Monday, September 29, 2014

If you like the Romanov Sisters...

We recently read The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport, and found it unputdownable! With that title in mind, a new royal baby in the offing, the recent passing of the Duchess of Devonshire (last of the six Mitford sisters), and the Scottish referendum recently in the news, we thought that now would be a good time for royal readalikes! Here's a few likely non-fiction and fiction titles for the ardent monarchist and followers of famous families throughout history.


From Splendor to Revolution: The Romanov Women, 1847-1928 by Julia P. Gelardi

The Duchess by Amanda Foreman

Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir

A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin by Judith Flanders

The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell

Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832 by Stella Tillyard

The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria's Youngest Daughter by Matthew Dennison

We Two: Victoria and Albert - Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill

The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, The Playboy Prince by Jane Ridley

Not In Front of the Corgis: Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains by Brian Hoey

The Royal Stuarts: A History of the Family That Shaped Britain by Allan Massie

The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: Mary, Katherine, and Lady Jane Grey - A Tudor Tragedy by Leanda de Lisle

The Titled Americans: Three American Sisters and the British Aristocratic World Into Which They Married by Elisabeth Kehoe

Five Sisters: The Langhorne Sisters of Virginia by James Fox  



The Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erickson

Elizabeth I by Margaret George

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Duchess: A Novel of Sarah Churchill by  Susan Holloway Scott

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

The Complete Tudors: Nine Historical Novels by Jean Plaidy [eBook]

The Secret Daughter of the Tsar by Jennifer Laam

Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of Frances Stuart by Marci Jefferson


Masterpiece Theatre: Love In a Cold Climate (Mitford Sisters)

BBC Two: Russia's Lost Princesses

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Top Ten Best Albums

About a month ago, I checked out 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, edited by Robert Dimery. As a music lover, I was curious to see what albums Dimery included in the book, and while there are some great albums and artists represented in his book, there are so many more that aren't there. It's partly due to the fact that the book was published in 2006, and some amazing albums have come out since then.

Since I looked through 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, I've been thinking about what albums I think everyone should listen to. These are my go-to albums whenever I'm stressed or just wanting to listen to something I know I will love and never get tired of.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash: Crosby, Stills, and Nash
A.J. McLean: Have It All

Update: The library now has most of these albums! I've created a playlist on Spotify so you can enjoy some of the songs on most of the albums (the exception is the A.J. McLean album, which isn't available on Spotify).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

If you like Kate Bush...

If you are a music geek, you probably know that Kate Bush is performing live for the first time in 35 years!  Her residency at London's Eventim Apollo started on August 26th and will finish on October 1st.  Back in March, her 22 shows sold out in 15 minutes, and once her live performances began, she racked up 8 albums in the Official Albums Chart at the same time - the first woman to do so, and just behind the achievements of Elvis Presley (12 simultaneous top 40 entries) and The Beatles (11).

Kate burst onto the scene in the late 1970s at age 19 with her single "Wuthering Heights", the first woman to have a UK number one with a self-written song. (Pink Floyd's David Gilmour heard Kate's early demo and was instrumental in getting her signed to EMI at the tender age of 16!) She released 4 albums in quick succession: The Kick Inside, Lionheart, Never For Ever, and The Dreaming. It was at this time that she built a private studio and was able to spend more time crafting the album many believe to be her masterpiece, Hounds of Love. A compilation disc, The Whole Story, was released in 1986. The albums The Sensual World (the title track is a paean to James Joyce's Ulysses) and The Red Shoes followed at her own pace, and then there was a 12 year gap before her next album, Aerial. In 2011, Kate released 2 albums, Director's Cut (a reworking of some earlier songs) and 50 Words For Snow.

Throughout her career, Kate Bush has been a fascinating and innovative artist. She has roots in the Progressive Rock movement, and many recall her collaboration with "Prog God" Peter Gabriel, "Don't Give Up".  She was an early embracer of the Fairlight CMI synthesiser and often employed musical instruments from many different cultures - and musicians from other cultures too, such as Bulgaria's Trio Bulgarka.  Her songs abound with literary references.

ABC Library has some of Kate's later albums in the library catalog, as well as a documentary film and an eBook about her! Whether you are discovering her charms or revisiting them, we hope you find something to entertain you.

The Whole Story

Director's Cut

50 Words for Snow

Kate Bush, Under Review [DVD]

Kate Bush and Hounds of Love by Ron Moy  [eBook]

Besides having a big effect on us (we've been fans since the mid-1980s), many musicians have declared themselves fans and/or cited her as influential on their work. Check out our playlist, with some recommended Kate Bush tunes and listenalikes that you can find in the library catalog, including Tori Amos, Jane Siberry, Bjork, and Goldfrapp.


