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Meditation Books for All of Us

By Callie S.

If you’re like me, this is a crazy season. Amidst the busyness, the events, and the ever-present need to feel joyous, life can be a bit much. If you feel like saying “humbug” to all that, it might be the perfect time to try meditation.

Meditation and mindfulness have entered a renaissance in western culture. It’s not just for the Buddhist monk or the free-thinking 19 year-old on a gap year anymore. Mediation and mindfulness have been scientifically proven to help everyone lead a happier and calmer life.

It can be overwhelming to start the practice though. There is so much information to sift through. I’m listing 3 books on mediation that I have personally read and found helpful. I hope that one or all of these books can help you on your journey for a calmer, more peaceful, and happier life.

If you would like more information on materials Santa Fe Public Library carries on Meditation, please stop into any of the branches or call one of our information desks at:

Main Library 505-955-6781

Oliver La Farge Branch Library 505-955-4867

Southside Branch Library 505-955-2820


By Christina S


After my Little Chihuahua Pixie passed away last year I was fairly certain that my dog owning days were behind me and I could look toward my older age and an empty nest in a few years with maybe a cat or two to keep me company. Life though often has other plans and a couple of months ago I found myself at the Española Animal Shelter adopting CoCo, a Redbone Coonhound puppy, for my 2 kids (Ages 20 and 16). There were several reasons why adopting CoCo made sense for our family, but now we are raising a puppy who has a lot of energy and loves to chew everything that comes near her mouth! She is loving, rambunctious, and needs to learn her manners! We want, and need, her to grow up to be a loving, social, and well behaved adult.

Thankfully this isn’t my first time raising a puppy, but it has been many years so I have turned to the resources here at Santa Fe Public Library for help. We have a good selection of materials about specific breeds, dog training, animal health and well being, and also some lovely memoirs about dogs for a feel good read.

Below are a few of the titles we carry concerning Dogs:

Dogs by David Alderton

How to Train Your Dog by Liz Palika & Kate Abbott

Perfectly Imperfect Puppy: The ultimate life-changing programme for training a well-behaved, happy dog by Graeme Hall

Dogs who changed the world: 50 dogs who altered history, inspired literature… or ruined everything by Dan Jones

The Story of your dog: a straightforward guide to a complicated animal by Brandon McMillan

If you need help locating materials about Dogs, please stop into any branch or call one of our information desks for assistance:

Main Library 505-955-6781

Oliver La Farge Branch Library 505-955-4867

Southside Branch Library 505-955-2820

Cormac McCarthy / New Mexico Author

by Margaret VD

Cormac McCarthy, 89 years old, just published two new books! The Passenger and Stella Maris. A remarkable accomplishment and long awaited.

Cormac McCarthy, the person, is enigmatic, in other words, somewhat difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious. Brilliant. According to Wikipedia, McCarthy moved to the Tesuque area of New Mexico, north of Santa Fe, in the late 1990s. Thus, he can be claimed as one of ours.

Mr. McCarthy spends much of his time at the Santa Fe Institute. McCarthy is a trustee for the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), a multidisciplinary research center devoted to the study of complex adaptive systems. Seems like a good fit for a person who writes novels about people who interact with each other and the world in unpredictable ways.

Cormac McCarthy is well known for his book, No country for old men, which was made into a movie of the same name. The 2005 book was adapted into the 2007 film No Country for Old Men, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. However, Blood meridian, published in 1985, is considered by many critics to be his finest work. In fact , some have suggested it is THE Great American Novel. McCarthy’s book, The road, published in 2006, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2007. This New Mexico author has certainly earned much acclaim. I get the impression, though, that matters little to him.

Check out this “Whistle blower tour” of Cormac McCarthy’s books by Emma Oulton, Video and Influencer Manager at Pan Macmillan. Learn everything you need to know about Cormac McCarthy in less than 9 minutes.

Below, in no specific order, are images of some of Cormac McCarthy’s works available at the Santa Fe Public Library:

For more information on works by Cormac McCarthy available at Santa Fe Public Library, including books, ebooks, audiobooks and DVDs, please call us at:

La Farge Public Library – 505-955-4867

Main Library – 505-955-6781

Southside Library – 505-955-2820

A little story #4

by Katherine C.


I only did what I did out of boredom.  If my teachers had only done what I had asked, there never would have been any problems.  I never would have started the problems and the problems never would have continued.  Mr. Jones was the only one who had any inkling of the power I held over my fellow students, but he obviously didn’t know the extent of my power.  I had been nervous about the idea of maybe being suspended or even expelled before I graduated, but the cameras happened to catch the entire event.  Now the spotlight was being turned from me to Mrs. Whitaker.  She was the principal who preached about rule breaking with tough punishment.  Now I wondered what her punishment would be after she was quizzed about starting the food fight in the cafeteria. 

