Friday, March 30, 2012

America's Favorite Pastime

The first day of spring not only signals the beginning of warmer weather across the United States, but it also begins the anticipation of opening day of Major League Baseball! We begin to look at rosters, pitching stats and whose rookie is going to be the breakout star of the year.  You start driving by the stadium more often and you can almost swear you can smell the hot dogs being prepared, even though the games are still a few weeks away.  The oiled baseball gloves come out of the closets, along with the giant fingers, baseball caps and jerseys, ready for the first game of the season. 

Opening day for 2012 is Thursday, April 5th, with seven games scheduled.  Several milestones will be celebrated this year.  The Boston Red Sox will be celebrating 100 years in Fenway Park on April 20th, on Friday April 6th the Baltimore Orioles will be celebrating 20 years at Camden Yards and Jackie Robinson Day will be held across the league on April 15th commemorating his start in baseball in 1947.  Also, the Los Angeles Dodgers April 10th home against the Pittsburgh Pirates will be the 50th anniversary of their first game at Dodger stadium and the New York Mets and the Houston astros will also be marking their 50 years in existence.  You can find game schedules for the first weekend of baseball from the MLB website.

Of course we here in Albuquerque are geared up for our local team the Albuquerque Isotopes beginning league play.  They also start out on Thursday, April 5th with an away game with the Omaha Storm Chasers and the first home game will be at Isotopes Park on Friday, April 13th at 7:05 pm also against Omaha. 

In the meantime here are some items to check out from the library to get you ready for opening day:

The House that Ruth Built: A New Stadium, A Yankees Championship and the Redemption of 1923 by Robert Weintraub

Stan Musial: An American Life by George Vecsey

Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway's Remarkable First Year by Glenn Stout

500 Ballparks: From Wooden Seats to Retro Classics by Eric Pastore

Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress by Harry Katz

But Didn't We Have Fun? : An Informal History of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843-1870 by Peter Morris

Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season by Jonathan Eig

Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth by Leigh Montville

Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero by David Maraniss

A Mile in His Shoes  DVD

Moneyball  DVD

The Last Play At Shea  DVD

The Natural  DVD

Field of Dreams  DVD

The Pride of the Yankees  DVD

For more sports titles, please visit our Booklists for Adults & Teens LibGuide, where you'll find a "Best Sports Reads" list.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Therapy Dogs

Some of you may already know that many ABQ libraries host a "Read to the Dogs" program every month. This program makes reading fun and non-stressful for children learning to read. But these dogs aren't just ordinary dogs. Did you ever wonder why these dogs are so special? Well, our "reading" dogs are all registered therapy dogs. We hear the term registered therapy dog all the time, but what exactly does that mean?

Therapy dogs are not just friendly dogs. They are friendly dogs that go through rigorous behavioral training and receive an actual certification to do what they do. The "test" that they take consists of displaying obedient behavior in the face of heavy distractions, interacting with people in different situations with no signs of aggression and also friendly and polite interactions with other dogs. The handler and dog also have to go on several supervised visits to health care facilities in order to be accepted.

Once they are certified, they have lots of different jobs to do. Besides contributing to the reading proficiency of young library patrons, therapy dogs and their handlers also visit nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and hospitals to name a few. If you and your child would like to come read to the dogs, check out the library system's schedule here.  To read more about therapy dogs, try a subject or keyword search by "Dogs - Therapeutic Use".

Also, April is National Pet Month so here are a few ways you can celebrate:
  • Do something to make your pets feel special; Take your dog to the park, buy them a new toy, give them a nice brush or massage. There are plenty of books in the catalog on pet care if you need suggestions!
  • Have a puppy party and invite all your friends and their dogs over for a fun day of play.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Garbage of Your Dreams

Soil is always a struggle here in New Mexico and now that it's gardening season you might be thinking about shopping for that expensive organic compost and/or fertilizer from the local garden store. That wonderful, magical mix that they sell packed into heavy plastic bags is something that every one of us can make for ourselves in our own back (or front) yards. This is also good for the environment as it keeps valuable organic waste out of landfills and into your garden soil. All it takes is a little bit of commitment and a lot of garbage.

