Thursday, March 08, 2012

Moving On

The Austin Public Library blog has moved to our newly redesigned website. Please update your RSS feed and bookmarks. On the blog home page, you'll see options for viewing the blog by subject: books, movies, music, and youth.

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Thanks for reading!

The APL Bloggers

Monday, December 19, 2011


Are you like me? Does your heart melt looking at all those warmly lit, slightly overexposed (so they glow) photos of holiday celebrations in the Martha Stewart books, and do you hate her for reminding you that you never enjoyed a holiday so perfectly arranged and never will? The woman did time for obstructing justice! Why do I long to spend Christmas with her??

Martha’s daughter didn’t profit (emotionally, anyway) from her mother’s homemaking (take a look at Alexis Stewart’s recent book, Whateverland; APL doesn't have it), so it should be obvious that it’s healthy to keep Martha at a distance—she directing teams of crafters in her snow-kissed Connecticut manse; I with my glue gun in Texas—yet I want just once to find myself sitting on a spindly Early American chair in a meticulously restored, candle-lit, antebellum New England home, Martha bending to offer me a perfectly made eggnog and a work-of-art sugar cookie painted flawlessly with royal icing.

I can’t explain it. I bet you can’t either.

There’s still time to create Martha’s fantasyland, if you can:

Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Martha Stewart’s New Pies and Tarts
Martha’s Entertaining
Martha’s Holiday Celebrations (DVD)
Martha’s Favorite Cookies (DVD)
Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
Martha’s Homemade Holidays (DVD)

Authors' names:

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Elephant in the Room

As a Midwesterner and a graduate of an Iowa College, I think about Iowa more than the average Texas resident. Some of my favorite facts about Iowa:
  • It is the home of Marion Morrison (later known as John Wayne)
  • Iowa is the origin of the Red Delicious apple (you can read more about this factoid in Michael Pollan’s book Botany of Desire)
  • The Des Moines Register sponsors an annual bike ride across the state (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa a.k.a. RAGBRAI)
  • It is hilly and beautiful (not technically a fact)
  • Iowa is also important (to me alone) because it is the first state in which I cast my vote for President of the United States of America.
This last fact, which continues to bring me a warm fuzzy feeling, is also relevant because we are now a mere 18 days from an important event. The Iowa Caucus, partly because it is the first presidential caucus of the year, has taken on a huge amount of significance over the years. Stephen Bloom recently wrote an article for The Atlantic in which he claims, “whoever wins the Iowa Caucuses in January will very likely have a 50 percent chance of being elected president 11 months later.” Probably explains why the GOP candidates came out with their figurative guns blazing during last night’s debate in Sioux City.

Maybe, like many of us, you’re confused about why and how Iowa has become so important in elections. Guess what! Your local library can help you out. In addition to providing access to many newspapers in print and through our databases, we also have quite a few books on this topic precisely!

A few suggestions:
Primary politics : how presidential candidates have shaped the modern nominating system
by Kamarck, Elaine Ciulla.

Grassroots rules : how the Iowa Caucus helps elect American presidents
by Hull, Christopher C.

We will be heard : women's struggles for political power in the United States
by Freeman, Jo

Postville : a clash of cultures in heartland America
by Bloom, Stephen G. (Also the author of the Atlantic article reference above)

An Electronic Resource:
Iowa precinct caucuses [electronic resource] : the making of a media event 2nd ed.
by Winebrenner, Hugh, 1937-

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jung's Red Book

The new movie, A Dangerous Method, examines the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud who began as friends, but then over time fought bitterly over the fundamentals of psychology, psychiatry and role of the psychotherapist. Freud generally viewed the unconscious mind as a warehouse for repressed desires, and Jung viewed the psyche as an inherently more spiritual and fluid place. His central tenets — the existence of a collective unconscious and the power of archetypes — have seeped into New Age thinking while remaining more at the fringes of mainstream psychology. When Carl Jung embarked on an extended self-exploration , where he said he "switched off consciousness", the result was a large, illuminated volume called the The Red Book. The book tells the story of Jung trying to face down his own demons, as he loses his soul and then finds it again. In Jung's view a successful life was all about balance. If our lives erred too much in one direction, our unconscious would compensate for the inequality. The book was never published during Jung's lifetime, though a few friends and disciples were allowed to examine it in a Swiss bank vault. Apparently Jung felt it was too personal for publication and he did use some of the text in other published works. In 2009 Jung's heirs decided to publish a complete facsimile and translation and we have three copies at the library. It's a huge book, resembling a medieval manuscript, with Jung's handwritten text and drawings.

If you just need a beginner's introduction to Jung, check out The Essential Jung, introduced and compiled by Anthony Storr.