Why It’s Okay to Abandon a Book

by Callie S.

It’s a rainy Thursday evening and you have a cup of tea, a soft blanket, a purring cat and you’re all set to settle down with that book all of your friends raved about last month. Even though you’ve made the prospect as enticing as you can, you just don’t want to.  You pick up your phone. You remember there are clothes in the washer. Have you checked your bank account recently?

Please do yourself a favor. Toss that book. Return it. Put it in your local little free library. Place it back on your shelf. Or even (as I once did) pawn it off on a stranger in the airport. But please, don’t keep reading it.

Yes, this is even true if all of your friends loved it. It’s true if it’s on the classics list and you feel like you “should” read it. It’s true if you waited months for the release and pre-ordered it. If the book doesn’t bring you joy, if you’re not excited to sit down with it, if you’re constantly thinking about the book you’ll be reading next, please abandon it.
There are a few reasons you should feel zero guilt for abandoning a book. Most importantly, for every book you are reading there’s a book you aren’t reading. Our time is limited, both during the day and on earth. I’m not a math person, but even I realize I will never get to read all of the books that exist, or even all of the books I think I would like.  For every book I put down for whatever reason there’s a higher chance I’ll find a book I love.

A second reason you shouldn’t feel guilty for not finishing a book is that the book will always be there.  I could give you example after example of books I didn’t finish and came back to later in life and loved it. I tried 1984 three times before I finished it and now I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite books. Just because you don’t like it now doesn’t mean you won’t like it later. I have never been able to finish The Fellowship of the Ring, but I haven’t given up hope. I can always keep trying.

Finally, you shouldn’t feel guilty on giving up on a book because your ability to do so can be a source of courage. If you aren’t committed to finishing a book, you can step out of your comfort zone. Sure, you may not think you like Russian literature, but if you don’t have to finish it, why not give Crime & Punishment a try?

With all that being said, I do think there are legitimate reasons for sticking with a book even though you aren’t loving it. Personally, I don’t think you should ever toss a book because it’s making you uncomfortable. If you find yourself upset, unsettled, or angry over a book, you are stretching yourself in a good way. You may be challenging previously sacrosanct ideas. You may be solidifying your beliefs and learning why. Either way, you’re confronting yourself in the best way.

If you promised someone you’d read a book they loved, you owe it to them to finish it. You aren’t just reading a book, you’re getting to know that person a little better.  Plus, it’s always best to be a person of your word.

One year I made a New Year’s resolution to read War & Peace. I didn’t love it. I found a lot of it hard-going and I might have marked it as “did-not-finish” if it wasn’t a goal I had set for myself. I am glad I reached my goal and I do have it as a weird point of personal pride that I’ve read it. If you have your own Everest and it would bring you pride to finish it, by all means, slog through it.

My goal in all of this is to give you freedom. I don’t want you to feel trapped in a book you don’t love. I want you to read more, which usually means quitting a book you don’t love for reading one you do. If you need a little comfort, here are a few books the staff at Santa Fe Public Library have not finished:

Infinite jest: a novel

Charlotte’s web

Lord of the flies

As I lay dying: the corrected text or As I lay dying

Gravity’s rainbow


A wrinkle in time

Cheers to searching, finding, and discovering!

National Tattoo Day – July 17th, 2020

by Ann B.

It’s National Tattoo Day and to celebrate, we thought we’d share some of our library ink.  Most of us don’t automatically think of libraries or librarians when we hear the word “tattoo” but it’s not uncommon to find staff members with ink related to personal events, a literary favorite, or both!  Whether a life-changing circumstance you want to remember or a favorite book, tattoos are a permanent reminder of something or anything or nothing! (Though temporary tattoos can be fun, too.  Check out the last pic!) 

So choose wisely. 

I hope you enjoy our little tribute to the day! 


