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 Amazon.com 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.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Part of the library world

On Wednesday, November 23, a small statue disappeared from the front of the Juan Tabo library. It depicted a boy reading, and its name was Shaun, after the grandson of the artist, Rebecca Stover, who made and donated it. The news covered the theft--you can see the reports via the Juan Tabo facebook here--but it's hard to convey what the loss meant to the people who use the library. The statue stood out of the sightline of workers, and it was patrons who first noticed the disappearance. "Where is the boy outside?" a child asked, looking deeply concerned. "What happened to the boy?" an adult asked, angry.

For nearly eight years, the statue sat quietly under under its tree near the library door. He was a familiar face as people came in and out, and a reading companion for countless children. He was special to his creator, who made him in honor of her grandson, and he was special to all of the library visitors whose day he brightened.

Will his disappearance alter library service? Make it more difficult to obtain the materials you need? Of course not--but his absence is a change nevertheless.

Libraries aren't just the sum of their functions. They're also places that people develop emotional attachments to, places that are part of the community. Juan Tabo had Shaun; we still have our blue and gold dinosaur and our puppet show and our ever-growing rogue's gallery of stuffed animals. Cherry Hills has Clifford, reigning from atop the children's shelves, and the puzzle piece floor mats. These gifts from our friends have found homes, and brought happiness both to children and to adults.

Every library has some special place, some special sight, that its patrons look forward to when they come in. It may not be anything you think of as special. I remember the fine polished dark wood tables in my childhood library, and the smell of the cleaner they used on them. On the other hand, they may be fabulous--Boston has a three dimensional mural by John Singer Sargent. But humble or out-of-this-world, the physical world of the library becomes part of the world of its community.

And the community feels it when those small things are lost.

Friday, November 25, 2011

One of Those Malibu Nights by Elizabeth Adler

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

One of Those Malibu Nights, first book in the Mac Reilly series, is set in modern-day Malibu, Baja California, Palm Springs, Rome, Cannes, and the French countryside. The story's characters belong to the "jet set": Hollywood stars and moguls, millionaires with mansions, and the people who work for them. Protagonist Mac Reilly is a television actor private eye. His girlfriend Sunny (Sonora Sky Coto de Alvarez) wishes Mac would propose.

Mac lives in a Malibu Colony bungalow with his dog Pirate, rescued from a highway. While strolling on the beach late at night, Mac hears a woman scream and goes to help. She shoots at him and he flees. Next day millionaire Ron Perrin, in whose house the woman screamed, denies the event but wants to hire Mac to discover who has been following him. Allie Ray, the movie star wife Ron is divorcing, also wants to hire Mac to discover who has been following her, and sending threatening notes.

While he is vacationing in Rome with Sunny, Mac encounters the woman who had screamed and shot at him in Malibu. Marisa tells him she is Ron's fiancee, flaunts a huge diamond ring, and asks Mac to find Ron, who has disappeared.

When Mac returns from Rome, Ron's right-hand man Sam Demarco also asks Mac to find Ron, and to find out what the FBI wants from Ron.

Famous movie star Allie Ray had humble beginnings, and she is lonely surrounded by luxury. She plans to return to being Mary Allison Raycheck one day. But first she must do her job: appear in Cannes at her film release party.

Mac meets another PI who thinks Ron killed his girlfriend. Sunny and Mac travel to Palm Springs looking for clues and find a body. They investigate all the people in Ron's and Allie's lives, wondering who might carry a grudge.

Allie Ray escapes fame & fortune to the French countryside, where she works in a restaurant. She becomes interested in a local landowner, but still misses and loves her husband.

Sunny goes on trip by herself to Baja CA and finds Ron, but then loses him.

Sunny and Mac go back to Rome, where they find another body. One of Allie's friends tells Sunny where Allie is, just before a newspaper reporter tells the world. Mac finally learns who the killer is, and races to save Allie and Sunny in France.

I found the book shallow and many descriptions melodramatic. It likely appeals to readers who follow movie stars and celebrities. The author uses dogs and their relationships with their owners to illustrate shallow lives as well as true-blue characters. Mac and Sunny will continue investigating together and jet-setting around the world, but I don't plan to read any more of the series.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Doctor Who TV premiere anniversary!

