Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year. Happy Reading.

***Book club plug***

I would like to invite you to attend one of the Austin Public Library’s book clubs this spring. The Austin Public Library hosts a variety of book clubs throughout the city. From classics to sci-fi to notable contemporary titles, we have a book club for you. For a list of dates and titles, click here.

Below is a rundown of the book clubs run by the Faulk Central Library.

Graphic Novels Book Club
January 21: Blankets by Craig Thompson
February 18: Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan
March 25 (4th Wed., not 3rd to avoid SXSW): Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
April 15: Watchmen by Alan Moore
May 20: Y: The Last Man (vol. 1) by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra
Meets at: Halcyon (218 W. 4th St)

Contemporary Fiction Book Club
February 2: Netherland by Joseph O’Neill
March 2: Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner
April 1: The End by Salvatore Scibona
May 4: Goldengrove by Francine Prose
Meets at: Little City (916 Congress)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Still Life

To me, Mickey Rourke’s life is a movie unto itself. As a younger man, his was poised to take his place amongst the great actors of the Twentieth Century. Critics heralded and lauded his acting abilities and likened him to giants such as Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Robert De Niro. Sadly, his success went straight to his head and after making a series of critically acclaimed films his career imploded. A series of very poor films followed and a talent burning bright with promise slowly began to dim.

Fast forward ten years later, Mickey Rourke is back staring in a new film, the Wrestler, that once again has critics rumbling about a potential Oscar win. The Austin Public Library has collected several of his films that are representative of the greatness he once exhibited and that has resurfaced these many years later. Check them out and see for yourself.

Rumble fish

Angel heart


9 1/2 weeks


Friday, December 26, 2008


The Library has a new book about Hadrian, the Roman Emperor. Lavishly illustrated with key works of art and objects, sculptures, bronzes, coins and medals, drawings, and watercolors from museums around the globe, Hadrian: Empire and Conflict
conveys a vivid sense of the world Hadrian inhabited. The author shows the emperor from many angles—as a complex individual, as a military leader and strategist, as the amateur architect who created magnificent buildings such as his villa at Tivoli (an empire in miniature), as the lover who deified his male lover Antinous after his mysterious death, and, finally, as the traveler who tirelessly roamed his empire and its boundaries.

A much older book, The Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, recounts Hadrian's boyhood, his triumphs and reversals, his deep love affair with Antinous, and his gradual reordering of a war-torn world in an imagined letter to his successor and adopted grandson, Marcus Aurelius. The book captures the inner thoughts and feelings of a wise old man nearing death and offering his wisdom to his young heir. The greatness of the book is due to Yourcenar's extensive research and brilliant writing, and its universal wisdom.
It's many readers favorite book.

See more historical fiction in the Library's Good Reads list.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Job Hunting Means Networking

When you're trying to find a job, you really need to use the power of your network. Face-to face networking tends to be the best way to find a new job. So says an article in the New York Times. But use social networking sites to find potential contacts. Join a network of people to share job ideas and leads, and keep up morale.

The Library's Job Searching Guide has a section on social networking, with links to the most popular websites. Select "Social Networking" from the top index.

Come to the Library after the holidays to use the public computers to create and print a resume, sign up for an MS Excel class, or find companies in your field.

Monday, December 22, 2008


36 years ago on this day the survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force crash were rescued in the Andes. Their story is a familiar one. You may have read the book, you may have seen the movie, or you may know the story firsthand. Those who survived, did so through horrific weather conditions and made difficult decisions, one of which was turning to cannibalism. These young men survived the mountains for ten weeks before being rescued by helicopter. And even then, the rescue took two days, leaving six survivors in the mountains before being able to return.

The survivors have put together a very nice website detailing the crash and everything after. Visit today and help celebrate their rescue. While you're in the Library check out the books and movie on their story.

The Story of the Andes Survivors: Alive

Miracle in the Andes

Alive (movie)

If this topic interests you, you should check out more:
Left for dead : surviving the deadliest storm in modern sailing history

35 miles from shore : the ditching and rescue of ALM flight 980

Survive: stories of castaways and cannibals

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Follow/Friend/Fan APL

Have you found the Austin Public Library on the social networking sites yet? We have pages on MySpace and Facebook, so become our friend and/or fan. We update the sites with our blog posts, news about the library, program announcements, and photos from our events.

