Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Top Circulating Travel & History

The Yellow Books, 1887 . Fine Art. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 18 May 2016.
“Knowledge is like money: To be of value it must circulate, and in circulating it can increase in quantity and, hopefully, in value.”
― Louis L'Amour, Education of a Wandering Man  

In the library, "circulation" means a lot of things.  What's sometimes called the "library card desk" is also known as "circulation".  When we look at a book's record, we count how many times it has checked out as its "circs". The library's collection floats (items checked out at one branch and returned at another stay at the branch at which they are returned), but its items circulate.

Looking for some travel inspiration or to do a little armchair exploring? Here are the most popular books system-wide that focus on geography and travel - from guidebooks both near and far to travel memoirs,

Top Circulating Travel Books

1.  Moon Handbooks [guidebook series]
2. Hiking to History by Robert Julyan
3. American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus
4. Lonely Planet: Mexico by John Noble
5. Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide by Michael Elliott Coltrin
6. 100 Things to Do in Albuquerque Before You Die by Ashley M. Biggers
7. Elephant Complex by John Gimlette
8. Walking Albuquerque by Stephen Ausherman
9. Braving It by James Campbell
10. Camping New Mexico by Melinda Crow
11. Fodor’s California
12. At Home With Ernie Pyle by Ernie Pyle
13. The Rough Guide: Mexico
14. Fodor’s New York City
15. Frommer’s Easyguide to Costa Rica
16. Home Sweet Anywhere by Lynne Martin
17. Moon: New Mexico by Zora O’Neill
18. Lonely Planet: Southwest USA’s Best Trips by Amy C. Balfour
19. Eyewitness: Southwest USA & National Parks by Randa Bishop
20. The Wonder Trail by Steve Hely
21. Grand Canyon by James Kaiser
22. Explorer’s Guide: New Mexico by Sharon Niederman
23. Our Indian Summer in the Far West by S. Nugent Townshend
24 Fodor's Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West
25. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

The top circulating history books have a wide range - some newer titles, some older, a fair amount of local.

Top Circulating History Books

1.  Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta by Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Heritage Committee
2. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
3. The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
4. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
5. Killing Kennedy  by Bill O’Reilly
6. The Apache Wars by Paul Andrew Hutton
7. Trump Revealed  by Michael Kranish
8. Whistlestop by John Dickerson
9. 1491 by Charles C. Mann
10. Anatomy of Malice by Joel E. Dimsdale
11. Where the Jews Aren’t by Masha Gessen
12. My (Underground) American Dream by Julissa Arce
13. Historic Ranches of Northeastern New Mexico by Baldwin G. Burr
14. High Road to Taos by Mike Butler
15. An American Genocide by Benjamin Madley
16. Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick
17. Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts
18. Forty Autumns by Nina Willner
19. Walking the Llano by Shelley Armitage
20. Look Into My Eyes by Kevin Bubriski
21. "All the Real Indians Died Off" by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
22. The Railroad and the Pueblo Indians by Richard H. Frost
23. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade
24 Doña Teresa Confronts the Spanish Inquisition by Frances Levine
25. New Mexico Myths and Legends by Barbara Marriott

Do you have any recommended history and/or travel reads? Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Curiously Curated: Unusual Museums and Collections in Historical Context

Dictionary.com defines a museum as "a building or place where works of art, scientific specimens, or other objects of permanent value are kept and displayed." This post asks, how did museums get here? Who decides what is museum-worthy? Museums record history, but they also have a history as an institution, and some of those institutions, dare we say it, have skeletons in their closets. We're trying to explore some unusual collections and look at the history of museums in a new light. The items that follow cover such topics as: the immense collection of medical oddities that would later form the basis of Philadelphia's Mütter Museum; how one museum [the Yale Peabody] changed ideas about dinosaurs, dynasties, and even the story of life on earth; an insider's tour of some of the most interesting moments in American history, culled from 20 years of museum experience; a textual and visual history of civilian, military, and commercial aviation from the earliest balloon flights to today's most advanced aircraft; an exploration of human remains as objects for research and display in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; a detailed and at times surprising picture of the institutional and social forces that both drove and inhibited racial justice in New York's museums*.

Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, & the Story of Life On Earth by Richard Conniff

Sex in the Museum: My Unlikely Career at New York's Most Provocative Museum by Sarah Forbes 

Also take a look at some curiously curated collections online!

Do you have a favorite unusual museum or can you recommend a book that looks at museums from a different angle? Let us know in the comments!

And, if you are a museum fan, don't forget to check out our Museum Discovery Pass Program!

*all book descriptions are from the library catalog

Thursday, November 24, 2016

New & Novel: Collectors & Collecting

There are a lot of things out there that people collect - some a bit more standard or well-known, like coins or stamps; some a bit more specific, like antique marbles, carnival glass, Fiesta ware, rugs, teddy bears, pottery, fishing lures, railroad timetables, paperweights, perfume bottles, classic cameras, toothpick holders, watches, swords, peanut butter glasses. Our library catalog has many price (or value) and identifying guides, buying guides, encyclopedias, and even "for dummies" books for all sorts of collectibles and limited editions and the like. Do you have a favorite book about collecting or are you looking for items about your collecting passion? Let us know in the comments!

