Thursday, July 30, 2015

New & Novel: Christian Fiction

Nielsen BookScan, which tracks print book unit sales, reported that "religion fiction had one of the steepest unit declines last year, with sales down 15% at outlets that report to BookScan". Libraries, however, are not seeing the same downturn - an article in Library Journal asserts, "If my public library is any indication, the books are still as popular, if not more popular than ever. I receive weekly requests for 'uplifting' and 'inspirational' fiction that will make people 'feel good.'"

Indeed, Christian fiction, for one, is appealing to increasing audiences with more and more "crossovers" with mainstream appeal - you can find religious epic fantasy, romance, science fiction (particularly apocalyptic), mysteries, novels dealing with contemporary issues, self-published novels, historical fiction set in the era of Downton Abbey - that try not to dilute the values of Christian literature but "are expressing their faith and the interpretation of it through their writing in fresh new ways". Sometimes this means publishers will provide books with an overtly religious message "alongside books that are clean, fun, and inspiring but not overtly religious". You are also more likely to see authors marketed to millenials, especially, on Facebook and Twitter and books about Friends-style groups.

Here's a list of some new and novel Christian fiction from the library catalog, from a variety of genres. Why not try one out and see what you think?

Hope Remembered by Stacy Henrie

Sister Eve, Private Eye by Lynne Hinton

The Promise of Palm Grove by Shelley Shepard Gray

By Your Side by Candace Calvert

Taken by Dee Henderson

Once Upon a Summertime: A New York City Romance by Melody Carlson

On Shifting Sand by Allison Pittman

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron

One Last Thing by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue

The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story by Jill Eileen Smith

The Trouble with Patience by Maggie Brendan

How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck 

A Love Undone: An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing Grace by Cindy Woodsmall



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Ernie Pyle!

How much do you know about Ernie Pyle, Pulitzer Prize-winning WWII war correspondent?  Did you know that there is an Albuquerque library and middle school named for him? Did you know that in 1945, the New Mexico Legislature approved a resolution declaring his birthday (August 3rd) to be Ernie Pyle Day? Have you seen the 1945 movie based on Pyle's writings, starring Burgess Meredith and Robert Mitchum?

If you would like to learn more about Ernie Pyle, the library catalog features several books by and about him, including:

Ernie Pyle In The American Southwest by Richard Melzer

The Story of Ernie Pyle by Lee G. Miller 

Ernie Pyle's Southwest illustrated by Bob Bales ; trail-notes by Ed Ainsworth

Ernie Pyle's War: America's Eyewitness to World War II by James Tobin

Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches edited with a biographical essay by David Nichols 

Brave Men by Ernie Pyle 

Home Country by Ernie Pyle 

The Ernie Pyle Library has organized some events this year in celebration of Ernie Pyle's birthday, including a movie (to be shown at the Special Collections Library), a memoir workshop, and a reading discussion.  You can find out more about Ernie Pyle Day events on the library's event calendar.

The Ernie Pyle Library is one of the three branches in our library system named after a famous New Mexican (or New Mexico transplant) - the others are Erna Fergusson and Tony Hillerman.


Ernie Pyle [Indiana University School of Journalism]

America's Most Loved Reporter: Ernie Pyle Organized by The Albuquerque Museum [City of Albuquerque]

Erna Fergusson: First Lady of American Letters [New Mexico Office of the State Historian]

Tony Hillerman, Novelist, Dies at 83 [New York Times]

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What's New in the Eurozone - Economics and More

There has been a lot in the news lately about hot-button issues in the European Union, especially the Eurozone (i.e. the collective group of countries which use the Euro as their common currency). We can't pretend to be experts on the issues affecting our friends across the pond, but the library catalog does offer some reading material that might help all of us get more clued in!  Here are some of the most recent selections:

What Does Europe Want?: The Union and Its Discontents by Slavoj Zizek, Srecko Horvat

Tragedy of the European Union: Disintegration or Revival? by George Soros with Gregor Schmitz

The Passage to Europe: How a Continent Became a Union by Luuk Van Middelaar

Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth

Austerity: The Great Failure by Florian Schui

Wages of Rebellion by Chris Hedges    

Putinism: Russia and Its Future With the West by Walter Laqueur


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Every Hero Has a Story

Our Summer Reading Program, Every Hero Has a Story, is winding down!  The last day to participate is Saturday, July 25th. We hope you and your family have enjoyed yourselves! Don't forget to fill out our Customer Survey and let us know how we're doing!

The theme for each year's Summer Reading Program is different, but we've particularly enjoyed this one. Merriam-Webster defines a hero as a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities; a person who is greatly admired. Who are your heroes? We grew up on stories of Helen Keller's triumph over adversity; Eleanor Roosevelt's outspokenness and activism ; Amelia Earhart's derring-do. "Every Hero Has a Story" has included its fair amount of superheroes and the like; but we still enjoy celebrating everyday acts of courage.

If you would like to continue celebrating heroes after July 25th, we have some items in the catalog you might enjoy! Or, just let us know in the comments who your heroes are.


Young Adult


On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck

Baseball Heroes by Glenn Stout [eBook]

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera [eBook]

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Standing Ovation For Misty Copeland

On  June 30, 2015, Misty Copeland became the American Ballet Theatre's first African-American principal ballet dancer. Misty's autobiography, Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina chronicles her struggles and triumphs, from the first ballet class she took at a community center. Misty began taking ballet at the ancient age of thirteen and was en pointe within three months; a feat that normally takes several years of training to accomplish. That same year, Misty began to perform professionally, despite the hardships of her personal life. She succeeded in achieving her highest goals, despite not fitting into an elitist mold of what some extremely myopic companies desired.

Misty Copeland's commercial for Under Armour featuring her dancing prowess to a voice over of her reading a ludicrous rejection letter has received over 8 million hits on YouTube. Her interview on 60 Minutes also touches on her book's themes of perseverance and an inherent love of ballet that she wants to share with other young dancers in need of enthusiastic mentoring, needed to break obsolete barriers.

Even though she was battling six stress fractures, Misty's breakout role in the Stravinsky ballet Firebird, was her first full lead role in an American Ballet Theatre production. Misty has also written a children's book Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How To Dance Like the Firebird, illustrated by Christopher Myers.

For additional inspiration, check out the following books and DVDs about the lives and legacies of various ballet dancers, choreographers, and ballet company directors.

The Visual Dictionary of Ballet for Children  produced by Rosemary Boross

Balanchine  (DVD): The Father of American Ballet

Like a Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet As Resistance in Soviet Russia by Janice Ross

First Position (DVD)

Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanagh

Dancing On My Grave: An Autobiography by Gelsey Kirkland with Greg Lawrence

Nijinsky by Richard Buckle
Holding On To The Air: An Autobiography  by Suzanne Farrell 

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance (DVD)


Saturday, July 18, 2015

What to Do When You're Burnt Out on YA

I love reading young adult fiction, so much so that for the past several years, I've read it almost exclusively. My to-read list of YA is gigantic (well over 500 titles), and I'm constantly adding to it.

But recently, I finished a YA novel and thought, "I've had enough of this."

I never thought I would get burnt out on reading YA, but that's exactly where I'm at right now. I'm not sure why, but right now, I've had more than my fill of reading about teens and kids. I'm not sure when I'll pick up another YA book, but it's safe to say that it won't be for a while.

So, what do you do when you're burnt out on YA? I immediately turned to non-fiction, and added the following books to my to-read list.

Then I thought I'd like to try some adult fiction, too, which has never been my favorite thing to read, so I added these books to my to-read list.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Both of the above lists are just small samples of what I added to my to-read list.

Then, over the weekend, my sister texted me with a reading challenge. For the next year, we have selected specific themes for each month, and we will only read books that fall into those themes. Some of the themes we came up with: non-fiction, scary stories, history (both non-fiction and historical fiction), literary classics, poetry and short stories, and childhood favorites. I'm excited for this challenge, because it'll help me read books outside of what I usually read, and I can throw in the occasional young adult book, which means maybe I'll be able to get over my slump and ease back into reading YA.

What do you do when you're burnt out on reading your favorite genre or category? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New & Novel: Noir

In honor of the Guild Cinema's Twelfth Annual Festival of Film Noir, we offer you some noir fiction and non-fiction, beyond the classic works of James Cain, Cornell Woolrich, Patricia Highsmith, and Jim Thompson.  Immerse yourself in noir from July 17-26!


The Girl in the Spider's Web: A Lisbeth Salander Novel by David Lagercrantz

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
French Concession by Xiao Bai 
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh [eBook]
Tel Aviv Noir edited by Etgar Keret & Assaf Gavron  [eBook]
Life Deluxe by Jens Lapidus
Deep Winter by Samuel W. Gailey
Chance by Kem Nunn
Fifty Mice by Daniel Pyne
Prison Noir edited by Joyce Carol Oates 
Akashic Books has a whole series of noir short story collections set in a variety of locales, many of which are in the library catalog.
To find noir movies, try a search of "noir videorecording" or "film noir". You can also find books about the genre with a search using "film noir".

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Change Your Habits, Change Your Life

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
~Mahatma Gandhi

Enthusiasm is the electricity of life. How do you get it? You act enthusiastic until you make it a habit.
~Gordon Parks

We are creatures of habit, aren't we? We've been reading about habits on the blog of Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. Her books have detailed her search for happiness by "synthesiz[ing] the wisdom of the ages with current scientific research" and "experimenting with several concrete, manageable resolutions meant to boost her happiness". Her latest book, Better Than Before, investigates how changing your habits can transform your life, and make you happier. Her blog talks about "Foundation habits",  the good habits that are the foundation for other good habits; "loophole-spotting", identifying the excuses we use to get ourselves out of the good habits we are trying to establish; the "5 traps" which undermine your good habits; and "are you a satisficer or a maximizer?" (Most people are a little of both; satisficers "are those who make a decision or take action once their criteria are met".)

It's all very fascinating, examining our habits and trying to change them. Now that we've started thinking about it, we can't stop! Here are some more books about habits and the changing of them to pique your interest:

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions by John C. Norcross, with Kristin Loberg and Jonathon Norcross

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Literary Links: July is...

Each month of the year is dedicated to a variety of monthly observances, local, national, or international, to make you aware of specific causes, health concerns, forms of expression, and the like.  Here are some of July's notable observances and events. Click on the linked word to find items about these topics in the library catalog via a subject search, or click on "lucky dip" below the observance for a random recommendation.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Project: Seasonal Crafts, DIY, Simple & Speedy

For our last Summer Project post, we've got a hodge-podge of book suggestions for you, ranging from family crafts to a craft-a-day to projects for the casual, non-sewing crafter; how to make stylish items with Mod Podge, turn old things into special new objects, and bring joy and whimsy into your life! Throw a "handmade gathering" - where "[f]ood, decor, crafts, and more are part of each event, all collectively assembled and executed"*.  Learn about Street Craft - the "new generation of artists...creating uncommissioned, site-specific works employing a range of art and craft techniques, including weaving, crocheting, sculpting, painting, gardening, light installation, and more"*.  The world is your crafting oyster!

For more titles, try a search using the word "Handicraft".


20 One Afternoon Craft Ideas [A Beautiful Mess]

35 Summery DIY Projects and Activities For the Best Summer Ever [DIY & Crafts]

7 Eco-Friendly DIY Summer Crafts for Creative Adults (And Kids!) [Inhabitat]

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