On November 23, 1963, sci-fi cult classic Doctor Who premiered on British TV with William Hartnell taking the helm as the first Doctor. Since then, there have been ten more incarnations of the famous Doctor, including actors of note such as Peter Davison [All Creatures Great and Small], Paul McGann [Withnail & I], & Christopher Eccleston [Lennon Naked], as well as the preferred Doctor for my generation, Tom Baker.  Currently, the Doctor is played by Matt Smith.

Wikipedia describes Doctor Who thusly: "The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior appears as a blue police box. Along with a succession of companions, he faces a variety of foes while working to save civilisations, help people, and right wrongs. The programme is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world."

If you have never experienced Doctor Who, don't know what a Time Lord is, & have never dreamed of owning your own TARDIS, now is a great time to get acquainted.  Season 7 (current seasons are counted back to 2005, when Doctor Who became possibly the first sci fi adventure to get a "reboot") has just begun this fall, & the show's 50th anniversary will be feted in 2013.

ABC Libraries' catalog has some materials to welcome you to the Whoniverse:

Some links to get you started:

Dr. Who - The Official Site

Dr. Who Fun & Games

Dr. Who: The Original Scarf

Dr. Who on YouTube

Monday, November 21, 2011

Patricia McKillip

One of my favorite fantasy authors is Patricia McKillip. I first saw The Riddle-Master of Hed in a bookstore in the late 1970s, but I did not start reading her books until The Book of Atrix Wolfe.  It is the story of a powerful mage and how his magical creation destroyed both the invading army threatening Pelucir and the soldiers defending the land.  It also cost the Queen of the Wood her daughter Saro when the fairyworld was torn asunder by Atrix's magic.  He disappears and is not seen for twenty years, but circumstances will soon evolve that will bring him back to solve the mystery of what happened all these years ago.  It is not a very long book, but the prose is quite beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It went on to be nominated for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Literature in 1996. 

Since then every book she has written has either been nominated, a finalist or a winner for the Mythopoeic Awards, a Nebula Award nominee, a World Fantasy Award winner and a Locus Award nominee.  While many fantasy authors write long, epic novels, Patricia's books are small, compact and powerful.  Highly recommended!

While a majority of her titles are adult, she has also written some young adult and children's novels and the library catalog has the following books:

The Riddle-Master trilogy (published in the late 1970s)

The Cygnet Duology (published in the early 1990's)

Some individual works include:

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

Winter Rose

Song for the Basilisk

The Tower at Stony Wood

Ombria in Shadow

In the Forests of Serre

Alphabet of Thorn

Old Magic

Harrowing the Dragon

Solstice Wood

The Bell at Sealey Head

The Bards of Bone Plain

Also, the cover art for a lot of her recent works is by renowed fantasy artist Kinuko Y. Craft and you can find more information about her here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

'Tis the Season for...New Holiday Music!

The ABC Libraries' music selectors have been ordering plenty of seasonal music for your holiday enjoyment!  Here are some new offerings:

Yeshiva Boys Choir Chanukah

Song of Solstice, Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra

Joy to the World, Pink Martini

The Singing Saw at Christmastime, Julian Koster (of Neutral Milk Hotel)

Baroque Christmas

Welcome Yule: An English Christmas Revels

Savoy Christmas Blues

Audite, Silete!, Divina Musica

As It Fell on Holie Eve: Music for an Elizabethan Christmas, Julianne Baird & Parthenia

For more new music, holiday or otherwise, visit the New Music LibGuide.

Also, if you are a fan of holiday music, make sure you check out these library system events in November & December:

Stylings of the Season at Taylor Ranch
Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School Advanced Chamber Ensemble performs seasonal music!

Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas with "Buffalo Bill" Boycott
Join "Buffalo Bill" Boycott as he offers Holiday songs, poems, and entertaining skits in the festive spirit of the cowboys and pioneers of the Old West. Buffalo Bill performs on the fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and guitar!

