Saturday, March 30, 2013

Survivor Memoirs

Some people seem to have the ability to survive and, sometimes, flourish, after having experienced dark extremes of behaviors and circumstances - drug addiction, abuse, crime, loss. We read their memoirs to understand their journeys and to perhaps find light at the end of the tunnel, or at least to know that survival is possible after such terrible experiences. Many people have read Dave Pelzer's memoir A Child Called It: One Child's Courage to Survive - seems as though there are always holds on it.  Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff, Lucky by Alice Sebold, Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff and Mary Karr's The Liar's Club and Cherry have also been very popular accounts of surviving adverse circumstances.  Here are a couple of the latest survivor memoirs in our catalog:

Her: A Memoir by Christa Parravani

Relates the author's life with her identical twin sister, Cara, the downward spiral due to depression and drugs that resulted Cara's early death, and the author's determination to defy the odds that she herself would die within two years of her twin.
Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

A memoir of the author's experiences as a survivor of the 2004 tsunami that killed her parents, husband, and two young sons recounts her struggles with profound grief and survivor's guilt and her gradual steps toward healing.

For more memoirs of survival, take at look at the Overcoming Adversity booklist on our Booklist for Adults subject guide.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Los Griegos Renovation

The Los Griegos Library will be closed for renovations beginning April 2nd. The last day of service at the branch will be March 30th. The library is anticipated to be closed for about 6 weeks. The bookdrop will be closed during this time. Oustanding holds will be re-routed to North Valley.
The renovation is funded with a State Grant from 2009 in the amount of $100,000 and will include changing all existing light fixtures in the entryway, the main area, and the children’s stacks.  The new fixtures will provide more light and also be more efficient. The new work is designed by Cherry/See/Reames Architects.
Storytimes are not scheduled at Los Griegos for April or May. The North Valley branch has a preschool (3-5) storytime on Wednesdays at 11:00; Erna Fergusson has Music and Movement for all ages on Thursdays at 10:15, a 3 plus storytime on Wednesday at 10:15, and a 0-2 baby storytime is held on Tuesdays at 10:15. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Always Look on the Bright Side of Villains, Evil Stepsisters, & the Zombie Plague

Whether the world is threatened by world domination by dastardly villains or zombies, even if our superheroes have feet of clay and "happily ever after" doesn't exist, despite the fact that your vision is limited to shades of grey, these books offer a humorously skewed version of the world - and the end of it - that will entertain you for hours!

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
The world is going to end next Saturday, but there are a few problems--the Antichrist has been misplaced, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse ride motorcycles, and the representatives from heaven and hell decide that they like the human race.

The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius edited by John Joseph Adams
An anthology of original horror tales featuring "evil genius" archetype characters intent on ruling the world features contributions by such best-selling authors as Diana Gabaldon, Daniel Wilson and Austin Grossman

After the Apocalypse: Stories by Maureen F. McHugh
In her new collection, Story Prize finalist Maureen F. McHugh delves into the dark heart of contemporary life and life five minutes from now and how easy it is to mix up one with the other. Her stories are post-bird flu, in the middle of medical trials, wondering if our computers are smarter than us, wondering when our jobs are going to be outsourced overseas, wondering if we are who we say we are, and not sure what we'd do to survive the coming zombie plague.

Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
Hired by the owner of an all-night diner to eliminate the zombie problem that is costing her customers, werewolf Duke and vampire Earl tackle an even stickier adversary who is out to take over the diner.

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines
Danielle Whiteshore, aka Cinderella, reveals what really happens after the "happily ever after" as she, along with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, race against time to rescue her husband, Prince Armand, from the clutches of some of fantasyland's most nefarious villains.

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
Forensic accountant Celia West is the powerless and estranged daughter of two of Commerce City's great heroes, Captain Olympus and Spark. When the city prosecutes the evil Destructor for tax evasion, Celia gets pulled in to track down evidence. As a new crime spree creates tension between the city's heroes and the police force, Celia's investigation uncovers long-buried secrets about her family and the city.

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
When Doctor Impossible, an evil genius and ambitious wannabe world dominator, launches a new plot to seize control of the world, Fatale, a woman built by the NSA to be the next generation of weaponry, joins a group of misfit superheroes in their quest to destroy Doctor Impossible.