All in all, I had never thought food fights to be very serious, but the ending of this one was a different story.  It was a story of leaking pipes and moldy food.  Leaking pipes that had (supposedly) been broken by one of the football players, but I had my doubts.  Doubts because there were no cameras in that area of the cafeteria.  There was also no camera near the closet where the moldy food was found.  The raccoons discovered the feast first.  The raccoons managed to get into the school through a door that was left open to let the damp air out.  But now that they were there, they weren’t leaving.  I had never seen such a giant family of raccoons, but really, I wasn’t surprised.  Knowing that Mrs. Whitaker considered the raccoons her friends, led me to believe she had let them in on purpose. 

NaNoWriMo is Here

By Marika

November is National Novel Writing Month! If you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo, as it is called by enthusiasts, it is basically a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel (or anything, really) in thirty days. The challenge is open to everybody, and each year hundreds of thousands of people around the world get to work on November first.

National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 and officially became a nonprofit organization in 2006. It’s a teaching tool and curriculum taught in 5,920 classrooms, and NaNoWriMo’s programs run year-round.

To help participants get ready for NaNoWriMo by November, the website makes available all kinds of tips and tools to plan the novel, including plot generation and time management. Of course, planning is not obligatory! Those who do no partake are known as “pantsers,” as in flying by the seat of. No matter what style, all participants are encouraged to write like the wind. Throughout November, NaNoWriMo posts virtual writing events and pep talks by published writers. Local participants can connect with other “WriMos” in their area, and people can get together to write in person. This year, the Southside Branch of Santa Public Library is a designated “Come Write In” location, and we have scheduled writing times every Saturday in November, 3 – 5 PM.

It’s easy to get started by going to the NaNoWriMo website. Once you sign up, you will have access to a dashboard that allows you to find your local region, send and receive messages and announcements, announce and update your writing project, and earn badges for every milestone. I am a sucker for the badges I’ve earned over the last few days each time I update my word count. It’s like ringing a big bell when I finish a writing session.

While no one emerges from NaNoWriMo with a complete, polished novel ready for its neon-lit debut, many writers go on to expand and revise those November drafts, and quite a few go on to be published. Following are some examples of NaNoWriMo novels in the Library’s collection. The Library also has books to help with the craft of writing.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Cinder, Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Wool by Hugh Howey

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen

Persistence of Memory by J.M. Snyder

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

A Spooky Little Story #3

by Katherine C.

Photo by Ján Jakub Naništa

The Neighbors 

I always knew there was something odd about my neighbors, but I never could quite put my finger on what it was.  I rarely saw them outside during the day and if I did, they were usually shooting furtive glances over their shoulders as if they didn’t want anyone to see them.  But as they always wore black in a town where most people didn’t wear any black at all, they stood out.  I was always shocked to see them in the grocery store and as soon as I got over my surprise, I managed to nod and say hello.  Though most of the time they acted as if they had never seen or met me before even though we had been living next to each other for the last five years. 

I tried not to obsess about the Johnsons too much, but I couldn’t seem to help it.  When did they mow their immaculate lawn?  Where did they work?  Did they work from home?  Did they have family in the area?  What were their interests, hobbies, did they exercise?  I needed to find out the truth so I could stop thinking about them and move on with my life.  Everything I thought I knew came crashing down when our beach ball floated over the fence and into their backyard.  Since we had lived next door to the four Johnsons for so long, my son thought nothing of hopping the fence to quickly grab the ball and continue the game he was playing with his friends. 

Sam didn’t even make it back to his friends.  He came straight inside, his face pale and his eyes wide.  Sam had seen the Johnsons all asleep inside while getting his beach ball.  Asleep in their coffins. 

Dia de los Muertos – A Journey for the Dead and a Lesson for the Living

By Megan A.

The days of the dead are truly a celebration of life.  When children dance with caricatures of death, eat skull sugar molds and learn to respect that life is brief, they learn there is a circle to life and to not fear death and then are free to enjoy and appreciate every moment.” –

Photo By Megan A – Figure 1 Tissue Paper Marigolds

I was a bit nervous when I volunteered to help with the Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda at the Main Library. I grew up seeing sugar skulls and altars around this time of year. Still, it wasn’t a tradition observed by my immediate family. I wanted to ensure every element of the altar was done with respect and care. I made tissue paper marigolds any chance I got starting in September and watched several YouTube videos explaining how to make papel picado banners.

Photo by Megan A – Figure 2 Papel Picado

Along the way, I learned about the different elements of the altar and their symbolism. Water for the spirits of loved ones to quench their thirst after a long journey, salt for purification, marigolds to guide the souls, and many others. Every source I found had common elements, but none were exactly the same or incredibly strict.

As I worked, I reflected. I thought about which of my own family I would include on the altar and which photographs best represented their lives. For the past month and a half, I’ve thought about passed loved ones, not with sadness but with fondness. I remembered my great aunt, who made cardboard box forts, loved to make piles of french fries for my sisters and me when we got home from school, and always had a new use for superglue. I reminisced about my grandma, who made the best-scrambled eggs and introduced me to Shirley Temple movies. My grandfather was sick for a lot of my childhood, but I found a photo of him standing tall and holding one of his many grandchildren. To this day, my family calls super punny jokes “Grandpa Jokes” because they are even more groan-worthy than a typical dad joke. I also connected with my coworkers and learned about their loved ones as they showed me photographs and shared stories.

