Friday, November 28, 2008

Find Your Style

Today is Black Friday, the day that the balance sheets of retail stores should start showing a profit. With the economic downturn, two things that still may sell well are clothing and food. Even when you buy these necessities, you want to make sure the items will contribute to a positive and healthy lifestyle. The Library has new fashion books to help you buy clothes that will be your perfect fit. Most fashion books are for women, but men need practical advice just as much, so I reached back a few years to find a book on men’s clothing.

How to Have Style
Isaac Misrahi

How to Be a Budget Fashionista
Kathryn Finney

The Little Black Book of Style
Nina Garcia

The Meaning of Sunglasses: And a Guide to Almost All Things Fashionable
Hadley Freeman

The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own
Nina Garcia

The Science of Sexy
Bradley Bayou

Tim Gunn: a Guide to Qulaity, Taste, and Style
Tim Gunn

Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion
Alan Flusser

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The Austin Public Library wishes you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

We will be closed Thursday and Friday, but will be open at 10:00am Saturday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Have you seen this man?

He jumped out of a moving airplane 4,000 feet above Washington state. Why? This man, known as D.B. Cooper, was hijacking this airplane, Northwest Airlines Flight 305, on November 24, 1971. He jumped into a horrendous thunderstorm in the middle of the night and never was seen again. His demands were $200,000 cash and 2 sets of parachutes. Approximately $5,800 of this money was found nine years later on the banks of the Columbia River by an eight year old boy. The FBI does not think Cooper is still alive, but they do want to know who he was, or is. Read the full details at their website or come into the Library and check out some information about Mr. Cooper and his dastardly crime as well as other interesting criminal stories of the world.

D.B. Cooper: The Real McCoy

D.B. Cooper: What Really Happened

Without a Paddle (videorecording)

D.B.: A Novel

Bloodletters and Badmen: A Narrative Encyclopedia of American Criminals from the Pilgrims to the Present

World Encyclopedia of Organized Crime

Encyclopedia of American Crime

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Appreciating Abe

Everyone seems to have Abraham Lincoln on their minds these days. Much has been made about the similarities between President-elect Barack Obama and Lincoln in the press. Obama also has quoted Lincoln in his speeches, and in the recent 60 Minutes interview, he said "I've been spending a lot of time reading Lincoln. There is a wisdom there and a humility about his approach to government, even before he was president, that I just find very helpful.” In fact, Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin's bestseller about Lincoln's cabinet, was one book Obama felt he couldn't do without in the White House.

The nation is also celebrating the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth next year. We'll see four new penny designs, and it was recently announced that the theme for the inauguration will be "A New Birth of Freedom" in honor of Lincoln's birthday.

We're all pretty familiar with the basics of Lincoln's life, but now might be the time to delve further to truly understand the man and his accomplishments. Below are just a few recent titles out of the hundreds available at your library:

The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln through His Words by Ronald C. White

Did Lincoln Own Slaves?: And Other Frequently Asked Questions About Abraham Lincoln by Gerald Prokopowicz

President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman by William Lee Miller

The Age of Lincoln by Orville Vernon Burton

The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage by Daniel Mark Epstein

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hop along springbok...maybe

How can an antelope cause so much passionate debate? It’s a simple hoofed creature, spending bucolic days on the veld with one eye on grass meals and the other on lounging lions.

We’re not discussing any old antelope. The hoofed mammal in question is the springbok, which has served as the emblem for South Africa’s national rugby team for 102 years. England has its rose. France has its rooster. South Africa has its springbok. Seems okay right? Like most things, it isn’t so black and white. Throughout the apartheid era, rugby was a white Afrikaners’ game, so the seemingly innocuous springbok became a visual manifestation of the oppressive apartheid regime. The South African national rugby team is now an integrated squad, but retains the springbok emblem, whereas all other South African nation sports teams have adopted the national flower (the king protea) as their emblem, which is seen as a more inclusive and less historically charged emblem.

The debate is confusing. Many white South Africans hope to retain the springbok, but so too do many notable black South Africans including Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu and Bryan Habana (South African rugby player and 2007 world player of the year). On the flip side, some black South Africans understandably would prefer adopting the king protea emblem. So too would some white South Africans, including Luke Watson (current South African rugby player) who recently said he wants to vomit whenever he wears the springbok-emblazoned jersey.

