Saturday, November 29, 2014

Reading Oral Histories

I found myself going to sit at the kitchen table, unable to wash any more dishes, moved to tears.  No, nobody was cutting onions.  My friend was reading, Listening is an Act of Love out loud to me while I worked.  The everyday stories of the everyday people who told them reached into my heart and stirred up a connection with them that burned in my chest and ran down my cheeks.  Their stories were my story, their hearts were my heart, full of both pain and joy.  I marveled at the things we humans go through as we live out our short lives, and I wanted to hear more.

StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization, founded by Dave Isay in 2003, whose goal is to give voice to the stories each of us have through recording, sharing and saving oral histories.  How is this done?  Individuals choose a partner who is significant to them in some realm of life, whether this person is a spouse, longtime coworker, good friend, or close relative, and choose the questions they would like to ask each other.  The partners make an appointment to record their interview at a StoryBooth near them (currently, StoryCorps is in Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco).  Each StoryBooth has a facilitator to guide the process.

After an interview, participants receive a CD copy of their recording, which will also be preserved in the Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  As you may have guessed, some of the 55,303 interviews have been transcribed and included in Dave Isay's books, all of which our library currently has.  A selection of interviews are also aired on NPR every Friday.

If you want to feel more connected to your fellow human beings, I highly recommend checking out one of these powerful StoryCorps books:

Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps

All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps

Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps

Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Lives from the StoryCorps Project

Here are some of the other fascinating oral history books available at the library:

What Was Asked of Us: an Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It

Strong Medicine Speaks: A Native American Elder Has Her Say

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression

Oral History: An Interdisciplinary Anthology

Voices of the Territory of New Mexico

Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs that Defined the 1980s 

In addition, the library has a collection of books from NPR, including ebooks and eaudiobooks.

If you are interested in preserving some of your own family stories by oral history, take a look at these reference books at Genealogy in the Main Library:

The Oral History Workbook

Family History, Genealogy and Oral History Workshop

(Keep in mind that you will not be able to check out reference books to take home with you.)

The StoryCorps website itself also has a helpful do-it-yourself section!

Last, but not least, have a look at these sites for a Southwestern take on oral history:

UNM's Health Sciences Library Oral History Program for Medical Professionals

Southwest Oral History Association

UNM's Oral History Projects Collection

American Indian Oral History Collection

Route 66 Oral History Office

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks and Giving: Bringing Gratitude Into Your Life

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. 
~Albert Schweitzer

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
~ Marcel Proust

Happy Thanksgiving!  What are you feeling thankful for this year?

Sometimes, in our daily lives, it's harder to remember to feel thankful. We've compiled a list of titles to keep you grounded in gratitude year round, so you can , like Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh, "...promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live."

Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott
10 Mindful Minutes: Giving Our Children - And Ourselves - The Social and Emotional Skills to Reduce Stress and Anxiety for Healthier, Happier Lives by Goldie Hawn with Wendy Holden

Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning To Say Thank You Changed My Life by John Kralik

365 Thank Yous: The Year A Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik

Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart by Trista Sutter

Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert Emmons

On Gratitude:Sheryl Crow, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Keys, Daryl Hall, Ray Bradbury, Anna Kendrick, B.B. King, Elmore Leonard, Deepak Chopra, and 42 More Celebrities Share What They're Most Thankful For by Todd Aaron Jensen [eBook]

The Joy Compass: Eight Ways to Find Lasting Happiness, Gratitude, and Optimism in the Present Moment by Donald Altman [eBook]

A Book of Miracles: Inspiring True Stories of Healing, Gratitude, and Love by Bernie S. Siegel with Andrea Hurst
Sweet Gratitude: Bake a Thank-You For the Really Important People in Your Life by Judith Sutton

Help Yourself: Celebrating the Rewards of Resilience and Gratitude by Dave Pelzer

Abundantly Simple: Everywoman's Gratitude Journal by Helen Kafka, Laura Hellen [eBook]

F**k It Therapy: The Profane Way to Profound Happiness by John C. Parkin

25 Days to Better Thinking & Better Living: A Guide For Improving Every Aspect of Your Life by Linda Elder and Richard Paul

