Friday, December 29, 2006

Celebrate the New Year!

It’s almost New Year’s Eve, so get your noisemakers and streamers ready! If you are heading to the First Night Austin celebration, keep an eye out for your friendly neighborhood librarians and a few of your favorite book characters in the parade! The schedule for First Night includes a variety of art, music, dance, film, spoken word, and fireworks.

Then, as the clock strikes midnight, many people will hear the traditional Scottish ballad "Auld Lang Syne" written by the poet Robert Burns. Here are the first two stanzas of the poem according to the Litfinder database:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to min'?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear.
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Happy New Year! And remember that the library will be closed on Monday for New Years Day.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Leftover Turkey Recipe

The Library will be closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Here is recipe to try Tuesday with your turkey leftvovers. The recipe for Turkey White Bean Soup is from the January 2005 Good Housekeeping. You can find more recipes in cooking magazines using the Libary's Masterfile database.

Prep 15 minutes · Cook about 25 minutes
Makes about 8 cups or 4 main-dish servings2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, crushed with press
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Pinch dried rosemary, crumbled
2 cans (15 to 19 ounces each) white beans, rinsed
and drained (use small white beans, cannellini,
chickpeas, navy beans, or any combination)
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes in juice
1 can (14 to 14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth (1 3/4 cups)
1 bag (6 ounces) baby spinach, arugula, and
shredded carrot blend or 1 bag (5 to 6 ounces)
baby spinach
1 1/2 cups (½-inch pieces) leftover roast turkey meat
(8 ounces)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In 5-quart saucepot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic, salt, crushed red pepper, and rosemary, and cook until garlic begins to turn golden brown, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beans, tomatoes with their juice, and broth; heat to boiling over high heat, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes.

2.Stir in spinach blend and turkey; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until spinach wilts and turkey is heated through. Serve in soup bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Some Recent Reads from the Stacks - Part II

The lost years of William S. Burroughs: beats in South Texas by Rob Johnson (2006, Texas A&M University Press). This period of Burroughs' life has not been examined so closely before, and it's a time of particular interest to Burroughs readers in the Lone Star State. Details of WSB and friend Kells Elvin's farming operation and the deaths of his wife (accidental shooting by Burroughs) and friend Gene Terry (mauled by a lion in a border nightclub) are given full treatment. Burroughs, who died in 1997 at his home in Lawrence, Kansas, is the author of Naked Lunch, Junky, Queer, Cities of the Red Night, and other groundbreaking books. Norman Mailer said "Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius." Author Johnson is associate professor at the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg.

Counting sheep: the science and pleasures of sleep and dreams by Paul Martin (2004, Thomas Dunne Books). This isn't at all a book to put you to sleep. It's more likely one that'll keep you reading up into the wee hours, when you should be catching some zzz's. All sorts of minutiae about sleep and dreams is here -- why your body and mind demand them both, and what can happen if you don't get enough of either. Hypnagogic versus hypnopompic states, REM, NREM, EEOG, PET, and more. They're explored here in all their fascinating glory, along with tons of literary and historical anecdotes. I'm not a big one for popular science books, but this one more than held my interest all the way through. Recommended!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Some Recent Reads from the Stacks

Rogue state: a guide to the world's only superpower by William Blum (2005, Common Courage Press) - A new edition of the book cited by Osama Bin Laden as the one to read to understand international politics. Bin Laden mentioned this title in one of his audio tape releases earlier this year. Other Blum titles at APL include:

Poems of Catullus (2005, University of California Press) - Bawdy versification from the 1st century B.C.E., a favorite of Charles Bukowski and others. "The infamous Latin poet could turn quite the vulgar phrase when insulting his enemies or boasting about his sexual prowess" (Publisher's Weekly). This recent edition presents the poems in both Latin and English. Also by this author look for: Poems of love and hate (2004, Bloodaxe Books).

Monday, December 18, 2006

Party Conversation

After leaving a party, if you worry that conversation with friends and family has not touched on any serious or deep subject, keep in mind what Marcel Proust wrote in a letter shortly before he died. He penned, "Cher ami, We talk too much about serious things. Serious conversation is intended for people who have no intellectual life. People like the three of us, on the contrary, who have an intellectual life need frivolity when they escape from themselves and from hard inner labor. We should, as you say, talk about all the little things and leave philosophy to solitidue". This excerpt is from a new book available at Austin Public Library titled, The Letters of Marcel Proust, 2006.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Friendly books!

You're at the Faulk Central Library downtown, making your way to the check-out desk with your stack of books and CDs. You can be also waiting for your reservation to come up on the express Internet stations on the Library's 1st floor. While in line, don't forget to take a look at the Friends of the Library book sale shelves. You can find more reading material to take home for a small contribution to the Friends of the Austin Public Library, and these books are yours to keep! Your contribution, $1 for each paperback, $2 for hardcover, helps fund various projects in the Austin Public Library system. The books you see on the sale shelves in the Library are only a small sample of what you can find at the Monster Book Store at 1800 South 5th Street.

