Saturday, December 31, 2016

On Our Radar: Young Adult Books of 2017

2017 is going to be a great year for young adult books. From debut authors to authors we know and love, here's a list of some the books being published next year that are on my radar.*

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby
Fall Boys & Dizzy in Paradise by Jandy Neslon
Dreamfall by Amy Plum
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
The Truth Beneath the Lies by Amanda Searcy
The Gauntlet by Megan Shepherd
History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

*Some of these books won't come out until summer and fall of 2017, which means they don't have covers yet. You can still check them out on Goodreads, though! Also, some of these books have expected publication dates of 2017, but publication dates can change.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Adventures in the Library Catalog: Searching by Subject

You can easily lose yourself in the library catalog. Have you ever tried a random search in the catalog, starting with a book you saw or liked? All you have to do is click into the record of that title and find its subject headings (underneath any description, content listing, and summary the record might provide). One of our favorites,  The Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations by Olivier Le Carrer, Sibylle Le Carrer links to these subjects:

Curiosities and wonders.

Click on any of these subject headings, and you'll find more books about each subject. Sometimes those books will have even more, different subject headings. For instance, one of the titles that comes up in a subject search of "Curiosities and wonders" is the eBook of Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, which also links to  the subject "Voyages and travels." One more click, and you can find yourself entertained for hours with books you might not have found otherwise.

Here are some subject headings that have provided us with some interesting stepping off points for searches, and examples of the eclectic cornucopia of books you might find within:

File under Curiosities and Wonders

The Wonder Trail: True Stories From Los Angeles to the End of the World by Steve Hely

F Is For France: A Curious Cabinet of French Wonders by Piu Eatwell 

Spurious Correlations by Tyler Vigen 

A People's History of the Peculiar: A Freak Show of Facts, Oddities & Astounding Truths From Across the Planet Earth by Nick Belardes [eBook]

Knowledge Is Beautiful by David McCandless 

Mrs. Wakeman vs. the Antichrist and Other Strange-But-True Tales From American History by Robert Damon Schneck 

Stalking the Herd: Unraveling the Cattle Mutilation Mystery by Christopher O'Brien   

National Geographic Guide to the World's Supernatural Places: More Than 250 Spine-Chilling Destinations Around the Globe by Sarah Bartlett  

Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You by Harriet Baskas

Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down To Its Kids by Ken Jennings 

File under Monsters

Medieval Monsters by Damien Kempf & Maria L. Gilbert

The Bigfoot Book: The Encyclopedia of Sasquatch, Yeti, and Cryptid Primates by Nick Redfern

File under Mail art 

Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi, Stefanie Posavec 

File under World history - Pictorial works

The Infographic History of the World by Valentina D'Efilippo and James Ball

The Looks of Love: 50 Moments in Fashion That Inspired Romance by Hal Rubenstein


File under Social life and customs

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill 

Rhapsody in Schmaltz: Yiddish Food and Why We Can't Stop Eating It by Michael Wex

Dime Stories by Tony Fitzpatrick

Fed, White, and Blue: Finding America With My Fork by Simon Majumdar

Tea & Antipathy: An American Family in Swinging London by Anita Miller

The Other Paris by Luc Sante 

The Real Traviata: The Song of Marie Duplessis by René Weis 

This Victorian Life by Sarah Chrisman [eBook]

Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant 

Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair by Christopher Oldstone-Moore 

Box Girl: My Part-Time Job As An Art Installation by Lilibet Snellings  

Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor

Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling Through Hollywood History by Mark Bailey

Truth be told, the subject "Social life and customs" is a bit of a cheat on our part. In the library catalog, you'll usually find it modified by another term such as "Paris (France) - Social life and customs - 20th century." If you try a subject search of "Social life etc." in the classic catalog, you will be advised to search by "Manners and customs," another delightful search byway, but not as comprehensive.
You can also search by subject in the library catalog, without clicking into an item record, but unless you know the subject heading already, you might get a message like this one, circled in red:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Lighthouses: A Maritime Legacy

