Sunday, December 29, 2013

Literary Links: End of Year Round-Up

2014 is just around the corner, but we haven't said goodbye to 2013 just yet! At ABC Library, our year has included the introduction of Zinio and Pronunciator eResources, the 3M Cloud Library has expanded our downloadable offerings, and on December 11th there was a groundbreaking for a new library at Central and Unser.  Meanwhile, renovations continue on our North Valley Library, which suffered fire damage earlier this year.  If, like us, you're hard-pressed to remember the events of the last 12 months, we've compiled a few lists, "Best of..." and otherwise, to refresh your memory of the highs and lows of the past year.

2013's Best Cookbooks

Our Favorite Science Books of 2013

Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2013

15 Best Albums of 2013

Best Movies of 2013

Best Audiobooks of 2013

The Best of the Best Books List: 2013

Notable Deaths of 2013

20 Best Lists of 2013

The 11 Most Influential Animals of 2013

Top 10 Best of 2013 Lists of 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Winemaking & Homebrewing

In today's world, self-sufficiency is growing in popularity. Whether it's knitting your own sweaters, raising your own chickens, or canning your own jam, people are re-learning to skills that had been laid aside by the average homemaker with the advent of department stores and supermarkets. Festive libations are no exception!  It's probably too late for you to have home-brewed beer or wine to raise your glass in a New Year's toast this year, but with the help of these items from the library catalog, you could be relaxing in a hammock next summer with a cold one you brewed yourself. 


The Complete Homebrew Beer Book: 200 Easy Recipes From Ales & Lagers to Extreme Beers & International Favorites by George Hummel

Brew Like a Pro: Make Pub-Style Draft Beer at Home by Dave Miller [eBook]

The Naked Brewer: Fearless Homebrewing Tips, Tricks & Rule-Breaking Recipes by Christina Perozzi & Hallie Beaune  [eBook]

Booze for Free: The Definitive Guide to Making Beer, Wines, Cocktail Bases,Ciders, and Other Drinks at Home by Andy Hamilton [eBook]

Building Homebrew Equipment by Karl F. Lutzen & Mark Stevens [eBook]

North American Clone Brews: Homebrew Recipes for Your Favorite American & Canadian Beers by Scott R. Russell   [eBook]

The Homebrewer's Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem, Answers to Every Question by Ashton Lewis  [eBook]

Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World's Craft Brewing Revolution by Joshua M. Bernstein

Brew Masters [DVD] 


The Way to Make Wine: How to Craft Superb Table Wines at Home by Sheridan Warrick [eBook]

Hooch: Simplified Brewing, Winemaking, and Infusing at Home by Scott Meyer

The Wine Maker's Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem, Answers to Every Question by Alison Crowe [eBook]

Guide to Better Wine and Beer Making for Beginners by S. M. Tritton

Home Winemaking, Step-by-Step: A Guide to Fermenting Wine Grapes by Jon Iverson

Making Wild Wines & Meads: 125 Unusual Recipes Using Herbs, Fruits, Flowers & More by Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling [eBook]

While ABC Library hopes you enjoy this selection of brewing items, we do encourage you to seek other sources for more tips and techniques, such as Southwest Grape and Grain, the New Mexico Brewers Guild, The Grain Hopper, Victor's Grape Arbor, or the Dukes of Ale Homebrew Club. Please drink responsibly!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Celebrate 50 Years of Doctor Who!

November 23rd marked the 50th anniversary of the British TV show, Doctor Who. A special anniversary episode, "The Day of the Doctor", was aired on that date and was watched by 12.8 million people, including showings in 834 cinemas around the world. "The Day of the Doctor" now holds the record for the largest worldwide TV drama simulcast.

Some of you may have been following Doctor Who since its reboot in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, through David Tennant as the Tenth and Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctors - you probably know there will soon be a regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi.  Many people who grew up in the '70s and '80s remember Tom Baker's tenure as the Fourth Doctor (curly hair, long colorful scarf, fond of Jelly Babies), shown for a time on affiliates of PBS in the United States. Some of you might even have seen more of the show than that!  But, some of you might be wondering what the heck all this Doctor Who business is about, anyway...

Fans can skip to the list below of the the latest Doctor Who items in the library catalog, but for newbies we offer a little back story: the Doctor is a 900 year old Time Lord, a traveler through time and space. His vehicle, called the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension In Space), appears as a blue police box, famously "bigger on the inside" and with a degree of sentience. Since 1963, the eleven incarnations of the Doctor - a Time Lord doesn't die but instead regenerates with a new persona - have traveled together with companions ranging from a mechanical dog named K-9 and a Time Lady named Romana to Rose Tyler, a London teenager, and Captain Jack Harkness, a con man from the 51st century (who later got his own spinoff, Torchwood). These intrepid travelers fight adversaries such as the Daleks (who want to exterminate all non-Daleks),  Cybermen (who want to cybernetically augment all humanoids), and The Master (a renegade Time Lord), and have science fiction adventures, sometimes set within a historical context (Pompeii, meeting Queen Victoria) and sometimes set in an imagined future that includes Satellite 5, where reporters are connected to the computer via a special port installed directly into the brain, and the resort planet Midnight, where the Tenth Doctor and then-companion Donna Noble have one of their creepiest adventures.