Here are some mostly recent books about interesting collections:

Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession by Dave Jamieson

The Art of the Russian Matryoshka by Rett Ertl and Rick Hibberd

Some are more private about their collections, some take it to the Antiques Roadshow, some decorate with their collections. Here are some decorating ideas:

Never Stop To Think...Do I Have A Place For This?: How to Make Room For All the Stuff That Makes Your Home Warm, Happy, Fun and One-of-a Kind by Mary Randolph Carter

The Stuff of Life: How to Style and Display Your Most Treasured Possessions by Hilary Robertson.

The Life of a Bowerbird: Creating Beautiful Interiors With the Things You Collect by Sibella Court  

Collected: Living With the Things You Love by Fritz Karch and Rebecca Robertson

Who are these collectors, you ask? We'll end with some interesting collecting stories: 

Herb & Dorothy [DVD]

Peggy Guggenheim: The Shock of the Modern by Francine Prose

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. 

Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe - A Biography by Philip Gefter 

Possession: The Curious History of Private Collectors From Antiquity to the Present by Erin L. Thompson

For more titles, try a subject search of collectibles (guides) or collectors & collecting (includes fiction, children's books, much more general). Also, take a look at some odd collections online!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Brilliant Brontës: Juvenilia

Anne Bronte (1820-1849), Emily Bronte (Thornton, 1818 - Haworth, 1848) and Charlotte Bronte (Thornton, 1816 - Haworth, 1855), English writers, Oil on canvas by Patrick Branwell Bronte (1817-1848), ca 1834. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 19 Dec 2015.

We have one collection of  Brontë juvenilia in the library catalog: Tales of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal: Selected Writings. Why should you read the early writings of the Brontës?  "The writings of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal are youthful experiments in imitation and parody, wild romance and realistic recording; they demonstrate the playful literary world that provided a 'myth kitty' for their early - and later - work," the book's blurb proclaims. We had already heard a little about these early writings in recent stories about discovered manuscripts. When we read Worlds of Ink and Shadow for this challenge during the summer, one of the most interesting aspects of that novelization was the recreation of the Brontë siblings writing together - in Lena Coakley's book, their collaboration had a fantastical bent, but the idea of them working together despite differing viewpoints and shifting alliances was nevertheless compelling.

It's quite the story - their father gave Branwell a set of toy soldiers for his twelfth birthday (Charlotte would have been thirteen, Emily eleven, and Anne nine), and each sibling claimed a soldier for their own "character". These soldiers were the beginning of the Glass Town stories, which evolved into Angria (primarily Charlotte and Branwell's domain) and splintered off into Gondal (a special project of Emily and Anne). Charlotte started out with a character based on the Duke of Wellington; Branwell chose Napoleon; their sisters favored naming their characters for the explorers Parry and Ross. These stories were inspired by those the children had been reading in Blackwood's Magazine, and colored by their readings of classics such as The Arabian Nights (possibly the reason the siblings referred to themselves as "Genii" in their stories?) and Romantic poetry.  

The book is split into sections, so you can read writings by each Brontë - there are 300 pages of Charlotte to only 72 of Branwell, and even less of the younger sisters' output. Though only the poetry about Gondal survives, scholars have ruled it especially important link in the creation of Wuthering Heights. Charlotte's section includes two full-fledged novelettes, Mina Laury and Caroline Vernon, which both show her increasingly mature authorial voice, while Branwell's features both prose and poetry. Stories of Glass Town and Angria are actually set in a wildly inaccurate imagining of Africa and are studded with wars and political maneuvering and a complicated social structure, while the Gondal narrative, what can be reconstructed, appears more confined (literally, as dungeons are much mentioned) and harsh, with its main characters being dour and severe, a Yorkshireman and a Scot.

Ultimately, the siblings grew apart. Branwell and Emily still composed their sagas as adults, while Anne and Charlotte moved away from the juvenilia that sparked their earliest literary creations. But the juvenilia collected in these selected writings remain a fascinating glimpse into collaboration and process, if you have the inclination to immerse yourself in their world. This edition also features a glossary of characters and places, copious explanatory notes, and Emily and Anne's six "diary papers", which reveal both life at Haworth and more about Gondal, including this touching passage from Anne on the occasion of Emily's twenty-third birthday: "We are now all separate and not like likely to meet again for many a weary week but we are none of us ill that I know of and are all doing something for our own livelihood except Emily [the only sibling still at home] who however is as busy as any of us and in reality earns her food and raiment as much as we do." Eight years later, both sisters and their brother Branwell would be dead, predeceasing Charlotte by only 6 years.


Brontë juvenilia : The History of Angria  & Combining fantasy and fact - video [British Library]

Childhood Writings [University of Missouri] 

A Teenaged Charlotte Brontë's Tiny Little Romance [Slate]

The genesis of genius [Harvard Gazette]

Check out the Brontë Sisters' Early Science Fiction [Flavorwire] 

The Brontës invented imaginary realms, and created some of the first fan-fiction [io9]