No time to surf the web? Then, follow us on Twitter! Short text announcements (140 characters or less) can be delivered directly to your phone and to your Twitter account online. You'll be the first to find out about our programs, new databases, important library updates, and much more. Also be sure to check out our online events calendar for youth and adults. Subscribe to the RSS feed to keep up with all of the fun and informative programs we have scheduled for 2009!

The best part about these social networking sites is that it's easy to let us know your thoughts. Send us comments, write on our wall, text us @replies. No matter how you do it, we want to hear from you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!!

Austin Public Library customers can now enjoy online access to more than 800 full-content newspapers and magazines through our newest database - PressDisplay.
Visually stunning, PressDisplay presents the periodicals in their traditional format and layout, including color images, editorial content, classifieds, and advertisements.
Once inside a newspaper, readers can turn the pages as if holding the actual paper, zooming into individual images and articles. But you should see for yourself - you will be impressed.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Have you ever felt like you were the last person to find out about something important or artistically great? That was the feeling that overcame me as I confidently brought up the subject of Chilean born writer Roberto Bolano to a couple of my highly literate friends. One of my friends was gracious in his response while the other, who lived in Chile for 20 years, simply rolled his eyes and pitied me. Luckily for me, and the rest of Austin, my well informed colleagues at the Austin Public Library have already acquired many of his books including a title that appears in the New York Times as one of the best books for 2008, 2666. However, be forewarned. If you’re expecting fantastical tales involving magical realism you will be sorely disappointed. Bolano’s fiction is bracing and dark and in keeping with a man who has not lived an easy life.

English Translations:


The savage detectives

Nazi literature in the Americas

Last evenings on Earth


Distant star

By night in Chile

Original Spanish:

Nocturno de Chile


Los detectives salvajes

El secreto del mal

Putas asesinas

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crooning Christmas

I don’t know about you, but when the holidays come ‘round, I enjoy listening to Frank Sinatra. For some reason Mr. Sinatra exudes something special at this time of year. I am not one who enjoys going to the mall or shopping centers to do any kind of Christmas spending, but if Frank is crooning over the loudspeakers, it makes everything a little better. I recently read that he put forth the extra effort at this time of year. He loved the holidays. Perhaps it is because his mother was born on Christmas day, or perhaps it is because today is his birthday, but whatever the reason, we’re happy he did. If you’re in the mood for some Sinatra check out the following titles. You can find more by doing a simple search for “Frank Sinatra” in our catalog. Enjoy the holidays.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas sound recording

Christmas songs by Sinatra

Christmas is...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, amassed unimaginable wealth, and earned the merchant of death epithet that hounded him throughout his latter years. Wanting to leave a more positive legacy, Nobel arranged for the creation of the Nobel Prizes—to be awarded after his death—through a substantial endowment.

The annual prizes award “achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace.” In some fields, notably literature, the prize is typically perceived as a lifetime achievement award, whereas the peace prize is often awarded to an individual or group for a unique peace brokerage. No matter the criteria, receiving a Nobel Prize exalts the recipient to rarefied air. The first Nobel Prizes were awarded 107 years ago on December 10, 1901.

For a comprehensive list of all Nobel laureates, including brief biographical information and acceptance speeches, click here.

The Austin Public Library owns hundreds of books by Nobel Prize winners. An author search by the writer that interests you will reveal what titles the Austin Public Library owns. Using your library card and PIN, you can then place holds on your preferred titles and designate to which location you would like them sent.

The below titles provide history and insight into the Nobel Prize and its winners:

Alfred Nobel: a Biography

Champions of Peace: the Story of Alfred Nobel, the Peace Prize and the Laureates

The Moral Architecture of World Peace: Nobel Laureates Discuss Our Global Future

The Politics of Excellence: Behind the Nobel Prize in Science

Genius Talk: Conversations with Nobel Scientists and Other Luminaries

Monday, December 08, 2008

It's the Thought (Book) That Counts

Publishers that are advertising in the major book reviewing publications are using the hook "It's the thought that counts", hoping that this holiday season we will thoughtfully choose the perfect book for someone we know. Below are some "best of 2008" book lists to help you with your book shopping.