“I had this tattoo done while I was in the Peace Corps as a way to commemorate my time in my host country. It contains elements from New Mexico’s state flag and Moldova’s national flag because I wanted to recognize that both have a place in my heart and they each gave me a deeper appreciation for the other.” – Megan

“The hot air balloon tattoo on my thigh was my first one. I moved to New Mexico from Kentucky in 2012 and I have found true happiness here. I wanted to get something that represented New Mexico and it is also kind of symbolic of rising up out of a very difficult time in life. My best friend also tattooed one of the lines on it, which makes it even better!” – Diamond

The succulent on my ankle is a matching tattoo with my best friend. They are slightly different plants with slightly different pots, but both are succulents and both have Zia symbols on them. We each designed them ourselves and went and had them done together. She is in grad school in Florida, and of course we talk practically every day, but I love that we will always have this tie to each other. – Diamond

“A UFO peeking through trees on my left foot.” – Jess

“A tribute to a friend who passed away on my left arm.” – Jess

“Dead Moon on my right foot.” – Jess

“This is a tattoo a longtime friend of my husband and I did for me on our 5th year marriage anniversary. My husband got a heart on his arm by same friend with my middle name across it.” – Jess

“My daughter and I got matching tattoos for my 45th birthday. This tattoo represents my love of dragons and Tolkien.” – Ann

“Tigger” – Susan

And we can’t forget temporary tattoos. Thanks to Amy for showing off a collection of Summer Reading Program temporary tattoo prizes!

Summer Fun with the Kids!

by Nicole W.

If you’re a parent or caregiver, you might find yourself wondering what to do with your kids this summer. Due to the pandemic, many camps have been cancelled, museums and attractions remain closed, and vacations are postponed. Below are some books with creative ideas to help pass the time and inspire creativity and learning in young minds:

1001 activities for children: simple games to help a child explore the wonders of nature, the imagination, the senses, art, crafts, music, and much more by Anne Rogovin

Show me a story: 40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children’s Storytelling by Emily K. Neuburger

Muddy boots: outdoor activities for children by Liza Gardner Walsh

3-D art lab for kids: 32 hands-on adventures in sculpture and mixed media by Susan Schwake

Ultimate book of step-by-step cooking & gardening projects for kids: the best-ever book for budding gardeners and super chefs with 300 things to grow and cook yourself, shown in over 2300 photographs by Nancy McDougall

EBook: Robotics for young children: STEM activities and simple coding by Ann Gadzikowski

EBook: A little bit of dirt: 55+ science and art activities to reconnect children with nature by Asia Citro

EBook: Origami activities for children by Chiyo Araki

EBook: A little drama!: playful activities for young children by Lavinia Roberts

EBook: Cooking class: 57 fun recipes kids will love to make (and eat!) by Deanna Cook

Did you know our Summer Reading Program is still going on? For all ages! Be sure to visit our website to learn how to sign up and earn prizes for reading. We also have special events on our YouTube page and take-home crafts every other week! Please visit our Summer Reading page for more information: https://santafelibrary.org/imagine-your-story-summer-reading-program-2020-is-here/

Have a safe and enjoyable summer everyone!

Photo by jonas mohamadi on Pexels.com

World UFO Day – July 2

Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

July 2 commemorates the supposed UFO crash in the 1947 Roswell UFO Incident. World UFO Day is a day for people to raise awareness of and watch the skies for unidentified flying objects

New Mexicans are no strangers to alien encounters and strange sightings as New Mexico ranks 5th in States With the Most UFO Sightings.

Check out some of these Santa Fe Public Library books to reinvigorate the UFO hunter in you!

Reading to Inspire Watching the Skies

American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology

Author: Pasulka, Diana Walsh

More than half of American adults and more than seventy-five percent of young Americans believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life. This level of belief rivals that of belief in God. American Cosmic examines the mechanisms at work behind the thriving belief system in extraterrestrial life, a system that is changing and even supplanting traditional religions.Over the course of a six-year ethnographic study, D.W. Pasulka interviewed successful and influential scientists, professionals, and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who believe in extraterrestrial intelligence, thereby disproving the common misconception that only fringe members of society believe inUFOs. She argues that widespread belief in aliens is due to a number of factors including their ubiquity in modern media like The X-Files, which can influence memory, and the believability lent to that media by the search for planets that might support life. American Cosmic explores the intriguing question of how people interpret unexplainable experiences, and argues that the media is replacing religion as a cultural authority that offers believers answers about non-human intelligent life.