Occasionally you can happen upon a real gem on the Friends sale shelves in the Library, but for the really good stuff, you'll have to visit the Monster Book Store. They have limited hours of operation (Wednesdays 10 am to 2 pm, Thursdays 7 pm to 9 pm, and Saturdays 9 am to 3 pm) but it's worth working a visit into your schedule if you can. Moreover, every Thursday evening you can buy 2 for 1. Offer applies to $1 and $2 books (which is the lion's share of the stock), media, specially priced boxes of books, encyclopedia sets, and other complete series. The two-for-one offer doesn't apply to select "better" books, to book bags, or to memberships.

You can also visit the Friends of the Austin Public Library website for more information.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Post It!

Do you want to advertise a non-profit event on the Faulk Central Library bulletin boards? Submit a poster or a flyer to the second-floor reference desk, and we’ll post it for you. It’ll stay up three weeks or until your event is over, whichever comes first. Here are some hints for getting your poster noticed:
  • Make it colorful. Stop people in their tracks.
  • Figure out a way people can take your info with them without having to get out a pen and paper; for example:
    -Make tear-off tabs at the bottom of the poster with a date or a phone number or a web page. Cut them so they come off easily. Those tabs disappear fast.
    -Fold up the bottom of the poster, staple the edges to make a pocket, and insert small, easy-to-grab handouts.
  • Bigger is better, but not too big, please. Only one copy of a flyer will be accepted for posting.

We don’t post religious, personal, commercial, or political notices; the boards are just for tax-supported or non-profit educational, cultural, and government activities and events. For more information about posting, read our policy online.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

APL Answers

Google has decided to abandon its 4-year-old service, Google Answers, which hired researchers to answer questions on everything from school homework to business plan ideas. Google's service required its users to pay a researcher anywhere from $2 to $200. The company collected a 50-cent commission on each question, with the remainder going to the researchers who responded to the question. Yahoo started a competing service last year that lets people ask questions and get responses from other Yahoo users for free, and this service has been much more popular. The Austin Public Library also has a free online answer service, and we encourage everyone to use it. Ask A Librarian provides brief answers, research help, Web sources, and information about the Library's collection, databases, services, online catalog, and customers' Library accounts.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Traveling Librarian went to the National Library of Costa Rica!

As you can imagine, I was very lucky to go on a trip to Costa Rica this past November. This is a country of exuberant natural beauty and warm people that everyone should visit. While in San José, the capital of the country, I got to visit the National Library Miguel Obregón Lizano. The library was founded in 1888, and it has had different locations through the years, the final location being a glass and iron building constructed in 1968. The National Library compiles all the materials published in the country in every format: books, periodicals, maps and audiovisuals. This library also has a collection of antique books and periodicals of great historical value. Its collection of Costa Rican books measures 188,355 volumes and 920 titles of periodicals dating back to 1883.

This library is open to all, but it mainly serves academic researchers. Because of the characteristics of its collection, the books can only be used in the library. Its big glass walls make patrons feel like they are working in a very open and clean space with enough light to feel comfortable studying or reading. Art exhibits are often shown in this library, so, if you go to Costa Rica, include this library in your itinerary!

Be Prepared!

Flat tire: two highly irritating words, especially after work on Friday when it’s freezing outside.

Luckily the library has lots of resources to help you learn how to fix a flat, maintain your car, or deal with breakdowns. Here are just a few:

  • Popular mechanics complete car care manual (629.2872 PO)
  • Auto mechanics: an introduction and guide (629.2 LI)
  • Dare to repair your car: a do-it-herself guide to maintenance, safety, minor fix-its, and talking shop (629.2872 SU)

You say you’re way beyond just fixing the basics? Check out our Chilton Repair Manuals or visit the Auto Repair Reference Center online database. You can access the database at any library location or remotely with a library card number.

And, if your poor vehicle is just not salvageable, our collection of Consumer Reports will help you select a new one with ease. Locate a print copy using FindIt or read articles online using the eJournal Locator and our databases. If you need help, just Ask a Librarian!


The Americans and British have a different attitude toward great literature. This past spring the New York Times Book Review's group of judges selected the best American novel in the last 25 years. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987) was no. 1, and the runners-up were Underworld by Don DeLillo(1997), Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (1985), Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels by John Updike (1995), and American Pastoral by Philip Roth (1997). This past October the British newspaper, The Observer, selected the best novels in the English language, excluding American titles. Disgrace by JM Coetzee (1999) was no. 1, and the runners-up were Money by Martin Amis (1984), Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess (1980), Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001), The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald (1995), The Unconsoled (1995) by
Kazuo Ishiguro, and Midnight's Children (1981) by Salman Rushdie. Although I have not read them all, my personal favorite is the Rabbit Angstrom quartet - Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest - by John Updike.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Holiday Music

Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, we begin to hear holdiay music on the radio, in stores, and in TV commercials. One of the all-time favorites that has been played to death since it first appeared in 1942 is White Christmas, written by Irving Berlin. The song is the lament of a Northerner stuck in California, who is complaining about spending Christmas under palm trees. When the song appeared in 1942, millions of Americans were fighting overseas. So in time it came to represent the longing for an old-fashioned Christmas in a world at peace. You can find many versions of this song and lots of other holiday music on cd at the Austin Public Library. In the catalog's search box, type "christmas music and cd", "carols and cd", "hanukkah and cd", or "kwanzaa and cd". Many branches have a copy of the Circle of Light: a Mult-Cultural Holiday Celebration, a cd recorded at the fire station in San Marcos in 2000, and which is sung in various languages.