There is no easy answer, especially when the springbok simultaneously represents so much: a century of sporting tradition and decades as an apartheid emblem.

John Carlin’s excellent Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation discusses the inherent issues surrounding the springbok as well as depicting how Nelson Mandela forged a united South Africa through his support of the mid-1990s national rugby team.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Inca Princess Dies

I grew up in the land of thrift store paradise. Thrift stores in South Florida are as common as palm trees. I remember devoting many hours digging through dense pilings of tattered and torn vinyl records in search of the one jewel amongst a vast wasteland of audio detritus. Henry Mancini, Mitch Miller, and Lenny Dee recordings were always in plentiful supply. Perhaps the dizzying quantity of recordings for sale by these artists made more unusual or original works really stand out. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach the first time I spotted my first Yma Sumac record. Her exotic, over the top appearance, coupled with her equally exotic singing style have never left me. It is for this reason that I was genuinely saddened upon hearing of her passing. Fortunately, the Austin Public Library shares my interest and curiosity for the exotic and original so that others may also discover her truly unique singing talents.

The ultimate Yma Sumac collection [sound recording]

Mondo exotica [sound recording] : [mysterious melodies & tropical tiki tunes]

Voice of the Xtabay sound recording

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Forever War

Because titles cannot be copyrighted, you often see books with the same title. For example, the title Book of the Dead has been used by several contemporary authors. The Forever War (2008) by Dexter Filikins, a raw and riveting account of the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, shares its title with a science fiction novel written 23 years ago by Joe Haldeman. Both books are about a seemingly endless war. Upon reading reviews of the two books, I found that both are also considered war literature classics.
Dexter Filkins was a correspondent for the Baghdad bureau of The New York Times from 2003 to 2006. Joe Haldeman is a Vietnam veteran who teaches creative writing at MIT.

The Forever War
Dexter Filkins
956.70443 Fi

“Dexter Filkins’s The Forever War, brutally intimate, compassionate, often poetic accounts of the battle against Islamic fundamentalism, is destined to become a classic.”
-Vanity Fair

“Dexter Filkins is the preeminent war correspondent of my generation, fearless, compassionate, and brutally honest. The Forever War is his astonishing story. It is one of the best books about war that I have ever read. It will stay with me forever.”
-Jeffrey Goldberg, author of Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide

The Forever War
Joe Haldeman

"Forever War is brilliant--one of the most influential war novels of our time. That it happens to be set in the future only broadens and enhances its message."
--Greg Bear, author of Moving Mars, Eon, The Forge of God

"To say that The Forever War is the best science fiction war novel ever written is to damn it with faint praise. It is, for all its techno-extrapolative brilliance, as fine and woundingly genuine a war story as any I've read."
--William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, Spook Country

For more recommended titles see Good Reads Nonfiction 2008, and Good Reads Recent Science Fiction.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chirp, chirp, chirp!!

This year is the 45th anniversary of the movie “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock which has been considered one of the horror classics of all times.

The movie, based on a work with the same title by Daphne du Maurier, influenced and inspired other movies with similar plots or topics like apocalypses and nature’s revenge on humans. Some of these movies are: Marnie (1964), The Dark Half (1993), and The Birds: land’s end (1994) among others.

Lots of books have been written based on this film as well, an example is “The Birds” by Camille Paglia. In this book Ms. Paglia analyzes the perception about women that Hitchcock wanted to portray in the film. She also points out the different roles that women play in this movie which are very similar to the roles they learn from society. In other words, this movie is not only about birds, but, I am going to let you find that out for yourself.

Here some books and other materials related to this movie that might interest you:

The birds. Camille Paglia

The birds (DVD)

After Hitchcock : influence, imitation, and intertextuality. David Boyd

Hitchcock's music. Jack Sullivan

It's only a movie : Alfred Hitchcock, a personal biography Charlotte Chandler

Pregame Songs

If your team needs some playoff motivation, these songs should get everyone’s adrenaline going. Both the music and the lyrics are perfect for the warm-up period before the game. Find your favorite place to download the songs, or view them on Youtube.

