Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Project: Tripping the Art Fantastic

The library's Summer Reading Program is happening right now, with the theme "Every Hero Has a Story". Fantasy fiction is a great place to find heroes - Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, Kvothe in The Kingkiller Chronicles, Fitz from The Farseer Trilogy, Ged from Earthsea, Harry Potter. Some of the art associated with fantasy worlds is, well, fantastic - just take a look at drawings by Tolkien. If you are artistically inclined, perhaps you'd like to use some time this summer learning more about fantasy art and how to make it?  The library catalog has some suggestions:



Fantasy Worlds by John Maizels

Spectrum 18: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner

Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess with a foreword by Susanna Clarke

Extra Credit

Fantastic Flesh: The Art of Make-Up EFX
The magic of special effects makeup makes us believe in aliens, monsters, and the possessed. Takes an inside look at the creation and execution of some of Hollywood's most unique special effects.

Knits for Nerds: 30 Projects - Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy by Joan of Dark, a.k.a. Toni Carr
A collection of 30 knitting patterns inspired by popular science fiction and fantasy culture includes designs in the style of such iconic articles as Lieutenant Uhura's minidress, Hobbit slippers, and Hermione Granger's secret beaded bag.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Project: Drawing, Painting, and More!

Summertime...and the living is easy.
~George Gershwin

The seeds of creativity live in everyone. Some individuals are fortunate that their sprouting imagination was nurtured and grown into strong creative thinking abilities...Creative people invent, imagine, problem-solve, create, and communicate in fresh, new ways... Those with the ability to "think outside of the box" will lead the future and make special things happen.
~"Importance of Creativity" from Crayola.com

What are you doing to unwind this summer? Well, you might be doing extra reading to take part in our Summer Reading Program, or taking a trip somewhere, or taking part in outdoor activities (Zoo Music?  Farmers' Market? Summerfest? Isotopes? Check out the City of Albuquerque's Summer page for more).  But if you are at a loose end, and looking for something a little different, why not try taking up art?  Whether you are a newbie or someone looking to hone your drawing or painting skills, the library catalog is chock-full of suggestions of how to get more creative!

Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces: A Mixed-Media Portrait Workshop by Jane Davenport 

Advanced Airbrush Art: How To Secrets From the Masters by Timothy Remus

Painting Your Way Out of a Corner: The Art of Getting Unstuck by Barbara Diane Barr

The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques & the Practice of Creative Thinking by Melanie Rothschild 

A-Z of Painting Bird Portraits: An Illustrated Guide to Painting Beautiful Birds in Acrylics by Andrew Forkner 

IPad for Artists by Dani Jones 

Electronics for Artists: Adding Light, Motion, and Sound to Your Artwork by Simon Quellen Field
Street Scene: How to Draw Graffiti-Style by John Le [eBook]

Amp up your creative game with these exercises!

Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises From 18 Artists by Jenny Doh  

Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to Be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory

 Know a kid who likes to draw...sports?  Try the Drawing with Sports Illustrated Kids series! 


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Project: Journaling

Keep the journal idea, but ditch the length and write down just a sentence or two each day to record your most prominent memories. You might think such short entries aren’t enough to make any difference in your life, but [author Gretchen] Rubin insists that this idea is both manageable and impactful. “One sentence is enough. When I look back on it years later, that one sentence really does keep memories vivid—it really does bring back the past—which is one of the things you really want a journal to do,” she says.
~ Jessica Stillman, "The One-Minute Writing Activity That Will Make You Happier Every Day"

As for the health benefits of journaling, they've been scientifically proven. Research shows the following:
  • Journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions.
  • It improves cognitive functioning.
  • It strengthens the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses.
  • It counteracts many of the negative effects of stress.
~Elizabeth Scott, "The Benefits of Journaling for Stress Management"

Are you looking for something to do this summer in your spare time? Of course, we're a library blog, so our first recommendation is reading (have you signed up for our Summer Reading Program yet?  It's not just for kids!). But, maybe you want something more. Maybe you are looking for a project. Something to take up for the short term, that may or may not grow into a long term occupation. Something you can do indoors, because summer is here with a vengeance!

How about journaling? Keeping a journal is recommended for a variety of reasons, including stress relief. And it doesn't have to run into volumes, like Virginia Woolf's, unless you are so inspired!  In fact, many items in the library catalog lean towards creative journaling, making your own book or journaling with art.