Since the popularity of Doctor Who in the United States has skyrocketed recently, you can find many more related items in the library catalog, including fiction, non-fiction, downloadables, and now seasons of the TV series!  Here are some of ABC Library's latest offerings for Whovians:


Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter

Doctor Who: Shada - The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams by Gareth Roberts


 Who-ology: Doctor Who - The Official Miscellany by Cavan Scott & Mark Wright

The Essential Guide to Fifty Years of Doctor Who

Doctor Who: The Vault - Treasures From the First Fifty Years by Marcus Hearn

Doctor Who Encyclopedia by Gary Russell

Children & Young Adult

When's the Doctor? illustrations by Jorge Santillan

Heart of Stone: Death Riders by Trevor Baxendale  [eBook]

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Anthology: 11 Doctors, 11 Stories by Neil Gaiman, [et al]... [YA]


Doctor Who: Plague of the Cybermen by Justin Richards [eBook]

Destiny of the Doctor: Vengeance of the Stones by Andrew Smith [eAudiobook]

Adventures With the Wife in Space: Life with Doctor Who by Neil Perryman [eBook]

Who is The Doctor: The Unofficial Guide to Doctor Who - The New Series by Graeme Burk & Robert Smith  [eBook]


Doctor Who (TV show)
First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Series

Friday, December 20, 2013

Flannery O'Connor's Literary Resurgence

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.
~Flannery O'Connor

The author Flannery O'Connor is enjoying a bit of a second literary life in the past couple of years, as interest in her writing and her person is once again on the rise.  O'Connor, who died in 1964 at the tender age of 39 of systemic lupus erythematosus, only wrote two novels (Wise Blood, The Violent Bear It Away) and two short story collections (A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Everything That Rises Must Converge) before her untimely death, but her literary legacy has stretched across the ensuing years.  Her Complete Stories won the 1971 National Book Award, and volumes of her letters (The Habit of Being) and some of her occasional prose (Mystery and Manners) had already been published posthumously. O'Connor's appeal doesn't seem to wane with time - she's been back in the news in 2012 - 2013 with the publication of some of her early cartoons and a prayer journal she kept as a student.

We here at abcreads are fans of Flannery O'Connor's rigorous and darkly humorous "Southern Gothic" writings dating back to our own school days, and hope you will join us in checking out some of the latest fiction, non-fiction, and literary criticism featuring one of America's greatest writers, who described herself thusly in one of her letters: "I don't deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it."

Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons edited by Kelly Gerald

Reveals that author Flannery O'Connor originally wanted to be a cartoonist and collects her early comics, which display many of the story-telling techniques that she later used in her writing. Collects cartoons which originally appeared in the Peabody Palladium, the student newspaper of Peabody High School in Milledgeville, Ga., and four publications of Georgia State College for Women, the Colonnade, the Alumnae journal, the Corinthian, and the Spectrum.

A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor; edited and with an introduction by W.A. Sessions

“I would like to write a beautiful prayer,” writes the young Flannery O’Connor in this deeply spiritual journal, recently discovered among her papers in Georgia. “There is a whole sensible world around me that I should be able to turn to Your praise.” Written between 1946 and 1947 while O’Connor was a student far from home at the University of Iowa, A Prayer Journal is a rare portal into the interior life of the great writer. Not only does it map O’Connor’s singular relationship with the divine, but it shows how entwined her literary desire was with her yearning for God. [from the book blurb]


The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of  Flannery O'Connor by Jonathan Rogers [eBook]

In this biography, Jonathan Rogers gets at the heart of O'Connor's work. He follows the roots of her fervent Catholicism and traces the outlines of a life marked by illness and suffering, but ultimately defined by an irrepressible joy and even hilarity. In her stories, and in her life story, Flannery O'Connor extends a hand in the dark, warning and reassuring us of the terrible speed of mercy.

Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch

An engaging and authoritative biography of Flannery O'Connor, who despite the chronic disease that eventually confined her to her mother's farm in Georgia, managed to fundamentally change the landscape of American literature with her fierce, sometimes comic novels and stories.


A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano

Years after poor health forces her to return to her family home, author Flannery O'Connor reluctantly attends the wedding of her cousin and inadvertently draws the attention of the groom, a wealthy Manhattan resident who fears life is passing him by.

Literary Criticism

White Girls by Hilton Als

A collection of analyses on literature, art and music by the award-winning author of The Women shares cultural, meditative insights into race, gender and history that encompass a diverse range of subjects from Truman Capote and Louise Brooks to Malcolm X and Flannery O'Connor.

Note: all book descriptions are taken from the library catalog, unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Cozy Holiday


When the holiday season rolls around, everyone's stress level rises.  With holiday parties, shopping, cooking, visiting, and family gatherings there is often little time to concentrate on a long, heavy novel.  This is the perfect time of year to catch up on the latest books in the cozy mystery series.  Most of these series feature holiday books with recipes and crafts.  You might be inspired to start whole new traditions with some of these cozy mysteries.