Comfort: An Atlas for the Body and Soul by Brett C. Hoover [eBook]

Don't Miss Your Life: Find More Joy and Fulfillment Now by Joe Robinson

The Gratitude Power Workbook: Transform Fear Into Courage, Anger Into Forgiveness, Isolation Into Belonging by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons [eBook]

Seasonal Awareness and Wellbeing by Marie-Claire Wilson  [eBook]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Recommended Sports Books for Adults & Youth

We are deep within the 95th regular season of the National Football League! 256 games to be played out over a seventeen week schedule leading up to Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015, with 3 games on 3 networks on Thanksgiving Day: the Detroit Lions will host the Chicago Bears on CBS; the Dallas Cowboys will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Fox; and on prime-time NBC, the San Francisco 49ers will host Seattle Seahawks (championship rematch). Will you be watching? For the first time ever, no AFC (American Football Conference, one of two conferences of the NFL) teams will appear on Thanksgiving.

There are other sporting events of note in November, including the New York City Marathon, Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, rivalry games in college football, NASCAR Ford Ecoboost 400 (the championship round of the Sprint Cup), the Trampoline and Tumbling World Championships, the XXII Central American and Caribbean Games, PSA Men's World Squash Championship, the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, and World Weightlifting Championships; and in December, the World Swimming Championships and the International Rugby Board Women Sevens World Series are happening.

Who knew late fall was so chockablock with sporting events? Even if you can't catch all your favorite sports live this season, perhaps you'd like to use the upcoming holidays to kick back with some reading about sports - here are some titles we think you might enjoy! We even have a couple of books to get your sporty kids reading.


Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, The Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker by Doug J. Swanson

Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football by Nicholas Dawidoff

The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta by Gil Capps

The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death by Colson Whitehead

Pete Rose: An American Dilemma by Kostya Kennedy

Ping Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game that Changed the World by Nicholas Griffin

Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival From the Bottom of the Pile by Nate Jackson

Why Football Matters: My Education in the Game by Mark Edmundson

Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto by Steve Almond

Parcells: A Football Life by Bill Parcells and Nunyo Demasio

Season of Saturdays: A History of College Football in 14 Games by Michael Weinreb

Football: Great Writing About the National Sport edited by John Schulian

Newton's Football: The Science Behind America's Game by Allen St. John, Ainissa G. Ramirez, PH.D

I Am Zlatan: My Story On and Off the Field by Zlatan Ibrahimović with David Lagercrantz

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football's Make-or-Break Moment by Carla Killough McClafferty

Muckers by Sandra Neil Wallace [eBook]

The Soccer Fence by Phil Bildner

Soccer Star by Mina Javaherbin 

So, You Want to Work in Sports?: The Ultimate Guide to Exploring the Sports Industry by Joanne Mattern 

Stealing the Game by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Taylor Swift: Country artist turned pop star and literacy advocate

Taylor Swift's newest album, 1989, was released on October 27 of this year. Industry experts predicted the album would sell over 1.3 million copies through November 2, according to an article on Billboard's website. Swift, who finally admitted in a Rolling Stone article that she's no longer a country artist and is now a pop artist, was thrilled when her album did better than predicted, if her Instagram video is any indication. 1989 became the first platinum album of the year, selling 1.287 copies in the first week (which is also the most successful record debut since 2002), according to The Washington Post.

In addition to being a powerhouse in the music industry, Swift has proven herself a philanthropist as well. While she has donated money to many organizations, I'm going to focus on her support of literacy. According to Wikipedia, Swift has done the following (in chronological order):

In 2009, Swift donated $250,000 to schools that she had ties to. The money went to purchasing books, funding educational programs, and helping pay teacher salaries.

In 2010, she participated in Scholastic's live webcast, Read Now! With Taylor Swift, to help celebrate Scholastic's Read Every Day campaign.

In 2011, Swift partnered with Scholastic Books to donate 6,000 books to Reading Public Library, in Pennsylvania.

