Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Moving to Paris

I was surprised to find so many books in the Library's collection about expatriates living in France, and how often the books circulated. Usually the lucky person who moves to France, to shop daily for fresh produce in the Parisian markets, or to fix up a crumbling country house, has married a French citizen or has a lot of extra money. For the rest of us, we have to be satisfied with just reading about their experiences. C'est la vie!

Some recent titles are:

Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull
Chasing Matisse: a Year in France Living My Dream by James Morgan
Extremely Pale Rose: a Very French Adventure by Jamie Ivey
French Spirits: a House, a villa, and a Love Affair in Burgundy by Jeffrey Greene
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
We'll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light by John Baxter
Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France by Kristin Espinasse
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Please check the catalog for availability or to place a hold.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Traveling librarian Visits Burton Barr Central Library

What a great experience!! I had the opportunity to be in Phoenix yesterday and visited the wonderful Burton Barr Central Library. This library was built in 1995, and has an area of 280,000 square feet. The building's five stories are constructed of concrete, glass, and iron. I know you might be thinking that it is too gray, but on the contrary, there is lots of light and color in this library. Bright green desks for computers, and art exhibits and neon signs give a vibrant look to this library.

The children’s area has a little garden where librarians offer story times and parents read to their kids among beautiful plants in a lovely setting. A popular area in the library is Teen Central, a room with music, lots of computers, and vending machines. This is the only place in the library where you are allowed to eat - if you are a teenager, of course.

Lots of people visit this library on the Summer Solstice, June 21. They ascend to the fifth floor where people say they can see a flame illusion on the special columns and the shadows move unusually quickly on the walls and skylights. So, if you want to do something special for this summer, why not go to the Burton Barr Central Library and experience something new! We will love to hear your comments!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oh, Oscar!

This week the Oscar nominations were announced. Did you know that the following nominated films started out as books?

Letters from Iwo Jima, book titled Picture Letters from Commander in Chief by Tadamichi Kuribayashi

Children of Men, book of the same title by P.D. James

Little Children, book of the same title by Tom Perrotta

Notes on a Scandal, book of the same title by Zoe Heller

What’s your favorite book-turned-Oscar-winning movie? Check our catalog to read the books before you head out to see the movie. Then watch the Oscars to see who won!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Say Goodbye to Art Buchwald

Prolific humor writer, Pulitzer-prize winning columnist, and political gadfly, Art Buchwald died Wednesday of kidney failure. For nearly six decades Buchwald wrote satire columns that appeared in more than 500 newspapers all across the country.

Buchwald's father went broke in the Depression and his mother was institutionalized shortly after his birth in 1925. He and his sisters were shuttled between foster homes and the Hebrew Orphan Asylum. He battled bouts of depression most of his life, which he openly wrote about, hoping to help others. He said in a 1994 interview with National Public Radio that "I did discover early in life I could make people laugh. That's what's changed my life, because as long as I could make 'em laugh, I could get a lot of love."

In February 2006, Buchwald decided to forego dialysis and was given 3 weeks to live. He checked into a hospice, planned his funeral, and faced death without flinching, but then, to everyone's surprise, lived for another eleven months He wrote in his newly resumed column that he had to "scrap his funeral plans, rewrite his living will, buy a new cell phone, and get on with his improbable life." His most recent book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye, is about this unexpected last year. The Library has ordered the book, and should be getting copies soon. In the meantime, you can read earlier works such as Leaving Home, a bright, funny and poignant memoir of his early years, or I'll Always Have Paris, which describes Buchwald's Paris years as a member of the Herald Tribune staff during the 1940s and 1950s, hobnobbing with the rich, the famous, and the literary.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tax Time

Start your year off right by getting a jump start on your taxes! Stop by the Faulk Central Library to find all sorts of tax forms for your filing needs. Some Austin Public Library branches have the basic forms available as well as tax assistance. See our web site for a list of locations or Ask a Librarian for more information. You can also download tax forms directly from the IRS Website.

Beginning January 16th - April 16th, Foundation Communities will once again provide tax preparation services through its Community Tax Centers program. Families that make $50,000 a year or less or individuals who make $25,000 a year or less are eligible. The centers offer free paper and electronic tax filing, bilingual and sign-language interpreters, prior-year tax return preparation, and applications for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers. Please see the Community Tax Centers web site for information about what forms they will prepare, what to bring, locations, and hours of operation.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Books into Film

The movie Children of Men, starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore, recently opened to glowing reviews. The movie was based on a book with the same title written by the British mystery writer, P.D. James. Many other 2006 movies were based on books that are worth reading even if you have seen the movie. Books made into film this past year are: American Knees (Amercanese), Aquamarine, Ask the Dust, Black Dahlia, Death and Life of Bobby Z, The Devil Wears Prada, Eragon, Freedomland, The Good German, Killshot, Little Children, The Namesake, The Night Listener, Perfume: the Story of a Murderer, The Pursuit of Happyness, Running with Scissors, Snow Angels, Tenants, The Thief Lord, The Treatment, The Visitation, and Wedding Season. Please check the Library's catalog for availability or to place a hold.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Old news!?!?

Post Och Inrikes Tidningar is a Swedish newspaper that has been published non-stop since 1645. This is one of the oldest newspapers that is still in circulation in the world. Interesting ah? But how much do we know about the history of the newspapers?

Well, the first newspaper recorded in history is Acta Diurna, a Roman newspaper “published” around 59 B.C. In this periodical, Julius Caesar informed the public about the latest news and events coming up. It also had information on scandals, trials, and executions. In China, the government during the Han dynasty (202 B.C. – 221 A.D) also printed news-sheets that they called “tipao.” These were reproduced by wooden carvings and had official announcements and news for the Chinese bureaucrats and officials.

According to the World Association of Newspapers, the oldest newspaper that is still published in the United States is the Hartford Courant. This newspaper started to be published in 1764 in Connecticut. Other old newspapers in this country are Northampton Daily Hampshire Gazette (1786), the Berkshire Eagle (1789), and the Norwich Bulleting (1791), all of them from the East Coast.

For more information on the history of the newspapers visit the following links:

World Association of Newspapers. Newspapers a brief history.

Hartford Courant information in Wikipedia

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Resolutions and Black-Eyed Peas

Ever wonder why we are so hard pressed to make a new year's resolution? What are some of the top resolutions? And why do so many people tell me to eat black-eyed peas on January first?

First of all, a resolution is a committment or decision to do something or behave in a certain manner. Accordingly, popular resolutions include: losing weight/becoming more healthy, quit smoking/quiting a bad habit, and becoming financially sound/getting out of debt. After hunting around on the Internet, I found that the tradition of celebrating the new year dates back to the time of the Babylonians, about 4,000 years ago! The early Babylonian's themselves often resolved to return borrowed items. The early Christians believed that we should reflect on past mistakes and resolve to make the new year better.

So, thousands of years of tradition and custom is carried on when we make a resolution. What's your resolution? I resolve to do something I've never done before every week! We'll see how long that lasts.

Did you eat your black-eyed peas yesterday? I did. I also had them for leftovers today. The tradition of eating black-eyed peas on January 1st is a Southern tradition. The reason for eating these legumes is that it is said to bring good luck and prosperity to whomever eats them. In Texas, cabbage is also traditionally eaten on the first day of the year as it is a symbol of money. So, if you ate your black-eyed peas and cabbage, you should be good to go for the rest of the year.