Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Although this is a big celebration throughout Mexico and nearby areas, there are two special places where you can see the most of this event: Mixquic, a small community in Mexico City an the Janitzio Island in Michoacán. For three days, starting on October 31st and ending on November 2nd, people will bring ofrendas: flowers, sugar skulls, “pan de muerto” bread and the favorite dishes of their dead relatives to the cemetery. Altars, music, and decorations resembling the skeletons painted by the famous artist Guadalupe Posada can also be seen everywhere.
This is a very brief description of all the traditions and rites that take place during these three days of celebration to remember, with happiness, those who are not among us. If you want to learn more about this festivity, here are some titles you can check out from our library:
A través de los ojos del alma : día de muertos en México, Michoacán = Through the eyes of the soul : Day of the Dead in Mexico, Michoacán
The days of the dead : Mexico's Festival of Communion with the Departed
Día de Muertos en México. Ciudad de México, Mixquic y Morelos / Mexico City, Mixquic & Morelos / [text and photos by Mary J. Andrade]
The skeleton at the feast: the Day of the Dead in Mexico
Friday, October 26, 2007
In the book Them Damned Pictures: Explorations in American Political Cartoon Art, author Roger Fischer explores why cartoonists practice their art. While some believe they have the ability to change minds, others only seek to start conversations. In the book, Bill Watterson (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) is quoted as saying, "People do not turn to cartoonists to learn what to think. Rather they turn to cartoonists to be confronted with an opinion –one that could just as easily be unpalatable as palatable."
Read more about cartoons and cartoonists at your library:
- Killed Cartoons: Casualties from the War on Free Expression
- The Best Political Cartoons of the Year
- Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel
- Big Brother Blues: The Editorial Cartoons of Ben Sargent
- Editorial and Political Cartooning: From Earliest Times to the Present, with over 700 Examples from the Works of the World's Greatest Cartoonists
- Cartoon America: Comic Art in the Library of Congress
- Attitude 2: The New Subversive Alternative Cartoonists
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
It’s autumn. The Church of the Hardwood opens its doors as basketball takes center court. It might not be cold outside yet, but the action is inside. Gymnasiums and arenas across the country have shaken off summer’s slumber, crawled out of off-season hibernation, and are shaking with the sound of swishes and bricked shots. Whether you’re a crack shot or couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, basketball offers something for everyone: skill, entertainment, and great books. Below are just a few of the great basketball books in the Austin Public Library collection. Post up with one of ‘em.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Do you have a favorite novella? Let us know! Here are a few classic and contemporary novellas available at the Austin Public Library:
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy
The Scribe: A Novella by Francine Rivers
A Soul in a Bottle by Tim Powers
Agamemnon's Daughter: A Novella and Stories by Ismail Kadare
Come Together, Fall Apart: A Novella and Stories by Cristina Henríquez
Becoming Abigail: A Novella by Christopher Abani
Friday, October 19, 2007
The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and Science of Smell
Author is a biophysicist who uses his theory of olfaction to design new fragrances.
The Emperor of Scent : a Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses
A portrait of the secretive and Byzantine perfume industry.
Essence and Alchemy
Treatise on the history and making of perfume.
Scented Palace : the Secret History of Marie Antoinette's Perfumer
Perfume: the Story of a Murderer
A murderous perfumer of decadent eighteenth-century France wants to isolate the most perfect scent of all, the scent of life itself.
Madame Mirabou's School of Love
As newly divorced Nikki tries to find herself, her old dream of making perfume as a business instead of a hobby infuses her with purpose.
Crimson Petal and the White
In this bawdy, brilliant novel, a prostitute in Victorian England is taken up by a wealthy man, the perfumer William Rackham, and she must balance financial security against the obvious servitude of her position.
For more reading recommendations, please see the Good Reads Historical Fiction and Historical Romance lists.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This week, I’ll chat about embroidery.
Beginnings: The 2005 Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion states that “(t)he origins of this art form, mentioned in the Bible and in Greek mythology, are lost. Textile scholar Lanto Synge posits that it probably originated in China, and documents early surviving fragments that are estimated as being 4,500 years old. In South America embroideries from the fifth century B.C.E. have been recovered from tombs.”
Books: Do a simple subject keyword search for embroidery in our Library catalog. You will find hundreds of books on patterns, how-to, and history, including 2006’s Sublime stitching: hundreds of hip embroidery patterns and how-to by local embroidery extraordinaire, Jenny Hart. You can also scan the bookshelves in any of our Libraries in the call number area 746s.