Mistletoe Man and Holly Blues by Susan Witing Albert

Christmas Cookie Murder and Christmas Carol Murder Leslie Meier

The Christmas Cookie Killer and Gingerbread Bump-Off by Livia J. Washburn

Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton

Holiday Grind and Holiday Buzz by Cleo Coyle

Sugar Cookie Murder and Plum Pudding Murder by Joanna Fluke

Fleece Navidad by Maggie Sefton

Murder With All the Trimmings  by Elaine Viets

Buried in Bargains by Josie Bell

Let it Sew by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Read and Buried by Erika Chase

Ten Lords A-Leaping by C.C. Benison

There are plenty of other books in these series.  Come by Juan Tabo Library and check out the First in Series bookshelf to see find the first book in a mystery series, or take a look at our Mystery Booklists

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Great Games

Are you a sports fan? Perhaps you'd like to spend some time de-stressing during the silly season by curling up with books that allows you to relive some of the greatest games of your favorite sport, or read about some of the finest athletic competitions you didn't get to see.  Whether it's football, baseball, basketball, or beyond, we've compiled a list of titles for sports history fans of all stripes! However, if you know a title we've missed, feel free to add it in the comments.


The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL by Mark Bowden

The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever by Frank Gifford ; with Peter Richmond

The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays by Ron Jaworski, with Greg Cosell and David Plaut

The Catch: One Play, Two Dynasties, and The Game That Changed the NFL by Gary Myers [eBook]


A Game of Brawl: The Orioles, the Beaneaters, and The Battle for the 1897 Pennant by Bill Felber [eBook]

Bottom of the 33rd: Hope and Redemption in Baseball's Longest Game by Dan Barry

The Best Game Ever: Pirates vs. Yankees, October 13, 1960 by Jim Reisler

Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America's Pastime by Mark Frost

The Greatest Game: The Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Playoff of '78 by Richard Bradley


The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball by Gene Wojciechowski

When March Went Mad: The GameThat Transformed Basketball by Seth Davis


Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played by L. Jon Wertheim [eBook]


The War by the Shore: The Incomparable Drama of the 1991 Ryder Cup by Curt Sampson  [eBook]


Two Ton: One Fight, One Night - Tony Galento v. Joe Louis by Joseph Monninger

The Greatest Fight of Our Generation: Louis vs. Schmeling by Lewis A. Erenberg [eBook]


Hell on Two Wheels: An Astonishing Story of Suffering, Triumph, and the Most Extreme Endurance Race in the World by Amy Snyder

The Giro d'Italia: Coppi versus Bartali at the 1949 Tour of Italy by Dino Buzzati


Home and Away: One Writer's Inspiring Experience at the Homeless World Cup by Dave Bidini [eBook]

The Story of the World Cup by Brian Glanville

The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team and How It Changed the World by Jere Longman

A Season with Verona: Travels Around Italy in Search of Illusion, National Character and - Goals! by Tim Parks


And The Crowd Goes Wild: Relive the Most Celebrated Sporting Events Ever Broadcast by Joe Garner

1941, The Greatest Year in Sports: Two Baseball Legends, Two Boxing Champs, and the Unstoppable Thoroughbred Who Made History in the Shadow of War by Mike Vaccaro

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown

Showdown at Shepherd's Bush: The 1908 Olympic Marathon and the Three Runners Who Launched a Sporting Craze by David Davis

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Uncommon Histories

Working in a library, you soon learn that there really is a book about everything, including some things you might not expect. Don't Trade the Baby for a Horse: And Other Ways to Make Your Life a Little More Laura Ingalls Wilder? Check. Adventures with the Wife in Space: Life with Doctor Who? Check.  The Vinyl Countdown: The Album from Vinyl to iPod and Back Again?  But of course.  A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook?  Why not. The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America, Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National ParksProphets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue, Silver Palaces (a book about travel trailers), Learn to Burn: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started in Pyrography...we could go on, but you probably get the picture. There are a lot of books out there, some you probably haven't heard of, and here at abcreads we make it our mission to share with you some of the seemingly infinite variety of the literary world.

That said, in keeping with our current history kick, here are some unusual histories you can find in the library catalog:

The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America by Ernest Freeberg

Clarks: Made to Last - The Story of Britain's Best-Known Shoe Firm by Mark Palmer [eBook]

Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World by Tristan Donovan

Shaken Not Stirred: A Celebration of the Martini by Anistatia Miller [eBook]

Mullet Madness!: The Haircut That's Business Up Front and a Party in the Back by Alan Henderson [eBook]

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories From History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

From Scratch: Inside the Food Network by Allen Salkin 

Art and Sole by Jane Gershon Weitzman [eBook]

Sunday, December 8, 2013

America the Beautiful: Trees, Coins, & Lost States

Here at abcreads, we are celebrating history - with a twist!  We love an offbeat, engaging take on history, such as you might find in the works of Sarah Vowell (Assassination Vacation) and Amy Stewart (Flower Confidential) - books exploring history via an unusual angle or topic, with a slice of personal experience and/or opinions on the side. Here some off-the-beaten-track books with an American history bent that we hope you'll enjoy:

American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation by Eric Rutkow

State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America edited by Matt Weiland & Sean Wilsey

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Lives of Cities

We recently read Graham Robb's Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris, which is a "series of stories about the Paris you never knew" [from the library catalog], starring Napoleon Bonaparte, Proust, Baron Haussmann, and others; London also has its own biography, by Peter Ackroyd. This made us wonder, did cities in the United States also have their own biographies? We thought of Erik Larson's Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America would probably count, but we thought we might be able to find more books that told the histories of cities, either in a biography form or through the window of one particular era in the life of the city.  Here's some of the titles we came up with:

San Francisco

Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot


City of Scoundrels: The Twelve Days of Disaster that Gave Birth to Modern Chicago by Gary Krist

The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream by Thomas Dyja


Detroit: A Biography by Scott Martelle

Los Angeles

L.A. '56: A Devil in the City of Angels by Joel Engel

A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption, and L.A.'s Scandalous Coming of Age by Richard Rayner


The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel

New York

Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America by Sam Roberts

Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings: A Life in Construction by Samuel C. Florman

Eat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Trappers, Hunters, Foragers, Slaughterers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York by Robin Shulman

Literary Brooklyn: The Writers of Brooklyn and the Story of American City Life by Evan Hughes

The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins

Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts

Lox, Stocks, and Backstage Broadway: Iconic Trades of New York City by Nancy Groce


Rebound!: Basketball, Busing, Larry Bird, and the Rebirth of Boston by Michael Connelly  [eBook]


A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul by John A. Jackson

Washington, D.C.

First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America's First Black Public High School by Alison Stewart

Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 by Jefferson Morley


Outlaw: Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and the Renegades of Nashville by Michael Streissguth

Air Castle of the South: WSM and the Making of Music City by Craig Havighurst

St. Louis

Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer by William Knoedelseder


Seven Fires: The Urban Infernos that Reshaped America by Peter Charles Hoffer

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

Dead Cities and Other Tales by Mike Davis

And don't forget Albuquerque!  You can find books under the subject heading Albuquerque (N.M.) - Description and travel, and if that's not enough, try a subject search of just Albuquerque (N.M.) to get even more titles! Also try the subject Santa Fe N M for more local history.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Great Books Under 200 Pages

Traveling with books can be cumbersome, but traveling without books is unimaginable. Usually I keep one book in the car or in my carry-on and one book in my suitcase. And depending on the book, it can really start to weigh you down.  The answer is to take small books that you can read quickly.

We know, we know, some of you are saying "Julie, why don't you just buy an eReader?" to the quote above.  But, working in a library, you find many folks have not embraced eReading technology - some people because they are not tech-savvy, some people because they just prefer to read a physical book.  We believe it takes all kinds to make the world, and we support everyone in their reading journey! With that in mind, here are some short suggestions for folks without eReaders, or if your eReader breaks, or if you find yourself with an hour to kill in the library without your eReader to hand.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates

The Neon Bible by John Toole

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

The Stranger by Albert Camus

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Being There by Jerzy Kosinki

The Red Pony by John Steinbeck  

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut

 Last Night at theLobster by Stewart O’Nan

Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells 
Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel Garciá Marquez

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott

Shopgirl by Steve Martin

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo  

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

This list is adapted from the article "55 Great Books Under 200 Pages".

Friday, November 29, 2013

Punk Literature

It doesn’t take name-dropping Black Flag or writing a scene where a character gets her first mohawk to know that the book you’re reading is influenced in some way or another by the punk scene.
~Jason Diamond, "An Essential Punk Literature Reading List"

Earlier this year, New York's Metropolitan Museum had an exhibit called "Punk: Chaos to Couture" which focused "on the relationship between the punk concept of 'do-it-yourself' and the couture concept of 'made-to-measure'...organized around the materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the anti-establishment style".  Wikipedia defines the punk ethos as "primarily concerned with concepts such as rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, individualism, free thought and discontent".  Guardian writer Rob Woodard, referring to the New York punk scene of the 1970s, said it featured "an amazingly eclectic collection of styles and personalities...this scene produced some of the most strikingly original rock'n'roll ever made. And it's these wide-open values that make its still expanding literary wing so fascinating."  Its literary wing includes such luminaries as Richard Hell, Patti Smith, and Jim Carroll.

We are interested in punk subculture here at abcreads, and we're happy to point out that you can find items about punk culture, punk rock music, and more, all within the library catalog (don't miss The Punk Rock Fun Time Activity Book, which includes activities such as a Velvet Underground Connect the Dots, Draw Tattoos on Henry Rollins, Match the Johnny Rotten Quote with Its Subject,  Punk Libs, Give Ian MacKaye Hair, and Find the Two Matching Social Distortion Logos).  We are drawn to the booklist format to recommend some books from or influenced by the punk scene, but we've tried to represent our slice of punk in the most anarchic possible way, including modern punk-themed fiction, rule-breakers of the 1970s, and "total assault on the culture" [William S. Burroughs]. 