The Distance - Cake
Live to Win - Motorhead
Bodies - Drowning Pool
Jump - Van Halen
We’re Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister
Love Train - Wolf Mother
Carry on Wayward Son - Kansas
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
The Warrior's Code - Dropkick Murphys
Boom - P.O.D.
Give It All - Rise Against
Immortals Battle - Tyler Bates
Thunderstruck - AC/DC

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Rhizome Collective

For the first time last week I stopped into Monkey Wrench Books on North Loop to browse. As soon as I walked in I found a book, Toolbox for Sustainable City Living, on prominent display. I was intrigued, so I made my purchase and have now become absolutely fascinated with the Rhizome Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to urban sustainability here in Austin, whose founders wrote the book. The Rhizome Collective (rhizome referring to an underground root system that’s difficult to uproot) is based out of a warehouse in East Austin and is dedicated to the education of anyone interested in learning more about ecological technologies that simply, efficiently, cheaply, and environmentally-soundly sustain lands and people. In addition to their education center and teachers, they also offer a center for community groups to meet. Currently, their facilities are the meeting place for the Inside Books Project, KPWR, Bikes across Borders, Food Not Bombs, and a few others.

One of the most notable efforts by the Collective was the large scale clean up of just less than 10 acres of brownfield (land that may contain harmful environmental pollutants) in the Montopolis area of Austin. The brownfield had been a landfill and an illegal dump for years and the Collective obtained a competitive grant from the EPA to assist in the cost of the clean up. Between 2005 and 2006 the Collective “removed 680 tires, 10.1 tons and 36.5 cubic yards of trash, and 31.6 tons of recyclable metal from the site.” The effort received much local attention and the Collective was invited to speak at the EPA Regional 6 Annual Conference about their work.

It is refreshing and awe-inducing to read about groups so committed to the pursuit of urban renewal and sustainable living; particularly one that is dedicated to the education of others interested in the pursuit. Here at Austin Public Library we have a sizable collection of books on sustainable living, self-reliant living, urban ecology, and the like to tide you over until you can make it to one of the Collective’s workshops.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Information overload

While I consider myself pretty decent at multitasking, I found it difficult to focus during the onslaught of results, discussions, and statistics on election night. The amount of information packed onto our television screens was astonishing. After all, there is a limit to what the human brain can process at once. In fact, recent research shows that our ability to multitask grows steadily during our early years, peaks around our thirties, and then begins to decline. Woe to those who weren't at their multitasking peak that night!

With the deluge of available information, we must force ourselves to be selective with information and our time. Using our online databases for your next research project allows you to do both. The databases provide articles from dependable sources, so you can avoid all of the commercial fluff that runs rampant on the Internet. This will inevitably save you time and help you obtain more accurate and reliable information. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian for help! And, if you want to multitask, then pick up one of these related titles to read during lunch or at the gym:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Last night in Chicago, Barack Obama asked us to help move the country forward through community service. A current exhibit at the City of Austin’s Carver Museum shows a great example of fulfilling this request. The exhibit narrates the 100 year history of the America’s first black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Both UT and Huston-Tillotson have very active chapters, but the members’ service commitment continues beyond graduation. As I was wandering through the exhibit room, a young man pointed to a photograph, and proudly exclaimed, “That’s my sister!” The photographs are framed in the sorority’s colors, pink and green, making it a lovely exhibit.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Model Magic

When I was younger, I liked to build models. As I got older I left this impulse behind. Now that I’m older still, I find myself returning to a fascination with model building. To my great delight I have found some exquisite resources available through the Austin Public Library to both aid and inspire me in creating these miniature visual illusions.

Building better scale model cars and trucks : detailing tips and techniques

Building and detailing scale model muscle cars

Building and flying model aircraft

Building and painting scale figures

Building plastic models

The Encyclopedia of military modelling

The encyclopedia of modelmaking techniques

The model-building handbook : techniques professionals use

The modelmaker's handbook

Painting and finishing scale models

Scale model detailing

Small-scale modelling

FineScale modeler

Model building for beginners [videorecording]

Kit Retailers: