Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Sickness, and in Health

If you're like me, you are currently sick with that cold going around, getting over that cold going around, or about to catch that cold going around.  Despite the warmer weather, I've been hearing lots of sniffles, sneezes and coughs around the library. 

If you are more eager to read about colds, viruses, and other ailments than to have one, we have a book for you.  Try a book about a specific disease, the history of medicine, or a famous epidemic.  Also available are guides in diagnosing your illness and how to treat what you've got.

Ah-choo!: the Uncommon Life of your Common Cold by Jennifer Ackerman
Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness & Surgery by H. Winter Griffith
The Johns Hopkins Complete Home Guide to Symptoms & Remedies
The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: a Medical History of Humanity by Roy Porter
Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs by Morton Meyers
The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine edited by Roy Porter
The Great Influenza: the Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry
Plague: the Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World's Most Dangerous Disease by Wendy Orent
Living with Chronic Sinusitis: the Domplete Health Guide to Preventing and Treating Colds, Nasal Allergies, Rhinitis and Sinusitis by David W. Kennedy and Marilyn Olsen

If you are sick, want to find out more information about a health condition, or want to convince youself that you have a rare, incurable disease, try using one of our health and medical databases.   Some of these resources require a valid library card number and PIN to access.

Consumer Health Complete: A reliable, user-friendly resource featuring medical, health and wellness articles, guides, videos, reports, fact sheets and more.  Available in many languages.

Medline Plus: a service of the National Institutes of Health, produced by the National Library of Medicine.  Timely and authoritative health and medical information presented with the needs of patients and their community of family and friends in mind.

WebMD: A dynamic, interactive consumer health site bringing together health guides, news and communities.

Health Reference Center Academic: A full-text database featuring articles and reference resources for consumer health researchers, students and medical professionals.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Science Corner: Best Science Books of 2011

Compiled from lists on brainpickings.org, bostonglobe.com & newscientist.com.

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World by David Deutsch

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie - A Tale of Love & Fallout by Lauren Redniss

The Physics Book: From Olbers' Paradox to Schrödinger's Cat - From the Big Bang to Quantum Resurrection, 250 Milestones in the History of Physics  by Clifford Pickover

I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History by Stephen Jay Gould

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins

Field Notes on Science & Nature edited by Michael Canfield

Feynman by Jim Ottoviani

Culture: Leading Scientists Explore Societies, Art, Power, and Technology edited by John Brockman

The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution by Keith Devlin

Future Science: Essays from the Cutting Edge edited  by Max Brockman

Incognito: The Secret Lives of Brains by David M. Eagleman

Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World by Lisa Randall

Harnessed:: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man by Mark Changizi [eBook]

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life by Robert Trivers

The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive by Brian Christian

Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe by Roger Penrose

Reinventing Discovery:  The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen

Did you read any good science books in 2011?  Let us know!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Like us on Facebook!

It's Library Lovers' Month this month, & it occurred to us that readers of the blog might not know that they can like their favorite ABC Libraries' branch on Facebook to find out more about events & news!  Here are the branches that currently have Facebook pages:

Cherry Hills Library

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Erna Fergusson Library

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Juan Tabo Branch Library

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Lomas Tramway Library

Promote Your Page Too

Main Library

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San Pedro Library

Promote Your Page Too

South Valley Library

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Taylor Ranch Library

Promote Your Page Too

And there is a central Facebook page for the ABC Libraries as a system:


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day of Remembrance

Star Trek actor George Takei posted this weekend about the Day of Remembrance on Sunday, February 19th. This day is the 70th anniversary of the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which permitted the military to circumvent the constitutional safeguards of American citizens in the name of national defense. According to Wikipedia, "Somewhere between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were subject to this mass exclusion program, of whom approximately two-thirds were U.S. citizens. The remaining one-third were non-citizens subject to internment under the Alien Enemies Act; many of these 'resident aliens' had long been inhabitants of the United States, but had been deprived the opportunity to attain citizenship by laws that blocked Asian-born nationals from ever achieving citizenship."  George Takei, at 5 years old, was one of the Japanese-Americans sent to the internment camps with his family.