Nutcracker Ballet Demonstration
Young dancers from the New Mexico ballet company will be demonstrating selections from the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Their presentation will also include some information about ballet dancing as well.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Children's Books

There are many great things about children's books, even for adults. The rhythms are soothing, the pictures are beautiful, and the stories have a light and easy quality to them that can be hard to find in adult books. However, when getting recommendations for children's books, the same titles tend to be repeated again and again. The classically great will always be in style, but here are some wonderful children's books that may have fallen below your radar.

For some fun books to read aloud try children's poetry as a way to introduce children to new words. It also makes a nice change of pace from picture books. Edward Lear's Complete Book of Nonsense features poems like "Calico Pie" and "The Jumblies." When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne, author of Winnie The Pooh, feature some of the best poetry written for children. Some of these great poems are "King John's Christmas", "Disobedience" "Busy" and "Us Two". Jack Prelutsky also writes some wonderful books of poetry for children. His poems are good short pieces for kids who are just learning how to read.

Good picture books to try are A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams, which has bold, bright colors, and When the Sun Rose by Barbara Helen Berger with softer, glowing paintings. The Church Mouse by Graham Oakley features pictures that are lively and detailed, with much of the story being discernible only through the pictures. Under the Greenwood Tree: Shakespeare for Young People by Pat and Robin DeWitt has short excerpts from Shakespeare, accompanied by gorgeous illustrations. To Everything There Is a Season by Leo and Diane Dillon is a book featuring the verse from Ecclesiastes, with different styles of art on each page. The Girl in the Castle Inside The Museum by Kate Bernheimer is a great fairy tale story with unusual pictures.

For children's books to touch your heart try Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak, or Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, a book that inspires me to this day with it's seemingly simple task: do something to make the world more beautiful. The Mountains of Tibet by Mordicai Gerstein about a little boy who loves to fly kites gives a soul a second chance to do just that.

Other great books feature a Southwestern theme. Susan Lowell's The Three Little Javelinas, and The Bootmaker and the Elves give an imaginative and colorful twist on classic children's bedtime stories. Another wonderful and inspiring author is Byrd Baylor who lived in Arizona for years and wrote stories that were inspired by the Southwestern desert. Most feature beautiful drawings by Peter Parnall. Two Baylor/Parnall favorites are The Way to Start a Day, and The Desert is Theirs, a book to make you proud to live in the desert.

Children's books are fun to browse through and find your personal favorites. Let yourself get distracted by the pictures, by the words used again and again, by the end that comes too soon. And then, pick it up and read it again!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Looking for a reading challenge for 2012?

A reading challenge is a fun way to spur yourself into reading.  There are a lot of challenges out there on the web, and you don't have to be a blogger to join many of them.  There are challenges by genre, challenges to read your own books, challenges to read library books, challenges to read e-books and listen to audiobooks.  Most challenges have levels, so you don't have to sign up to read an overwhelming amount of books. 

As 2011 is quickly fading away, I found myself gearing up for reading titles for 2012.  We are researching book titles for next year's book discussion groups and it got me to thinking of other reading challenges that may be out there that may pique my interest, and possibly yours!

From the A Novel Challenge blog-here are a few 2012 Reading Challenges from their list:

The League of Extraordinary Gentleman Book Challenge
This challenge is to read the original book of each of the main characters from this movie.

The Middle East Reading Challenge
The author of the book may be from the countries listed below or the book can be set in one of the countries included in this challenge. The book could be about Islam. Fiction, non-fiction, YA and Adult lit, graphic novels, audio books, books for other challenge... they all count.

Cruisin' thru the Cozies Challenge
Read at least six cozy mysteries in 2012.

Reading Round Rome Challenge
Books about Rome, set in Rome, or by Roman authors – come join in the fun! Read six books in 2012 (or seven if you begin before Jan 1st 2012). 

Reading Romances Challenge
The Reading Romances Challenge is not about the amount of books you read, but the variety of titles you’ll have read when the challenge is over! Our goal is to read a bit of everything related to romance and open our minds to new genres we wouldn’t usually read.

Bookie Friends Favorites Challenge
You need to have a blog to join this challenge.