In 2012, she donated 14,000 books to Nashville Public Library, in Tennessee. Some of the books she donated to Nashville Public Library went into circulation, while others were given to children from low-income families, preschools, and daycares.  Swift also partnered with Scholastic again in a second live webcast, where she promoted reading, and she co-chaired the National Education Association's Read Across American campaign, which included recording a public service announcement encouraging kids to read.

In 2013, Swift donated 2,000 Scholastic Books to the early literacy program Reading Hospital Child Health Center.

In 2014, she appeared in a READ campaign, sponsored by the American Library Association, and she participated in a third Scholastic webcast.

Want to know more about Taylor Swift, or to just check out her music? The library has plenty of things you can check out!

Taylor Swift's albums

Taylor Swift
Speak Now
Speak Now Deluxe Edition

Taylor Swift biographies

Taylor Swift by Holly Cefrey
Taylor Swift: Secrets of a Songwriter by Amy Gail
Taylor Swift: Love Story by Amy Gail Hansen
Taylor Swift: Every Day is a Fairy Tale: The Unofficial Story by Liz Spencer

Thursday, November 20, 2014

LEGO: For the Child in All of Us

Are you a LEGO fan? Those ubiquitous toy bricks have found their way into the library system! You can search the catalog using the word "Lego" to find all varieties of goodies, but we've also rounded up a list of some of the latest titles below.

We have books!

For Children

Dolphin Rescue adapted by Tracey West

LEGO Star Wars: The Dark Side by Daniel Lipkowitz

Robot Rampage by Greg Farshtey

Tribes of Chima by Ruth Amos

Build Your Own Galaxy: The Big Unofficial Lego Builder's Book by Joachim Klang, Oliver Albrecht, Lutz Uhlmann, Tim Bischoff

The LEGO Ideas Book: Unlock Your Imagination by Daniel Lipkowitz 

The LEGO Book by Daniel Lipkowitz
For Adults 

Brick City: Global Icons to Make from Lego by Warren Elsmore

LEGO Build-It Book: Volume 1 - Amazing Vehicles by Nathanael Kuipers, Mattia Zamboni [also an eBook]

Beautiful LEGO by Mike Doyle

The Cult of LEGO by John Baichtal, Joe Meno 

Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry by David C. Robertson with Bill Breen

Make: Lego and Arduino Projects by John Baichtal, Matthew Beckler & Adam Wolf 

We have DVDs!

Lego - Ninjago and Friends

The Lego Movie

Lego Batman the Movie: DC Super Heroes Unite

Star Wars Lego: The Empire Strikes Out  

Legends of CHIMA: The Lion, the Crocodile and the Power of Chi 

We have items in Spanish for kids!  

Las Leyendas De Chima: Comienza la leyenda by Trey King

¡A reparar ese camión! by Michael Anthony Steele

Los discos de poder by Greg Farshtey

And, last but certainly not least, if you got kids who'd like to get their hands on some bricks, our library system has 9 LEGO Clubs! Visit our Library LEGO Club page to find one near you! Age ranges vary (6-12, 2-14, 5+), so check with individual libraries for clarification.


Bricks and Minifigs Albuquerque

Lego Is for Girls [Businessweek]

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Featured Author: Margaret Atwood

Happy birthday to one of our favorite authors, Margaret Atwood, who turns 75 today! She is an extremely prolific Canadian author, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and Man Booker Prize (for which she has been shortlisted 5 times), among other accolades. Best known as a novelist, she has also written short stories, poetry, children's books, and non-fiction. She has even written the libretto to a chamber opera! Her novels span different genres, including speculative fiction (which she sometimes calls social science fiction), feminist fiction, and literary fiction. Her website includes online only content, BookTour Comix, videogames (MaddAddam Games: Intestinal Parasites), and more. You can also find her on Twitter, where she is a very active tweeter.