Who’s doing it: If you’re in Austin, you’re in good company when it comes to embroidery! The Internet has had a hand in bringing crafts such as knitting, crocheting and embroidery back in a big way. There are tons of blogs, websites, guilds, and other fun stuff online. Here’s one for the locals:
Jenny Hart’s fabulous website
Don’t forget! We have a “knitting” circle here at the Central Branch of the Austin Public Library, every Friday 11-12. Bring your new or continuing projects and chat with fellow stitchers!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Ernesto “Che” Guevara died on October 9th,, 40 years ago. His work throughout
Something inarguable is his impact in the history of
Che Guevara has turned into a social and cultural icon that people either love or hate.
To learn more about “el Che” here are some books that you can check out from our library:
Che: a memoir
Traveling with Che Guevara: the making of a revolutionary
Back on the road: a journey to Latin America
Chasing Che: a motorcycle journey in search of the Guevara legend
Che Guevara: a revolutionary life
Compañero: the life and death of Che Guevara
Friday, October 12, 2007
You can’t win the Nobel Prize in Literature as a flash-in-the-pan. Nope. You need a substantial body of highly regarded work to even be considered. Worth over $1.5 million in tax-exempt prize money, the Nobel provides a hefty nest-egg plus the glamour of pocketing the world’s most prestigious literary award.
An interesting history of the Nobel Prize
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Who hasn’t seen a mime while passing by or while sitting comfortably under a tree at the park? Most of us have seen them and enjoyed their ethereal and magical silent art. Mimes can make us dream about love and freedom; they can also transmit deep messages about human nature and conflicts.
This unique form of art has its origins in ancient Greece. It evolved during the medieval times and during the nineteenth century. Jean-Gaspard Deburau, a Czech artist, gave mimes or pantomimes the appearance and characteristics they have today.
One of the most important exponents of pantomime in our times was Marcel Marceu, who passed away last month. This wonderful French artist toured the world inspiring new generations to explore this form of art and to enjoy it.
Our library has books on the art of pantomime that you can check out:
All about mime : understanding and performing the expressive silence
Talking about mime : an illustrated guide
Be a mime!
Mime and beyond : the silent outcry
Monday, October 08, 2007
A new book, Send: the Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home, will help you avoid the myriad of problems that can occur with emails. The authors want us all to think before we send. In fact, they have created a website called Thinkbeforeyou send that collects annoying emails.
The authors begin the book by listing the main problems with email:
1. The email that's incredibly vague.
2. The email that insults you so badly that you have to get up from your desk.
3. The email that puts you in jail. Remember it's a permanent and searchable record.
4. The email that's cowardly. Often things need to be said in person.
5. The email that won't go away - Re: Re: Re: Re:
6. The email that's so sarcastic that you have to get up from your desk.
7. The email that's too casual for the situation.
8. The email that's inappropriate. And remember that your email can be easily forwarded to someone else.
9. Email that should have been a phone call- conveying emotion, handling a delicate situation, testing the waters, trying to reach an agreement, bringing things to a close.
10. Email with huge attachments that take up a lot of space.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Here is just a sample of some of the popular series you can check out from the Austin Public Library:
If you don’t see your favorite on the list, then take a minute to search the FindIt catalog or call the reference desk for help at 974-7400. All you need is a library card to check out videos and DVDs from the library, no expensive rental fees required. So grab a snack and put on something comfortable and take a weekend to get caught up with all your favorite characters. And don’t forget to check out the TV Guide website to find local listings for your favorite shows so you don’t miss an episode this season!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
The short story is unique. Unlike the typical novel, a short story can be read in one sitting. Therein lies its mystique: a complete literary experience occurring within the time it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee. Some of the world’s best writers primarily penned short stories. Although, some novelists couldn’t write a short story if their legacies depended upon it.
Within the past couple of years, an American short story renaissance has not only begun, but flourished. Whether a classic short story or one of the American new breed, give one of these collections a whirl. You might be surprised by the depth and skill encapsulated within a mere thirty pages.
Flannery O’Connor The Complete Stories
Anton Chekhov Stories
Grace Paley The Collected Stories
Raymond Carver What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
Franz Kafka The Complete Stories
Bernard Malamud The Complete Stories
Lorrie Moore Birds of America
Anthony Doerr The Shell Collector
Oscar Casares Brownsville
Charles D’Ambrosio The Dead Fish Museum
Edward P. Jones All Aunt Hagar’s Children
Richard Ford A Multitude of Sins
Miranda July No One Belongs Here More than You
Yiyun Li A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
Monday, October 01, 2007
If you, or someone you know, complains about low morale at work, reading some books on how to improve the workplace might help.
The Seven-Day Weekend
Joy at Work
The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace
Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-based Management
Weird Ideas that Work: 11 1/2 Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Motivation
Or you can watch The Office, the TV series about a dysfunctional workplace, and be convinced that your workplace is not so bad. The original BBC version is even better.