"This woman's work: How Kate Bush inspires female artists" [Guardian]

"Why we love Kate Bush, by the musicians she's influenced" [London Evening Standard]

"The inimitable Kate Bush: Musical pioneer? Reclusive genius? 21st-century witch?" [Independent]

"My hero: Kate Bush by Jeanette Winterson" [Guardian]

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Banned Books Week

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.
Celebrate your freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 21-27! Banned Books Week is an annual event, taking place the last week of September, with the goal of "highlight[ing] the value of free and open access to information" [ALA]. This year's focus is banned or challenged comics and graphic novels, in light of recent challenges on the genre - perhaps most famously, Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.


Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported. The 10 most challenged titles of 2013 were:
  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence


Banned Books Week

American Library Association: About Banned and Challenged Books

Banned Books That Shaped America

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Banned Comics

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


In just a couple of days, you can check out ¡Globalquerque!, New Mexico's own celebration of world music and culture - this year will be the 10th annual! This festival is the brainchild of Neal Copperman of AMP Concerts and Tom Frouge of Avokado Artists. More than a musical event, you can also check out the Global Fiesta, free Saturday daytime programming with educational workshops, activities and performances, and the Global Village of Crafts, Culture and Cuisine, with diverse offerings for your browsing and shopping pleasure. This year, there is also a month-long International Cinema Series, presented in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, taking place every Thursday in September at 7 PM.

We here at abcreads look forward to¡Globalquerque! every year. The event takes place on 3 stages at the National Hispanic Cultural Center - "the intimate setting of the Fountain Courtyard, the state of the art Albuquerque Journal Theatre, and...outside on the Plaza Mayor." Neal and Tom always schedule such an interesting array of musicians from places as small as La Réunion, as faraway as Bulgaria and New Zealand, and as close to home as Native American artists from the Zuni and Diné tribes. It's always a tough decision - listen to a whole set by an artist or run from stage to stage, trying to catch as many artists as possible? We usually find ourselves on the the run.

ABC Library always tries to have music by ¡Globalquerque! artists available in the catalog.  Here's the offerings you'll find by this year's artists:

Golem, Citizen Boris

Los Texmaniacs, Texas Towns and Tex-Mex Sounds

Calypso Rose, Queen of Trinidad

Söndörgő, Tamburocket: Hungarian Fireworks

Lo'Jo, Cinéma el Mundo

The Rough Guide to the Music of Cuba [sampler with a song by the Afro-Cuban All Stars]

Native America [sampler with a song by Robert "Tree" Cody]

We don't currently have any music by Oumar Konaté in the library catalog, but musically-inclined customers may remember his library concert earlier this year, at the Ernie Pyle branch. He had the whole neighborhood dancing!

Want a taste of what's in store?  Check out our library playlist!

You can read more about this year's artists (and past artists!) on the ¡Globalquerque! website.

Globalquerque: It Takes A Village [Local IQ]

Globalquerque! [Local Flavor, page 44]

 ¡Globalquerque! World Music Festival Celebrates 10 Years [World Music Central]

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hollywood's Golden Age

A lot of celebrities have passed away recently...Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Sir Richard Attenborough, Don Pardo, Elaine Stritch, to name but a few.  The deaths of James Garner and Lauren Bacall, though, set us on a nostalgia kick for the Golden Age of Hollywood, leading us to compile this book list from the library catalog about some of Tinseltown's biggest stars and including a few tomes about the era itself.  Did we miss anyone?  Let us know in the comments!

By Myself and Then Some by Lauren Bacall

Ava Gardner: "Love is Nothing" by Lee Server

Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan

Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn by William J. Mann

A Life of Barbara Stanwyck : Steel-True 1907-1940 by Victoria Wilson

Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois Banner

The Garner Files: A Memoir by James Garner

You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood's Golden Age by Robert J. Wagner with Scott Eyman

Becoming Mae West by Emily Wortis Leider

Robert Mitchum: "Baby, I Don't Care" by Lee Server

Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles by David Thomson

Fifth Avenue, 5 AM: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson

Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford by Donald Spoto

Steve McQueen: A Biography by Marc Eliot [eBook]

Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, The Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes

Somebody: The Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando by Stefan Kanfer

Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner, Nancy Schoenberger

Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light by Patrick McGilligan 

Spencer Tracy: A Biography by James Curtis

The Golden Girls of MGM : Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly and Others by Jane Ellen Wayne

Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart by Stefan Kanfer

Rita Moreno: A Memoir by Rita Moreno

Thank Heaven: A Memoir by Leslie Caron

The Million Dollar Mermaid by Esther Williams with Digby Diehl

Unsinkable: A Memoir by Debbie Reynolds and Dorian Hannaway

Cary Grant: A Biography by Marc Eliot

The Man Who Saw a Ghost: The Life and Work of Henry Fonda by Devin McKinney

Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris


Behind the scenes of Hollywood with Bob Willoughby - in pictures  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spooky Young Adult Reads

It might only be September, but as I've been preparing one of my October young adult book displays, I've been thinking about all the things I love about fall, and all the spooky books I want to read during October. Some I've read before, but there are plenty I haven't read yet. Today, I have a list of my favorite scary young adult books (whether they're actually horror novels or just mysteries/thrillers), and the ones I can't wait to read.

What I've read

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Christine by Stephen King (This isn't a YA book, but Stephen King truly is the master of horror, and he certainly appeals to young adults.)
I Hunt Killers and Game by Barry Lyga

What I can't wait to read

Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga
MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
Feral by Holly Schindler

Do you like to read scary books during October? If so, which are your favorites?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Made in New Mexico: Western Roundup

Around this time of year, when the State Fair rolls around and all the livestock are on display, we here at abcreads are reminded that we live in the West, and that we can get closer to New Mexico in Westerns than True Grit and Longmire (although New Mexico stands in for various locations in the movie and Wyoming in this series). To celebrate our Western heritage, here are some of the newest Westerns and Western-related items from the library catalog that have ties to New Mexico.


The Killing Trail by Johnny D. Boggs

Shawn O'Brien, Town Tamer by William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone

Here By the Bloods by Brandon Boyce

She Returns From War by Lee Collins

Cantrell: A Western Duo by by T.T. Flynn

Between Hell and Texas by Dusty Richards

Not strictly Western fiction

The Witches of Ruidoso by John Sandoval [YA]"In the last years of the 19th century in the western territory that would become New Mexico, young Elijah falls in love with a girl who has strange insights and abilities with animals. Together, they come of age in a land of mountains and ravens, where witches terrorized both white men and Apache Indians."

Handful of Sky by Tory Cates"Shallie Larkin has chosen to make her way in the rough and tumble world of the rodeo, where women are seen as trophies to be won and discarded, not as serious competition. But just as Shallie can see the hidden beauty in the stark landscape of New Mexico, she is determined to find the inner strength to fight for her dream of being a rodeo contractor."  Western-themed non-fiction 

Red Ryder & Little Beaver: Painted Valley Troubleshooters - Fred Harman's Newspaper Comic Strip Heroes in Comic Books, Novels, Radio Shows & Motion Pictures by Bernard A. Drew  
"Harman worked in a studio on his small ranch in Colorado. In his later years he turned to fine art and co-founded the Cowboy Artists of America. He helped create the Little Beaver Town theme park near Albuquerque, New Mexico."

The Wrath of Cochise: The Bascom Affair and the Origins of the Apache Wars by Terry Mort"In a gripping narrative that often reads like an old-fashioned Western novel, Terry Mort explores the collision of these two radically different cultures in a masterful account of one of the bloodiest conflicts in our frontier history."

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Crime Fiction For Youth

Got a mystery-minded kid at home?  Here are some titles from our Children's and Young Adult collections that they might enjoy, if you are not ready for them to jump into adult mystery fiction just yet. If you want to test the waters with mysteries written for grownups, try Alan Bradley and Lisa Lutz.

All books in this list are from our Children's collection unless otherwise noted.

Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko

The Art of Secrets by James Klise

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn [YA]

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos [YA]

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The Mystery of Meerkat Hill: A Precious Ramotswe Mystery for Young Readers by Alexander McCall Smith

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff [YA]

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart [YA]

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick   [YA] 

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes [YA]

Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore [YA]

Burning Blue by by Paul Griffin [YA] 

The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George [YA]  

Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller 

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott [YA]

How to Fall by Jane Casey [YA]


Top 10 Crime Fiction for Youth [Booklist]

Edgar Awards -  choose Juvenile or Young Adult as category

Mystery Books for Pre-Teens [Cozy Mystery List Blog]

Two Boys and a Body: Mystery Fiction for Teenage Boys [NoveList]

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Borderlands in Fiction and Non-Fiction

In contemporary crime fiction, border noir typically finds its home along the demilitarized zone separating the U.S. and Mexico, the jumping-off point for illegal immigrants desperate to move north, as well as the conduit for the flow of drugs and guns across the border (guns moving south, drugs moving north). Novels set on our southern border—typically in El Paso and Juárez, or San Diego and Tijuana—have flourished in the last several decades, reflecting both our ongoing battles over immigration policy and our so-often catastrophic war on drugs. The novels listed below reflect those sociopolitical issues, to be sure, but their emotional core goes deeper than that, to border culture itself, wherever those borders may be, and to the timeless chaos of lives in transition or, worse, suspended in the perpetually deferred dream of transition.
~Bill Ott* 

Not too long ago, we took an abcreads field trip to the movies to watch Gael García Bernal in Who is Dayani Cristal?, a moving documentary which combines the forensic investigation of the body of an anonymous migrant found in Arizona with García Bernal's journey through Central America, retracing the man's steps along the migrant trail.  This, and the article in Booklist linked below, reminded us of our own proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border and inspired us to provide this list of items from the catalog.


Angel Baby by Richard Lange

The Border Lords by T. Jefferson Parker

Choke Point by James C. Mitchell

Death of an Evangelista by Allana Martin

Desert Blood: the Juárez Murders by Alicia Gaspar de Alba

Dove Season: A Jimmy Veeder Fiasco by Johnny Shaw

La Mordida by Jim Sanderson

The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow

Redback by Kirk Russell

Rules of Wolfe: A Border Noir by James Carlos Blake

Taken by Robert Crais

Tijuana Straits by Kem Nunn

Triple Crossing by Sebastian Rotella

Wrecked by Tricia Fields

Border Songs by Jim Lynch   

The Border is Burning by Ito Romo

Sunland by Don Waters

Golondrina, Why Did You Leave Me? by Bárbara Renaud González


The Dangerous Divide: Peril and Promise on the US-Mexico Border by Peter Eichstaedt

The Distance Between Us: A Memoir by Reyna Grande

Left Behind: Life and Death Along the U.S. Border by Jonathan Hollingsworth

The American Wall: From the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico by Maurice Sherif

Lost Souls = Animas perdidas  [DVD]


Hard-Boiled Gazetteer to Border Noir [Booklist]*

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bibliocraft: Crafts Based on Unusual Library Collections

Jessica Pigza, a rare book librarian and assistant curator of the New York Public Library's Rare Book Division, has written a book that serves as both a lovely introduction the library and a fun assortment of crafting ideas. Her book, Bibliocraft: A Modern Crafter's Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects, begins with a guide to different kinds of library collections, finding the right library for you, planning your library visit, finding what you want at the library, digital libraries, and recommended library collections.  Pigza then touches on the different types of libraries (branch library, research library, special collections), library cards, fees, how to search the library catalog (both Library of Congress Classification and Dewey Decimal classification, which is what the ABC Library catalog uses), and more.

The craft projects inspired by the library include fabric pouches, decorated paper, cross-stitch wall panels, and votive holders.  Each project is listed in the category which inspired it - children's books, illuminated manuscripts - and each project lists its more specific inspiration - for instance, the Kittens Pockets Dress was inspired by Johanna Spyri's Heidi.

It's a beautiful book and we recommend it highly!  It also inspired us to search some unusual library collections and see if we could find craft projects that seemed to be a match for those collections.

Henry S. Hall Jr. American Alpine Club Library 
The Henry S. Hall Jr. American Alpine Club Library provides you with all the information you could ever want on mountain culture and climbing routes. Located in Golden, Colorado, we're able to help you find the information you're looking for even if you're across the globe.
~from their website
Project: Alpine Shrug

Whitby Museum and Library
The Museum, our library and archives are run by our parent organisation. This is The Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society. The Society was founded in 1823 by a group of leading Whitby citizens led by the Rev. George Young, the author of the classic nineteenth century "History of Whitby" (1819) and minister at the Presbyterian Church. The chief object of the Society was to setup and maintain a museum, specialising in fossils, since "Whitby is a chief town of a district abounding with petrifications and containing not a few Antiquities". Ever since Whitby Museum has been run for the people of Whitby by the people of Whitby.
~from their website
Whitby is also the backdrop for Bram Stoker's Dracula and the museum contains some suitably creepy relics such as the "Hand of Glory".
Project: Pocket Nosferatu from Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots, and More! by Christen Haden

VATNASAFN / LIBRARY OF WATER is a long-term project conceived by Roni Horn for a former library in the coastal town of Stykkishólmur in Iceland. The building stands on a promontory overlooking the ocean and the town, and houses three related collections - of water, words and weather reports - which reflect Roni Horn’s intimate involvement with the singular geography, geology, climate and culture of Iceland.
~from their website
Project: Exploration Bottles

The Desert Libraries of Chinguetti
"As recently as the 1950s, Chinguetti was home to an impressive thirty family-owned libraries, but severe drought saw the town’s residents disappear, taking their books passed down from generations with them. Today there remains less than ten libraries in the old town, catering to scholars that occasionally visit the isolated town, but mostly to tourists who pass through to see the priceless texts and experience a traditional nomadic hospitality of the Mauritanian desert."
~from MessyNessyChic
Project: How To Make A Tunnel Book