You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister [Large Print]
While conjuring up a demon in the form of a shaggy Newfoundland, Aisling Grey, the Keeper of the Gates to Hell, searches for the elusive and sexy Drake Vireo, who is responsible for a series of murders in Paris's immortal underworld.

Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron by Jasper Fforde
Welcome to Chromatacia, where for as long as anyone can remember society has been ruled by a Colortocracy. Social hierachy is based upon one's limited color perception. society is dominated by color. In this world, you are what you can see, and Eddie Russett, a better-than-average red perception wants to move up.

Some content was suggested by the eResource NoveList Plus, which can help you find new books based and also can show you all the books in a series, all the books by a certain author, as well as brief biographies of authors. Access to this eResource is free with your valid library card! Visit the Books and Literature subject guide to find links to NoveList Plus and more!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Astrobiology-Life Somewhere Beyond Earth

Astrobiology is the science discipline that seeks to understand the origin and emergence of life and what it might entail beyond our corner of the universe.  Does that mean that astrobiologists are looking for little green men or gray ones for that matter? No, it does not, but they sure would be happy if they could find even the tiniest microbe other than what exists here on Earth.  I recently learned quite a bit about astrobiology and what is all about by taking a five week course online. Course study included how life began here on Earth, what scientists are looking for outside of Earth, and the remarkable discoveries and surprises that the future will hold, possibly changing our civilization forever if even a tiny speck of life is found beyond our little home.

I studied microrganisms that live in some of the most extreme environments here on earth, such as the hot pools of water in Yellowstone park or the deep thermal vents in the darkest places of our oceans, some of which can live in temperatures up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit, and how they adapt to those extremes. There are cold-loving microrganisms that thrive in places such as Lake Vostok in Antartica and those that can survive in places such as the Rio Tinto in Spain, which is highly acidic, or Mono Lake in California, which has an alkaline PH of 12.5%. Even in the most extreme environment, such as the orbit of our space station, a cyanobacteria survived for 533 days. While it did not grow, it did survive.  There are stromatolites in Shark Bay, Australia, that are similiar to ones that were on Earth 3.5 billion years ago and these "living fossils" have given scientists a window into our past and helped to make Shark Bay a World Heritage Area.

While many people may not have heard the term "astrobiology", it is actually an ancient science. Ever since Metrodorus of Chios, a Greek Presocratic philosopher, stated "It would be strange if a single ear of corn grew in a large plain, or there were only one world in the infinite", scientists have studied the blackness of space and wondered if we truly were alone in the universe.  The father of astrobiology is widely considered to be Giordano Bruno, who in 1584 wrote "In space there are countless constellations, suns and planets; we see only the suns because they give light; the planets remain invisible, for they are small and dark. There are also numberless earths circling around their suns..."  Unfortunately, Bruno's ideas of space and the universe did not sit well with the church's teachings and he was burned at the stake.  However, the invention of the telescope eventually vindicated his beliefs and though many of the first theories of life on other planets in our solar system were eventually disproved as unfounded and utter nonsense, the science of astronomy took hold of people's imaginations during the Renaissance and beyond, to the fascinating discoveries and achievements that have blossomed unto the scientific stage in the last fifty years. 

While astrobiology, originally termed "exobiology", was not always a part of the scientific community, NASA has actually been involved in this field of study since 1960 when they started their first exobiology program. Mariner 4 was the first spacecraft sent from earth in 1965 and it did not show much of anything in the photos we received, which led to a lot of disappointment among scientists. The Viking 1 and 2 landers were the first biological experiments on Mars, but no real microbial life was found, causing a bit of a letdown among the early pioneers of spaceflight.  Optimism about life elsewhere began to wane, but as better technology gave us better spacecraft that began to change and now all of us, scientists and laypersons alike are thrilled with the knowledge streaming to our computers almost daily about new and exciting finds in the universe.  We have sent the Cassini spacecraft to the outer planets, sending back incredible photos of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, shooting plumes of hydrocarbons emanating from its South Pole region, and finely detailed photos of Saturn's rings. From studying other missions in the solar system, I learned that Triton, a moon of Neptune orbits backwards because it was captured rather than having been formed, and that Titan, one of Saturn's moons, has promising signs of life, with mountains, river valleys and features eroded by wind and rain, but those rivers and rain are comprised of liquid methane so we can't quite set up a station just yet.