Here's a sampling of her works, available in the library catalog:


Maddaddam Trilogy - Oryx & Crake, The Year of the Flood, MaddAddam
Cat's Eye
The Handmaid's Tale
Alias Grace
The Robber Bride
The Blind Assassin
The Penelopiad [Myths Series]
Lady Oracle
The Edible Woman
Bodily Harm [eAudiobook]

Short Fiction

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales
Moral Disorder
Bluebeard's Egg and Other Stories
Wilderness Tips
The Tent

For Children

Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut
Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda
Up in the Tree


The Door [eBook]
The Circle Game [eBook]
Morning In the Burned House 

Miscellaneous Non-Fiction

In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination
Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth
Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose, 1983-2005
Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing

Also find her work in:

Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society
Four Letter Word: Invented Correspondence From the Edge of Modern Romance
First Words: Earliest Writing from Favorite Contemporary Authors [eBook]
I'm With the Bears: Short Stories From a Damaged Planet


"Margaret Atwood's new work will remain unseen for a century" [Guardian]

"The Long Pen: From World-Famous Novelists to High-Tech Entrepreneur" [Daily Galaxy]

"Want to be a character in a Margaret Atwood book?" [Toronto Star]

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Life with Pets: Human-Animal Relationships

We love our pets. They become an integral part of our lives, we cherish them and sometimes make them famous - witness Grumpy Cat, Dewey the Library Cat, Boo the World's Cutest Dog, etc. There are countless stories about animals in fiction, but also in non-fiction - a genre that perhaps rose to fame with authors like James Herriot, Gerald Durrell, and Farley Mowat. Here are some stories about pets who made a difference, in the lives of one person or many, and a few other pet-related titles.

Human-Animal Memoirs

Sergeant Stubby: How a Stray Dog and His Best Friend Helped Win World War I and Stole the Heart of a Nation by Ann Bausum 

The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-Wise Cat by James Bowen

Gabe & Izzy: Standing Up for America's Bullied by Gabrielle Ford with Sarah Thomson [Children's]

Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion by Jon Katz.

Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca by Maria Goodavage

My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding [eBook]

Once Upon a Flock : Life with My Soulful Chickens by Lauren Scheuer

Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure by David Rosenfelt

Pure Joy: The dogs We Love by Danielle Steel

A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life From An Unlikely Teacher by Sue Halpern

Weekends with Daisy by Sharron Kahn Luttrell

Julia's Cats: Julia Child's Life in the Company of Cats by Patricia Barey, Therese Burson

Oink: My Life with Mini-Pigs by Matt Whyman

Cherished: 21 Writers on Animals They Have Loved and Lost edited by Barbara Abercrombie     


The Secret Language of Dogs: Stories from a Dog Psychic by Jocelyn Kessler

Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA Petbook

The Secrets of Lost Cats: One Woman, Twenty Posters, and a New Understanding of Love by Dr. Nancy Davidson

Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs by David Grimm

The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds, and What They Reveal About Being Human by Noah Strycker

For Fun 

How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity: A Guide to Financial Freedom by Patricia Carlin [eBook]

Metal Cats photography by Alexandra Crockett

If you are inspired to welcome a pet into your life (adopting or fostering), or interested in volunteering at a shelter, there are lots of opportunities in Albuquerque!  Consider:

Animal Welfare [City of Albuquerque]

Animal Rescue Groups [City of Albuquerque]

Animal Humane New Mexico

Friday, November 14, 2014

Reading Around Moby-Dick

Moby-Dick - we've heard it referred to as "The Great Unread American Novel". People tend to shy away from the size, the subject matter (though many people have a working knowledge of the book's themes), the ponderous writing style (although some base this opinion mostly on the book's opening line, "Call me Ishmael", having not progressed much further).  Okay, full disclosure: we haven't read it.

But Melville has been in the news recently - there's a new movie coming out about the whaling voyage on which Melville based the book, and an 1841 crew list for a whaling ship has been found that numbers Melville amongst its band.  (Apparently, he deserted after 4 months, but the voyage inspired his maritime novels.) We thought, maybe it's time to give Melville's whale of a story a look-see!

How did this Moby-Dick come about, anyway? Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and lived there until 1850, except for 5 years at sea. His first book, Typee, was published in 1845, and based on his South Seas experiences. In 1850, already working on Moby-Dick, he moved to Massachusetts and met Nathaniel Hawthorne, an intense friendship which proved pivotal to his novel. During this time, he had also married and started a family. In 1857, Melville gave up writing prose for poetry, though he was not successful in this endeavor. In his later years, Melville worked as a customs inspector for the City of New York. He died in 1891.

But back to Moby-Dick. On November 14, 1851, the American edition of Moby-Dick was published. (The English edition, titled The Whale - there had been a last-minute title change - had already been published the month before.) Melville had spent a year and a half writing the book, now considered a classic, and it was dedicated to Hawthorne, though the friendship did not last. Even in the 1870s, one reader called it "the strangest, wildest, and saddest story I have ever read". However, only 3,200 copies were sold in Melville's lifetime and it was out of print when he died. Melville already had been acclaimed for earlier works and considered Moby-Dick to be his magnum opus, so he was wounded by its reception.

Though the novel was re-published shortly after Melville's death, it was not until the 1920s that it reached its current standing in the canon of American literature, with  Carl Van Doren calling it "the pinnacle of American Romanticism". Moby-Dick's first cinematic adaptation also came in the 1920s - the dramatically retitled The Sea Beast, but the most famous adaptation was John Huston's in 1956 (with a screenplay by Ray Bradbury!).

Answer us truthfully - have you ever read Moby-Dick: Or, The Whale?  And if so, did you read it because you had to, or for pleasure?  Did you finish it?  What did you think? Did you read Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, about the shipwreck that inspired Melville?And finally, are you more likely to read Melville (or Philbrick) now that there's a major motion picture based on In The Heart of the Sea coming out next year?

If this new attention give to the novel and a little backstory hasn't inspired you to pick up all 420 pages of it, there are other options! Whether you love Moby-Dick and want more, or are looking for a a way to work your way into it, here are some reading suggestions from the library catalog:

Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing For Every Page by Matt Kish

Moby Dick by Herman Melville; adapted by Will Eisner [YA]

Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick

Moby-Dick, or, The Whale by Herman Melville, presented by Jan Needle [YA; an abridgement with illustrations]

Railsea by China Miéville [Children's]

Ahab's Wife, or, The Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund

The Graphic Canon: Volume 2 - From "Kubla Khan" to the Brontë Sisters to The Picture of Dorian Gray edited by Russ Kick

Leviathan [DVD]
Set aboard a hulking fishing vessel as it navigates the treacherous waves off the New England coast-the very waters that once inspired Moby Dick, the film captures the harsh, unforgiving world of the fishermen in starkly haunting, yet beautiful detail. 

You can also find Melville's novel in Audiobook and eAudio formats.


Moby Dick Big Read
The Moby-Dick Big Read: an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome - each of its 135 chapters read out aloud, by a mixture of the celebrated and the unknown, to be broadcast online in a sequence of 135 downloads, publicly and freely accessible.

Moby-Dick Marathon 
Annual 25-hour, non-stop reading of the novel.

"The Picnic That Turned Moby-Dick Into a Masterpiece" [WGBH]

How to Read a Hard Book []

Classic Literature Turned Into Comic Books [Short List]

"Whaling Ship Crew List Shows Melville Embarking on a Journey That Inspired Moby-Dick" [Slate]

"The Harrowing True Story that Inspired Moby-Dick Gets the Ron Howard Treatment" [Slate]

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Swoon Reads: Publication By Crowdsource

The Swoon Reads site could be the cheeriest site we know. "Swoon" means "to be overcome by joy", and Swoon Reads seems bursting with joy already,  from the opening tagline "Fall in love with falling in love" to "Thank you for visiting Swoon Reads.  We hope you found something that made you swoon!"

What is Swoon Reads, you ask?  It's a novel idea from Macmillan: a crowdsourced romance imprint for teens. It's a community of writers and readers; both can make a Swoon Reads account and sign in, either to upload their manuscript to the site or to read uploaded manuscripts. Submissions should be 50,000-70,000 word romances written for readers aged 14 and older, in any sub-genre (historical, dystopian, mash-up, etc.), and gay and lesbian romances are welcome. Readers can rate (0-5 hearts, from "Did Not Finish" to, you guessed it, "Swoon-Worthy") and comment on the manuscripts they read, and the submissions that have the highest ratings will be passed to an editorial board - if the board concurs that the manuscript is "SW♥♥N-worthy", it gets published!