But Japanese-American internment is not just a West Coast story.  It is also part of New Mexico history. Two of the internment camps were in New Mexico, in Santa Fe & Lordsburg.  You can read more about Japanese Americans in New Mexico at the City of Albuquerque website & PBS also features an internment timeline as part of their Children of the Camps documentary.

Take advantage of the materials available at the library to learn more about this dark period in U.S. history.

For children & teens:

Silver Like Dust: One Family's Story of America's Japanese Internment by Kimi Cunningham Grant

I Am An American: A True Story of Japanese Internment by Jerry Stanley

The Journal of Ben Uchida, Citizen #13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp by Barry Denenberg

Behind Barbed Wire: The Story of Japanese-American Internment During World War II by Lila Perl

Korematsu v. United States: Japanese-American Internment Camps by Karen Alonso

For adults:

Impounded : Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment by Dorothea Lange

By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans by Greg Robinson

Toyo's Camera: Japanese American History During WWII (DVD)

The titles listed are just a sample - a subject search of  "Japanese Americans - Evacuation and Relocation" lists more.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents Day!

Hope you enjoy your holiday!!  All Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Libraries will be closed on Monday, February 20th.  Libraries will reopen on Tuesday, February 21st.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Global Characters: French Books in Translation for Children & Young Adults

What better way for children to learn about foreign cultures than by reading the children's literature of other countries?  Hopefully, an increased accessibility to knowledge of other cultures will promote understanding of and respect for diversity.
~Joyce Herbeck, "French Authors, Global Characters"

With Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin in the movie theaters this winter, I thought parents might be looking for other international fare for their children to read.  The Tintin books & the Asterix books by Goscinny & Uderzo are great graphic novels & great fun, but perhaps you'd like to see a couple of other options.

Here are a selection of children's books translated from French, recommend by an article in Book Links, a Booklist magazine supplement. Many of these have won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award, given to the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States.

Picture Books

Big Wolf and Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme

Star of Fear, Star of Hope by Jo Hoestlandt

Middle-Grade Books

A Book of Coupons by Susie Morgenstern

Nicholas by  Rene Goscinny & Jean-Jacques Sempé

The Pull of the Ocean by Jean-Claude Mourlevat

Young Adult Novels

The Killer's Tears by Anne-Laure Bondoux

The Shadows of Ghadames by Joëlle Stolz

Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow by Faïza Guène

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be My Un-Valentine

Being single is great; no commitments and a whole bed to stretch out on-or with whoever you want - and no ball and chain holding you back from painting the town red and flirting up a storm. But then along comes Valentine’s Day and makes you feel like you've contracted some kind of terminal illness until all the lovey dovey couples have come down from cloud nine.
~ Kenny Duggal, "Anti Valentine's Day 2012: Where to Celebrate Being Single"

Ah, Valentine's Day.  In the past I would celebrate this holiday with a box of chocolates (given to me by me) & a romantic movie (on my own).  I like to think I'm older & wiser now, & I don't do that anymore.  Here are some ideas I've collected for other singletons celebrating un-Valentine's Day:

Valentine's Day Potluck: A video of Stacie Ikka, founder of SittingInATree.com, who suggests breaking out of your dating rut and opening up your social circle with a large dinner.

Celebrate Quirkyalone Day: Ten suggestions to get you started in your Quirkyalone Day planning. 

Flying Solo: Valentine's Day Etiquette Tips - Being single on Valentine’s Day is no reason to curtail plans of a fun get-away or night out!

10 single chefs divulge their ultimate Valentine's Day feast - If you do stay home, trying tempting yourself in the kitchen.  These chefs give you their own favorite recipes, but what would you like to try?

Throw an Un-Valentine's Day Party - "Un-Valentine's Day, not Anti-Valentine's Day" (with recipes)

What we really need is a festival to celebrate love's many torments. Bring on Unvalentine's Day - "Valentine's Day - the only national occasion dedicated to mental illness - is a stressful ordeal at the best of times"

(Un)Happy Valentine's Day Cocktail Guide

Happy Un-Valentine's for Celebrating Singles

Marie Claire's Anti-Valentine's Day Handbook

How To Ideas For An Un-Valentine's Day (Or Celebrate Your Divorce) Party

Heartbreak on a Plate - salivate over this Un-Valentine's Day menu

Bad Romance: bracing for an un-romantic Valentine's Day - "here are some early warning signs that you aren't in for a very sexy Valentine's Day this year" (funny)

A Very Merry Un-Valentine's Day from TCM - recommended films

Celebrate Singles Awareness Day!

Move to Brooklyn - Here are some ways to not celebrate, un-celebrate and anti-celebrate Valentine's Day in Brooklyn, NY (funny)

Recommended Reads to Amp Up Your Single Mojo

Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg

Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life by Samhita Mukhopadhyay

Bachelor Girl: The Secret History of the Single Woman in the Twentieth Century by Betsy Israel

Making the Cat Laugh: One Woman's Journal of Single Life on the Margins by Lynne Truss

The Single Girl's Manifesta: Living in a Stupendously Superior Single State of Mind by Jerusha Stewart

Living Alone & Loving It: A Guide to Relishing the Solo Life by Barbara Feldon

Living Solo edited by Adrienne Salinger

Urban Tribes: A Generation Redefines Friendship, Family, and Commitment by Ethan Watters

On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone by Florence Falk

Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto by Anneli Rufus

Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics by Sasha Cagen

Or consider watching Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman- "Filmmaker Jennifer Fox journeys around the globe to investigate how the modern-day woman lives in other parts of the world"-or Happy-Go-Lucky.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Naomi Shihab Nye

With our own son, we read to him and took him to the library, and once he was past the age of being read to at bedtime, I read poetry to him as a daily wake-up call until he went off to college.  He never objected.  I found Chinese and Japanese poetry a particularly rich early morning song...  It was great to have poems be the first thing to come out of my own mouth every morning-the first words let loose on the air inside our house. I recommend it.
~Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye is an Arab-American writer who refers to herself as a "wandering poet".  She began writing poetry at the age of 6 or 7, as soon as she learned how to write. Different cultures & cultural differences have been the most recurring themes of her work; she also often takes for her inspiration the images & situations of everyday life.  Her many honors include four Pushcart Prizes, a Jane Addams Children's Book Award, a Paterson Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lannan Fellowship. After 9/11, she became a spokesperson for Arab-Americans, condemning both terrorism & prejudice.

Here's a list of some of our favorite Naomi Shihab Nye books:

19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East

A Maze Me: Poems for Girls

The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems & Paintings from the Middle East and North Africa selected by Naomi Shihab Nye

There is No Long Distance Now: Very Short Stories


Never in a Hurry: Essays on People and Places


Naomi Shihab Nye reading "One Boy Told Me"

Naomi Shihab Nye poems on the Poetry Out Loud website

Friday, February 10, 2012

Teaching Tolerance to Kids

If we are to have real peace, we must begin with the children.
~Mahatma Gandhi

I was reading an article in Book Links (a supplement to Booklist magazine) about culture clubs. Two educators, Debbi Dunne & Beth Papaz, in response to world cultures becoming their new third grade social studies focus, decided to form a culture club in their school because "Before we can teach any specific world culture, we first have to help our children develop tolerance and acceptance.  We need to explore the behaviors and beliefs that our children share."

Their culture club meets once a week.  Activities include: sharing information about themselves; writing letters to cafeteria workers, custodians, & grandparents to express thankfulness for all the gifts in club members' lives; inviting the whole school to share their answers to the question "What is peace?" on a wall display; discussions about bullying; & writing a poem about acceptance as a group.

Most of their activities were tied to books that they read aloud together.  Here's a list of some of books which they found helpful to share.

All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

Feathers & Fools by Mem Fox

Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting

A Little Peace by Barbara Kerley

The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill

Say Something by Peggy Moss

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

What Does Peace Feel Like? by Vladimir Radunsky

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Get Crafty!

We've written plenty about reading challenges for 2012-how about a craft challenge?  You could participate in the Virtual Crafting Challenge, the Iron Craft Challenge, the Monthly Apparel Challenge, the ABC Book of Me Scrapbooking Challenge, or make up one of your own!

Or maybe your goal is get to get more crafting done this year?  Perhaps you'd like to come to one of the library's crafting groups?  Or perhaps you'd like to discover the perfect hobby for you based on the personality quiz in Get a Hobby!: 101 All-Consuming Diversions for Any Lifestyle.

Whatever your crafting goals for 2012 might be, here are some recommended reads to get you started!


Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs: 144 Circles, Hexagons, Triangles, Squares, and Other Unexpected Shapes by Edie Eckman

Crochet So Fine: Exquisite Designs with Fine Yarns by Kristin Omdahl

Comfort Knitting & Crochet : Afghans - More than 50 beautiful, Affordable Designs Featuring Berroco's Comfort Yarn by Norah Gaughan, Margery Winter, and the Berroco Design Team

60 More Quick Knits: 20 Hats, 20 Scarves, 20 Mittens in Cascade 220 Sport

Wendy Knits Lace: Essential Techniques and Patterns for Irresistible Everyday Lace by Wendy D. Johnson

Knit Your Own Royal Wedding by Fiona Goble

A Knitting Wrapsody by Kristin Omdahl

75 Birds, Butterflies & Little Beasts to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield

Brave New Knits: 26 Projects and Personalities from the Knitting Blogosphere by Julie Turjoman

Cowl Girls: The Neck's Best Thing to Knit by Cathy Carron

The Happy Hooker: Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet by Debbie Stoller

Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi: More than 40 Itty-Bitty Minis to Knit, Wear, and Give  by Anna Hrachovec

Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks  by Melissa Morgan-Oakes

Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain

Domiknitrix: Whip Your Knitting into Shape by Jennifer Stafford

Anticraft: Knitting, Beading, and Stitching for the Slightly Sinister by Renée Rigdon, Zabet Stewart

Knitting with Balls : A Hands-On Guide to Knitting for the Modern Man by Michael del Vecchio

Second-Time Cool: The Art of Chopping Up a Sweater by Anna-Stina Lindén Ivarsson, Katarina Brieditis, Katarina Evans

Simple Knits with a Twist: Unique Projects for Creative Knitters by Erika Knight

Candy Crochet: 50 Adorable Designs for Infants and Toddlers by Candi Jensen

Positively Crochet: 50 Fashionable Projects and Inspirational Tips by Mary Jane Hall

Sweet Shawlettes: 25 Irresistible Patterns for Knitting Cowls, Capelets, and More by Jean Moss

Around the World in Knitted Socks: 26 Inspired Designs by Stephanie van der Linden

A Treasury of Magical Knitting by Cat Bordhi

Domino Knitting by Vivian Høxbro


The Art of Embroidery: Inspirational Stitches, Textures and Surfaces by Françoise Tellier-LoumagneFrançoise Tellier-Loumagne

Stitch Sampler by Lucinda Ganderto

Stitchy Kitty Fuzzy Puppy : 60 Motifs to Stitch Everywhere by Ayako Otsuka

Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery by Leanne Prain


Weekend Sewing: More than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching by Heather Ross

Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins

One-Yard Wonders: Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric! by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins

Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt by Megan Nicolay

The Feisty Stitcher: Sewing Projects with Attitude by Susan Wasinger

Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaeffer

Chic Bags: 22 Handbags, Purses and Accessories to Make by Marie Enderlen-Debuisson & Caroline Laisne

Amy Butler's Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to Make 26 Wonderful Bags by Amy Butler


The Joy of Scrapbooking by Kerry Arquette

Scrapbooking Your Family History by Laura Best

Classic Scrapbooking by Vera Rosenbluth

The Altered Book Scrapbook by Susan Ure

The Decorated Page: Journals, Scrapbooks & Albums Made Simply Beautiful by Gwen Diehn


Terrarium Craft: Create 50 Magical, Miniature Worlds by Amy Bryant Aiello & Kate Bryant

Stupid Sock Creatures: Making Quirky, Lovable Figures from Cast-Off Socks by John Murphy

Not-Quite-So-Easy Origami by Mary Meinking

75 Chinese, Celtic, and Ornamental Knots: A Directory of Knots and Knotting Techniques-Plus Exquisite Jewelry Projects to Make and Wear by Laura Williams and Elise Mann

Altered Art: Techniques for Creating Altered Books, Boxes, Cards & More by Terry Taylor
Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule

Photojojo!: Insanely Great Photo Projects and DIY Ideas by Amit Gupta with Kelly Jensen

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts: An A-to-Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration by the editors of Martha Stewart Living
Glamorous Beaded Jewelry: Bracelets, Necklaces, Earrings, and Rings by M.T. Ryan

La Casa Loca: Latino Style Comes Home - 45 Funky Craft Projects for Decorating and Entertaining by Kathy Cano-Murillo

Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things with the Stuff You Already Have  by Danny Seo

Ready Made: How to Make (Almost) Everything - A Do-It-Yourself Primer by Shoshana Berger


Selling Your Crafts

The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin

How to Sell Your Crafts Online: A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and Beyond by Derrick Sutton

Local craft stores with classes!

Monday, February 6, 2012

200 Years of Charles Dickens!

February 7, 2012 marks the 200th birth anniversary of Charles Dickens, an author dear to our heart at abcreads.  There are a number of ways for you to celebrate Dickens this year!  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Masterpiece Classic: PBS is featuring new versions of Great Expectations & The Mystery of Edwin  Drood, both coming in April.  Can't wait until then?  The library has many Dickensian films to offer, from Oliver! to Bleak House.
  • If one new version of Great Expectations weren't enough, check out the Mike Newell film, also due out this year, starring the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, & Sally Hawkins.
  • The gifted biographer, Claire Tomalin, has put out Charles Dickens: A Life, this year.  For kids, there's A Boy Called Dickens, which got a starred review from Booklist.
  • Unless you're heading to London next week, you'll probably miss the three course Mansion House Dinner at the Charles Dickens Museum (with Dickensian entertainment provided by Sir Patrick Stewart), but check out the museum's website for a video & more!
  • The Dickens 2012 website is an international celebration of his life & work.  It also links to "What Would Dickens Write Today?", as envisioned by 8 contemporary UK writers, including A.S. Byatt & Denise Mina.
  • The Morgan Library & Museum has an online exhibition called Charles Dickens at 200-catch it before it ends on February 12th!
  • The Dickens Project is hosting The Dickens Universe in late July & early August.  I'm not sure what it's about, but don't forget your copy of Bleak House!
  • Virtually visit Dickens' grave at Westminster Abbey.
  • Read George Orwell's essay about Dickens! The late Christopher Hitchens' final essay was about Dickens.
  • Dickensworld features a fascinating list of sadly UK-only events, including the Little Dodgers Dressing Up Club.
  • & by all means, read his books!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Million for a Morgue

Love mysteries?  We sure do here at abcreads, including forensic crime solvers.  So we were intrigued to find out about the Million for a Morgue competition, which invites mystery fans to take part in a unique fundraising project by the University of Dundee (Scotland) to help raise funds to build a morgue in their Thiel Center of Excellence.

"The idea to involve the crime writers was borne out of the friendship between Professor Sue Black, the Director of the CAHID at the University of Dundee, and crime fiction writer Val McDermid. Professor Black has often assisted Val with the forensic details required for her crime stories and they have appeared at book festival events together discussing the thought process behind crime fiction," explains the Million for a Morgue website. "Everyone who donates to the Million For A Morgue campaign will get to vote for their favourite author or authors to determine who will have their name on the Thiel Centre of Excellence at the University of Dundee. You can vote now by visiting the authors page and selecting your favourite author."

The authors to vote for are: Lee Child; Jeffery Deaver; Jeff Lindsay; Val McDermid; Stuart MacBride; Tess Gerritsen; Peter James; Kathy Reichs; Mark Billingham; & Harlan Coben.  So far, looks like Tess Gerritsen is in the lead!

Also on the site, you can read about Professor Black & the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, the Thiel method of embalming,  & enter to win a murder tour of Aberdeen in the company of Stuart MacBride! (The murder tour winner will be picked from the hat on 29 February. They will only pay for travel to Aberdeen from anywhere in the UK.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Small Delights of Handwritten Correspondence

"When you open your mailbox and there is an envelope inside, there's an immediate thrill of discovery. Then during the walk back home, the curiosity begins. 'What is inside?' Then you get to open it and read it and that is its own pleasure. If the letter is handwritten, often a person's state of mind shows in the tumble of letters or the crossed-out words. You can include artefacts. For instance, I can send a fabric swatch of the dress I'm working on which communicates so much more than even a photograph."
~Mary Robinette Kowal

I don't know about you, but I head to the mailbox every day with a heart full of optimism.  Usually I only get bills or circulars, unless I've ordered something, but just now & then there will be a postcard or a greeting card.  I love to get postcards (I am a member of Postcrossing, so if I'm lucky I'll find a random card from somewhere around the world), but sometimes I miss getting a letter.  I used to have correspondents.  We used to send each other multiple-page letters in funky decorated envelopes. One friend, out of the blue, sent me a hard-carved spoon with his note. In this age of of Facebook & Twitter, that never happens.  I'm tired of 140 characters & status updates.  I want my snail mail back!

With that in mind, I'm delighted to see not one, not two, but three attempts to "revive the lost art of letter-writing".  They are:
  • Letters in the Mail: The online magazine The Rumpus is offering a print subscription!  "It’s called Letters in the Mail. Almost every week you’ll receive a letter, in the mail. Letter writers will include Dave Eggers, Tao Lin, Stephen Elliott, Janet Fitch, Nick Flynn, Margaret Cho, Cheryl Strayed, Marc Maron, Elissa Schappel, Wendy MacNaughton, Emily Gould, and Jonathan Ames. Think of it as the letters you used to get from your creative friends, before this whole internet/email thing. Most of the letters will include return addresses (at the author’s discretion) in case you want to write the author back.And it’s only $5 a month, cheap."

  • The Month of Letters Challenge: “I have a simple challenge for you. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items. All you are committing to is to mail 24 items. Why 24? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 24 items. You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month. You might enjoy going to the mail box again.”

  • The Handwritten Project: "Here's how it works. I will write to anyone who wants to hear from me. It may be a postcard, a short note, or even a long-winded letter, but it will most certainly be in my own fair hand. The recipient does not have to write back but is more than welcome to do so. Simple. I mentioned this on Twitter as the old year came to a close and quickly collected over 60 addresses from people who wanted to be involved. Naturally, I would like to extend this offer to the fine people who actually bother to visit my blog. If you want something in the post from me then drop me a line and I will get something out to you just as soon as I can."
Interested?  Need help getting started?  Consider taking a look at letter writing guides or check out collections of correspondence, all available in the ABC Libraries' catalog!  I just read Four Letter Word: Invented Correspondence from the Edge of Modern Romance, which, though fictional, contained some really beautiful love letters.  Other fictional inspiration might be found by revisiting Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, or something off our Epistolary Novels booklist.