Gender in Fantasy and Sci-Fi Challenge
Read 6-12 classic sci-fi titles. There's a list for this challenge.
They have several challenges going on for 2012, plus they have links for several past challenges from 2011 and 2010 with titles that you kept saying you wanted to read, but then couldn't remember what it was, which I often find myself doing.

From the website Exurbanis.com, you might consider:

Back to the Classics Reading Challenge
There are 9 classics categories to choose from and a prize will be given!

If you are into romance, check out Book of Secrets for their 2012 Romance Reading List for all year not just in February. 

For the mystery lovers out there I found this blog Tipping My Fedora which is having a Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, with suggested titles such as Why Shoot a Butler by Georgette Heyer, Strangers of a Train by Patricia Highsmith and Murder on the Blackboard by Stuart Palmer.

One of the great reading blogs out there is called An Adventure in Reading and will have several challenges during the year, but as of this post, her first 2012 challenge is not there yet, but she does have her Christmas Spririt Reading Challenge from now until Twelfth Night (January 6th, 2012).

Look under the ABC Libraries' Regularly Scheduled Programs listings for a list of book groups at various branches and a link to what they'll be reading.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

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

First of a new series starring forensic archaeologist Doctor Ruth Galloway, The Crossing Places is infused with the haunting atmosphere of the Saltmarsh, a landscape at the edge of the sea that is half land, half water, and continually shifts with the tides, where Iron Age prehistoric inhabitants constructed a sacred henge circle.

Ruth makes her home in a cottage at the edge of the lonely and elemental Saltmarsh, and teaches at nearby University of North Norfolk. She enjoys her solitude and the companionship of her cats. Ten years ago she participated in the archaeological dig that discovered the Saltmarsh henge circle. That magical summer of discovery remains a favorite memory, and the friends from that time are still part of her life.

Detective Harry Nelson is haunted by a missing-child case ten years ago. When a child's body is discovered in the Saltmarsh, he wonders if it could be from his old case. He enlists Dr. Galloway's professional assistance as a bone specialist. She dates the bones as Iron Age, 2 thousand years old, and suspects the body has a significant connection with the Henge Circle across the tidal marshlands.

When a second child goes missing, Nelson asks for Ruth's help interpreting clues from the original case. Ruth sees archeaological ties to key people from her special Henge Circle discovery summer. Then Ruth herself is endangered; to survive she must help Nelson identify the killer.

Ruth is a spunky independent protagonist with a common-sense approach. Her kind heart does not prevent her intellect from unraveling the clues, even when they reveal betrayal by her trusted and loved friends. I look forward to continuing the series.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Winter Fun: Upcoming City Events

Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration
Nov 12, 2011 09:00 AM - Nov 13, 2011 05:00 PM

Open Space Visitor Center
6500 Coors NW

The signal that marks the end of summer sounds a little like the blow of many trumpets high in the sky above us. It is the sound of Sandhill Cranes migrating to their wintering grounds in the Middle Rio Grande Valley and beyond. Come to the Open Space Visitor Center and take part in programs that honor the winter migratory season during the Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration.

Free Thursday Evening at the Museum
Albuquerque Museum
2000 Mountain Road NW

Gallery Talk: Miniatures and More
Thursday, November 17, 6:30 p.m.
Andrew Connors, Curator of Art, will give a short talk on the "More" - large scale works by artists in this year's Miniatures and More exhibition. After the talk, enjoy a special sneak peak of the exhibition.

Admission is free from 5 to 8:30 p.m. thanks to the generous support of American Home Furniture. For more Free Thursday events, visit the Albuquerque Museum website.

Western Music Association 2011 Awards Show

Saturday, November 19th 7 p.m.
KiMo Theatre

Celebrating the 100th birthday of Roy Rogers. Put on your best Western clothes and join us for this evening of entertainment and surprises.
Featuring Performances by:

* Bar D Wranglers (with 2010 WMA Pioneer Trail Award Recipient Cy Scarborough & 2010 WMA Crescendo Award Winner Richard Lee Cody

* R.W. Hampton, 2011 WMA Hall of Fame Inductee

* 2011 WMA Song of the Year Nominees
For more information on this entire event go to the WMA website.  Buy tickets at HoldMyTicket.