 Early this year, the library staff lost one of our own, and we’ve reminisced about working with her in the years before she passed. Her quiet voice, feisty personality, and love for the library have left a lasting impact on everyone who knew her.

This experience has given me a new appreciation for a wonderful tradition of celebrating lives past and taking comfort in community.

Photo by Megan A. – Figure 3 Water, salt, and a woven mat

If you would like to learn more about Dia de Los Muertos, I invite you to visit some of the resources that I used:

How to make a papel picado article:

How to make a papel picado video:

Overview of some common elements and their symbolism:

History of Day of the Dead:

Don J. Usner / New Mexico Author

by Margaret VD

We’ve met. I don’t know if he would remember me. I knew him as a faculty member, teaching Photography at Santa Fe University of Art and Design. That was a few years ago now. I saw a copy of his book, Chasing Dichos through Chimayo, here at the library recently, which brought him to mind. When I met him, he was unassuming. It isn’t until now, while researching Mr. Usner for this blog post, that I understand what an important cultural icon and historian he is and what a generous contribution he has made to New Mexico. In his writing, and more importantly, in his photography, Don Usner records the natural beauty of this land and the rich cultural essence of New Mexico. From stories handed down to him from his grandmother, along with photographs of her telling them, to his contribution to an exhibition catalog on the lowrider culture of Northern New Mexico, Don Usner has covered a lot. He has traveled this state extensively and chronicled much of its natural beauty and rich culture. He does this from a place of love and deep knowledge.

Report from Santa Fe, November 14, 2017, Don Usner interview with Lorene Mills. And, what is a “Cultural Geographer”?

Report from Santa Fe, November 14, 2017, Don Usner interview with Lorene Mills.

From his website:

“Don J. Usner was born in Embudo, New Mexico, and grew up in Los Alamos and Chimayó. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a master’s degree in geography at the University of New Mexico. He has authored and provided the photographs for several books, and has photographed the land and the people of New Mexico for many years…”

“Don was named a New Mexico Luminaria by the New Mexico Community Foundation in 2013, an award given to New Mexicans who “motivate, inspire and support the dreams of others, promote diversity and equity, and build community strength through their leadership and vision.”

The more you delve into the art of Don Usner, the more you will seek.

Valles Caldera: a vision for New Mexico’s national preserve

Sabino’s map: life in Chimayo’s old plaza

New Mexico Route 66 on tour: legendary architecture from Glenrio to Gallup

Chasing dichos through Chimayó

Benigna’s Chimayó: cuentos from the old plaza

Orale! Lowrider

Please call any of the Santa Fe Public Library information desks for more information about New Mexico authors.

Main Information Desk: 505-955-6781

La Farge Information Desk: 505-955-4867

Southside Information Desk: 505-955-2820

Another Spooky Little Story

By Katherine C.

Photo by Sander Sammy

The Unluckiest Man 

      I always thought I was the unluckiest person in the entire state of New Mexico until I met Henry.  Henry tripped over completely flat sidewalks and always managed to spill food all over his shirt.  Even if he was wearing a bib.  I was the kind of person who didn’t notice when I walked under a ladder or when a black cat crossed in front of me (though I often feel like the cats were out to get me).  Because of my inability to notice what was right in front of my face, I often got myself into uncomfortable positions.  Henry, on the other hand, told me once he felt like his entire life was one big uncomfortable journey. 

      I didn’t want to tell him what I thought in fear I would hurt his feelings.  I knew why he was always tripping over himself or spilling his food, but thought I would inevitably say the wrong thing being that I was the unlucky sort.  There were signs everywhere about why he was clumsy, forgetful, lacking certain qualities and still didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t drive a car, but could I be the only one to see them?  Surely not, but why wouldn’t anyone else confront Henry with the truth?  I guess it was my destiny to stay awkward and uncomfortable and finally be the one to tell Henry, he was, in fact, a robot. 

Spooky Reading Season is here!

By Callie Stockman

It’s no secret that Fall is my favorite reading season. I love being tucked away in my library under a snuggly blanket, with a hot cup of tea or a hot toddy, reading while the afternoon light fades. I also happen to love spooky books.

I have books I read every few years, and I also try to rotate new books in. These are this year Fall reading books. I hope they inspire you as well!

The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe: OG October reading

Dracula’s Guest and other Weird Stories by Bram Stoker: This is one of my favorite short story collections of all time. I wish it were more popular. It even includes a “missing” chapter from the original Dracula.

Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow by Christina Henry: This is my favorite Halloween story, and since I read the original just last year, I thought I could do with a retelling.

The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne: I have read several collections of Hawthorne’s short stories and I really enjoy them. Hawthorne grew up near where the Salem Witch Trials took place and had an ancestor who was involved in the ordeal. I have never read this one and I like having a classic on the list.

The Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: and other lessons from the crematory by Caitlin Doughty: This has been on my list for a while and a whole book dedicated to dead bodies seems pretty great for the spooky season.

What are you reading this season?