Would you consider taking up journaling, for pleasure, as an aide-mémoire, to encourage creativity, or for stress relief? Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way recommends what she calls "Morning Pages", which is a great idea to get yourself started and get into the habit - we have employed this model in the past.

Inner Hero Creative Art Journal: Mixed Media Messages to Silence Your Inner Critic by Quinn McDonald [eBook]

No Excuses Art Journaling: Making Time For Creativity by Gina Rossi Armfield [eBook]

Journal Your Way: Designing & Using Handmade Books by Gwen Diehn  

The Art Journal Workshop: Break Through, Explore, and Make It Your Own by Traci Bunkers [eBook]

How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal by Claudia Nice  [eBook] 

Artist's Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures by Cathy Johnson [eBook] 

Raw Art Journaling by Quinn McDonald [eBook] 

Writing Yoga: A Guide to Keeping a Practice Journal by Bruce Black [eBook] 

Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You by Clare Walker Leslie & Charles E. Roth   

How to Make a Journal of Your Life by D. Price [eBook]

Creating a Birdwatcher's Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth [eBook] 

Creative Wildfire: An Introduction to Art Journaling--Basics and Beyond by L.K. Ludwig [eBook]  

365: A Daily Creativity Journal - Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! by Noah Scalin [eBook]


6 Ways Journaling Will Change Your Life [Lifehack]

10 Journaling Tips to Help You Heal, Grow, and Thrive [Tiny Buddha]

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Use Your Words!: Language Usage Yesterday & Today

Language will never stop changing; it will continue to respond to the needs of the people who use it. So the next time you hear a new phrase that grates on your ears, remember that, like everything else in nature, the English language is a work in progress.
~Betty Birner, "Is English Changing?" from The Linguistic Society of America 

Language changes over time. The popularity of words, especially slang or words related to technology or trends, ebbs and flows. Some long-forgotten words, however, are worth resurrecting.
~from Grammarly, "Neat-O! Vintage Slang Words to Add to Your Modern Vocabulary

Language!  It's a useful tool, and sometimes a weapon, so it's good to know how to wield it properly. What better way to get to know your mother tongue than to study its history and usage?  Here are a smattering of recent items from the library catalog, mostly about English, to pique your interest in the history and usage of language.  You might be surprised by the twists and turns language has taken over time!

Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech by Chuck McCutcheon

Soldiers' Songs and Slang of the Great War by Martin Pegler

How to Speak Brit: The Quintessential Guide to the King's English, Cockney Slang, and Other Flummoxing British Phrases by Christopher J. Moore 

Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation by Ammon Shea

Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr

Madre: Perilous Journeys With a Spanish Noun by Liza Bakewell

That's Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, And What Our English Says About Us by Erin Moore

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris  

Better Than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives by Arthur Plotnik

OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word by Allan Metcalf

The Language Wars: A History of Proper English by Henry Hitchings

Grammar Girl's 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master In No Time by Mignon Fogarty

Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language For Fun and Spite by June Casagrande

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage [DVD]

Looking for vocabulary and writing help, word games, and more?  Try our Brainfuse eResource - free access with your valid library card!

Fun Wordy Links

Grammarly Blog

Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips



Free Rice

Vocabulary Games from PBS Kids

Word Games and Quizzes from Merriam-Webster

TED Talk Playlist: How language changes over time

The Truth About Language Change [PBS]

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Interactive Books

Back in April, I posted about fanfiction and how it's changing the publishing world. Today, I wanted to talk about another way in which the publishing world is changing: interactive books.

When I was getting my MLIS, I took a children's literature course where we talked about interactive books for kids, such as The 39 Clues series, which has an online component. It was fascinating to see how publishers and authors are using online platforms to reach their readers and continue the worlds they've created in their stories.

Recently, I found out that author Heather Demetrios is continuing the world she created in Something Real with an online novel, The Lexie Project, which she's writing on Wattpad. I was intrigued by this, because it's not the first time someone has published something on Wattpad that has then been published as a book. Anna Todd, who wrote One Direction fanfiction on Wattpad, had her stories published as the After series. Demetrios plans on posting new chapters once a week on Wattpad. She is also going to use social media to connect Lexie with readers. Eventually, the chapters Demetrios posts on Wattpad will be published as a print book. You can find out more about it on the Teen Librarian Toolbox blog.