Los Guadalupanos

Fundraiser brought to you by: Los Guadalupanos of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.
Nov 19, 2011
07:00 PM - 10:00 PM

South Broadway Cultural Center John Lewis Theatre
1025 Broadway SE

Featuring: Mariachi Nuevo Mexico, Antonio Reyna, Ivon Ulibarri, Eva Torrez, Baila! Baila! and More!

$20.00 General Admission for all Ages.

Tickets available for purchase at South Broadway Cultural Center. Tickets purchased by credit card can be made by calling 848-1320. Tickets also available by calling Carlos Gonzales 505-459-4213

Luminaria Tour - Tickets Available Nov. 25

Take a magical ride with on ABQ Ride's Luminaria Tour. Enjoy an annual New Mexican tradition without worrying about parking, driving through snow, annoying traffic delays or wasting gas. Let ABQ Ride take you through a twinkling wonderland in Old Town, a festively-adorned Albuquerque Country Club and other hot spots decked out for the holiday like the Los Altos neighborhood.
2011 Tour Schedule

•Six tours originating from the Downtown Convention Center will be held Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011 at 5:20 p.m.; 5:45 p.m.; 6:10 p.m.; 7:15 p.m. and 7:40 p.m.

•Starting at Midnight on Friday morning, Nov. 25, tickets will go on sale. You can buy them online as well as at a designated ticket office in Downtown Albuquerque.

Bring the entire family to enjoy this ever-growing family tradition. Come and join the fun!

River of Lights
Nov 26, 2011 06:00 PM - Dec 30, 2011 09:00 PM

ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden
2601 Central Ave. NW

Experience millions of glowing, sparkling lights and over 150 dazzling light displays, animated sculptures & synchronized music light show at New Mexico’s largest, original, walk-through holiday production. Many evenings feature live entertainment and the G-scale model railroad. The Shark Reef Cafe will be open for "Supper with Santa" and holiday dining on some evenings. On select evenings, a FREE park-and-ride from Tingley Beach and the Zoo will be available.

December Garden Holidays
Dec 03, 2011 09:00 AM - Dec 31, 2011 05:00 PM

ABQ BioPark Aquarium/Garden
2601 Central Ave. NW

Embrace the holiday spirit at the Botanic Garden, Aquarium and Zoo during the daylight hours through the month of December. The BioPark blooms in holiday cheer with a variety of themed exhibits full of decorations, evergreens and seasonal color.

Displays include hundreds of poinsettias in the Mediterranean Conservatory; an old-fashioned Christmas atmosphere at the Heritage Farm; a miniature holiday scene at the Railroad Garden and a sizzling Southwest-themed display with plenty of chile ristras in the Desert Conservatory.

Holidays Take Flight

Balloon Museum
9201 Balloon Museum Dr. NE

5th Annual Holidays Take Flight
Sunday, December 4, 2011
11 a.m. - 4 p.m. - FREE Admission

Visit Balloon Pilot Santa; Decorate holiday balloon cookies; make balloon ornaments & cards; see remote controlled hot air balloons (weather permitting); enjoy delicious hot drinks and treats for sale; and consider donating a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots!


12 p.m. Sing-a-long Holiday Concert with Susie Tallman & Friends

Live World Music to Celebrate the Season
-Enchantment Handbell Ensemble
-Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer & Dances
-Afro-Cuban Holiday Cumbia with Mala Mana
-NM Holiday Music with Las Flores de Valle
-Roving Carolers - Manzano HS Choir & HarmoniKats

•ABQ Playroom
•Balloon Museum Gift Shoppe
•Essiem Jewelry
•Kei & Moly
•Out of the Blue Toys
•Rock Me Baby Records
•A Thousand Words Photography
•Zap Oh!

For more events, check out the City's Winter Fun Guide!  Or, if you're feeling adventurous, consider a Public Art Walking or Bicycle Tour!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Caribbean Cultures: Haiti

Continuing our look at Caribbean nations with a trip (via the library catalog) to Haiti! For country information, visit our Maps & other Geographic Data LibGuide, the CIA's World Factbook, or the website of the Embassy of Haiti in Washington, D.C.