Zazen by Vanessa Veselka

Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Paradoxia: A Predator's Diary by Lydia Lunch

Neuromancer by William Gibson

The Petting Zoo by Jim Carroll

I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp: An Autobiography by Richard Hell

Woolgathering by Patti Smith

Carved in Rock : Short Stories by Musicians edited by Greg Kihn [includes stories by Jim Carroll, Richard Hell, Lydia Lunch and Ann Magnuson]

Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader edited by James Grauerholz and Ira Silverberg

Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the F*** You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side by Ed Sanders

The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard


Punk Ideologies

The Literary Legacy of New York Punk

Goodreads Punk Book Lists

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Featured Author: Sheila Kohler

"When my sister died a violent death thirty years ago in apartheid South Africa, my writing took a new turn.  I was driven to explore the reasons for violence within intimate relationships, in particular, the abuse of power and privilege. Since then I have published nine novels, three collections of short stories, and several others not yet collected, all of which focus in some way on this theme. They represent my attempt to delve into the mysteries of hate and anger, and of love and compassion, as well.  I am hoping that you will share them with me."
~Sheila Kohler, from her website

Author Sheila Kohler's books reflect her own life's journey, set as they are primarily in contemporary South Africa or in France (during the Revolution, WWII, and the end of the 20th century) - Kohler was born in Johannesburg, studied and married in Paris, and moved to the United States only after her children were grown.  Her first story was published in 1987, and her first collection of short stories was published in 1990. Kohler's third novel, Cracks, was made into a feature film in 2009 starring Eva Green. She has won the O. Henry Prize, the Willa Cather Prize, and the Antioch Review Prize, and has been published in O Magazine, the Yale Review, and the Boston Globe. Kohler teaches at Bennington College and Princeton University.  Her books have been called "mesmerizing", "tender", "elegantly disturbing", "graceful", "subtle and sharp"; NoveList Plus compares her to Claire Messud, Michael Cunningham, and Tolstoy. You can see videos of her reading from her books and being interviewed on her website and also read some of her published articles.

Set in a girls' school in a remote corner of South Africa in the early 1960s, Cracks is a haunting, mesmerizing story of young girls caught up in a drama of passion, longing, and identity...a singular and stunning tale of the passion and tribalism of adolescence, an explanation of time and memory, and of the carnal violence that lies at the heart of the most innocent. [from the blurb]

Children of Pithiviers
In Children of Pithiviers, a pair of young sisters escape deportation and find shelter with a local aristocratic couple known to all as Madame and Monsieur. Seventeen years later, a beautiful young Sorbonne student arrives to spend the summer as a "paying guest" of Madame and Monsieur, whose fortunes have diminished considerably since the war. Eighteen-year-old Deirdre discovers a diary kept by the two Jewish girls. In doing so, she not only learns their fate, but reawakens old suspicions, and old appetites on the estate. [from the blurb]

Bluebird, or, The Invention of Happiness
A sweeping historical novel, Bluebird, or The Invention of Happiness is based on the life of Lucy Dillon, an eighteenth-century French aristocrat. Wrenched from the court of Marie Antoinette by the Reign of Terror, the brave and resilient Lucy escapes with her family to the freedom and hardships of a newly independent America, where, on a dairy farm in the Hudson River Valley, she discovers a new life - and her true self. [from the blurb]

Becoming Jane Eyre
A beautifully imagined tale of the Brontë sisters, Becoming Jane Eyre delicately unravels the connections between one of fiction's most indelible heroines and the remarkable woman who created her.

Love Child
The compelling story of a forbidden marriage, a baby lost, and a love triangle gone horribly wrong, Love Child centers on Bill, a slightly disreputable white woman in Johannesburg who came of age, married, had children, and was widowed, all within the confines of South Africa's English enclave.

In 1978, Dawit, a young, beautiful, and educated Ethiopian refugee, roams the streets of Paris. By chance, he spots the famous French author M., who at sixty is at the height of her fame. Seduced by Dawit's grace and his moving story, M. invites him to live with her. He makes himself indispensable, or so he thinks. When M. brings him to her Sardinian villa, beside the Bay of Foxes, Dawit finds love and temptation—and perfects the art of deception.

Note: all book descriptions are taken from the "More Details" section of the book's record in the library catalog, unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Authors Affected by True Crime

Anne Perry's first book The Cater Street Hangman was first published in 1979.  Since then she has published more than 40 books, most recently Blind Justice, the latest in her William Monk series.  She won the Edgar award in 2000, and has been called one of the 20th century's "Masters in Crime".  However, in 1954, when she was 15, she was tried and convicted of the murder of her best friend's mother. 

At the time Anne Perry was known as Juliet Hulme, and she was living in New Zealand, with her British parents.  When they told her they were sending her to stay with relatives in South Africa, she and her friend Pauline Parker hatched a plot to murder Pauline's mother, hoping to be able to live with each other.  Hulme served five years in prison for her role in the murder, and when she was released she set off for a new life in England.  She worked as a flight attendent, became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and changed her name.  The story of the horrifying murder, and her relationship with Pauline Parker, is the subject of a book released earlier this year called Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham.  It was also the inspiration for Peter Jackson's 1994 film Heavenly Creatures which features Kate Winslet in her first movie role. 

Anne Perry is not the only author to have headlines take over her personal life.  In December of 1926 British author Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days, leading to a country wide manhunt.  She was eventually found unharmed, living in a spa hotel under a false name.  To this day there are many theories as to why exactly she vanished, and why she did not come forward when she heard of her own disappearance.  Although she does not address this in An Autobiography, other writers have discussed it in other biographies such as Agatha Christie: A Biography by Janet Morgan.

Lois Duncan is best known for writing suspense novels for young adults such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Killing Mr. Griffin.  In 1989 suspense came into her own life when her daughter, Kaitlyn, was found in her car, killed by a gunshot wound to the head.  Lois and her family were living in Albuquerque at the time, and to this day, the killer has never been found.  Her book, Who Killed My Daughter? was written to encourage informants to come forward, and was featured prominently in the media at the time of its publishing. 

James Ellroy has become most famous for his books LA Confidential, and The Black Dahlia, and the movies they inspired.  In 1996 he published My Dark Places: An LA Crime Noir which detailed the murder of his mother which had happened when he was ten years old.  The crime was never solved, and for years Ellroy investigated her murder on his own without any results. 

Some of these backstories to author's lives can be something interesting to keep in mind while reading their books.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


ABC Library is offering another new eResource, free with your valid library card - Zinio! Zinio offers full digital copies of your favorite magazines, plus some issues include features like video, audio and live links. Zinio allows you to download the magazines to your computer, tablet or mobile device, including Kindles and Nooks, iPhones and iPads, Androids, PCs and Macs. Magazine issues are not checked out so they're always available any time. Browse through genres such as Automotive, Crafts, Food & Cooking, Literary, Men, Teen, or search by title, such as Working Mother, ESPN the Magazine, Woodworker's Journal, or National Geographic Traveler.

There are just a couple of easy steps involved to get you using Zinio. First, set up a library account at the ABC Library Zinio Authentication page.  Once your account is created, you will get a confirmation notice in your email inbox with a link - simply click on the link, and you will be able to view available magazines.  The first time you select a magazine, you will be taken to a new window to create a account. (Your ABC Library Zinio account and account must have the same email address.)  Bingo, you're in! All magazines must be checked out via web browser, even if you choose to read them on an app, but you can read your magazines on the app even if you are offline. Now you don't have to kill time reading whatever magazines are on the table in the doctor's waiting room - not when you have Zinio!

For more info, including printable instructions and some upcoming Gizmo Garage classes for Zinio, check out our Zinio Digital Magazines Help page.  Note: The Zinio app cannot be used to browse the Library's collection of free magazines.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Medical Histories & Biographies

We're not saying that there weren't any medical histories written before Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the story of a Southern tobacco farmer whose cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine, but the runaway success of that 2010 title certainly has invited a wholesale expansion into the field.  If you want to know more about medical history or what it's like to be a doctor (whether in the wilderness or in a hospital), the library catalog has ample titles for you to choose from!  Here's a sampling:

Living and Dying in Brick City: An E.R. Doctor Returns Home by Sampson Davis with Lisa Frazier Page

One Doctor: Close Calls, Cold Cases, and the Mysteries of  Medicine by Brendan Reilly

What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine by Danielle Ofri

JFK's Secret Doctor: The Remarkable Life of Medical Pioneer and Legendary Rock Climber Hans Kraus by Susan E. Schwartz

God's Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, and A Pilgrimage to the Heart of  Medicine by Victoria Sweet

County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital by David A. Ansell

Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution by Holly Tucker

Intern: A Doctor's Initiation by Sandeep Jauhar

In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom by Qanta A. Ahmed

Mountain Rescue Doctor: Wilderness Medicine in the Extremes of Nature by Christopher Van Tilburg

Strange Medicine: A Shocking History of Real Medical Practices Through the Ages by Nathan Belofsky

Country of Ash: A Jewish Doctor in Poland, 1939-1945 by Edward Reicher

The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre, Frédéric Lemercier  [into war-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders]

Doctors of Medicine in New Mexico: A History of Health and Medical Practice, 1886-1986 by Jake W. Spidle, Jr

Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health by Jeanne E. Abrams

Kill or Cure: An Illustrated History of Medicine by Steve Parker

The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons - 250 Milestones in the History of Medicine by Clifford A. Pickover

Witches, Midwives & Nurses: A History of Women Healers by Barbara Ehrenreich & Deirdre English 

The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum

Frontier Medicine: From the Atlantic to the Pacific, 1492-1941 by David Dary

The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine by Anne Harrington

Impotence: A Cultural History by Angus McLaren

Medic!: How I Fought World War II with Morphine, Sulfa, and Iodine Swabs by Robert J. Franklin

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Featured Author: G. Willow Wilson

It is thus unsurprising that secret identities form the axis of Wilson’s fast-paced, imaginative first novel, “Alif the Unseen” — a book that defies easy categorization. Is it literary fiction? A fantasy novel? A dystopian techno-thriller? An exemplar of Islamic mysticism, with ties to the work of the Sufi poets? Wilson seems to delight in establishing, then confounding, any expectations readers may have.
~Pauls Toutonghi, "App for the Ancients"

One of our favorite new authors here at abcreads is G. Willow Wilson.  Her website sums her up as "[p]rofessional genre-bender, casual gamer, student of religion, author of critically acclaimed [Eisner Award-nominated] books and comics", but what that doesn't tell you is that Wilson, a child of atheist parents, "spent her early and mid twenties living in Egypt and working as a journalist" and during this time converted to Islam.  All her books are infused with Eastern mysticism in addition to fantasy elements, and her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, deals directly with her conversion.