We have several telescopes such as Spitzer, Hubble, the Herschel Observatory, COROT, Kepler and the upcoming James Webb Space telescope beaming back amazing pictures of the universe. There are several missions in the future that will give us an even better picture of our solar system with flybys to Pluto and Charon in 2014, the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer is in the planning stages to explore more of Jupiter's moons, and the Gaia mission will detect thousands upon thousands of extrasolar systems. 

The existence of a place outside of Earth that has the building blocks of life is extremely remote and will probably not happen in our lifetime. Yet there is the ever-ending hope that maybe, just maybe a tiny little piece of bacteria will emerge from a place that will inspire a new generation of scientists and astronauts to travel to new and exotic places.

The online class that inspired this post was offered by the University of Edinburgh through the website and should be available for signup later this year or early 2014. 

Here are a few books and dvd's that may help inspire you to learn about Earth's past and how it may help shape our future:

Wonders of the Universe by Professor Brian Cox

How it Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe by Chris Impey

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene

Life As We Do Not Know It: The Nasa Search for (and synthesis of) Alien Life by Peter Ward

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

The Universe in a Mirror: The Saga of the Hubble Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built It by Robert Zimmerman

Hubble Discoveries: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images by Terence Dickinson

A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss

Life DVD by the BBC/Discovery Channel

Skywatching DVD by The Teaching Company

Journey to the Edge of the Universe  DVD produced by National Geographic Channel

The Shape of Life: The Complete Journey DVD by Sea Studios

The Elegant Universe DVD A NOVA production

Hyperspace DVD A BBC/TLC production

Friday, March 22, 2013

New & Novel in Gardening and Urban Homesteading Books

Spring is in the air, and the fancy of young and old people alike turns to planting and growing!  Here are some of the latest books in the catalog to give you planning ideas for your garden or urban homestead, or at least to help some of us overcome our brown thumb.

The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook by Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman

Women and Their Gardens: A History from the Elizabethan Era to Today by Catherine Horwood

The Anxious Gardener's Book of Answers by Teri Dunn Chace

A Nature Lover's Almanac: Kinky Bugs, Stealthy Critters, Prosperous Plants & Celestial Wonders by Diane Olson

The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food by Janisse Ray

The Essential Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal

The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency by Anna Hess

The City Homesteader: Self-Sufficiency on Any Square Footage by Scott Meyer

The Thinking Beekeeper: A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives by Christy Hemenway

The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds: 322 Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers, Fruits, Trees, and Shrubs by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough [eBook only in our catalog]
Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables by Toby Musgrave

For more titles, try a subject search under "Seeds", "Bee Culture", "Gardening", or "Sustainable Living".  You can also pay a visit to the library's subject guides on Composting and Mulching and Mini-Farming!  Subject guides are created by library staff.

For gardening assistance, contact the Master Gardeners!  You can call their hotline at 292-7144 or 243-1386. The hotline is available 7 days a week, from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m, and you can find Master Gardener volunteers at select branches in the spring.

Don't forget to take advantage of free xeriscape and landscape conversion seminars, courtesy of Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, at the Cherry Hills Library!  For more information, visit the Cherry Hills Library website or the ABCWUA website.

Last but certainly not least, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service features how-to guides and circulars covering such topics as gardening, health, clothing and sewing, family resource management, and livestock and range management.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Making of a Paper Flower

I have always wanted to be a person who crafts.  I love to save scraps, ribbons, little boxes, pretty paper, stickers, stamps, fortunes, markers, and crayons “just in case.”  I’ve tried scrapbooking, jewelry-making, ceramics painting, and collaging, all with mixed results. Recently, I’ve taken on a new project, one I’m determined to love and to be successful at: I’ve decided to make the flowers for my wedding out of paper.  I have several reasons for doing this.  First, as my fiancé and I are bibliophiles who chose a “books and comic books” wedding theme, I’m going to make the flowers out of the pages of old books.  Second, I am determined to master at least one craft skill.

Working with friends, we’ve spent the first few afternoons planning, testing out techniques, and of course, talking and drinking tea.  Recently, we made several flowers worth showing to others.

A few things I’ve learned as I go:

  • It’s much easier to follow a pattern for a whole flower rather than cutting out and gluing individual petals.
  • It is very easy to glue your fingers to paper and to each other.
  • Glue guns and glue are generally sold separately.
  • Your flowers will probably not look exactly like the pattern, but they can still be lovely.
  • Your pets will want in on what you’re doing, so you may need to find a distraction for them.
  • If painting the paper (which we are), make sure it’s completely dry before trying to work with it
I can’t say that I’m an “expert” flower-maker yet, but I am pleased with the results so far!