What you need:

A bin- There are pre-made composting bins that are build for optimal air circulation and smell-insulation. Yes there can be a certain stinkiness involved in composting. You can, however, go the simpler and more affordable route and just get an old trash can. Make sure there are plenty of holes cut in the side for ventilation and a lid. Keep the potential smell in mind when deciding where to place your compost bin (i.e. don't place it right outside your front door). Also keep a small container in the house to keep your kitchen scraps in until they are ready to be taken outside. An old coffee can works great. You could also keep your "scraps" container in the freezer before taking it outside to cut back on odors inside the house.


The right kind of garbage is essential. You can't throw just anything into your compost. Organic waste is key. This can include banana peels, that bag of spinach that sat in your fridge too long, strawberry caps, used coffee grounds, raked leaves, grass clipping and other yard waste. Look here for a more complete list of compost materials. Also keep in mind things you should not compost items such as animal waste, meat or dairy products and other composting no-no's.  


After you have your compost going the only upkeep involved is regularly turning or stirring your pile and watering it often. The stirring will provide much needed oxygen flow to the microorganisms in your pile and the water supplies moisture that the microbes need to survive.

For more guidance on your composting adventure take a look at the our composting Libguide, or check out these books available through ABC libraries:

Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Got a reluctant teen reader? Have them give these sci-fi titles a whirl!

Sometimes it's hard to get teens reading.  They read for school, & then when they're not at school, they have so many other activities!  If you have a teen who's reluctant to crack open a book that's not assigned, some librarians recommend hi/lo fiction, particularly if  the teens "read below grade level and can’t find books they can read that interest them".  Also you might consider the sci-fi titles listed below, recommended by Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) magazine. Some titles may also be available in alternate formats (eBook, audio). As always, concerned parents may want to preview the book's subject matter to test its appropriateness for their teen!

When Technology Goes Wrong
"Are we ever going to be sorry we've let technology woo us?" ~Karin Perry

Feed by M. T. Anderson

Candor by Pam Bachorz

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Scored by Lauren McLaughlin

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan [eBook only]

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Memento Nora by Angie Smibert

The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 by PJ Haarsma

Tough Guys of Science Fiction Fantasy: Guys You'll Want in Your Reading Corner

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

*Books in this post were suggested by articles in VOYA magazine (2/12, vol 34, # 6)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coffee and Chocolate

Coffee and chocolate. The only thing better than having one or the other is to have both at the same time. There are many ways to mix and enjoy them together. They both come from beans, after all. Coffee can be the best compliment to a chocolate bar or just mix the two and have a nice cup of cafe mocha. Chocolate is also flavored with coffee, like chocolate covered espresso beans. But as any coffee connoisseur or chocolatier could tell you, all are not created equal.

The Best Coffee:

Just any bean won't do. If you are looking for the best coffee, start with the best beans. First, no more buying your coffee at your local grocery store. The best beans will almost always be found at specialty or gourmet stores. Finding the freshest roast is your next step. At speciality stores, your beans could be roasted on the same day or even right in front of you. At the grocery store, you can usually see the roast date on the back of the bag, which will give you a good idea of just how not-fresh those grounds are. Beans should be whole with no splinters or cracks and should look and smell appealing.

The Best Chocolate:

The best chocolate comes from the best beans too, and the beans have to be well cared for. Overroasting is the most common mistake chocolatiers make. Chocolate can be compared to wine in that many people need to aquire a taste for it in it's unsweetened, unprocessed form. Cocoa beans comes from several different geographic areas and each one tastes different. Many chocolate connosieurs are able to decipher between these subtle flavors. Even chocolate that is made well can still go stale. Local chocolatiers can explain to you where their beans come from and how they were processed. That's how you know you are buying from the best.

Want to know more? All your questions, curiousities and cravings can be answered at the Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest March 23-25th at the Albuquerque Convention Center. There will be tastings, seminars, contest, performances and other entertainment. Don't miss this fun event!