Swoon Reads' first title, A Little Something Different: Fourteen Viewpoints, One Love Story is in the library catalog, so place your holds now! Written by Sandy Hall, a librarian from New Jersey, it's a romance with an interesting twist - the novel's 14 viewpoints don't include the love story's protagonists, Lea and Gabe! Instead, the reader learns about their "meet-cute" and all that follows from viewpoints that include a roommate, a professor, a brother, a classmate, a friend, a barista, a bus driver, a squirrel, and a bench. Reviewers have called it "a sweet, quick romance" [VOYA Reviews] and a "good choice for reluctant readers" [School Library Journal]. "Swoonworthy Extras" include "A Coffee Date" with the author and editor,  discussion questions, and a short preview of the next title to be published. Watch for more from this new imprint!


Swoon Reads: The Next Romance Bestseller, Selected by You [NPR]

Swoon lets YA readers choose which books get published [CNN]

Quote Roundup: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall [Mac Teen Books]

Swoonworthy Manuscripts Selected for Publication [Swoon Reads]

Monday, November 10, 2014

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, when our nation honors American veterans of all wars. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day, in commemoration of the end of fighting between Allied nations and Germany on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918; in 1938 it became a legal holiday, and in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation". There was a brief period (1971-5) when the day of the holiday changed under the Uniform Holiday Bill, which requires holidays such as Memorial Day and Presidents' Day to always fall on a Monday, but it was decided to reverse that decision to retain the historic and patriotic significance of the November 11th date.

This year we pay tribute to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on its 32nd anniversary. The Memorial Wall, designed by American architect Maya Lin, was the first part of the Washington, D.C. complex to be completed in 1982.  Her controversial design (at the time it was likened to a "giant tombstone" and many thought the design was too abstract) led to the addition of the Three Soldiers statue in 1984, and the Vietnam Women's Memorial was dedicated in 1993. Learn more about this memorial with books from our catalog:

For Adults

Offerings at the Wall: Artifacts from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection by Thomas B. Allen

Shrapnel in the Heart: Letters and Remembrances from the Vietnam Memorial by Laura Palmer

Boundaries by Maya Lin

For Kids

The Wall by Eve Bunting

The Story of the Vietnam Memorial by David K. Wright

A Wall of Names: The Story of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Judy Donnelly

Their Names to Live: What the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Means to America by Brent Ashabranner 

Library Use Only [Genealogy Main 2nd Floor]

To Heal a Nation: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Jan C. Scruggs and Joel L. Swerdlow

All They Left Behind: Legacies of the Men and Women on the Wall by Lisa A. Lark 


Vietnam Veterans Memorial [National Park Service]

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Page

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund  

Veterans Day [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs]

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Young adult books to look forward to in 2015

Even though it's only November, I've already started making a list of the 2015 young adult releases I can't wait to get my hands on. We don't have all these books in the catalog, since some of them don't come out until later in the year, but we do have some of them.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Playlist For the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
The Racket by John Green
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
Ensnared by A.G. Howard

The Forgotten Crown by Julie Kagawa
Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
Our Brothers at the Bottom of the Bottom of the Sea by Jonathan Kranz
The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord
Forget Me Knots by Emily Murdoch
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
Survive the Night by Danielle Vega
What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi
Dietland by Sarai Walker
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

What books are you looking forward to reading the most next year? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Science Corner: Marie Curie

...Marie Curie was never easy to understand or categorize. That was because she was a pioneer, an outlier, unique for the newness and immensity of her achievements. But it was also because of her sex. Curie worked during a great age of innovation, but proper women of her time were thought to be too sentimental to perform objective science. She would forever be considered a bit strange, not just a great scientist but a great woman scientist... Professional science until fairly recently was a man’s world, and in Curie’s time it was rare for a woman even to participate in academic physics, never mind triumph over it.
~Julie Des Jardins, "Madame Curie's Passion" (Smithsonian Magazine, October 2011)

2011 marked a century since Marie Curie won her second Nobel Prize - she won the first in 1903, in Physics (shared with her husband, Pierre, and Professor Henri Becquerel), for research on the "radiation phenomena" and her 1911 prize was in Chemistry, "in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element".