Lighthouse lens. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016. Accessed 15 Dec 2016.
The Light Between Oceans, a movie about an Australian lighthouse keeper starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, was released in September. That's generated more holds for the book by  M. L. Stedman! But, hasn't the idea of the lighthouse always had a kind of romance? The solitary lifestyle...fighting the elements...saving ships and sailors...the sometimes tragic consequences of storms at sea. Judging by the amount of titles involving lighthouses in the library catalog, we'd say many authors wholeheartedly agree that lighthouses are a fascinating theme! Why not treat yourself to a non-fiction or fiction (from mystery to romance to sci fi) title about the lighthousekeeping this holiday season?


Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay Dolin

Sentinel of the Seas: Life and Death at the Most Dangerous Lighthouse Ever Built by Dennis M. Powers


By Book Or By Crook: A Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates

Lighthouse Bay by  Kimberley Freeman 

Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles 

Lighthouse at the End of the World = Le phare du bout du monde: The First English Translation of Verne's Original Manuscript by Jules Verne ; translated and edited by William Butcher 

Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson  

The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye 

The Body in the Lighthouse: A Faith Fairchild Mystery by Katherine Hall Page 

The Lighthouse Keeper by James Michael Pratt [eAudiobook] 

Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund  

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan  

The Keeper's Son by Homer Hickam 

The Lighthouse by P.D. James  

Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey  

Perdita by Hilary Scharper 

Point of Direction by Rachel Weaver 

The Lightkeeper's Wife by Sarah Anne Johnson 

Pelican Point: The Bachelors of Blueberry Cove by Donna Kauffman 

The Ridge by Michael Koryta 

The Lightkeeper's Daughter: A Mercy Falls Novel by Colleen Coble 

Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz 

The Exile of Sara Stevenson: A Historical Novel by Darci Hannah 

The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin  

Murder at Five Finger Light: A Jessie Arnold Mystery by Sue Henry

Do you have a favorite title involving a lighthouse? Have you visited a lighthouse? (We recently toured the Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Oregon, near the alarmingly named Cape Foulweather. Did you know the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a Lighthouse Directory and you can join the United States Lighthouse Society?) Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Brilliant Brontës: Wide Sargasso Sea & The Brontë Cabinet

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.

I've read and re-read "Jane Eyre" of course, and I am sure that the character must be "built up"... The Creole in Charlotte Brontë's novel is a lay figure - repulsive which does not matter, and not once alive which does. She's necessary  to the plot, but always she shrieks, howls, laughs horribly attacks all and sundry - off stage. For me (and for you I hope) she must be right on stage. She must be at least plausible with a past, the reason why Mr. Rochester treats her so abominably and feels justified, the reason why he thinks she is mad and why of course she goes mad, even the reason why she tries to set everything on fire, and eventually succeeds.
~Jean Rhys, in a letter to Selma Vas Dias, April 9, 1958

Something else has become clear, too: the novel has forever changed the way we read Jane Eyre. As author Danielle McLaughlin recently put it, writing for The Paris Review: “The novel didn’t just take inspiration from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, it illuminated and confronted it, challenged the narrative”. Or, to quote novelist Michele Roberts, “Rhys took one of the works of genius of the 19th Century and turned it inside-out to create one of the works of genius of the 20th Century”.
~Hepzibah Anderson, "The book that changed Jane Eyre forever"

This year, in addition to celebrating the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë, another related book has an anniversary - Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys, was published in 1966. Wide Sargasso Sea tells the story of Bertha Mason, the "madwoman in the attic" of Charlotte's Jane Eyre. Though in three parts, it weighs in at a slight 112 pages in W.W. Norton & Company's 1999 edition - fulfilling the adage of quality over quantity.

Much of the narrative is told from Bertha's perspective, some from her unidentified husband's. The writing is poignant and evocative, sometimes reaching the pitch of a fever dream. Bertha was born Antoinette, her name changed by her husband because she shares it with her mother, who has been declared insane. Antoinette grows up on an estate in Jamaica, but she is not wealthy until her mother marries Mr. Mason - and, during her childhood, her Creole background is scorned with a particularly nasty epithet. The person who shows her the most kindness and understanding is the servant Christophine, but her influence, as a woman of color and a practitioner of voodoo, is viewed darkly by Antoinette's stepbrother and husband-to-be, among others. Young Antoinette's life is beset with mishaps and she seems prone to melancholy, but not necessarily madness.

Those who have read Jane Eyre will have some background knowledge of Bertha/Antoinette's story; Rhys here fleshes out the character, her atmospheric prose setting the scene firmly in the Caribbean milieu which Rhys, born in Dominica, hailed from, and bringing to life Charlotte Brontë's "poor ghost" and rather doing down any claims Mr. Rochester has to being a romantic hero. One of my favorite speeches of Antoinette's is when she is recounting her past to her husband and explains
'I was never sad in the morning...and every day was a fresh day for me. I remember the taste of milk and bread and the sound of the grandfather clocking ticking slowly and the first time I had my hair tied with string because there was no ribbon left and no money to buy any. All the flowers in the world were in our garden and sometimes when I was thirsty I licked raindrops from the Jasmine leaves after a shower. If I could make you see it, because they destroyed it and it is only here now.' She struck her forehead.

Most of the story takes place in the Caribbean, amidst the Sargasso Sea, which, as the "Backgrounds" section of this edition helpfully explains (courtesy of Rachel L. Carson), "...lies all about Bermuda and extends more than halfway across the Atlantic...with all its legendary terrors for sailing ships, [the sea] is a creation of the great currents of the North Atlantic that encircle it and bring into it the millions of tons of floating sargassum weed from which the place derives its name, and all the weird assemblage of animals that live in the weed." The "Backgrounds" section also helpfully includes excerpts from Jane Eyre that feature Bertha, selected letters of Jean Rhys, and more of interest for the scholar.

Jean Rhys was a protégée of Ford Madox Ford and wrote several other books, but Wide Sargasso Sea, written towards the end of her life, was considered her masterwork, and is still widely taught today.  Bertha/Antoinette seems to speak for all the women written out of history when she says, "Then I turned round and saw the sky. It was red and all my life was in it."

The other Brontë book I read to wrap up our Brontë challenge this month was The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects. The "objects" discussed are items such as letters, what we would call lap desks, memento mori jewelry, and pets, with each item getting about 30 pages of discussion. I had worried it might be a dry and academic tome, but in fact each chapter has proved to be a lively discussion of not just the object in question and its use by the Brontës, but also the history of the era, local folklore, and more - the chapter called "The Alchemy of Desks" veers into Charlotte and Emily's difficult adult relationship, and also into a discussion of Emily's pen use (apparently she found them "troublesome").

Some of the most fascinating tidbits I discovered from The Brontë Cabinet included the fact that, in that time period, "the receiver, rather than the sender, paid the postage to the letter carrier who came to the house door"  and "[m]ost personal  letters of the early nineteenth century...consisted of one page folded and sealed so that the address could be written directly on the letter." Correspondents often "cross-wrote" - "...instead of using a second page to continue a letter, turned the first sheet horizontally, and wrote over ("crossed") the original text at a right angle." The penny post (stamps!) came into use in 1840. Later, in "Death Made Material," there are some interesting anecdotes about "grave goods" - "belongings included with the corpse in case they might be needed on the other side" - including a story of Dante Gabriel Rossetti interring unpublished poetry in his wife's coffin, and then regretting his decision, and an unnamed Victorian who, forgetting to put her friend's son's letters in her friend's grave, instead put them in the grave of a mailman who died soon afterward - so the mailman could deliver them to her friend in the afterlife.

