany poems whose green subjects range from the author's houseplants to lily pads in the Amazon.

Barbara Brenner's The Earth is Painted Green: A Garden of Poems about Our Planet is an illustrated collection of poems from around the world about various aspects of life on earth.

In our system, we also have the following authors who write books about nature which you might also enjoy:

Gail Gibbons - whether it's cats, kites, or farming, Gail Gibbons has written a book about it.

Bobbie Kalman - for books about colonial life, endangered animals, desert habitats, & everything in between.

Jerry Pinkney - writer & illustrator of books like A Starlit Somersault Downhill.

Nancy Tafuri - uses large pictures of animals which encourages description of details and unique body parts (ex: webbed feet on ducks for swimming).

Also look for juvenile literature about the seasons.

For kids interested in nature, there are also DVDs such as:

Wild Animal Baby Explorers
Young minds are introduced to nature and all its beauty, and a foundation is laid for a lifelong love of wild life, and places.

What nature crafts do you enjoy?  What are your favorite books about nature?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Finding Fiction

If you're like me, finding a great novel to pass the time with is like discovering a treasure. Unfortunately, the map for fiction sometimes seems a lot less easy to read than the map for nonfiction. With nonfiction, you can say, "Where are your books about vampires?", get a number (398.45, in this case), and see what's on the shelf.

With fiction? Well, it's not shelved that way. It's shelved by author--and if you don't know the next book you'd like to read, then how are you supposed to guess which author to look under? It can seem a bit daunting!

Luckily, the catalog can help you. If you do a subject search for "Vampires Fiction," you'll find 918 hits!

That's great--if what you want is a vampire book, then you've got it.

Unfortunately, you're looking for Stephen King type vampires, and you know a good half of the books on the list are Stephenie Meyer vampires. How do you know which one is which? It takes a lot of time to go through all 918.

Luckily, the library has other tools. You might check out our booklists, to see if someone has made a list of the kind of books you want to read. You could also go to a librarian--part of the job at the reference desk is called reader's advisory, and the whole point of that is helping you find the books you want to read.

But even if you're not at the library, you can use many of the same tools at home. Just making use of the catalog, if you enter a book of the sort you want--for instance, Dracula--you can click on the tab labeld "Find Similar Items," which will list all the subjects the book is listed under. It will list "Vampires Fiction," which we've already tried, but maybe what really interests you is "Transylvania (Romania) Fiction" or just "Horror Tales." These subjects are clickable, and will bring you to full lists.

Still, it's pretty broad stroke. You want to limit it a little more. This is where there are several helpful tricks on LibGuides, under Books and Literature. Here, you'll find bestseller lists, series lists, a newsletter called NextReads which you can subscribe to for recommendations, and a database called NoveList Plus, which you have access to with your library card. NoveList allows you to narrow down what sorts of books you want to read, look for author read-alikes, and even choose what sort of tone you want (light, humorous, dramatic, etc).

For instance, if you loved 'Salem's Lot, and want to find books that read like it, you would enter in 'Salem's Lot as a title. When you reached the page, along with a descripion of that book and several reviews, you would find a menu at the side that looks like this:

You can see there that you can choose "Vampires" as a subject, "Horror stories" as a genre, and "menacing" as a tone--that ought to help keep it to the sort of books you want. Sure enough, it gives you a list of books including The Passage, Dracula, and I Am Legend.

You can go back and choose other combinations as well to get different recommendations. The question now is, does the library have them? NoveList Plus has a link for each book to "Check Library Catalog." Because we are subscribed as the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library System, this will link directly to a title search at ABC Libraries, and let you know if it's there. If it is, you can place a hold on it right then. If not, you can almost always obtain a book through Interlibrary Loan.

And that's how to find fiction.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Science of Shopping

Does this apple suggest health, freshness, & cleanliness to you? Manufacturers & retailers hope it does.

I was just reading Martin Lindstrom's Wall Street Journal article, "Selling Illusions of Cleanliness", which got me thinking about the dark side of marketing, "the full range of psychological tricks and schemes that some companies use to prey on our most deeply rooted fears, dreams and desires in order to persuade us to buy their brands and products".  Mr. Lindstrom is a marketing and branding consultant whose new book, Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy is already in  the library catalog. I have been meaning to read retail anthropologist Paco Underhill's manifesto, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping for some time now, so the discovery of this new book is just impetus to read more about this topic, especially as I gear up for seasonal gift shopping!

A search of related subjects (or similar items) brings up titles such as:

A Consumer's Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America by Lizabeth Cohen

Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine

Buy ology: Truth and Lies about Why We Buy byMartin Lindstrom (his previous book)

Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas by Bill McKibben

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Another article about Lindstrom you may enjoy:
Repentant marketer Martin Lindstrom confesses his sins

Monday, October 10, 2011


Anyone who knows me knows that I like things just so, from my co-workers who know what side of the reference desk I like to sit on to my ex-boyfriend-I'm not saying we broke up because he wouldn't do things the way I wanted him to, but close.  I have many enthusiasms-from British television to the art of Edward Gorey to Japanese street fashion-but none, perhaps, so pervasive & long-lasting as my font obsession.

I can date my interest in fonts back to high school-I remember I bought a book of fonts in 8th grade or so.  Not because I was going to hand-letter anything in the near future (although I did have a brief flirtation with calligraphy a couple of years before), but because I just liked how they looked.  I also remember that I had quite a penchant for reading Sweet Dreams teen romances in those days, but more than any particular story from those books I remember the fat, rounded font that those Bantam paperbacks were written in.