It's been almost two years since the 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti, but Haiti is slowly rebuilding, according to reports. To read about the earthquake, pick up a copy of Time Earthquake Haiti: Tragedy and Hope or, if you want something you can share with children, try Eight Days: A Story of Haiti.

Here are some other materials about Haiti that you can find in the ABC Libraries' catalog:

A Promise in Haiti: A Reporter's Notes on Families and Daily Lives by Mark Curnutte

The Rainy Season: Haiti--Then and Now by Amy Wilentz

After the Dance: A Walk through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti by Edwidge Danticat

Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat

Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat

Breath, Eyes, Memory by EdwidgeDanticat

Anacaona, Golden Flower by Edwidge Danticat (J)

Vodou: Visions and Voices of Haiti

Night of Fire: The Black Napoleon and the Battle for Haiti by Martin Ros

Silencing the Guns in Haiti: The Promise of Deliberative Democracy by Irwin P. Stotzky

The Spice Necklace: My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life by Ann Vanderhoof

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

Bouki Dances the Kokioko: A Comical Tale from Haiti by Diane Wolkstein (J)

Children of Yayoute: Folk Tales of Haiti by François Turenne des Prés (J)

Selavi, That is Life: A Haitian story of Hope by Youme Landowne (J)

Running the Road to ABC by Denizé Lauture (J)

Popo and Fifina by Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes (J)


Zouk Attack

Saturday, November 5, 2011

National Native American Heritage Month

The month of November has been designated National Native American Heritage Month since 1990, a designation that was a long time coming!  Since the beginning of the 20th century, there had been a movement "that there be permanently designated by the nation a special place on the calendar to honor the contributions, achievements, sacrifices, and cultural and historical legacy of the original inhabitants of what is now the United States and their descendants: the American Indian and Alaska Native people." You can read more about the history of this movement on the U.S. Department of the Interior: Indian Affairs site.

How will you be celebrating National Native American Heritage Month?  Online, you might consider checking out the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian; NativeAmericanHeritageMonth.gov provides links about National Park Service travel itineraries, webcasts, an online rock art exhibition, & information about Native American veterans; read President Obama's 2010 presidential proclamation of both Heritage Month & Native American Heritage Day on November 26th; check out American Indian Heritage in the National Parks & American Indian properties featured in Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans via the National Park Service; or look at the tribal listing from the Indian Health Service

Locally, of course, you can pay a visit the to Indian Pueblo Cultural Center!  In the month of November, they will be featuring dancers from Laguna, Zuni, & Acoma Pueblos; & an ornament making workshop on November 19th. Check out their events calendar for the full schedule!

In the ABC Libraries' catalog, there's a lot that you could browse about Native Americans (a subject search of  "Indians of North America" brings up 29 pages of sub-topics).  If you are interested in petroglyphs & antiquities, there are 69 titles in the catalog. Want to try some Native American fiction?  You have 181 choices under that subject!  Perhaps you'd like to listen to Native American music?  We've got some tunes for your auditory pleasure!  There are films available, too.

If you want to celebrate Native American Heritage Month with children, try getting them interested with some fun crafts! There are also many choices in juvenile fiction, from picture books like Songs of Shiprock Fair  to The Island of the Blue Dolphins for middle to school readers to Codetalker for young adult readers.  You might also interest younger readers in some Native American folklore.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

"I am a pretty good housekeeper and a pretty good gardener and a pretty good needlewoman and a pretty good secretary and a pretty good editor and a pretty good vet for dogs and I have to do them all at once and I found it difficult to add being a pretty good author. About six weeks ago Gertrude Stein said, it does not look to me as if you were ever going to write that autobiography.  You know what I am going to do.  I am going to write it for you.  I am going to write it as simply as Defoe did the autobiography of Robinson Crusoe.  And she has and this is it."
~Gertrude Stein

It takes a certain kind of person to write someone's autobiography for them, & to have the autobiography subject make statements about the author such as "I may say that only three times in my life have I met a genius...Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, & Alfred Whitehead."