Area 51: The Revealing Truth of UFOs, Secret Aircraft, Cover-Ups & Conspiracies

Author: Redfern, Nicholas

It’s no secret that, roughly 100 miles north northwest of Las Vegas, in the middle of a remote dessert, sits an extension of the Edwards Air Force facility commonly known as Area 51, but its clandestine purpose and operations remain shrouded in secrecy. It is a highly classified, restricted area, but, cloaked in conspiracy theories, its history and true function remain a mystery. Is it only devoted to flight testing experimental aircraft and building black ops weapons systems as some contend? Or is it home to a dead alien, crashed UFOs, and extraterrestrial technology…? Or all of the above?

Taking a thorough review of the historical record, eyewitness accounts, whistle blower testimony, and deathbed confessions, Area 51: The Revealing Truth of UFOs, Secret Aircraft, Cover-Ups and Conspiracies peers behind the classified secrets to understand the nature, history, and scope of the most controversial base in the United States. Redfern investigates the Cold War years, U-2 spy plane, SR-71 Blackbird, and chemical and nuclear weapon research as well as the base’s link to an extraterrestrial presence on Earth, reports of alien autopsies, recovery of non-terrestrial spacecraft, and attempts to duplicate the fantastic, alien technology.

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Charlie Red Star: True Reports of One of North America’s Biggest UFO Sightings

Author: Cameron, Grant

A wave of UFO sightings struck southern Manitoba in 1975, with possible connections to U.S. missile defense operations. In 1975, Manitobans reported UFOs over their province almost nightly. The string of unprecedented sightings launched the biggest UFO craze in Canadian history. With sightings for well over a year, one object seen again and again became known as Charlie Red Star.Grant Cameron was there. He witnessed Charlie Red Star many times, and led tours for others to see for themselves. He also caught wind of rumours of nuclear testing south of the Canada-U.S. border, which might have been the cause of the unexplained phenomena that was sighted in the upper atmosphere. This is the story revealed by eyewitnesses, photographers, and reporters chasing down the truth behind these still-unexplained encounters with UFOs.

The Contact Paradox: Challenging Our Assumptions in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Author: Cooper, Keith

Inside the difficult questions about humanity’s search for extraterrestrial intelligence. What will happen if humanity makes contact with another civilization on a different planet? In The Contact Paradox , space journalist Keith Cooper tackles some of the myths and assumptions that underlie SETI–the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. In 1974 a message was beamed towards the stars by the giant Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico, a brief blast of radio waves designed to alert extraterrestrial civilizations to our existence. Of course, we don’t know if such civilizations really exist. But for the past six decades a small cadre of researchers have been on a quest to find out, as part of SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

The silence from the stars is prompting some researchers, inspired by the Arecibo transmission, to transmit more messages into space, in an effort to provoke a response from any civilizations out there that might otherwise be staying quiet. However, the act of transmitting raises troubling questions about the process of contact. We look for qualities such as altruism and intelligence in extraterrestrial life, but what do these mean to humankind? Can we learn something about our own history when we explore what happens when two civilizations come into contact? Finally, do the answers tell us that it is safe to transmit, even though we know nothing about extraterrestrial life, or as Stephen Hawking argued, are we placing humanity in jeopardy by doing so? In The Contact Paradox , author Keith Cooper looks at how far SETI has come since its modest beginnings, and where it is going, by speaking to the leading names in the field and beyond. SETI forces us to confront our nature in a way that we seldom have before–where did we come from, where are we going, and who are we in the cosmic context of things? This book considers the assumptions that we make in our search for extraterrestrial life, and explores how those assumptions can teach us about ourselves.

Encounter in the Desert: The Case for Alien Contact at Socorro

Author: Randle, Kevin D

The UFO landing at Socorro has been wrapped in controversy almost from the moment that police officer Lonnie Zamora watched a craft descend and land. Zamora saw alien beings near the craft and a symbol on its side but was told that he shouldn’t mention either. Encounter in the Desert reveals – for the first time – exactly what he saw in that arroyo in 1964 and what an examination of the landing revealed to investigators. Socorro wasn’t a stand-alone case. Other sightings, some of them nearly as spectacular as Zamora’s, were reported at the time. A study of the Air Force investigation of this case reveals an effort, at first, to learn the truth that mutated into a clever attempt to hide the information from the public. Encounter in the Desert reveals all this and much more, including: The first new, in-depth look at the Zamora UFO landing in more than three decades. Other reports of alien creatures sighted around the country at the same time. An examination of the physical evidence found on the landing site. The revelation that there were other witnesses to the craft and the landing.