Currently, I make some of the signage at our branch, which has returned me to the world of fonts. A few years ago we remade our shelf signs to be more consistent. All the adult area signs are now in Britannic Bold; all the children's area signs are now in Maiandra GD. I try to use a lot of different fonts, although I find script fonts like Edwardian Script ITC  Gigi don't lend themselves to signs, more's the pity.  I have tried to rid my branch of any vestiges of Comic Sans MS, a font which I really dislike. As do many folks, apparently-there's a website called Ban Comic Sans

So, having read all this, you can se why Just My Type: A Book about Fonts has huge appeal for me.  But before you think it's just a book for crazy obsessive Comic Sans haters, it's not!  It's fun & informative & a very quick read, split as it is into short, easily digested chapters. I love books like this, that show you what's behind something you may have taken for granted. For those of you who are diehard Mac users (&, indeed, even owners early-model iPods), did you know that among his other credits, Steve Jobs created many of the first Mac fonts? Ever thought about the font Woody Allen uses for his credits (Windsor)?

Where do the terms upper case & lower case come from? Want to know a bit more background about Johannes Gutenberg & the world's first font? What is the difference between serif & sans serif fonts? How does a type designer work?  These questions & more are all addressed just in the first few chapters of the book. However, this is not a dense, scholarly read-it's informative without being difficult. Who knew that the Beach Boys' album Pet Sounds is one of the most famous uses of the font Cooper Black? I also learned that Trebuchet MS, one of my favorite fonts, is actually related to Comic Sans-they share a designer.

If you are really interested in font use,  consider checking out designer Mark Simonson's website.  Under "Typecasting", you can check out font errors he's found on TV & in movies-for instance, check out this discussion of fonts on the maps of the Indiana Jones films, where the typefaces used in this movie set in the 1930s were not actually invented until decades later.

Typography!  It's everywhere, but most of the time we don't consciously focus on it. This book will bring fonts & their use firmly front & center for you.  Don’t Panic-you'll enjoy the ride.

In closing, please enjoy the video made by this Baskerville fan who calls herself "Mrs. Eaves"-she might love fonts too much!

Full disclosure: this blog is written in Blogger's Default Font, purely for ease & continuity.

Also consider:

Cheese or Font? (an online game)

What type are you? (an online quiz)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fey Enchantments

Fairies have come a long way, baby.  It's not all Tinker Bell style when it comes to reading about the land of the fey in current titles for young adults & older-there's urban faerie, as popularized by Holly Black (co-writer of The Spiderwick Chronicles) & Melissa Marr, for teens; for adults, Laurell K. Hamilton & Karen Marie Moning have created suspenseful novels with more mature content.  On her website, young adult author Cassandra Clare (who refers to her novels as "urban fantasy") sums up the genre thusly: "I wanted to write something that would combine elements of traditional high fantasy — an epic battle between good and evil, terrible monsters, brave heroes, enchanted swords — and recast it through a modern, urban lens. … In fairy tales, it was the dark and mysterious forest outside the town that held the magic and danger. I wanted to create a world where the city has become the forest — where these urban spaces hold their own enchantments, danger, mysteries and strange beauty.”

I am a diehard fan of Laurell K. Hamilton's Meredith Gentry series, eagerly awaiting the next volume in the series to publish. In the interim, one of my reading challenges this year is Book Soulmates' ifae challenge. Earlier this year I read  Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire, Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater & Ash by Malinda Lo (all young adult books), & I'm trying to get back into it to finish the final 6 of the 10 books I need to read to complete this challenge.  Also consider:

Young Adult Fiction

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan

The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones

I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block


Darkling by Yasmine Galenorn

Eccentric Circles by Rebecca Lickiss

Ink & Steel by Elizabeth Bear

The Ladies of Grace Adieu & Other Stories by Susanna Clarke

Steward of Song by Adam Stemple

The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce

For all sorts of items about faerie, including humor, art, poetry, juvenile films, comic books & Fairyopolis, try searching in the library catalog using the subject heading "Fairies".

Of course, looking up titles for this post just led me to more books I want to read, as usual.  Next on my list: Lost Voices by Sarah Porter.  It's mermaid fiction!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Big Read 2011

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.

The Big Read answers a big need. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 report by the National Endowment for the Arts, found that not only is literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young.

The Big Read aims to address this crisis squarely and effectively. It provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. Each community event lasts approximately one month and includes a kick-off event to launch the program locally; major events devoted specifically to the book (panel discussions, author reading, and the like); events using the book as a point of departure (film screenings, theatrical readings, and so forth); and book discussions in diverse locations and aimed at a wide range of audiences.

Our community's book this year is Great Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. ABC Libraries' Big Read adventure begins Friday, October 7th at 7 pm, at the KiMo Theater, with our kick-off event, the Poe Funeral Party! Come commemorate Poe with an interactive performance and costume contest. Coinciding with the anniversary of his death, Edgar Allan Poe will be brought to life by performer Lou Harmon. The event will feature dramatic readings, historical biography and direct audience interaction. Participants that come dressed as Edgar Allan Poe or one of his characters could win a number of prizes!

There will be a plethora of other events until the Big Read ends on November 5th! Check out the Poe Film Series at the Guild Cinema, featuring Roger Corman's The Pit & the Pendulum & Vincent Price in The Fall of the House of Usher!  Or visit the Rio Grande Nature Center for the informative Who's Who in the World of Black Birds!  There will be ongoing History and Mystery Edgar Allan Poe Library Field Trips, Detective/Mystery Fiction Discussion & Writing Workshop, a POE-try Slam, a Chess Tournament with readings, even an Am I Related to Poe? Genealogy Workshop. For students, there's Youth Art Competition, open to all schools.  Don't miss your chance to join in the macabre fun!

For more information on the Big Read program, visit the NEA website. For more information about our community's Big Read 2011, including a schedule of events & times, visit the Big Read LibGuide.  We thank our partners & sponsors for their help in scheduling the 2011 Big Read!