This year marks the fifth time a married couple has won a Nobel Prize (in this case May-Britt and Edvard Moser in Physiology or Medicine) and the fourth time the couple has shared a prize. Marie and Pierre Curie were the first couple, followed in 1935 by their daughter, Iréne Joliot-Curie, and her husband, Frédéric Joliot, who also won in Chemistry. Marie and Iréne were the first women to win Nobel Prizes.

Today marks the 147th birth anniversary of Marie Curie, who was born Maria Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland, in 1867. Although she soared academically, she was not allowed to attend university, which was men-only.  To continue her education past secondary school, she had to attend underground classes. Marie Curie worked as a tutor and governess for 5 years, studying physics, chemistry, and math in her spare time, until, in 1891, she had saved enough to go to Paris and attend the Sorbonne  By 1894, aged 27, she had advanced degrees in chemistry and mathematics. The same year, she met Pierre Curie, and they married in 1895. Their daughter, Iréne, was born in 1897.  By this time, husband and wife were working together, and they discovered polonium in 1898. A second child, Eve, was born in 1903. Pierre Curie died in an accident in 1906 and she took over his teaching post at the Sorbonne, becoming its first female professor.

Marie Curie won many awards (including some posthumously) and was a member of the Conseil du Physique Solvay, a conference to support and discuss scientific research - their first invitation-only congress was attended by herself, Max Planck, and Albert Einstein. During WWI, she promoted the use of portable X-ray machines in the field, and for that they were nicknamed "Little Curies". She never lost her enthusiasm for science, but her exposure to radioactivity cut her life short.  Marie Curie died in 1934 of aplastic anemia, aged 67.

Want to learn more?  Check out these books from the catalog:

Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family by Shelley Emling

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

The Curies: A Biography of the Most Controversial Family in Science by Denis Brian

Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie by Barbara Goldsmith


Marie Curie [Biography]

Marie Curie and the History of Radioactivity [Science Museum]

Marie Curie's century-old radioactive notebook still requires a lead box [Gizmodo]

Marriage a Nobel tradition for prize winners  [RTE]

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Featured Author: Caitlin Moran

'What art should be about,' they will say, 'is revealing exquisite and resonant truths about the human condition.' Well, to be honest - no, it shouldn’t. I mean, it can occasionally, if it wants to; but really, how many penetrating insights to human nature do you need in one lifetime? Two? Three? Once you’ve realised that no one else has a clue what they’re doing, either, and that love can be totally pointless, any further insights into human nature just start getting depressing really.
~Caitlin Moran

Caitlin Moran is an English journalist, TV presenter, and author.  The oldest of eight home-educated children, she wrote her first novel, The Chronicles of Narmo, at age fifteen. Caitlin (once you read her books, you'll feel like you can be on a first name basis with her as well) has had a checkered career after that - working for Melody Maker, presenting a TV show, Naked City - before joining the staff of The Times, a British daily newspaper. Caitlin writes regular columns for The Times, one about television and the other is "the most-read part of the paper, the satirical celebrity column ‘Celebrity Watch’". A comedy series written by Caitlin and her sister Caroline and loosely based on their youth, Raised by Wolves, is currently running on British TV.

Her first adult book, How To Be a Woman, brought her international attention in 2012. Vanity Fair called it "the U.K. version of Tina Fey’s Bossypants" - it's a fresh and funny take on feminism today, interspersed with memoir. Caitlin followed that up with Moranthology, a collection of her columns which gives us her uncensored views on pop culture. Her latest, How To Build a Girl, which Helen Fielding (author Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy) described as "[b]rilliantly observed, thrillingly rude and laugh-out-loud funny", is the coming-of-age story of a 14-year old girl in 1990 who reinvents herself.