What's most intriguing to me is the idea that Demetrios is trying to meet her readers wherever they are. It doesn't matter if they're visiting a museum, at the movie theater waiting for the movie to start, riding the bus to school, or at home. They'll be able to access Lexie's story from any of those places. Of course, an author can do this just by publishing an eBook, but Demetrios has taken it a step further, by allowing readers to actually interact with Lexie's character through Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.

I love it that people who loved Something Real can read the sequel as it's being posted on Wattpad, and that they can interact with a fictional character on various social networking sites. It's an innovative way to reach out to readers, but it's also a way to reach people who might not like reading, but do enjoy spending time on social media. Demetrios certainly can reach more people with this project than she would have if she had chosen to write another book and have it traditionally published instead. I'm not sure that this type of project would work for everything. The Lexie Project is perfect for it because Lexie is a reality TV star. I would love to see more authors try things like this, though. And while it won't completely change the publishing industry, it might change parts of it, or just change the way authors can help their readers connect more deeply with their novels.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Children's Books: Nostalgia Reads

It’s striking how long children’s books can last. One explanation may be the way in which they’re read. They become part of our emotional autobiographies, acquiring associations and memories, more like music than prose.
~SF Said, "Children's books are never just for children"

The same representations of childhood can be seen again and again in children’s classics, suggesting that we treasure the books that evoke that which the adult world lacks and we wish it contained. We cherish children’s classics precisely because they represent a world that does not resemble the world as we experience it.” - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/children%E2%80%99s-literature-an-escape-from-the-adult-world#sthash.ajlVoW7s.dpuf Sometimes it seems to us that all kids between 7-12 want to read Harry Potter, and the Magic Treehouse series, and Goosebumps, and not much else.  Parents are always asking librarians for reading recommendations for their kids. Sometimes it's challenging to come up with recommendations for children who don't like to read, or for the ones who are reading beyond their age range, and sometimes it's difficult to keep track of what the kids think is cool (painful to admit, but true). But we were kids once, right? Why not try recommending some of the favorite books from our youth?

The release of the Paddington movie has made us wax nostalgic for our childhood reads.  Here's a list of some of the juvenile fiction books to which we retain a sentimental affection - it's by no means comprehensive, because some of the books have gone out of print, we're sad to note. Some of them have fallen out of favor, because they are dated or because works from different eras reflect the feeling, views, and biases of that time - some of them are just not as comforting to re-read because of these views, or to suggest to our children for the same reason. But, we have tried to compile a list that reflects our nostalgia with some oldies-but-goodies and also recommends books that might be a bit off the beaten path - not the Beverly Cleary or Louisa May Alcott title you might expect, for example. Hope you find something on the list that reminds you of happy personal associations!

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald 

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary

Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton [YA]

The Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell [Trixie Belden #1]

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome 

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild [eAudioBook]

The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill

Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

Leo the Lioness by Constance C. Greene [eBook]

Miss Bianca in the Orient by Margery Sharp

Heidi by Johanna Spryi

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney 

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Miss Pickerell Goes Undersea by Ellen MacGregor

What are the books from your childhood that you remember most fondly?  Let us know in the comments!


67 Children's Books That Actually Changed Your Life [Buzzfeed]

100 Great Children's Books [NYPL]

Children's Literature [Project Gutenberg]

Popular Classic Children's Literature Books [Goodreads]

Children's literature an escape from the adult world [University of Cambridge]

23 Books You Need to Read Again as an Adult [Business Insider]

21 Books From Childhood You Forgot That You Loved [Bustle]

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Mystery of Cooking

Almost as though it had been planned, there are two new cookbooks in the system featuring recipes from mysteries and mystery writers!  Here's a brief roundup of these delectable offerings:

edited by Kate White 

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook's introduction begins with the summation of a Roald Dahl story that might contain "the best culinary plot twist in all of mystery writing" and continues by making a case for "how intertwined food and murder are in fiction". Some of the recipes listed in the cookbook are taken from mystery novels, but in some cases the recipes are author favorites.  Each recipe features background information provided by the author, regardless. All proceeds from this book go to the Mystery Writers of America, which was founded in 1945.

The cookbook includes recipes for breakfast, appetizers, soups and salads, entrées, side dishes, desserts, even cocktails. Laura Lippman's recipe for "Aunt Effie's Salmon Ball" (pg. 32) is a family recipe; John McEvoy reassures us that even "culinary klutzes" can make his "Gone Broke Goulash" (pg. 51), inspired by the afternoons at the racetrack which inform his mystery novels; Felix Francis'
"Beef Stroganoff" (pg. 71) is lifted directly from the pages of his novel Dead Heat; Louise Penny's recipe, "Madame
Benoît's Tourtière" (pg. 82), describes a traditional Québécois dish served at Yuletide parties called réveillon, one of which was celebrated in A Fatal Grace.

Finally, there are bonus pages, like "What Exactly Is a Red Herring?" by Kate White, "Lee Child's Recipe For a Delicious Best Seller", and "The Food Hound of Baker Street". An entertaining and informative gem for hungry mystery fans everywhere!

by Avery Ames/Daryl Wood Gerber, Ellery Adams, Connie Archer, Leslie Budewitz, Laura Childs, Cleo Coyle, Victoria Hamilton, B.B. Haywood, Julie Hyzy, Jenn McKinlay, Paige Shelton

The Cozy Cookbook has recipes ranging from breakfast to appetizers. drinks to main courses, and much more.  The editor says

If you're looking for a side of mystery with a heaping helping of some truly delectable recipes, you've come to the right place... You'll also get to spend a little time with your favorite cozy mystery characters and meet some new ones as you peruse over a hundred mouthwatering recipes from our bestselling authors.

Each section features excerpts from mysteries by Cleo Coyle, Julie Hyzy, Laura Childs, Paige Shelton, and others amidst recipes taken from books by these authors. Just reading the series title list at the back of the book should make you hungry: the Cheese Shop Mysteries by Avery Aames; Soup Lover's Mysteries by Connie Archer; Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz; Vintage Kitchen Mysteries by Victoria Hamilton...

From Pancakes with Gouda and Figs (p. 26) to Old-Fashioned Crumpets (p. 68), Marjories Coffin's White Moose Hot Cocoa (p. 133) to Smoked Salmon and Mascarpone Risotto (p. 209), Charmed Meat Pies with Paprika Aioli (p. 175) to Funeral Potatoes (p. 224)...you might find your new favorite dish and a new favorite author with this clever cookbook!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Getting In Touch With Your Inner Victorian

The Victorian era is one of our favorite periods - a few years ago we even did a Victorian reading challenge* called Our Mutual Read.  Since then, we have seen many more publications that address this era - enough that you could probably immerse yourself in Victoriana, if you are so inclined! (Do you remember those PBS reality shows, Manor House, Colonial House, Frontier House, etc.? We're imagining that kind of scenario.)

Even if you are just a casual reader, the library catalog most likely has something to pique your interest. The Victorian era, encompassing the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837-1901, was a fascinating period. Victorians were interested in science (hello, Darwin); it was the height of England's imperial power; the age of the Industrial Revolution.  Artistically, the era showcased major literary talents such as Dickens, the Brontë sisters, and Tennyson; in art, the Pre-Raphaelites; on the stage, Gilbert & Sullivan. It was also the era of Jack the Ripper, appalling child labor conditions, and workhouses.

Below, we've compiled a list of books for you to sample. You can find even more titles, including fiction, by searching the catalog with the keyword "Victorian".

How To Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide toVictorian Life by Ruth Goodman

The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London by Judith Flanders

Crime and Punishment in Victorian London: A Street-Level View of the City's Underworld by Ross Gilfillan

Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840--1870 by Liza Picard [eBook]

Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth by Lee Jackson

Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age by James A. Secord

Did She Kill Him?: A Torrid True Story of Adultery, Arsenic, and Murder in Victorian England by Kate Colquhoun

The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj by Anne de Courcy

A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion by Mandy Kirkby [eBook]

Victorian Servants: A Very Peculiar History - With Added Elbow Grease by Fiona Macdonald [eBook]

Effie: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais by Suzanne Fagence Cooper

To Marry An English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace

The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders

Is there an era you'd like to read about?  Let us know in the comments, and we'll try to round-up a list of related books for you!

*If you haven't done a reading challenge before, it can be a great way to discover new titles or work through your TBR pile! Bustle has a few pertinent ones listed, and the blog An Adventure is Reading is also a good source.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

African Literature

Writing has always been a serious business for me. I felt it was a moral obligation. A major concern of the time was the absence of the African voice. Being part of that dialogue meant not only sitting at the table but effectively telling the African story from an African perspective - in full earshot of the world.
~Chinua Achebe

You've probably heard of the late Chinua Achebe and Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Maybe you've read Nadine Gordimer or J.M. Coetzee, Naguib Mahfouz or Nuruddin Farah. But how much do you really know about contemporary African literature?  Well, we're no experts, but we've compiled a list of notable reads, from short stories to thrillers and even one graphic novel, written by authors from a variety of African countries.

Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste

Notes From the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood by Nega Mezlekia

The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

No Sweetness Here and Other Stories by Ama Ata Aidoo
Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela

Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera

Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria by Noo Saro-Wiwa [eBook]

Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou  [eBook]

Aya by Marguerite Abouet   

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

Oil On Water by Helon Habila

Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

A Bit of Difference by Sefi Atta

Migritude by Shailja Patel 

Black Diamond by Zakes Mda 
  Foreign Gods, Inc. by Okey Ndibe

Anatomy of a Disappearance by Hisham Matar

Welcome to Our Hillbrow: A Novel of Postapartheid South Africa by Phaswane Mpe  [eBook]

An African Quilt: 24 Modern African Stories edited by Barbara H. Solomon  [eBook]

Under African Skies: Modern African Stories edited by Charles R. Larson


The best books on Ethiopia: start your reading here [Guardian]

The 10 best contemporary African books [Guardian]

Ten African Novels You Should Know [BET]

Africa's 100 best books of the 20th Century [African Studies Centre Leiden]

The 15 Best Fiction Novels by Black Authors in 2014 [The Root]

Popular African Literature [Goodreads]

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Read Like Patti Smith

I was completely smitten by the book. I longed to read them all, and the things I read of produced new yearnings.
~Patti Smith

Patti Smith, author of the acclaimed memoir Just Kids (winner of the National Book Award in 2010), has a new book coming out in October called M Train. Amazon.com describes M Train as "an unforgettable odyssey into the mind of this legendary artist, told through the prism of cafés and haunts she has visited and worked in around the world." In honor of her new book, we thought we might revisit some of Smith's oeuvre, and a few of the books she recommends.

For more books by Patti Smith available in the library catalog, try Woolgathering and Auguries of Innocence. Look for M Train to pop up in the catalog closer to its publication date!

If you are interested in reading like Patti Smith, she told Elle magazine, "I'm a real bookworm. I'm sort of a solitary person. I could recommend a million [books]. I would just say read anything by [Roberto] Bolaño. Re-read all the great classics. Read The Scarlet Letter, read Moby-Dick, read [Haruki] Murakami. But Roberto Bolaño's 2666 is the first masterpiece of the 21st century." In the links below, the website Open Culture has a more complete list of Smith's recommendations from around of time of 2008's Melbourne International Arts Festival. These include:

Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Against Interpretation, and Other Essays by Susan Sontag [eBook]

The Waves by Virginia Woolf

Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa [eBook]


Here's Patti Smith's Winter Reading List [Elle]

Patti Smith's List of Favorite Books: From Rimbaud to Susan Sontag [Open Culture]

Patti Smith's author profile on Goodreads

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Reading Challenge: Summer Edition

Now that summer is almost here and the summer reading program has officially started, I'm rethinking my to be read (TBR) list. It's a lengthy list, and it's not likely that I'll ever get to all the books on the list, considering I have over 100 books at home to read (and that's not counting any of the books I want to buy or any of the books I have on hold!).

One thing I like to do during the summer is mix up what I read, so instead of reading just young adult fiction, I might try a genre within young adult that I don't usually read, and I add some adult non-fiction into the mix. I also try to read more award-winning books and award nominees. I don't always like to give myself a set list of the exact books I'll read during the summer, because what I want to read often changes depending on what I'm in the mood for, but here are the books I'm going to try to get through:

El Deafo by Cece Bell: I don't usually read graphic novels, but I've been wanting to try more of them, and I love the diversity this book has. El Deafo was also named a 2015 Great Graphic Novel for Teens by the Young Adult Library Services Association.

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff:  I don't read as much middle grade fiction as I'd like, so I want to pick this one up sometime this summer. The Association for Library Service to Children named this as a 2015 Notable Children's Book.

Ensnared by A.G. Howard: This book is the final book in a trilogy that I adore.

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord: This is another middle grade book that I want to get to this summer.