If you're feeling up to the challenge, here are few books from the library catalog on making flowers and other crafts from paper:

The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 702.812 Delany

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts: An A-to-Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration   745.5 Martha

Papercutting: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Learning the Craft by Claudia Hopf  745.54 Hopf

The DIY Bride, An Affair to Remember: 40 Fantastic Projects to Celebrate Your Unique Wedding Style 745.5941 Cochran

The Michaels Book of Wedding Crafts edited by Linda Kopp 745.5941 Michaels

Making Flowers in Paper, Fabric and Ribbon 745.5943 Biddle

Monday, March 18, 2013

Foodie Flicks

Some people like action movies, some people like rom-coms.  Our personal favorite genre here at abcreads is food films!  Yum.  We can't get enough, whether it's a story with a wonderful chef in the kitchen or just a couple of guys eating at famous restaurants and reporting on the cuisine, fiction or documentary. What's your favorite food movie or movie scene involving food?  Here are some of our favorites from the library catalog:

Jiro Dreams of Sushi


Eat Drink Man Woman


Babette's Feast

Love's Kitchen

Soul Kitchen

Mostly Martha

Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven


Henry Jaglom's Eating

The Trip


Huff Post Taste's Favorite Food Movie Scenes

Epicurious' All-Time Ten Best Movies about Food

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Outsider Artists: Books for Kids

Most professional artists have received years of training, but outsider artists, who haven't received a formal education, are guided solely by their strong, independent vision and drive to create artwork, often with the everyday materials at hand. Share these inspirational emphasize that creativity has no limits.
~"Outsider Artists" by Angela Leeper in Book Links [January 2013]

Whether you have a child with a budding interest in art or not, here's a selection of titles to open young minds! All books are child-oriented with the exception of High Riders, Saints, and Death Cars, which is written for a young adult audience.  Nicholas Herrera is a New Mexican artist!

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill

Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter by Kathy Whitehead

High Riders, Saints, and Death Cars: A Life Saved by Art by Nicholas Herrera

The Pot that Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Goebel [also available in Spanish & on DVD]

The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass

Deep Blues: Bill Traylor, Self-Taught Artist by Mary E. Lyons

Thursday, March 14, 2013

2012 Nebula Award Nominees: Novel

The Nebula Awards, founded in 1965, are given annually - voted on, and presented by, active members of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. The 48th Nebula Awards Weekend is happening in May 2013 - get started now checking out the books nominated for best science fiction or fantasy novel published in English or translated into English and released in the United States or on the internet during the past year! You can find a list of past winners on their website.

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
Three superheroes in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms bound together by a series of magical murders must work together in a race against time to prevent a sorcerer's plot from destroying the world.  For fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and Jim Butcher.
Ironskin by Tina Connolly
Connolly borrows freely from Jane Eyre in this compelling fantasy story of fey-cursed Jane Eliot, doomed to wear an iron mask or "ironskin".  Jane becomes governess to Dorie, whom she suspects carries the same curse, and falls in love with her father, Edward Rochart.  For fans of Kate Elliott and Karen Marie Moning.
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
In a city where Gatherers harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to judge the corrupt, Ehiru, the most famous of the city's Gatherers, learns that he must protect the woman he was sent to kill or watch the city be devoured by forbidden magic.  For fans of Elizabeth Moon and Guy Gavriel Kay.
The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan
India Morgan Phelps-Imp to her friends-is schizophrenic. Struggling with her perceptions of reality, Imp must uncover the truth about her encounters with creatures out of myth-or from something far, far stranger. For fans of Patricia A. McKillip and Mercedes Lackey.
Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
Kowal's sequel to the first Jane Ellsworth novel, Shades of Milk and Honey, is set in a Regency England redolent with magic. Newly married Jane and her husband travel to Belgium on a trip to test Jane's skills as a glamourist, but the return of Napoleon and a hint of espionage get in the way. For fans of Patricia C. Wrede and Susan Krinard.
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity's only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.  For fans of Poul Anderson and Orson Scott Card.
Some content, including readalikes, were suggested by the eResource NoveList Plus, which can help you find new books based and also can show you all the books in a series, all the books by a certain author, as well as brief biographies of authors. Access to this eResource is free with your valid library card!  Visit the Books and Literature subject guide to find links to NoveList Plus and more!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Featured Author: Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor was born in the United States to two Igbo (Nigerian) immigrant parents.  Okorafor lists her greatest influences as Octavia Butler, Stephen King, Philip Pullman, Tove Jansson, Hayao Miyazaki, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o, but Nigeria is her muse, "where many of her stories take place, either literally or figuratively".  Okorafor's writings are also filled with flora and fauna, since, as a youth, she thought she might become an entomologist. She has won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and been nominated for many other awards and commendations, including the Andre Norton Award and the Nebula Award. Ursula K. Le Guin and Diana Wynne Jones count themselves among Nnedi Okorafor's fans!