Our intrepid abcreads readers came to G. Willow Wilson via her moving memoir, but have been delighted to continue with her imaginative, exciting graphic novels and playful, genre-bending fiction. We hope you will consider checking out this author - definitely one to watch!

Graphic Novels


In bustling modern-day Cairo, the lives of a drug runner, a down-on-his-luck journalist, an American expatriate, a young activist, an Israeli soldier, and a genie are interwoven as they navigate the city's streets and spiritual underworld to find a stolen hooka sought by a wrathful gangster-magician. [from the library catalog]

Air 1: Letters from Lost Countries; Air 2: Flying Machine; Air 3: Pureland; and Air 4: A History of the Future

Blythe is a flight attendant with a philosophy degree-- and a fear of heights. And as odd as her career choice might be, it's nowhere near as strange as her life's about to get. She'll fall in love with a mysterious traveler who's either an ordinary frequent flier-- or a terrorist. In search of him, she'll travel to a country that doesn't exist on any maps, become targeted by a violent anti-terrorist group, and inevitably find herself at the center of a race to find an artifact that may change the science of flight forever. Suddenly Blythe's life is headed for the most exotic destination of all: the unknown. [from the library catalog]


The Butterfly Mosque

Documents the author's conversion from all-American atheist to Islam, a journey marked by her decision to relocate to Cairo, romance with a passionate young Egyptian, and her efforts to balance the virtues of both cultures. [from the library catalog]


Alif the Unseen

In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients, dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups, from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State's electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover's new fianceé is the head of State security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen. [from the library catalog]

Monday, November 11, 2013


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines courtesy as "polite behavior that shows respect for other people; something that you do because it is polite, kind, etc.". September was National Courtesy Month - did you celebrate? If you did, let us know your random acts of kindness (or just politeness!) in the comments.  If, like us, you missed this monthly observance, have no fear!  The library catalog has several books you can peruse to make sure your manners are up to the modern standard, plus a couple of books detailing the history of etiquette's changing mores.  Here are some courtesy books that will enlighten and hopefully entertain:

An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy: How Manners Shaped the World by Bethanne Patrick

What Would Grace Do?: How to Live Life in Style like the Princess of Hollywood by Gina McKinnon

Miss Manners Minds Your Business by Judith Martin and Nicholas Ivor Martin

What Your Mother Should've Told You and Nobody Else Will by Natalie Reilly [eBook]

Miss Jane Austen's Guide to Modern Life's Dilemmas Answers to Your Most Burning Questions About Life, Love, Happiness (and What toWear) from the Great Jane Austen Herself by Rebecca Smith [eBook]

Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?: A Modern Guide to Manners by Henry Alford

Real Life Downton Abbey: How Life Was Really Lived in Stately Homes a Century Ago by Jacky Hyams [eBook]

The Grumpy Girl's Guide to Good Manners by Rachel Aboukhair [eBook]

Social Q's: How to Survive the Quirks, Quandaries, and Quagmires of Today by Philip Galanes

The Art of the Visit: Being the Perfect Host, Becoming the Perfect Guest by Kathy Bertone

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Armchair Travel: A Well-Grounded Sense of Place

Great travel writing consists of equal parts curiosity, vulnerability and vocabulary. It is not a terrain for know-it-alls or the indecisive. The best of the genre can simply be an elegant natural history essay, a nicely writ sports piece, or a well-turned profile of a bar band and its music. A well-grounded sense of place is the challenge for the writer. We observe, we calculate, we inquire, we look for a link between what we already know and what we're about to learn. The finest travel writing describes what's going on when nobody's looking.
~Tom Miller, "Under the Skin of a Locale: Tucson's Tom Miller Explains What Makes Great Travel Writing"

There's truly an art to writing about travel. The books listed below seek to be more than a guide book, but less than a scholarly treatise about a place; more fleshed out than a journal, more cohesive than a selection of essays (although there are some great travel essays out there). None of the books listed were recent blockbusters, but they all have literary merit. Many are windows, not only to another place, but back in time to another era. All have in common the author's immersion into local cultures. As the author Roxanne Reid says, "A traveller moves among real people in their own milieu and learns from them, soaking up their wisdom and philosophy, their way of being in the world. A tourist simply hops from one tourist highpoint to another, skimming across the surface, cramming in quantity rather than quality, and comes away with his soul and imagination unchanged, untouched by the wonder of a life lived differently." 

Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West

The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia by Paul Theroux [eBook]

Nowhere is a Place: Travels in Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux

Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

An Area of Darkness by V. S. Naipaul

As They Were by M.F.K. Fisher

The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat by Ryszard Kapuciski

Letters From Egypt: A Journey on the Nile, 1849-1850 by Florence Nightingale

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson   

Great Plains by Ian Frazier

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

"The Muses are Heard", from Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote

"Sea and Sardinia", from D.H. Lawrence and Italy by D.H. Lawrence

A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople - From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube by Patrick Leigh Fermor

An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie

West With the Night by Beryl Markham

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakaeur

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey with His Son by Peter Carey

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald

My 'Dam Life: Three Years in Holland by Sean Condon

Marrying Anita: A Quest for Love in the New India by Anita Jain

List compiled with assistance from the article "35 Great Travel Books That Will Take You Around the World Without a Plane Ticket".

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


"May's library card has always opened up a world of knowledge, but now it also opens up a world of language. May, meet Pronunciator, the world's largest language learning service, available for free at participating libraries."
~from the introductory video


ABC Library recently got a new language learning eResource called Pronunciator.  Using pronunciation analysis, virtual coaches, simulated conversations, scored quizzes, and downloadable audio lessons, Pronunciator can help you with pronunciation and to teach you to create communicate in 75 languages, from Amharic to Italian, Korean to Urdu, and including English as a Second Language (ESL).  Each language's course begins with a Welcome screen with a little background about the language - is it a Germanic language? Where are its roots?

The first section is Postcards, which takes you through some important introductory, or "powerful", phrases (each language starts with "Please").  Listen to the reader - at normal or slow speed - while looking at some pleasant pictures.  You can bookmark pages to go back to them.

The Postcards section has a review section, plus culture & business notes, telling you a little about cultural traditions and business practices in the country where each language is spoken.

The second section contains drills - listening, flash cards (essentially another review of vocabulary learned before), voice comparison, pronunciation analysis (you can record your voice!) - including a section that lets you correct your pitch by playing a voice alongside musical notes - and a written review to help you learn the correct spelling.

You will learn core vocabulary for a number of different topics and essential verbs, including apologize, buy, feel, invite, and write.  Core vocabulary subjects include business/finance, directions and positions, film genres, lodging, people/interpersonal relations, and more!  There are also vocabulary sections for kids, such as home/bathroom, numbers, and time/days of week.

The third section quizzes your vocabulary; spelling and writing; listening comprehension; and reading comprehension.  You have minimal control over the settings - you can change the number of times the speaker repeats a phrase.

As you learn languages, Pronunciator keeps track of your stats.  You can choose to look at your stats by course, by level, or view your stats for all courses. Areas for improvement in different categories (reading, writing, pronunciation) will be indicated  Most language courses allow you to stream or download audio lessons, but not all.  All language courses include a downloadable 32-page PDF phrasebook.

Give Pronunciator a try and let us know what you think! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Magazine Articles that Became Something More

One of the books currently on the New York Times bestseller list is Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death at a Storm Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink, which tells the events that happened at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans in the days following Hurricane Katrina.  This book was expanded from an article by Sheri Fink that appeared in the New York Times Magazine in 2009 called, "Deadly Choices at Memorial." 

It may surprise you to know that several books and movies have been made based on articles published in national magazines and newspapers.  Here are a list of books and movies (and in some cases both!) that were published or produced after the success of a magazine article.  Most of these titles are available to check out.  

The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
"Orchid Fever" was the title of the article Orlean wrote for The New Yorker, which was published in 1995.  The Orchid Thief was an expansion of the article, and was later adapted into a movie, Adaptation.

The Butler: A Witness to History by Wil Haygood
In 2008, just after the presidential election of Barack Obama, The Washington Post published an article called, "A Butler Well Served by this Election", by Wil Haygood.  Five years later a book and movie based on the article was released. 

The Bling Ring
This film, directed by Sofia Coppola is based on a Vanity Fair article by Nancy Jo Sales called "The Suspects Wore Louboutins".  It stars Emma Watson, and Leslie Mann.

The book this movie is inspired by is Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio J. Mendez and Matt Baglio, but before the book was published, an article by Joshuah Bearman called "How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran" appeared in a 2007 issue of Wired.

Dog Day Afternoon
"The Boys in the Bank" by P.F. Kluge was an article that appeared in Life magazine in 1972.  It was the basis for the movie directed by Sidney Lumet.

After the success of his article, "Bernie" which was published in Texas Monthly in 1998, writer Skip Hollandsworth co-wrote the screenplay of the movie, which stars Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine.

Saturday Night Fever
Suprisingly, this iconic film was based on a New York Magazine article written by Nik Cohn called "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night", about the disco craze sweeping the nation.  Vincent, the main character of the article became the basis for John Travolta's character, Tony Manero.  In 1997 Nik Cohn admitted to making up the entire article, and the all the people who appeared in it. 

You can research newspaper and magazine articles by visiting ABC Library's research data bases.  Check out Newsbank, or Academic One File to get started.