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Imagined Life: a Speculative Scientific Journey Among the Exoplanets in Search of Intelligent Aliens, Ice Creatures, and Supergravity Animals

Authors: Trefil, James

Summers, Michael

It is now known that we live in a galaxy with more planets than stars. The Milky Way alone encompasses 30 trillion potential home planets. Scientists Trefil and Summers bring readers on a marvelous experimental voyage through the possibilities of life–unlike anything we have experienced so far–that could exist on planets outside our own solar system. Life could be out there in many forms- on frozen worlds, living in liquid oceans beneath ice and communicating (and even battling) with bubbles; on super-dense planets, where they would have evolved body types capable of dealing with extreme gravity; on tidally locked planets with one side turned eternally toward a star; and even on “rogue worlds,” which have no star at all. Yet this is no fictional flight of fancy- the authors take what we know about exoplanets and life on our own world and use that data to hypothesize about how, where, and which sorts of life might develop. Imagined Life is a must-have for anyone wanting to learn how the realities of our universe may turn out to be far stranger than fiction.

PROJECT BLUE BOOK: The Top Secret UFO Files That Revealed a Government Cover-Up

Author: Steiger, Brad

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, while publicly dismissing the existence of UFOs, the United States Air Force was engaged in a secret program for evaluating every report of unidentified flying objects. Under the code name, Project Blue Book, the Air Force analyzed over 13,000 incidents. The goal of this enterprise was threefold: To determine the cause for each UFO sighting, to assess the security threat for each incident, and to determine how the United States could obtain or create the technology used by UFOs.

This book, based on secret files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, includes accounts of seven of the most important USAF enquiries– among them the story of the nights the White House was buzzed by UFOs, the mystery of the Lubbock Lights, the full story of Captain Mantell–Ufology’s first martyr, and the startling conversion of the prominent astronomer, J. Alan Hynek from UFO skeptic to believer.

The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake

Author: Novella, Steven

An all-encompassing guide to skeptical thinking from podcast host and academic neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine Steven Novella and his SGU co-hosts, which Richard Wiseman calls “the perfect primer for anyone who wants to separate fact from fiction.” It is intimidating to realize that we live in a world overflowing with misinformation, bias, myths, deception, and flawed knowledge. There really are no ultimate authority figures-no one has the secret, and there is no place to look up the definitive answers to our questions (not even Google). Luckily, The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe is your map through this maze of modern life.

Dr. Steven Novella-along with Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella, and Evan Bernstein-will explain the tenets of skeptical thinking and debunk some of the biggest scientific myths, fallacies, and conspiracy theories-from anti-vaccines to homeopathy, UFO sightings to N- rays. You’ll learn the difference between science and pseudoscience, essential critical thinking skills, ways to discuss conspiracy theories with that crazy co- worker of yours, and how to combat sloppy reasoning, bad arguments, and superstitious thinking.

They are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers

Author: Scoles, Sarah

An anthropological look at the UFO community, told through first-person experiences with researchers in their element as they pursue what they see as a solvable mystery–both terrestrial and cosmic. More than half a century since Roswell, UFOs have been making headlines once again. On December 17, 2017, the New York Times ran a front-page story about an approximately five-year Pentagon program called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The article hinted, and its sources clearly said in subsequent television interviews, that some of the ships in question couldn’t be linked to any country. The implication, of course, was that they might be linked to other solar systems. The UFO community–those who had been thinking about, seeing, and analyzing supposed flying saucers (or triangles or chevrons) for years–was surprisingly skeptical of the revelation. Their incredulity and doubt rippled across the internet. Many of the people most invested in UFO reality weren’t really buying it. And as Scoles did her own digging, she ventured to dark, conspiracy-filled corners of the internet, to a former paranormal research center in Utah, and to the hallways of the Pentagon.