Looking for a smart, saucy, hilarious read?  Look no further.  Caitlin is beloved by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Peggy Orenstein, Ayelet Waldman, Zoe Heller, Alexandra Heminsley, and Lena Dunham.  If you like to read Laurie Notaro, Sloane Crosley, Mindy Kaling, and Nora Ephron, do give Caitlin a try!


Not a Feminist?  Caitlin Moran Asks, Why Not? [NPR]

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran review - a Portnoy's Complaint for girls [Guardian]

Raised By Wolves - TV review [Guardian] 

Atrocious mess, precocious mind: Meet Caitlin Moran, newspaper columnist, TV presenter, pop music pundit...and typical teenage slob [Independent, 1994] 

Caitlin Moran: my letter to the future - video [Guardian]

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Carl Barks Disney Library

Carl Barks in the 1950s was a non-conformist living in a conformist society.  Certainly not a James Dean-style rebel, a hipster, or a beatnik but a more subtle one - a middle-aged man, who was fully aware of the flaws of the society in which he was living, and who wrote and drew stories for children that often reflected his philosophical disillusionment with the prevailing ideologies of the current world.
~Stefano Priarone, "Story Notes: Lost in the Andes"

 We are huge fans of Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck comics, from back in the day when we were little sprouts, and were delighted to find that Fantagraphics has been reissuing them. Carl Barks is the most famous and acclaimed author and illustrator of the Duck comics, with his first story appearing in 1943 and his last story written and drawn in 1968 (though he continued scripting stories until 1974). Even before cartoonists got credit from Disney for their stories, fans who recognized his signature style called him "The Duck Man" or "The Good Duck Artist".

Fun facts about the Barks comics:
  • Walt Disney did not exercise creative control over the Duck comics, though they appeared under his signature.
  • Though Barks did not invent the main characters in the Duck comics (Donald, his nephews, Daisy), he did invent Duckburg, Uncle Scrooge, Gyro Gearloose, the Beagle Boys, the Junior Woodchucks, and Gladstone Gander.
  • The rolling boulder scene at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark was inspired by Barks' "The Seven Cities of Cibola", a Scrooge McDuck story.
The library has acquired several volumes of Fantagraphics' Complete Carl Barks Disney Library. The books vary a bit in content.  One has a scholarly introduction. Another has a short biography of Carl Barks at the end. Some of the books split up the comics into "The Adventures" (longer stories, 24-32 pages), "The Short Stories" (10 pages or less), and "The Gags" (1 page), and others just have a general table of contents at the beginning that lists each comic (many of which were only assigned names by Barks or others considerably after publication). Each book ends with "Story Notes" by a variety of cartoon scholars, mostly Americans but including a few from Italy, and "Where did these duck stories first appear?, giving the name of the volume the comic first appeared in and its date of publication.

Travel to exotic locales! Be amused by wacky hijinks! Scary stories, crime stories, Westerns - the Ducks have it all! Check out one of Duck collections today. If you're still not convinced, consider this recommendation from another ABC Library staffer:

[Carl Barks] was the best writer of Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge stories ever (with Dan Rosa a close second, but he came much later). I know that I once tried to choose my 10 favorite comic book issues of all time.  It turned out they were ALL Barks' Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge comics!  My very favorites are: "The Ghost of the Grotto", "The Golden Helmet", "Luck of the North", "Pipeline to Danger", The Seven Cities of Cibola" and "Lost in the Andes".  I could probably quote them verbatim from cover to cover.

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: "The Old Castle's Secret" by Carl Barks

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: "Trail of the Unicorn" by Carl Barks

A Christmas for Shacktown by Carl Barks

Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks

Please note: these books are completely uncensored from the original printing, and may include racial stereotyping. These books are shelved in the adult non-fiction section, so you can decide if they are suitable to share with children.


Lomas Tramway Library's Graphic Novel Club

The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library [Wikipedia]

5 Amazing Things Invented by Donald Duck (Seriously) [Cracked]

Review: Walt Disney's Donald Duck - Christmas on Bear Mountain by Carl Barks [Chicago Tribune]

Walt Disney [Lambiek Comiclopedia]