For those of you who don't know, Alice Babette Toklas was the longtime companion of Gertrude Stein, in whose salon germinated the talents of Hemingway, Picasso, & most of the Lost Generation (when they were on speaking terms). Alice was "a background figure" at 27 Rue de Fleurus; Gertrude talked to the artists, & Alice entertained the wives. After the death of Stein, whom Toklas outlived by twenty years, Toklas actually published her own memoirs, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook & What Is Remembered, which I hope have a little more Alice & a little less Gertrude in them.  Stein & Toklas are buried side by side at Père Lachaise Cemetery, with Toklas' name engraved on the back of Stein's headstone.

The autobiography Stein created for Toklas, while a bit Stein heavy ("so Gertrude Stein says", "Gertrude Stein was at that time writing", "Gertrude Stein liked country-house visiting less than I did"), is a wonderful history of the era. The chapters range from "Before I Came to Paris" & "1907-1914" to "The War" & "After the War - 1919-1932".  The book seems a faithful description of the famous salon, even to a record of quarrels & falling-outs; everyone who was anyone in those years gets a mention, from artists to writers & then some. During the war, Stein & Toklas did their part for the war effort, & after, they traveled to Mallorca & other locales, though always returning to France.

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is a deceptively simple book. Gertrude Stein employs a simple & direct sentence structure for the most part, almost flat, the written equivalent of a monotone.  Still, having adopted this voice for Alice, Gertrude can't resist throwing in the occasional wordplay: "...The wives of geniuses I have sat with. I have sat with so many. I have sat with wives who were not wives, of geniuses who were real geniuses.  I have sat with real wives of geniuses who were not really geniuses.  I have sat with wives of geniuses, of near geniuses, of would be geniuses, in short I have sat very often & very long with many wives and wives of many geniuses." & a rose is a rose is a rose.

You may learn more about Gertrude Stein than about Alice B. Toklas in this autobiography, but it will not fail to entertain anyone interested in the period of Paris' Luminous Years.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Caribbean Cultures: Jamaica

Continuing our look at Caribbean nations with a trip (via the library catalog) to Jamaica! For country information, visit our Maps & other Geographic Data LibGuide, the CIA's World Factbook, or the Jamaica Information Service.  Also: read Jamaica's newspaper, The Gleaner, online!

From Harvey River: A Memoir of my Mother and Her Island by Lorna Goodison

The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir by Staceyann Chin

John Crow's Devil by Marlon James

Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy

Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson

Reggae: The Rough Guide written by Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton

Rastafari: Roots and Ideology by Barry Chevannes

Reggae Bloodlines: In Search of the Music and Culture of Jamaica text by Stephen Davis

The Natural Mystics: Marley, Tosh, and Wailer by Colin Grant

The Kebra Negast: The Lost Bible of Rastafarian Wisdom and Faith from Ethiopia and Jamaica edited by Gerald Hausman

Traveling Jamaica with Knife, Fork & Spoon: A Righteous Guide to Jamaican Cookery by Robb Walsh & Jay McCarthy

Jerk from Jamaica: Barbecue Caribbean Style by Helen Willinsky

This is Reggae Music: The Story of Jamaica's Music by Lloyd Bradley

Duppy Talk : West Indian Tales of Mystery and Magic retold by Gerald Hausman (J)

Doctor Bird: Three Lookin' Up Tales from Jamaica by Gerald Hausman

Tiger Soup: An Anansi Story from Jamaica retold and illustrated by Frances Temple (J)

The Tangerine Tree by Regina Hanson (J Easy)


Drums of Defiance: Maroon Music from the Earliest Free Black Communities of Jamaica

In Search of the Lost Riddim by Ernest Ranglin

Retrospective: Classic Tracks from a Legendary Artist, Bunny Wailer

Arise Black Man, Peter Tosh and friends

Intensified!: Original Ska, 1962-1966


Wide Sargasso Sea

The Harder They Come

Looking to eat some traditional Jamaican cuisine? JamaicaTravelandCulture.com has recipes for two of my favorite dishes, Pepperpot Soup & Patties.  Try drinking Sorrel along with your meal!