In They Are Already Here we meet the bigwigs, the scrappy upstarts, the field investigators, the rational people, and the unhinged kooks of this sprawling community. How do they interact with each other? How do they interact with “anomalous phenomena”? And how do they (as any group must) reflect the politics and culture of the larger world around them? We will travel along the Extraterrestrial Highway (next to Area 51) and visit the UFO Watchtower, where seeking lights in the sky is more of a spiritual quest than a “gotcha” one. We meet someone who, for a while, believes they may have communicated with aliens. Where do these alleged encounters stem from? What are the emotional effects on the experiencers? Funny and colorful, and told in a way that doesn’t require one to believe, Scoles brings humanity to an often derided and misunderstood community. After all, the truth is out there…

The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America’s UFO Highway

Author: Mezrich, Ben

This real-life The X-Files and Close Encounters of the Third Kind tells the true story of a computer programmer who tracks paranormal events along a 3,000-mile stretch through the heart of America and is drawn deeper and deeper into a vast conspiracy. Like “Agent Mulder” of The X-Files, computer programmer and sheriff’s deputy Zukowski is obsessed with tracking down UFO reports in Colorado. He would take the family with him on weekend trips to look for evidence of aliens. But this innocent hobby takes on a sinister urgency when Zukowski learns of mutilated livestock, and sees the bodies of dead horses and cattle–whose extermination is inexplicable by any known human or animal means. Along an expanse of land stretching across the southern borders of Utah, Colorado, and Kansas, Zukowski discovers multiple bizarre incidences of mutilations, and suddenly realizes that they cluster around the 37th Parallel or “UFO Highway.” So begins an extraordinary and fascinating journey from El Paso and Rush, Colorado, to a mysterious space studies company and MUFON, from Roswell and Area 51 to the Pentagon and beyond; to underground secret military caverns and Indian sacred sites; beneath strange, unexplained lights in the sky and into corporations that obstruct and try to take over investigations. Inspiring and terrifying, this true story will keep you up at night, staring at the sky, and wondering if we really are alone…and what could happen next.

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UFO Drawings From The National Archives

Author: Clarke, David

Contributors: National Archives (Great Britain)

Sixty years of letters, official reports, photographs, drawings and paintings of UFO sightings from British government files.

Originally established at the request of Winston Churchill in the aftermath of World War II, the British Ministry of Defence’s UFO Desk operated for more than 60 years, collating mysterious sightings and records of strange objects in the sky from observant, and sometimes imaginative, members of the public. As well as letters and official reports, the UFO files contain photographs, drawings and even paintings of these curious sightings sent in by concerned citizens. In 2007, after decades of stonewalling questions about its UFO investigations, the Ministry of Defence announced that it had decided to release all of its surviving files, in an attempt to counter “the maze of rumor and frequently ill-informed speculation” on the subject.

UFO FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Roswell, Aliens, Whirling Discs, and Flying Saucers

Author: Hogan, David J.

Since the famed Kenneth Arnold “flying saucer” sighting of 1947, the world has been fascinated and unnerved by these mysterious objects in the sky. Millennia of recorded human history report UFOs, and everything from the extinction of dinosaurs to the origins of humankind have been attributed to them but what exactly are UFOs? Featuring material from a treasure trove of UFO/Project Blue Book archives declassified in 2015, UFO FAQ is an all-inclusive guide to UFO lore hard science and hoaxes, sightings and abductions, noted UFO proponents and skeptics, and sanctioned research and purported government cover-ups. Readers will meet cultists and explore worldwide UFO “hot spots.” They’ll learn about UFOs in World War II, the Cold War, and the age of terrorism. And they’ll zip along with UFOs in movies, comics, TV, and other popular media. Also featured are an international UFO timeline and a valuable UFO checklist that includes step-by-step suggestions on how to prepare and make the most of your UFO sightings while ensuring your credibility. Dramatically illustrated with nearly 100 photographs and drawings, UFO FAQ combines historical accuracy, provocative speculation, and compulsive readability in one handy volume.

Curious about sightings? Want to report your own?

Visit the National UFO Reporting Center Online Database

See the National UFO Reporting Center State Report Index For New Mexico

Resolution Renewal Day

by Ann B.

It’s July 1st and we’re halfway through 2020, if you can believe it.  As we’ve all been challenged and stretched and stressed through the Covid-19 pandemic, maybe you’ve let your New Year’s Resolution lapse, which is fine.  We’ve all been just a little stressed . . .

Maybe now is time to renew your determination.  Maybe now is time to reassess and change those resolutions!  Did you get started on a new hobby during your home quarantine?  (Bread baking, anyone?  Or just me. . .) Did you give up on that fitness goal (enjoying the bread) and now need some inspiration?  Maybe you want to start a new hobby or expand on one you started at home? Here are some titles that may give you a boost or push in a new direction. 

Fitness – Ready to get your sweat on? Or maybe you need to work on those eating habits? Check out these titles for some inspiration!

No excuses fitness: the 30-day plan to tone your body and supercharge your health by Donovan Green

Your healthy body: An Affirmations Bundle to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle and Lose Weight Naturally by Bright Soul Words

Which comes first, cardio or weights?: fitness myths, training truths, and other surprising discoveries from the science of exercise by Alex Hutchinson

Body-for-life: 12 weeks to mental and physical strength by Bill Phillips

Clean7: supercharge your body’s natural ability to heal itself : the one-week breakthrough detox program by Alejandro Junger

Music – Whether you want to learn to appreciate classical music or learn an instrument, these titles sing just the right tune.

Music – Whether you want to learn to appreciate classical music or learn an instrument, these titles sing just the right tune.

The symphony by Robert Greenberg and Matthew A. Kraft. Great Courses.

The chamber music of Mozart by Robert Greenberg. Great Courses.

Knack piano for everyone: a step-by-step guide to notes, chords, and playing basics by Margaret Ann Martin

The Les Paul Manual by Terry Burrows

Hobbies – Knitting, crocheting, and cooking. . . oh my! Plus drawing for some more fun. A variety of “maker” hobbies may have peaked your interest and fallen away. Here are some titles to get you re-started. And, if brave enough, share some pics of your successes and failures! We’d love to see them.

Refined knits: sophisticated lace, cable and Aran lace knitting by Jennifer Wood

The knitter’s dictionary: knitting know-how from a to z by Kate Atherley

Knit yourself calm: a creative path to managing stress by Lynne Rowe

Crochet 101: a workshop in a book by Deborah Burger

How to cook everything: simple recipes for great food by Mark Bittman

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street: the new home cooking by Christopher Kimball

How to draw what you see by Rudy De Reyna

Sketching school by Judy Martin

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

July 2020 is here!

by Ann B.

Welcome to July!  There are many happenings and celebrations taking place this month and we hope to celebrate a few.

We are halfway through the craziness-and-unexpected-hazard that is 2020.  So how are those New Year’s Resolutions coming along? 

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Or maybe you delved into the unknown and got lost in the black hole that is the Internet.  Did you know that July 2nd is World UFO Day?

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Give us a shout on Facebook with your favorite national day!

Photo by Malidate Van on Pexels.com

July is National Culinary Arts Month.  Did you learn a few new recipes during quarantine?  Did you perfect your bread making skills or master the perfect pasta sauce? 

Check out these websites for more fun “national days”. 

A couple of my favorites:  Paper Bag Day (July 12th ), National French Fry Day (July 13th), National Tattoo Day (July 17th), and, possibly my favorite, National Hot Fudge Sundae Day (July 25th ). 

Memorable Memoirs

by Callie S.

Memoirs are one of my favorite genres. I find it exhausting to keep up with a world of new rules and exceptions. In memoirs, I am not asked to bend time or suspend belief to hear an amazing tale of triumph and perseverance. In all of these memoirs, these events all happened (or mostly happened, in the case of Jenny Lawson). I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I do.

Religion: religious memoirs are a personal favorite because they are practically guaranteed to be about brave people letting go or fiercely hanging on despite adversity.

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology: by Leah Remini:  The great thing about this one is not only do you get an excellent memoir, but you also get some bonus material about Hollywood celebrities.  Please check out the audiobook to hear Leah Remini herself read it! Available on Overdrive.

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker: No one makes me laugh like Elna Baker in this charming memoir of living life as a Mormon in the acting circles of New York City. Physical copy available.

Unorthodox: the scandalous rejection of my Hasidic roots by Deborah Feldman:  The insular world of Hassidic Judaism is a great mystery to me and reading about someone leaping into a world almost as foreign to her as hers is to mine is inspiring. Physical copy available.

Girl meets God: on the path to a spiritual life by Lauren Winner: What I especially loved about this one is the unique pacing. Instead of going straight through her conversion from Reformed Judaism, to Orthodox Judaism, to Christianity, she tells the story along the lines of the Jewish calendar.   Physical copy available.

Quirky childhood memoirs: For something a little lighter.

A bad idea I’m about to do: true tales of seriously poor judgment and stunningly awkward adventure: by Christ Gethard.  I’ll let my 2015 Goodreads review sum this one up:

This book is hilarious, and I would have given it four stars, but I don’t feel responsible recommending it too highly. It’s quite frank about sexual things, goes into way too much detail about bodily functions, and throws the f-word around like conjunctions. Still really funny and honest, if you can handle it.

Let’s pretend this never happened: (a mostly true memoir) by Jenny Lawson: Jenny, please come have tea with me so we can talk about how awkward we are.  Available as a physical copy.

Dress your family in corduroy and denim by David Sedaris: Sedaris is a treasure and you can’t really go wrong with any of books. His stories of growing up with 5 siblings are quirky and relatable, genuine and poignant.  Available as a physical copy.

Photo by NSU MON on Pexels.com

Troubled childhood and overcoming adversity:  Do you need to feel like you can do anything? Read about people who have had difficult childhoods and come out on the other side.

Into the magic shop: a neurosurgeon’s quest to discover the mysteries of the brain and the secrets of the heart by James Doty.  He practically forced his way into med school after growing up in an abusive home. This memoir is mostly about how meditation changes the brain and what that can mean for everyone.  Available as a physical copy and on hoopla.

The glass castle: a memoir by Jeannette Walls: Jeannette’s childhood is so unbelievable that my grandmother kept asking me over and over again if it was fiction. Her parents are willfully impoverished and completely unconcerned with the mundane aspects of everyday life, including food and shelter.  Her story of ultimate success and dealing with her eccentric family is sure to amaze and inspire.  Available as a physical copy and on Overdrive.

The boy kings of Texas: a memoir by Domingo Martinez: This book has been featured on NPR and excerpts have been read on the podcast This American Life. His memoir tells the story of growing up in the border town of Brownsville, Texas and not fitting in with his peers or his family.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover- Whenever people tell me they love The Glass Castle I tell them they should read Educated and vice versa. Both women overcome sometimes quirky, sometimes delusion parents to succeed and examine their lives as best they can.  Available on Overdrive and as a physical copy.

Honorable Mentions

Banished: surviving my years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain

The last black unicorn by Tiffany Hadish

Beyond belief: my secret life inside Scientology and my harrowing escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill

Pancakes in Paris: living the American dream in France by Craig Carlson

Into thin air: a personal account of the Mount Everest disaster by John Krakauer

A three dog life by Abigail Thomas

Live through this: a mother’s memoir of runaway daughters and reclaimed love by Debra Gwartney

National Caldecott Day – June 14

by Nicole W.

On this day, June 14, 1938, the first Randolph Caldecott Medal was awarded to Dorothy P. Lathrop for her book Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book. Since then, the prestigious Caldecott Medal has been awarded once a year to the most “distinguished” children’s picture book published during the previous year. A committee of librarians decide the winner and honor books based on writing and illustrations. The first medal was, in fact, a bronze piece engraved with the winner’s name and year on the back. Now, it appears as a shiny award seal on the cover of some of your favorite children’s books. 

Be sure to check out our collection of Caldecott winners and honor books here: https://catalog.santafelibrary.org/Union/Search?view=list&showCovers=on&lookfor=%22Caldecott%22&basicType=Series&searchSource=local

Works Cited:

“The Randolph Caldecott Medal”, American Library Association, November 30, 1999.
http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecottmedal/aboutcaldecott/aboutcaldecott (Accessed May 13, 2020)
Maughan, Shannon. “A Short History of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals”, Publishers Weekly, December 2, 2011.
https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/49729-and-the-winner-is.html (Accessed May 13, 2020)

D-Day: June 6, 1944

by John P.

Today marks the 76th anniversary of D-Day.  It was the largest amphibious operation in history, in one of the most cataclysmic events in all of human history, the Second World War.  Upon the 75th anniversary of D-Day, in 2019, a spate of books came out, that refresh and deepen our understanding of this military operation.