Both these books have been great reads! This ends our Brontë challenge for the year - thanks for taking an interest.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Geometry & Anguish: The History of Buildings

The two elements the traveler first captures in the big city are extra-human architecture and furious rhythm. Geometry and anguish.
 ~ Federico García Lorca

Merriam-Webster online define architecture as "the art or science of building; specifically: the art or practice of designing and building structures and especially habitable ones; formation or construction resulting from or as if from a conscious act; a unifying or coherent form or structure." Frank Lloyd Wright called it "the mother art," and Winston Churchill asserted, "We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us." Have you thought about the buildings in your life? You probably have thought about the architecture of your home, if you own it; maybe your workplace, particularly if its construction is awkward or inhibiting; or maybe you are an aficionado of fine buildings. We do live in the city of Bart Prince, with a college designed by John Gaw Meem; the state whose capital features the Santa Fe Downtown and Eastside Historic District and three Archaeological Districts, as well as a distinctive architectural style; the state which inspired Pueblo Revival style. Did you know that Albuquerque's own Main Library was designed in the Brutalist style, and our Central & Unser branch won an award?

On which side do you fall in the form versus function debate? Frank Stella said "Architecture can't fully represent the chaos and turmoil that are part of the human personality, but you need to put some of that turmoil into the architecture, or it isn't real."  The late Zaha Hadid lamented "I wish it was possible to divert some of the effort we put into ambitious museums and galleries into the basic architectural building blocks of society," which we understand to mean that it would be nice if some more pedestrian buildings had been constructed with more imagination and scope. There's a lot to debate in architecture.

We've been thinking a lot about architecture and buildings lately. How are our lives shaped by the architecture around us? What does great architecture contribute to our lives? Skyscrapers are taken for granted now, but once they were daring and strange - how else have buildings transformed our culture? Hence, we've constructed the following booklist to help us understand the history of buildings. As one of the following books is summarized, "The rooms we live in are always more than just four walls. As we decorate these spaces and fill them with objects and friends, they shape our lives and become the backdrop to our sense of self. One day, the houses will be gone, but even then, traces of the stories and the memories they contained will remain."

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Video Games

Video games continue to exert their seemingly ubiquitous dominance over our lives. This past summer saw national news coverage trumpeting the popularity of Pokémon Go, as participants ran around attempting to capture Zubats, Lickitungs, and the like (at least gamesters were outside, getting some fresh air). This unprecedented craze created headlines across the country, as millennials happily revisited the days of their Pokémon-obsessed childhoods.
~Kathleen McBroom, "Gaming and Coding Unlocked

Do you have a video game enthusiast in your life? Are you bewildered by gaming? Are you a fanatic about retro-gaming? We are not huge gamers ourselves, but we try to keep up - to that end, we've compiled some resources from the library catalog you might enjoy, or use to keep up with the gamer in your life.

There are a few books the video gamer in your life might enjoy in the library catalog, such as books featuring aspects of recent game sensations like Minecraft, Legend of Zelda, Halo, Dark Souls, and World of Warcraft. The catalog does feature some books about designing video games, mostly aimed at kids and teens, including Coding Computer Games with Scratch by Jon Woodcock, which was used in a recent teen/tween program at one of the libraries. 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die is also highly recommended as a resource, as it not only describes the games but suggests gamealikes.

Also, if you are interested in finding more about a particular video game, consider checking out, billed as "your site for Xbox One, PS4, PC, Wii-U, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, PS Vita & iPhone games with expert reviews, news, previews, trailers, cheat codes, and more," and Encyclopedia Gamia, "a database devoted to all games and video games and their respective franchises, gaming hardware, and the companies involved." Most players use online sources and wikis for cheats and other game information.

Game After: A Cultural Study of Video Game Afterlife by Raiford Guins

Art of Atari by Tim Lapetino

Getting Gamers: The Psychology of Video Games and Their Impact On the People Who Play Them by Jamie Madigan

Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture by Adrienne Shaw  

Gamelife: A Memoir by Michael W. Clune

Thinking About Video Games: Interviews With the Experts by David S. Heineman

Slay the Dragon: Writing Great Video Games by Robert Denton Bryant & Keith Giglio

Saturday, December 17, 2016

When Your Reading Tastes Change

I've noticed recently that I don't want to read young adult fiction as much anymore. At first, I thought it was part of the reading slump I've been going through, but I also noticed that I've wanted to read more adult fiction. And, I've been much more selective in the young adult fiction I've been reading.

All those things got me thinking about changes in reading tastes. I can't help but wonder if I'm starting to outgrow YA, just a little bit, so I decided to ask some of my colleagues if they're experiencing the same thing. Here's what we all had to say.

Me: I've noticed that within the last year, especially the last few months, I've been reading YA more selectively, especially when it comes to contemporary YA. I've also been reading more non-contemporary YA titles than I normally would (science fiction, fantasy, etc.). And, I've noticed that within the last two months, I've really been wanting to read adult fiction and non-fiction instead of YA. all this makes me wonder if I'm starting to outgrow YA. Do you guys feel similarly?

Crystal: I am definitely reading YA more selectively. Since there's a lot of YA out there now, you have to sift through it more to find the "good stuff." The market has grown and I've ended up reading a lot of YA books that aren't that great. So, I've become more hesitant about choosing books to read.

Veronica: YA is still my book of choice, unless we are talking non-fiction. Then I will read adult. I have read a few fiction adult books lately, but they have not been my cup of tea.

Nichole: When looking back at the YA books I've read this year, a lot of them are older publications. I am not as excited about a lot of the newer publications. Like Crystal said, I feel like I have to do a lot more searching before I find one that catches my attention.

Sheila: YA is still my jam. With that said, I guess I am being more selective with YA contemporary, but it's always been my least favorite genre anyway, so I don't know that it's a recent development. On the other hand, I've really been enjoying the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror that's been coming out recently. I've always felt like those areas were seriously under-served. But now, there are tons of authors contributing to those genres, so I have way more books to choose from.

Since I've always been a big reader of adult genre fiction anyway, I think I get a good mix of YA and adult to keep myself from feeling burnt out in any one place. I have been reading way more non-fic and literary fiction since I started my book club, and so far, I've really enjoyed the books I've chosen.

Based on our conversation, it seems like I'm the only one who feels like I'm outgrowing YA books, though I'm not the only one who is reading it selectively. Another one of my colleagues and I talked about this in person, and she felt similarly to me in outgrowing YA.

Overall, I still love YA books, but I'm finding that as I get older, I want to read more books about adults and not teens. And when it comes down to it, I (and my colleagues) have to be selective about everything we read, because there just isn't enough time to read everything.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Choose Your Own Hobby

Looking for a new hobby? We recently checked out Get a Hobby!: 101 All-Consuming Diversions For Any Lifestyle by Tina Barseghian. For those of you who, like us, love to take personality quizzes, this book should prove useful and illuminating! The in-book quiz, "What's your hobby personality?", asks you questions about your lifestyle - cooking, present-wrapping, the role of music, where you like to walk, your attention span - to come up with 19 possible traits that you can string together to discover your hobby personality. Their examples include:

Are you artistic, dexterous, and meticulous?
You might like beading, model ships, or silk-screening.

Are you independent, nature-loving, and outdoorsy?
You might like birding, fly-tying, or mushroom hunting.

You'll have to get a copy of the book to take the quiz, but if you think you already know your most prominent characteristics, here are a couple of hobby ideas from Tina Barseghian's book for you to take on! Click on the trait list that best describes you to find a hobby-related item from our catalog. You might find you have an aptitude for something unexpected!

Is your hobby personality:
For more hobby personalities, you'll have to check out the book!