Zahrah, a timid thirteen-year-old girl, undertakes a dangerous quest into the Forbidden Greeny Jungle to seek the antidote for her best friend after he is bitten by a snake, and finds knowledge, courage, and hidden powers along the way. Fantasy fiction for juvenile readers.
Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.  Fantasy/paranormal fiction for juvenile readers.
Born into post-apocalyptic Africa to a mother whose entire tribe was slaughtered, Onyesonwu (the name means "who fears death") is tutored by a shaman and discovers that her magical destiny is to end the genocide of her people. Fantasy fiction for adult readers.

She is also has a short story featured in the young adult collection Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier - An Original Science Fiction Anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan. You can read more of her short stories online on her website, The Wahala Zone.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Armchair Adventures: Voyages Around the World

Some days, don't you just want to get away from it all?  Well, for those of us without imminent travel plans, here's a few armchair travel titles to help you get away from it all...or to help you get inspired to take a long, long vacation!

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race around the World by Matthew Goodman

The Man Who Cycled the World by Mark Beaumont [eBook only in our catalog]

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, The High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe by Glynis Ridley

Wild Romance: A Victorian Story of a Marriage, a Trial, and a Self-Made Woman by Chloë Schama

The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Unconventional Detour Around the World by Jennifer Baggett

Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride by Peter Zheutlin

The Scent Trail: How One Woman's Quest for the Perfect Perfume Took Her Around the World by Celia Lyttelton

Adventures of a Continental Drifter: An Around-the-World Excursion into Weirdness, Danger, Lust, and the Perils of Street Food by Elliott Hester

Fair Wind and Plenty of It: A Modern-Day Tall Ship Adventure by Rigel Crockett

Feeling inspired?  Consider consulting the books below before you go!

Life is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel by Judith Fein

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

First-Time Around the World

Friday, March 8, 2013

Featured Author: Mary Roach

Author Mary Roach counts freelance copy editor, part-time PR person for the San Francisco Zoo, and columnist for on her curriculum vitae.  She has also written articles for National Geographic, Wired, Outside, and New Scientist magazines, but as she says on her website, "I mostly write books these days."  Her first book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, grew out of her Salon column - "sort of a reported humor column, wherein I covered things like...amputee bowling leagues and the question of how much food it takes to burst a human stomach."  She claims to have no hobbies but enjoys "bird-watching--though the hours don't agree with me--backpacking, thrift stores, overseas supermarkets, Scrabble, mangoes and that late-night 'Animal Planet' show about horrific animals..."  Mary Roach's books have been called "irreverent romps", "informative", "breezy", "droll", and are recommended for "trivia whizzes, and anyone out for a good laugh"[Book News], but "not for the queasy", as she goes into vivid detail about biological functions.

Respectful and serious yet entertaining, this history of cadavers past and present features visits to morticians, forensic scientists, and medical schools.
Mary Roach, always game to experiment for her book research, goes to medium school, undergoes electromagnetic waves to her brain to see if it helps her to see ghosts, examines a piece of alleged ectoplasm at Cambridge University, and more!
The author discusses what science is doing to make the bedroom a more satisfying place.
Explores the strange universe of space travel and life without gravity.  The author previews space travel without leaving earth, thanks to space agencies' startlingly bizarre space simulations.

Mary Roach has also written the foreword to Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed by Carl Zimmer.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Recycling, Upcycling, & Salvage for Fun, Profit, & Practicality!