At the top of my list, and for a most comprehensive take is:  Sand & Steel: the D-Day invasion and the liberation of France by Peter Caddick-Adams.  He provides an extensive overview of all the planning and preparation that was done before the invasion, and then in the remaining 700 pages examines all five beaches one by one, and then does follow-up on the days after D-Day.  Also coming out in 2019 was The First Wave: the D-Day warriors who led the way to victory in World War II  by Alex Kershaw, which records the experiences of a handful of participants on that chaotic first day.  Utilizing quotes from the men who actually did the fighting, Kershaw gives the reader a good picture of what the first few hours were like at Normandy.

A shorter (523 pgs.) comprehensive look at D-Day is provided by British historian Antony Beevor.  His D-day: the Battle for Normandy has become a standard popular work on the subject, covering D-Day, and then all the way to the Liberation of Paris Aug. 25, 1944.

Interestingly enough, the library also has Juno Beach: Canada’s D-Day victory, June 6, 1944 by Mark Zuehlke, which covers the Canadian Army’s Juno Beach operation.   The American beaches  are covered by Utah Beach: the amphibious landing and airborne operations on D-day, June 6, 1944 by  Joseph Balkoski, and  Omaha Beach: D-Day, June 6, 1944also by Joseph Balkoski.  The two British beaches, Sword and Gold, are amply covered in Sand and Steel, and by Beevor’s D-Day: The Battle for Normandy.

For those interested in the battles that took place in Normandy in June and July, I recommend: The Armoured Campaign in Normandy, June-August, 1944 by Stephen Napier. Also Normandy crucible: the decisive battle that shaped World War II in Europe by John Prados,   which analyzes the different Allied battles just after June 6th.

Classics on D-Day the libraries still have are The longest day: June 6, 1944 by Cornelius Ryan and D-Day, June 6, 1944: the climactic battle of World War II by Stephen Ambrose, which focuses on the initial 24 hours of D-Day.

Within the world of e-books accessible via Hoopla are:

Normandy ’44: D-Day and the epic 77-day battle for France, a new history  by James Holland

 Fighting them on the beaches: the D-Day landings June 6, 1944  by Nigel Cawthorne

 Das Reich: the march of the 2nd SS Panzer Division through France, June 1944 by Max Hastings

Omaha Beach: a flawed victory by Adrian R. Lewis

Beyond the Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy by Joseph Balkoski

D-Day: the World War II invasion that changed history by Deborah Hopkinson

There are a number of movies about D-Day as well:

The longest day   1962 movie with a cast of all big names

Storming Juno  Canadians on Juno Beach

Saving Private Ryan  probably the most dramatic depiction of Omaha Beach

Band of brothers    – episodes 2 and 3 cover paratroop fighting just at D-Day

Hoopla carries

D-Day in HD: Season 1 – History Channel documentary

D-Day: the American way    – – focus on Americans at D-Day

Normandy invasion     – filmed by a U.S. Coast Guard crew

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

National Salsa Month

Ann B.

Salsa is important. A staple of southwestern and Mexican foods, we love our salsa. And we all have opinions on which restaurant has the best salsa or which is our favorite from the grocery store. A quick poll of your Santa Fe Librarians resulted in a love for Posa’s El Merendero and Horseman’s Haven salsas. From the store, we love Sadie’s, Tio Frank’s, and 505’s Green Chile Salsa. Or we may make our own!

Marie V. shared her favorite Mango Salsa recipe:

Two mangoes chopped up, one-two jalapeno diced, finely chopped cilantro to your taste, 1/2 cup red onion, one limed squeezed over entire mixture.  Refrigerate for at least an hour and enjoy!

Whether red, green, or Christmas. Whether it’s going on eggs, steak, or enchiladas, we love our salsa. Check out some of the cookbooks available at Santa Fe Public Library. Maybe you’ll be inspired to make your own!

Style and spice: over 200 recipes from the American Southwest

Recipes from a Mexican grandmother’s kitchen: more than 150 authentic and delicious dishes, shown in over 750 photographs

 The hot sauce cookbook: the book of fiery salsa and hot sauce recipes

Mexican today: new and rediscovered recipes for contemporary kitchens

Claudia’s cocina: a taste of Mexico

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