Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year. Fine Art. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 30 Oct 2015.
The clock is ticking down to 2016! What are you looking forward to next year? Here are a couple of fun facts about 2016 - click on the Lucky Dip to find item in our catalog about the topic.

Upcoming Events

Do you have any New Year's resolutions?
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In the Chinese horoscope, it's the Year of the Monkey (beginning at Chinese New Year on February 8).
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It's a Leap Year.
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The 2016 European Football Championship (Euro 2016) will be hosted by France between June 10-July 10.
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The Summer Olympics will we held in Rio de Janeiro from August 5-21.  The Paralympics are September 7-18.
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The 58th U.S. presidential election will be held on Tuesday, November 8.
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Notable Historical Anniversaries

The Brontë siblings bicentenary events begin in April with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charlotte.
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2016 also will also mark the birth anniversaries of: at 150 years, Beatrix Potter, Wassily Kandinsky, and Anne Sullivan; at 125 years, Zora Neale Hurston, Cole Porter, and Henry Miller; at 100 years, James Herriot, Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, and Shirley Jackson.

The 400th death anniversaries of Shakespeare and Cervantes are April 22 (Cervantes) and 23 (Shakespeare).
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In 1816, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, Shelley's lover Mary Godwin, and their friends gathered at Lake Geneva for a meeting of minds. Between June 15-8, they dared each other to write a ghost story. Mary Godwin (later Shelley's wife) drew from a nightmare to create Frankenstein.
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August 25 will mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
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On November 26, 1966,Truman Capote, flush with the success of In Cold Blood, threw a party for 500 of his friends at the Plaza Hotel. It was called the social event of the year by many, and by some the social event of the century.
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December 7 will mark the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
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25th Anniversary of the Collapse of the USSR: By mid-December 1991, the 15 states that had comprised the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had all declared independence, starting with Lithuania in 1990 and ending with Kazakhstan.
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December 26 is the first day of Kwanzaa. 2016 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Kwanzaa.
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Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Recommended Reads: Science & Math

Here are some science and math reads recommended by library staff. Recommendations represent several branches of the scientific community, and many are new books. Book descriptions are written by library staff, unless otherwise noted.

Do you have any science and/or math books to recommend to us? Let us know in the comments!

Atoms Under the Floorboards: The Surprising Science Hidden in Your Home by Chris Woodford 
The perfect way to enjoy science from the sofa, Atoms Under the Floorboards introduces you to the incredible scientific explanations behind a variety of household phenomena, from gurgling drains and squeaky floorboards to rubbery custard and shiny shoes. You'll never look at your home the same way again...  ~from the library catalog

The Boy Who Played With Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star by Tom Clynes
By the age of nine, Taylor Wilson had mastered the science of rocket propulsion. At eleven, his grandmother's cancer diagnosis drove him to investigate new ways to produce medical isotopes. By fourteen, Wilson had built a 500-million-degree reactor and become the youngest person in history to achieve nuclear fusion. Clynes narrates Wilson's extraordinary journey-- and reveals how our education system shortchanges gifted students, and what we can do to fix it. ~from the library catalog 

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey
A report on humanity's imminent potential for living in space covers topics ranging from China's 2020 space station and the colonization of Mars to space-elevator innovations and the mapping of Earth-like exo-planets. ~from the library catalog

Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
Sacks wrote very honestly about his hallucinations, with insights about the brain.

Life on the Edge: The Coming Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjo McFadden
Awesome speculation about the quantum roots of life.  I'm convinced there would be no life without the strangeness of quantum theory, whether or not they've got all the details right.

Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality by Edward Frenkel
This is the personal story of a Jewish Russian mathematician, and what he went through before and after he came here, with a description of his cutting-edge work in math.

From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time by Sean Carroll
Deep speculations on the nature of time, and what radical new thinking will be required to understand it better, yet non-technical.

The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science is Still a Boys' Club by Eileen Pollack
Reviewed in Scientific American, this is a first-hand account by a woman struggling for a career in science who faced a lot of sex discrimination. 

 A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature's Deep Design by Frank Wilczek
Reviewed in Science, this is about the beauty of Nature and the physical description of it by a Nobel prize winner. 

Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World by Bill Nye
In Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World, the New York Times bestselling author of Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation and former host of "Bill Nye the Science Guy" issues a new challenge to today's generation: to make a cleaner, more efficient, and happier world. ~from the library catalog

And one DVD:

The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries [A Great Courses DVD, featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson.]
What is our latest picture of some of the most inexplicable features of the universe? What still remains to be uncovered? What are some of the next avenues of exploration for today's chemists, physicists, biologists, and astronomers? This lecture series is a wonderful entry to scientific pursuits that lie at the very heart of the history and nature of our universe. ~from the library catalog


Science Book Recommendations - Infographic [GalleyCat]

Recommended Science Books for Non-Scientists [Forbes]

The 8 Books that Neil deGrasse Tyson Thinks Every Person Should Read [IFLScience]

The 50 Best Science Books [GeekWrapped]

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Coloring for Grownups

Coloring not only evokes happy memories of childhood; the act can also foster a sense of well-being and offer a relaxing respite from our digital world. Crafters have known this intuitively for years... Coloring is a great way to explore your creativity — it’s easy, inexpensive and you don’t have to know how to draw. The 10 to 20 minutes you spend coloring  an image that gives you a sense of satisfaction can have a positive ripple effect throughout your day.
~Nancy Monson, "Why the latest coloring-book craze can be good for you"

Adults have taken up coloring, as a form of meditation, relaxation, or therapy, and it has caught on like wildfire this year - perhaps because this activity, traditionally the province of children, reminds adults of a more carefree time in their lives. Psychologists say "The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress" and "The repetition and predictable outcome — much like when a person knits or embroiders — is soothing, almost like meditation." It's a recommended activity for "...adults [who] have given up on creating art as a means of expression by early adolescence. There is a great deal of fear involved, with people thinking they are 'not good enough' at creating art... It's a great starting point...starting with these coloring pages can build self-esteem and confidence with art materials, and then people can be guided to use more sophisticated art materials and create their own artistic expressions that extend far beyond coloring book pages." It's also great for retirees: "...researchers found that adults 65 or older who engaged in creative activities such as making jewelry, painting or writing had better overall health, made fewer visits to the doctor, used less medication and had fewer health problems than non-crafters."

Some people are getting together to color the way they might for a book club and others are sharing their work on social media. Even Crayola has gotten into the act, selling "adult coloring kits" - they include colored pencils and markers, so you don't have to share your kid's (helpful, too, if you don't have any children).

There are more adult coloring books than you can shake a stick at - mehndi designs, mandalas, mindfulness, Outlander, Game of Thrones, paisley, ocean designs, flowers, birds, stained glass, kaleidoscope - so whatever your pleasure, you can probably find something to color.

We can't stock coloring books in the library catalog, but we do feature several books on Zentangle. The Zentangle Method is "an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. Creating Zentangle art provides a fun and lighthearted way to relax and intentionally facilitate a shift in focus and perspective."

Zentangle: The Inspiring and Mindful Drawing Method by Jane Marbaix CZT

Zentangle Basics 1 by Suzanne McNeill 

One Zentangle a Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun by Beckah Krahula, CZT 

The Art of Zentangle: 50 Inspiring Drawings, Designs & Ideas For the Meditative Artist by 

Totally Tangled: Zentangle and Beyond by Sandy Steen Bartholomew 

Creative Tangle: Creating Your Own Patterns For Zen-Inspired Art by Trish Reinhart 

Check out some upcoming library events featuring coloring for grownups, and don't forget National Coloring Book Day is August 2nd!

Family Coloring Club @ Alamosa Library
Calling all coloring book fans, young and not so young! Join us every first Tuesday of the month for some stress-relieving coloring. We'll provide coloring tools and coloring pages appropriate for all age groups.

Adult Coloring@ Cherry Hills Library
Join us the First Saturday at 1 p.m. and Third Tuesday at 6 p.m. for our new adult coloring group. Drop in and express your creativity in a relaxed environment.We provide the materials, you bring the fun. Meets in the Squaretunda.

Coloring for Grown-Ups @ Erna Fergusson Library
A exciting new program  reoccurring on the first Sunday of every month.  Bring your friends, de-stress and relax while coloring beautiful designs and patterns.  All material will be provided.  Adults only.  Take some time for yourself-leave the kids at home.

Zentangle for Adults @ Lomas Tramway Library
Do you Zentangle?  Come and enjoy this relaxing art and practice with other folks who would love to share their projects with you.  If you are new to this art, we will go over the basics and practice a couple of new tangles each month. For adults.  No registration required.

San Pedro Colors! @ San Pedro Library
Come color with us! Relieve stress and make friends. All materials provided and all ages welcome. 


Free Adult Coloring Pages [Art Is Fun]

Coloring Pages for Adults: Free to Download & Print! [Coloring Pages for Adults]

Free Coloring Pages for Adults [Easy Peasy and Fun]

Free Adult Coloring Pages [Crayola]

Paisley, Hearts & Flowers, Anti-Stress Design Coloring Page [Hello Kids]

Adult Coloring on Pinterest

Thursday, December 24, 2015

New & Novel: Holiday Romance

It's never too late to brighten up the festive season with a holiday romance! Happy Ever After, a section of USA Today Life, mentions that holiday season romances start turning up in bookstores by the end of October.

The bad news is, of all the holidays celebrated at the end of the year, it's hard to find romances set during any festivities besides Christmas. We did find a list of books to read for Diwali, the Indian festival of lights in November, but very little for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa (the best bet being a Young Adult book we blogged about last year, My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories), a trend noted by romance bloggers like The Violet Femmes.

Nevertheless, we've put together a list of primarily Christmas romantic fiction which we hope will entertain you whether you are looking to heat up the season with steamy scenes or honor the enduring spirit of the holiday. Do you have recommendations? Let us know in the comments!

A Bad Boy For Christmas by Jessica Lemmon 

A Texas Christmas Wish by Jolene Navarro

All Wrapped Up by Kimberly Kincaid

A Christmas Kiss by Celeste O. Norfleet, Regina Hart, Deborah Fletcher Mello

The Christmas Cradle by Charlotte Hubbard

Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey [eBook]

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan

Starry Night: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber   

A Christmas Prayer by Kimberla Lawson Roby 

Wish Upon a Snowflake by Christine Merrill, Linda Skye, Elizabeth Rolls 

What Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries et al.

The Mistletoe Inn by Richard Paul Evans

Sweet Silver Bells by Rochelle Alers

Baby, It's Cold Outside by Jennifer Probst et al. 

A Husband for Christmas by Gail Gaymer Martin

Texas Christmas: Six Romances From the Historic Lone Star State Herald the Season of Love by Ramona Cecil et al.

Do You Believe in Santa? by Sierra Donovan

The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection: 12 Heartwarming Historical Romances for the Season of Love by Amanda Cabot et al. 

A Grand Teton Sleigh Ride: Four Generations of Wyoming Ranchers Celebrate Love at Christmas by Elizabeth Goddard & Lynette Sowell 

Hot Christmas Nights by Farrah Rochon, Terra Little, Velvet Carter

Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan 

Naughty or Nice by Eric Jerome Dickey [Kwanzaa] 

For more holiday romance, try a search of "Christmas stories" and "Love stories".

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Why Read?

We wrote recently about bibliomemoirs, books about reading books. What might be called a subset of the bibliomemoir are books that try to answer the question "Why read?" Some of these books are quite literary-canon-minded, discussing reasons to read classics; others tackle a broader scope, including genre fiction, memoirs, and poetry. One book asks the question of how a classic becomes a classic; another offers essays ranging from Virginia Woolf to Jay McInerney discussing their favorite classics.  Probably if you are picking up one of these books, you don't need to be convinced to read; but perhaps you'd like to be reminded of the range of books out there, to see an author's works in a new light, or just want to understand someone else's passionate defense of a book that you dislike.

How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Guide to Young Adult Fiction Part Three: Retellings

So far in this series, I've talked about contemporary realistic young adult fiction and fantasy fiction. In today's wrap-up of this series, I'm focusing on a genre I adore: retellings.

The two main types of retellings are fairy tale retellings and retellings of other novels.

I love fairy tales, especially when young adult authors reimagine them. Here are some of my favorite fairy tale retellings, as well as some popular retellings. The story being retold is in parenthesis.

Entwined by Heather Dixon (Twelve Dancing Princesses)
Ash by Malinda Lo (Cinderella)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Cinderella)
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan (Sleeping Beauty)

I also love it when authors reimagine classic stories. Here are my top choices for classic story retellings, as well as some other popular titles. The story being retold is in parenthesis.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Peter Pan)
Great by Sara Benincasa (The Great Gatsby)
The Fall by Bethany Griffin (The Fall of the House of Usher)
The Splintered series (Splintered, Unhinged, Ensnared, and Untamed) by A.G. Howard (Alice in 
Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay (Romeo and Juliet)
The Madman's Daughter trilogy (The Madman's Daughter, Her Dark Curiosity, and A Cold Legacy) by Megan Shepherd (The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Frankenstein)
Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum (Peter Pan)

Are there any books you would add to this list? Is there a genre I didn't cover in this series but you wish I had? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Beyond Austen: Fiction Inspired by the Classic Novels

To be one with Jane Austen! It is a contradiction in terms, yet every Jane Austenite has made the attempt.
~E. M. Forster, "Jane Austen: The Six Novels"

Jane Austen only completed 6 novels.  It's a sad truth to those who love her writing. They are, in order of composition: Northanger Abbey; Sense & Sensibility; Pride & Prejudice; Mansfield Park; Emma; & Persuasion, with Persuasion and Northanger Abbey published posthumously. (Recent years have seen publication of some her juvenilia, including her history of England; you can also find in the library catalog an early work, Lady Susan, in a volume with two unfinished novels, The Watsons and Sanditon.)

Jane Austen's novels were first accepted into the Western literary canon in the last century, and even then, though Pride and Prejudice was already being adapted into a movie with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson in 1940, Austen's fiction's mainstream appeal was arguably not as all-consuming as it was to become after the 1995 mini-series (starring Colin Firth) was aired.

But, as author Deborah Yaffe points out in Among the Janeites:

The Austen spinoff isn't an entirely contemporary invention. Austen herself apparently imagined afterlives for her characters, telling her family  that the fourth Bennet sister, Kitty, would eventually marry a clergyman; that her older sister Mary would settle for a lawyer's clerk; and that Emma Woodhouse's invalid father would die two years after her marriage.  The first authors to attempt an Austen spinoff were two of Jane Austen's nieces: Anna Lefroy, who knew Austen well and consulted her for advice on writing, and Catherine Anne Hubback, who was born the year after Austen's death. As a child, Hubback heard Aunt Cassandra read Aunt Jane's books aloud, and she saw the manuscripts of Austen's unfinished novels, The Watsons and Sanditon

It's just that there are so many now! Now, a reader looking to immerse oneself in Austen's world can find mysteries where Jane Austen or the Darcys are sleuthing. You can read Amanda Grange's "Jane Austen Heroes" series, with each novel written from the perspective of a different hero - Darcy, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Knightley. There is a series called "Pride & Prejudice Variations" and one called "Brides of Pemberley"; "Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman" has his own series; the "Darcy Saga"; young adult novels based on Jane Austen; "Austen Addicts"; "Jane Austen's Diaries"; "Darcy and Friends"...the list goes on and on. We'll hazard a guess that Pride and Prejudice fanfiction seems by far the most popular.

Here's an overview of some of the Austen-inspired fiction from the library catalog, chosen from Goodreads' "Best Jane Austen Fan Fiction" list. And, if you don't feel like reading, why not try a DVD?


Pride and Prescience, or, A Truth Universally Acknowledged by Carrie Bebris

Jane and the Man of the Cloth: Being the Second Jane Austen Mystery by Stephanie Barron 

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James 


Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues by Linda Berdoll

The Exploits & Adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy by Elizabeth Aston 

Lydia Bennet's Story: The Continuing Adventures of Mrs. Darcy's Youngest Sister - A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice by Jane Odiwe [eBook]

Georgiana Darcy's Diary: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Continued by Anna Elliott [eBook]

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough 

The Bad Miss Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel by Jean Burnett 


An Assembly Such As This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding 

Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange 

Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg [YA] 

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World by Abigail Reynolds [eBook] 

Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field by Melissa Nathan 

Longbourn by Jo Baker 

Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway   

Jane Austen as a character

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James

Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford 

Just Jane: A Novel of Jane Austen's Life by Nancy Moser 


Austenland by Shannon Hale

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler 

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo

Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure by Emma Campbell Webster

Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover's Romp Through Jane Austen's Classic by Jane Austen, Pamela Jane, and Deborah Guyol

Links to Austen Fandom

Tarot of Jane Austen

Jane Austen at the Republic of Pemberley
The Republic of Pemberley is an online community dedicated to the appreciation of the work of the English author Jane Austen. 

Jane Austen's Regency World magazine

Best of Jane Austen FanFiction

The Meryton Assembly [Jane Austen fanfic]

Derbyshire Writers' Guild [Jane Austen fanfic]

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Austen Project

Each novel is a formidable engine of strategy. It is made to be - a marvel of designing and workmanship, capable of spontaneous motion at the lightest touch and of travel at delicately controlled but rapid speed toward its precise destination. It could kill us all, had she wished it to; it fires at us, all along the way, using understatements in good aim. Let us be thankful it is trained not on our hearts but on our illusions and our vanities.
~Eudora Welty, "The Radiance of Jane Austen"

First there were the Canongate Myths, "[a] bold re-telling of legendary tales — The Myths series gathers the world's finest contemporary writers for a modern look at our most enduring myths," which took us from Ancient Greece to Amazonia, China to Asgard. Soon there will be the Hogarth Shakespeare series, prose ‘retellings’ of Shakespeare’s plays for the modern reader, launching in 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. But now, there is the Austen Project.

The series might be smaller in scope, with only 6 novels to choose from, but it more than makes up for it in depth. Charlotte Brontë famously dismissed Austen's work as 

An accurate daguerreotyped portrait of a common-place face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers—but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy—no open country—no fresh air—no blue hill—no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen in their elegant but confined houses.

However, there are countless other critics and readers to whom the novels remain beloved classics. Devotees of Austen are often called "Janeites"; this term has been around since 1894, although Austen did not become accepted into the literary canon until the 1930s and 1940s.Venerable names of English literature count themselves as Janeites, including E. M. Forster, P. D. James, and Virginia Woolf, who wrote "The balance of her gifts was singularly perfect. Among her finished novels there are no failures, and among her many chapters few that sink markedly below the level of the others."

Here are are the books that have been published so far by the Austen Project, with Curtis Sittenfeld's version of Pride & Prejudice expected in 2016.

Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

Reimagining Sense and Sensibility in a fresh, modern new light, [Trollope] spins the novel’s romance, bonnets, and betrothals into a wonderfully witty coming-of-age story about the stuff that really makes the world go around. For when it comes to money, some things never change....

Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

 A modern retelling finds bookish minister's daughter Cat Morland joining her well-to-do friends in Edinburgh and falling for an up-and-coming lawyer who may harbor unsettling secrets.

Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith

The summer after university, Emma Woodhouse returns home to the village of Highbury, where she will live with her health-conscious father until she is ready to launch her interior-design business and strike out on her own. In the meantime, she will do what she does best: offer guidance to those less wise in the ways of the world than herself. Happily, this summer brings many new faces to Highbury and into the sphere of Emma's not always perfectly felicitous council: Harriet Smith, a naive teacher's assistant at the ESL school run by the hippie-ish Mrs. Goddard; Frank Churchill, the attractive stepson of Emma's former governess; and, of course, the perfect Jane Fairfax.  

What do you think of these "retellings"? Are you interested in reading an author's take on Austen's classic novels? Deborah Yaffe, author of Among the Janeites, is decidedly not a fan; in April of this year, she wrote on her blog about The Austen Project turning into "The Austen Fiasco."

 *all book descriptions are from the library catalog unless otherwise noted