My Life With the Walter Boys by Ali Novak: Even though I love contemporary fiction, this book wasn't on my TBR list, but it's another nominee for the Teens' Top Ten award. I've also been hearing really good things about it, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin: Gretchen Rubin writes non-fiction for adults. I loved her first book, The Happiness Project, and I'm really looking forward to reading Better Than Before. Non-fiction for adults is a great way for me to balance out all the young adult fiction I read.

The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson: I've had this series sitting on my shelf for at least two years. At the time I bought it, I thought it was only a four-book series, but Sanderson has written more since then. I don't normally read fantasy novels, and I don't normally read adult fiction, so these books will really push me out of my comfort zone this summer. I'm only going to try reading the first four, since those are the only ones I own.

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson: This is another graphic novel. I'll be reading it with a couple of my co-workers, and I'm looking forward to it.

Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the Television Series edited by Scott F. Stoddart: I just started binge watching Mad Men, and I love it. One of my coworkers recommended that I read some of the books based on/inspired by the TV show, and what better place to start than a book that has essays about the show?

One important thing I've learned about doing reading challenges is that it's okay for my list to change, and it's okay if I don't finish a book on the list. The point isn't necessarily to finish every single book, even the ones I don't like. The point is to try reading things I might otherwise read, because I never know when I'll discover a new author or book that I love.

Do you do any reading challenges in the summer, whether it's an official challenge or just something you do on your own (like mine)? Tell me about them in the comments!

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Looking for how-to instructions? Are you an advanced beader or an ambitious beginner? Want to learn about stitches (including the newly created right-angle ladder stitch and cluster stitch), tools, supplies, and basic skills? Whether you want to make elegant pieces that look like fine jewelry or "cute critters", you can find a variety of projects in books from the library catalog.  For more books on this topic, try a subject search of "beadwork".

with photography by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes

by Jane Lock

Beaded Bugs by Nicola Tedman with Jean Power  [eBook]


Bead Society of New Mexico

Bead Fest Santa Fe

International Society of Glass Beadmakers - The Gathering

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New & Novel: New Mexico Travel & Adventure

New Mexico, where everyone from artists, hippies, cowboys, poets, misfits, refugees and tourists of every political stripe have interpreted the promise of its gorgeous, wide-open spaces and the freedom that it offers in their own, very different ways. New Mexico is an enchanted land, where people are largely free to create their own world.
~Anthony Bourdain

For those of you not doing any traveling this summer, how about a bit of staycation reading? In the spirit of "Love The One You're With", we give you some books that we hope will make you "love the state you're in"...from local history to travel guides. Where is your favorite place to visit in New Mexico?  White Sands National Monument? Visiting hot springs in T or C? The Lavender and Garlic in the Village Festival in Los Ranchos? Ski resorts? Scuba diving in Santa Rosa's Blue Hole? The Festival of the Cranes in Bosque del Apache?  The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array? Let us know in the comments! And don't forget Roswell's upcoming UFO Festival!

Roadside New Mexico: A Guide to Historic Markers by David Pike

Hiking Four Corners: A Guide to the Areas' Greatest Hiking Adventures by J. D. Tanner and Emily Ressler-Tanner

Birding Hot Spots of Santa Fe, Taos, and Northern New Mexico by Judy Liddell and Barbara Hussey

The Turquoise Trail by Dawn-Marie Lopez and Raul Lopez Ponce

The Lost World of the Old Ones: Discoveries in the Ancient Southwest by David Roberts

New Mexico's High Peaks: A Photographic Celebration by Mike Butterfield      

New Mexico's Pueblo Baseball League by James D. Baker, Herbert Howell and Marie A. Cordero

Visualizing Albuquerque: Art of Central New Mexico by Joseph Traugott

Best Bike Rides Albuquerque and Santa Fe: A Guide to the Greatest Recreational Rides in the Area by J. D. Tanner, Emily Ressler-Tanner, and Shey Lambert

Ask About Santa Fe: 464 Essential Questions and Their Answers About This City and the State of New Mexico by James J. Raciti

New Mexican Folk Music: Treasures of a People = Cancionero del folklor Nuevomexicano: el tesoro del pueblo by Cipriano Frederico Vigil 


New Mexico True

Visit Albuquerque - Free Travel Guide

New Mexico Travel Guide [Fodor's]

Ten New Mexico Summer Adventures  [Cowboys & Indians]