Reduce, reuse, recycle, is the catchphrase of environmentalists, but another phrase we hear a lot lately is "upcycling", also referred to as "trash into treasure" - Upcycle magazine defines this process as "taking an item that is no longer needed or wanted and giving it new life as something that is either useful or creative". Don't just throw away your plastics, junk mail, electronics, old clothes  - use your rescued resources to make something! If you are a craft-oriented person looking for a new hobby (or an activity to do with your kids) that's easy on your wallet and good for the planet, consider taking advantage of upcycling ideas from the library catalog.

Cool Odds and Ends Projects: Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash into Treasure by Pam Scheunemann

Cool Plastic Projects: Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash into Treasure by Pam Scheunemann

Trash-to-Treasure Papermaking: Make Your Own Recycled Paper from Newspapers & Magazines, Can & Bottle Labels, Discarded Gift Wrap, Old Phone Books, Junk Mail, Comic Books, and More-- by Arnold E. Grummer

Reinvention: Sewing with Rescued Materials by Maya Donenfeld

Recycled Home: Transform Your Home Using Salvaged Materials by Rebecca Proctor

Upcycling Celebrations: A Use-What-You-Have Guide to Decorating, Gift-Giving & Entertaining by Danny Seo

Puppet Play: 20 Puppet Projects Made with Recycling Mittens, Towels, Socks, and More! by Diana Schoenbrun [eBook only in our catalog]

Unscrewed: Salvage and Reuse Motors, Gears, Switches, and More from Your Old Electronics by Ed Sobey [eBook only in our catalog]

Salvage Secrets: Transforming Reclaimed Materials into Design Concepts by Joanne Palmisano

Make It!: Don't Throw It Away...Create Something Amazing! by Jane Bull

Cut-Up Couture by Koko Yamase

The Life of a Bowerbird: Creating Beautiful Interiors with the Things You Collect by Sibella Court

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun by Joshua Glenn & Elizabeth Foy Larsen

Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry

Monday, March 4, 2013

Featured Author: Bee Wilson

Bee Wilson is a British food writer, author, and historian, the daughter of writer A.N. Wilson and Shakespearean scholar Katherine Duncan-Jones. Wilson's food histories have been admired by Nigella Lawson, Claudia Roden, and Marion Nestle; her books have been called "mind-opening", "surprising", "mouth-watering", and "completely reliable".  Her distinguished career includes a Ph.D. from Cambridge, food critic for the New Statesman, a weekly food column in the Sunday Telegraph's Stella magazine, and three time winner of the Guild of Food Writers' Food Journalist of the Year.  You can read several of her articles (such as "The Capital of Gluttony", "Queen-Size Appetite", and several book reviews) via the Literary Reference Center, accessible with your valid library card through our Books and Literature subject guide, or check out her website for more information.  If you're intrigued by food history, try one of her books from our catalog:

Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, From Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee
A history of food adulteration in Britain and the U.S., including illegal ingredients, the substitution of cheap ingredients, and legal adulteration with chemical additives, resulting in "food products" such as Velveeta.
Sandwich: A Global History [eBook only in our catalog]
From the invention of the sandwich by John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, to the present day, Wilson's book examines how the sandwich has evolved and different kinds of sandwiches eaten throughout the world.
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat
A history of eating through the perspective of kitchen technology - how we prepare, serve, and consume our food - across different eras and cultures.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Why? How? What?: Books That Try to Provide Answers about Everyday Culture

We are curious people.  Curiosity killed the cat and we want to know what the cat wanted to know!  It's not just learning about big issues or trading gossip, either - sometimes here at abcreads we find ourselves asking, "Why did I use that turn of phrase? How did people start doing that? What do my habits say about me?"  In that vein, we've compiled this list of books that ask why, how, what about commonplace activities and ideas, such as driving, shopping, what we say, what we own, and getting annoyed.

The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us by James W. Pennebaker

Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gosling

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

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall

The Things that Matter: What Seven Classic Novels Have to Say About the Stages of Life by Edward Mendelson

The Wonderbox: Curious Histories of How to Live by Roman Krznaric [eBook only in our catalog]

Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us by Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman

Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us: Customer Service and What It Reveals About Our World and Our Lives by Emily Yellin

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

That's Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion by Rachel Herz

The Science of Sin: The Psychology of the Seven Deadlies (And Why They Are So Good For You) by Simon Laham

Culturematic: How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football, Burning Man, the Ford Fiesta Movement, Rube Goldberg, NFL Films, Wordle, Two and a Half Men, a 10,000 Year Symphony, and ROFLcon Memes Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas by Grant McCracken

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill

Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by Andrew Blackwell