New York Times Best 100 books

Austin Public Library's Good Reads - Fiction

Austin Public Library's Good Reads - Nonfiction

Economists's Best Books of the Year

Library Journal's Best Books of 2008

Amazon's Best of 2008

NPR's Best Books of 2008

Publisher's Weekly Best of 2008

International Herald Tribune's 10 Best

Washington Post's Best Books of 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

Traveling Librarian: Travis County Law Library

The Traveling Librarian only had to walk a few blocks for an informative tour of the Travis County Law Library today. The library is small, but houses a multitude of resources for both lawyers and the public. Texas Statutes and Case books are available for checkout to attorneys with a current Texas Bar card. The library also has thousands of reproducible forms as well as a variety of books on all topics of federal and state law. Four public computers provide access to legal web sites, forms, Lexis-Nexis, and Westlaw. Reference librarians can help you locate the resources you need, and a reference attorney is available to assist with paperwork for some family law cases. Here are just a few of the online resources highlighted in the training:

Texas Law Help – free forms, legal information, and Legal Aid Directory. Browse by topic or search by keyword. Also available for other states, in Spanish, and in Vietnamese.

Free Texas Forms – a quick reference listing the most frequently requested forms available on Texas Law Help

Travis County Law Library Research Links – find links to statutes, codes, courts, rules, departments, agencies, associations, and other law libraries

TexasOnline – Texas government portal (recently revamped to be more user friendly!)

The Austin Public Library also has many legal resources including our Legal Research Guides, law databases, and books available for checkout or through our Netlibrary ebook collection. Just ask if you need help locating materials on a specific topic.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Back to the Future?

Havana, Cuba prior to the 1959 Communist Revolution is a place that fascinates me. I have always been a sucker for spectacle. I imagine breath-taking beach scenes and a tropical paradise. I imagine narrow streets teeming with nightlife. I imagine brightly light casinos blasting their illumination onto passers by. I imagine Afro-Cuban rhythms and distant echoes of trumpets lifting people off sidewalks and into nightclubs packed with stylishly dressed people.

It turns out that what I imagine is almost exactly how it was. Of course, what I fail to imagine is the bloody apparatus of political dictatorship coupled with a tight Mafia control that perpetuated this mythical tourist fantasy land. I also fail to imagine the crippling poverty endured by the people living in the countryside and the decades of exploitation they suffered by foreign owned companies focused on the production, sale, and exportation of sugar.

In Havana Nocturne, T.J. English does a superb job of painstakingly, yet very entertainingly, explaining all the forces at work and their varying motivations that culminated in the creation of a gambling paradise for the Mafia as well as a potent political insurgency that left its mark on history and inspired similar uprisings internationally.

Related Titles:

The Mafia in Havana : a Caribbean mob story

Havana before Castro : when Cuba was a tropical playground

The silent don : the criminal underworld of Santo Trafficante, Jr

Gangsters, swindlers, killers, and thieves : the lives and crimes of fifty American villains

Fulgencio Batista

The early Fidel : roots of Castro's communism

Fidel Castro handbook

Che Guevara : a revolutionary life

Compaanero : the life and death of Che Guevara

Monday, December 01, 2008

2008 National Book Award Winners

November means many things to many folks: Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, football weekends. There is another—albeit less known—cultural event each November. Every mid-November the National Book Foundation gathers in Manhattan for a celebration of the past year’s written word. The zenith of the evening comes with the presentation of the Nation Book Awards. See who the nominees were or place a hold on one of the 2008 winners:

Shadow Country
Peter Matthiessen cut, revamped, and reformed his Watson trilogy

The Hemingses of Monticello: an American Family
Annette Gordon-Reed discusses the close relationship between the Hemingses and Jefferson families

Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems
a selection from Mark Doty’s seven books of poetry.