If you'd like some great books on chocolate and coffee check out these great titles:

Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury

The Book of Chocolate by Nathalie Bailleux

Coffee Creations by Gwin Grogan Grimes

The Joy of Coffee : The Essential Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying by James Scherer

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Wearing of the Green

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated throughout many countries these days, but it did not start out as the fun holiday that most of us know and look forward to every year.  It was first observed as an official feast day in the early seventeeth century in Ireland, and is now a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat.  All over the world wherever the Irish diaspora settled, March 17th has become an annual day to celebrate Saint Patrick and the Irish culture. 

A lot of Patrick's early life is not known.  He was born in Roman Britain to a wealthy family, and was kidnapped by Irish slavers and taken to Ireland.  He escaped and later returned to Britain where he began studying as a priest.  He stated that God told him he was needed in Ireland to teach the people the true meaning of Christianity and he used the shamrock leaf as a symbol to explain the Trinity to his flock.  He died on March 17 461 and is purportedly buried in Downpatrick. 

There are not many books about Saint Patrick in the catalog, but additional books can be ordered through interlibrary loan. 

St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography by Philip Freeman

St. Patrick The Apostle of Ireland-DVD

Patrick: Son of Ireland by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Life and Writings of the historical Saint Patrick by R.P.C. Hanson

Who Was Saint Patrick by E.A. Thompson

Other things Celtic and Irish in the catalog include:

Celtic Crossroads  DVD

The Secret of Kells  DVD

The Wind that Shakes the Barley  DVD

Celtic Woman  DVD

The Best of Riverdance  DVD

The Boy and Girl from County Clare  DVD

Darby O'Gill and the Little People  DVD

In Search of Ancient Ireland  DVD

The Secret of Roan Innish  DVD

In the Name of the Father  DVD

Voyage  by Celtic Thunder Music CD

T With the Maggies  Music CD

A Day Without Rain by Enya Music CD

Tears of Stone by The Chieftains  Music CD

Some new 2012 books listed are:

The Last Storyteller by Frank Delaney

Dublin Dead by Gerard O' Donovan

On an Irish Island by Robert Kanigel

The Irish Way: Becoming American in the Multiethnic City by James R. Barrett

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Get Your Plate in Shape!

March is National Nutrition Month!  The theme for 2012 is Get Your Plate in Shape.  Links from the Eat Right website include The Good Nutrition Reading List, Games & Quizzes, & Nutrition Education Resources.

At ABC Libraries, we believe in good nutrition...a healthy body is the foundation for a healthy mind!  Our catalog certainly boasts a diverse array of nutrition topics.  A subject search under "Nutrition" reveals headings such as "Nutrition - Athletes", "Nutrition - Businesspeople", "Nutrition - Childrens Films", "Nutrition - Infants", & "Nutrition - Japan".  You can browse the subject heading list, or try a keyword search, such as "nutrition pregnancy" or "nutrition weight loss", to find the nutritional guide that best suits your needs.

Here are a couple of (mostly) recent nutrition titles you might enjoy:

The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David

The Cleaner Plate Club by Beth Bader and Alison Wade Benjamin

Coffee is Good for You: From Vitamin C and Organic Foods to Low-Carb and Detox Diets, the Truth about Diet and Nutrition Claims by Robert J. Davis

The Alzheimer's Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life by Gary Small & Gigi Vorgan

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan

Local Flavors: Recipes, Menus, and Insights from America's Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison

The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

Eat Smart Eat Raw by Kate Wood

The Inspired Vegan: Seasonal Ingredients, Creative Recipes, Mouthwatering Menus by Bryant Terry

What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets photographed by Peter Menzel ; written by Faith D'Aluisio (this team also wrote Hungry Planet: What the World Eats & Man Eating Bugs: The Art & Science of Eating Insects)

What to Eat by Marion Nestle

Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton

Food Matters by Mark Bittman

In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart by Alice Waters

Friday, March 16, 2012

Alan Bennett

The author in 1977
I see Alan Bennett has a new book out, so I thought now would be a good time to discuss my deep veneration for this British playwright, screenwriter, actor and author, whom I discovered only recently, with the publication of The Uncommon Reader in 2007. Well, I first became acquainted with his work watching The Madness of King George in the 1990s, even though I didn't know it (he adapted the screenplay from his play.  The History Boys was another film based on a play he wrote).

Alan Bennett is something of a national treasure in England.  He was one of the men behind Beyond the Fringe, a British comedy stage revue that was part of the 1960 Edinburgh International Festival. The revue was written and performed by Bennett along with comedy powerhouses Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, & Dudley Moore. In the U.K. he is famous for scripting such television programs as Talking Heads, a series of dramatic monologues broadcast in the '80s  & '90s that featured the talents of Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Eileen Atkins, & Penelope Wilton.  Patricia Routledge (of Keeping Up Appearances) was in one called "A Lady of Letters" - "Irene Ruddock is a working class single woman living near Bradford who is not afraid to speak, or rather write, her mind: she writes letters to her MP, the police, the chemist – everyone she can, to remedy the social ills she sees around her. After one too many accusations of misconduct from Irene's pen, she is sent to prison – where, for the first time in her life, ironically, she truly feels free and happy."  Bennett's sharp humor can be merciless!

We don't have a huge amount of Alan Bennett in the library catalog, but do check out The Uncommon Reader [ "A royal fable celebrating the transformative properties (and a few of the unsettling consequences) of reading as an obsession. In a country of commoners, the uncommon reader is the Queen"-Kirkus Reviews].  Alan Bennett also reads the audiobook, & he is an excellent reader.  Writing Home & Untold Stories are both collections of his essays & memoirs.

Alan Bennett's new book is called Smut, described as a "charming, sneaky little work of fiction, two novellas concerning two middle-aged, middle-class British matrons" [Publisher's Weekly Reviews].  The book is called titled Smut: Two Unseemly Stories in the U.K.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Ides of March

When many of us hear this phrase we find ourselves picturing George Clooney and Ryan Gosling locked inside a political mind-maze. To some of us, however, the true meaning takes us back over two thousand years to the days of Julius Caesar. "Ides" is a Latin term referring to the halfway point in a month. The "ides" falls on the 15th of March, May, July and October and the 13th of all remaining months. It was a soothsayer who told Julius Caesar "beware the ides of March."

It was the ides of March when a meeting of the Senate was called. Caesar hesitated and put off going to the Senate meeting until the last moment. He commented to the soothsayer saying that the ides of March had come without him being harmed. The soothsayer replied that they had indeed come, "but they had not gone." As he entered the meeting, all seemed well and ordinary. One consul approached him as if to ask a question. All at once Julius Caesar was seized and stabbed 23 times. The assassination was a conspiracy concocted by his own friends and consuls. Over 60 people were involved in the conspiracy leading to Julius Caesar's death.
So, how are the Albuquerque Libraries spending the ides of March this year?
  • Bring your teen to the Cherry Hills Library from 3:00pm-4:30pm and learn how to make Duct Tape Wallets *Registration required

If it is George Clooney and Ryan Gosling your after click here to reserve your copy of The Ides of March today!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Travel Tips From the Library

As someone who used to be an avid traveler I know sometimes half the fun of traveling and seeing new places is planning the trip. Researching online, studying maps, and poring through guidebooks can whet a traveler's appetite and inspire the adventurer in all of us. Guidebooks are wonderful, but can be an expensive investment for a short trip, or a one-time visit. Luckily, the library has a wide selection of guidebooks available to check out, including several titles to download in e-book format.

Finding the most current guidebook is often ideal, since it will have the most up to date information. but sometimes tracking one down in the library system can be frustrating. When reserving the most recently published guidebook on the library catalog, remember to look at the year the guidebook was published. To get the best information, click on the guidebook's title. All the copies available will then be listed, along with the year they were published. When you click "Place a Hold" or "Request It" you should then be asked which copy you want held for you. You can then request the most current one, or an older copy if you wish. The older guidebooks are often just as good as the current ones; you just may wish to verify certain information in them online. Often times things like admission costs to museums, hours of operation for restaurants, and seasonal openings for campgrounds can change at a moment's notice.

Guidebooks are good starting point, but there are many good travel websites, including ones that produce well known travel guides, such as Lonely Planet or Let's Go. Also, in addition to the guidebooks offered on a library's bookshelves, there are digital guidebooks available to download onto your Kindle, or e-reader. Click here to browse available copies. If you're interested in learning the language of the foreign country you may be lucky enough to go to, try the library's language learning source Byki.

Happy Travelling!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Upcoming Local Events

Global DanceFest at N4th
March 9th-24th

3rd Thursday at the Albuquerque Museum
March 15th: Women, Art, & Creativity

New Mexico Film Series at the KiMo: The Texas Rangers
March 21st

Spring Swing: Anita O'Day
March 24th

Disney's Alice in Wonderland, Jr at the South Broadway Culltural Center
March 30th-April 1st

Happy 31st Birthday, Page One!
March 31st

Outpost Performance Space: The Carolina Chocolate Drops
April 11th

Poets & Writers Film Festival at the Guild Cinema
April 13th-15th: films include Slam Planet, An Angel at My Table, & Barton Fink.  Check the website for showtimes!

Opera Southwest: A Way Home
National Hispanic Cultural Center: April 27th & 28th
Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center: April 30th

The Pioneer Woman in Albuquerque!
April 30th

Francisco Goya: Los Caprichos at the Albuquerque Museum
through May 13th

Chatter: Music Worth Talking About (formerly the Church of Beethoven)
ongoing - check their website for the schedule!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Global Characters: Adventures on the Indian Subcontinent for Kids

Happy Holi (होली)! Holi is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus, also known as the Festival of Colors.  It is primarily celebrated in India, Pakistan, & Nepal. Celebrations of the main day, Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, include people throwing colored powder and water at each other. Here at abcreads we thought it might be nice to celebrate Holi by suggesting some children's books set in the Indian subcontinent.

Picture Books

Mama's Saris by by Pooja Makhijani

Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami

My Dadima Wears a Sari by Kashmira Sheth

My Mother's Sari by Sandhya Rao


Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth (J)

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman (YA)

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami (J)

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (YA)

Island's End by Padma Venkatraman (eBook)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hemingway & The Lost Generation

Ernest, Hadley, & Bumby Hemingway
Recently I came across the book Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife by Gioia Diliberto and found myself intrigued enough to check it out.  I did not know a lot about Ernest Hemingway and was curious to know more about what kind of person he was, where he came from and how he went on to write some of literature's classic works.  While the story focuses primarily on Hadley Richardson, the first woman Hemingway married, there is a lot about Ernest himself that the author gleaned from Hadley and Ernest's papers that provides additional insight into Hemingway the man.  I became immersed in their world: 1920's Paris, the colorful characters and writers whose lives they were allowed to move in and out of, the food they ate, the wine they drank, and the exotic places they visited.  Several of the people they hung out were great writers themselves, such as John Dos Passos, Ford Madox Ford, F. Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot, Joseph Conrad and Gertrude Stein.  They could go skiing in Germany, watch the bulls run in Pamplona, or take a trip to England all on mere francs a day. 

Paris Without End was a wonderful piece of history to read and it read like a novel even though it was a non-fiction title.  After reading this I went on to read A Moveable Feast since so many quotes were mentioned I had to go and read the entire book.  I then had to read The Great Gatsby since Hemingway spent so much time with Fitzgerald and gave high praise for the book.  So one book inspired me to read two others, but those will not be the last, as I have put the other authors on my list of books to read.

If you are also interested in reading about this unique time in the realm of literature or any of the authors mentioned, click on the links to place holds.

A new title that has just arrived is The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 1, 1907-1922 edited by Sandra Spanier and Robert W Trogdo

Works of fiction:

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and other Jazz Age Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Nineteen Nineteen by John Dos Passos

Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos

The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion by Ford Madox Ford

Complete Poems and Plays by T.S. Eliot

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Other works inspired by the city of Paris:

Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train by Ina Caro

Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice by Janet Malcolm

American Expatriate Writing and the Paris Moment: Modernism and Place by Donald Pizer

On the Left Bank, 1929-1933 by Wambly Bald, edited by Benjamin Franklin V

Walks in Hemingway's Paris: A Guide to Paris for the Literary Traveler by Noel Riley Fitch

Also, look for some Lost Generation themed movies in the catalog, including The Sun Also Rises, The Great Gatsby, & Midnight in Paris!  There will also be a new version of The Great Gatsby coming out in December.