Wednesday, December 30, 2009
(all novels mentioned are available at the Austin Public Library)
“So [said the doctor]. Now vee may perhaps to begin. Yes?”
-Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint
“I’ll pray, and then I’ll sleep.”
-Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“And however superciliously the highbrows carp, we the public in our heart of hearts all like a success story; so perhaps my ending is not so unsatisfactory after all.”
-W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge
“He wrote: So this is what everybody’s always talking about! Diablo! If only I’d known. The beauty! The beauty!”
-Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“’Like a dog!’ he said, it was as if the shame of it must outlive him.”
-Franz Kafka, The Trial
“Columbus too thought he was a flop, probably, when they sent him back in chains. Which didn’t prove there was no America.
-Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March
“Everything we need that is not food or love is here in the tabloid racks. The tales of the supernatural and extraterrestrial. The miracle vitamins, the cures for cancer, the remedies for obesity. The cults of the famous and the dead.”
-Don DeLillo, White Noise
“It was a fine cry—loud and long—but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.”
-Toni Morrison, Sula
“’Meet Mrs. Bundren,” he says.”
-William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
“I was grateful to him for calling me back and reminding me where I belonged, in the clamorous, radiant, painfully beautiful kingdom of the living.”
-Francince Prose, Goldengrove
Going a bit further, the last page of The Great Gatsby is my favorite last page of all time. I won’t say it is my favorite novel, but that last page is incredible.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
When asked how he could write such sad but funny books, Tropper replied, “It wouldn't occur to me to write it any other way. I don't do it with great consciousness. No matter what you're writing about--death, divorce--in every situation that involves more than one human being, there's going to be an element of comedy. Irony is everywhere.” (Publisher's Weekly interview June 1, 2009) Warner Brothers has acquired the rights to the book and Tropper will write the first draft.
Family Man by Elinor Lipman is another book that will make you smile over and over, but without the tears. In this sparkling comedy, gay Manhattan attorney Henry Archer gets the shock of his life when he realizes the receptionist he's just tipped is none other than his stepdaughter, whom he hasn't seen in 25 years. Before long, his stepdaughter is back in his life and Henry's got his hands full with her, his endlessly chatty ex-wife Denise, a new lover, and the countless others who wander in and out of his elegant Upper West Side brownstone. As always, the pleasure of a Lipman book is not so much the wispy plot, but the characters. But it's the first book I have read in a long time that has a happy ending.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Oh, yes, this is the time of the year when everybody talks about The Nutcracker, the wonderful ballet with music by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky that fascinates children and adults.
In 1816 E. T. A Hoffman wrote the book Nussknacker und Mausekönig or Nutcracker and the Mouse King. He was a prolific artist: writer, composer, caricaturist, and music critic. Hoffman was one of the most influential artists during Romanticism in Germany. His work not only inspired authors, but composers as well, as in the case of Jack Offebach, who wrote his composition Tales of Hoffman.
In 1891 Marious Petipa hired Tchaikovsky to write the music for the ballet inspired by Hoffman’s book. A year later, the first Nutcracker show was performed at the Russian Mariinsky Theatre. This ballet was performed in different cities around the world, and finally in the 1930s the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo performed it in New York. Little by little, this ballet started gaining popularity and could be now considered a Christmas tradition.
Austin Public Library has copies of the children's book by Hoffman, the music by Tchaikovsky, and videos with different performances of this ballet. Feel free to check those out and have a happy holiday!
- The Nutcracker (DVD) Baryshnikov, Mikhail
- The Nutcracker (DVD) Tomasson, Helgi
- Maurice Béjart's The Nutcracker (a different take on Tchaikovsky’s ballet)
- The Nutcracker Ekaterina Maksimova
- Nutcracker by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky
- The Nutcracker: Complete Ballet, Op. 71 sound recording
*Picture taken from Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, University of Northern Iowa
Monday, December 21, 2009
So, you have four days until the big day, and you haven't done any shopping. You're off work, but don't really want to hit the big box stores, who does? Well, luckily you live in Austin. A wonderful town full of libraries with great books, museums, and crafters. Personally, I like a gift that isn't all plastic and cheap. I love something handcrafted or something made by someone who lives in the same town I do! Below are some handy links to folks who make things, some wonderful shops, and fabulous books and magazines on how to make that one of a kind, beautiful gift, available right here in the library. Hurry!
Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects
Last-Minute Christmas Gifts: Crafting Quick and Crafty Presents for Everyone on Your List by Carol Taylor
Last-Minute Fabric Gifts: 30 Hand sew, Machine Sew & No Sew Projects by Cynthia Treen
Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson
Last-Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson
Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching by Heather Ross
Cloth Paper Scissors
Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot
Austin Craft Mafia
Austin Independent Business Alliance
Events and calendars:
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, an Austin favorite
Art of Texas events
Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Blue Genie Art Bazaar
Museum gift shops:
Austin Children's Museum
Austin Museum of Art
Texas State History Museum
Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Austin Independent Business Alliance
Friday, December 18, 2009
Fallada’s novels are about average people grappling with being unexceptional. Some succumb, some accommodate, some triumph in small ways. Fallada loathed accommodating his Nazi censors, but triumphed after the war with Every Man Dies Alone, a work Primo Levi calls “The greatest book ever written about the German resistance to the Nazis.” In it, a bland husband and wife who have lost their soldier son risk everything to oppose the regime. Central to the story is the futility of the couple’s effort and the smallness of their deed compared to the monster they’re up against.
The English publication earlier this year of Every Man Dies Alone was a literary event, and two other of Fallada’s novels were republished to make a set. The library has all three. (A fourth, Wolf Among Wolves, will be published in January, 2010.)
If you’re into bleak, Fallada is your man.
Little Man, What Now?
Every Man Dies Alone
Every Man Dies Alone is a staff pick for 2009.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The New York Times profiled Mr. Achebe today and discussed his new book, The Education of a British-Protected Child. The Austin Public Library has ordered it and it should be arriving shortly.
In the meantime, the Austin Public Library owns numerous works by Chinua Achebe as well as books about Nigerian literature.
Things Fall Apart
Anthills of the Savannah
Girls at War
A Man of the People
Home and Exile
Bernth Lindfors’ Early Nigerian Literature
Wole Soyinka's The Open Sore of a Continent
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Who made the first snowman? Who first came up with the idea of placing snowballs on top of each other, and who decided they would use a carrot for a nose?
Humorist Bob Eckstein successfully argues for the cultural importance of the snowman in The History of the Snowman. Journeying backwards through time, Eckstein searches for the first snowman, moving from the present all the way back to the 14th century. Again and again, the snowman pops up in rare prints, paintings, early movies, advertising and, over the past century, in every art form imaginable. The book includes more than two hundred surprising pictures of snowfolk, both contemporary and historical, from Old Dutch to Charles Addams.
Some facts in the book:
- There are no snowmen in the dry, cold Arctic where humidity is below 20% and the temperature below 10° F--both must be higher in order to pack snow.
- The Association of Education Publishers has banned the use of the word "snowman" in textbooks because it is gender biased.
- The Taliban banned snowman-making when it came to power in 1996.
- Snowmen go way back. Even cavemen are thought to have made snowmen.
- The Middle Ages were the snowman’s heyday.
- Bottle-postcards from the 1920s show all the snowmen drunk. Later they were big in liquor ads.
And of course, the book has its own website.
Recent fiction featuring snowmen:
The Chocolate Snowman Murders
Lee Woodyard, who runs a chocolate store in a Michigan tourist town, is coordinating the local holiday art festival when the guest juror ends up dead.
The Night of the Wolf
Stories in this collection center on an impossible crime, especially in The Abominable Snowman, in which witnesses see a snowman come to life and stab a man to death.
The snowman building contest turns into a double murder investigation after the frozen bodies of two policemen turn up inside two of the snowmen.
The Snowman’s Children
Moving, psychologically intense novel tells the story of an incident from one man's childhood in the 1970s, when a serial killer called The Snowman stalked the streets of suburban Detroit.
The Year of the Flood
Retelling of the 2003 novel Oryx and Crake shows how Glenn and Jimmy became Crake and the Snowman.
For more books that explore one, sometimes obscure, topic, see Good Read's One Word Wonders list.
*Postcard from the Smithsonian magazine.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Four hundred years ago, Galileo designed his most wonderful creation: a telescope. At that time, there were already other telescopes invented by other scientists in Europe. The problem with those was that they could only magnify objects 4 times. Galileo’s telescope, on the other hand, was able to magnify things 20 times. This tool allowed Galileo to prove, to his misfortune and to our fortune, that the Copernican Theory that says that the planets rotate around the sun was correct.
If we think about it, it is amazing to see how such a small tool was used for these enormous discoveries. This telescope had only two lenses inside of a stick of wood; if compared to the elaborate ones scientists use nowadays, this is a minuscule instrument. It is with this telescope that Galileo could see Venus, the satellites of Jupiter, a supernova, and the moon. Less light pollution and perhaps better vision back then could have helped Galileo to see more with a rudimentary tool like this.
NASA is planning to launch the James Webb space telescope in 2013. This telescope will use wavelengths and infrared light to be able to see hidden objects in space. With its great mirror, Webb will be able to see 200 million years after the Big Bang. Compared to what happened 400 years ago, it is amazing to see how far science has gone, how many things we know and how many we will learn. I wish Galileo could be here.
Some websites for your enjoyment are:
- More information about Galileo Galilei, his life and findings can be found at the Galileo Project
- Harry Ransom Center has an exhibit called: "Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works" from September 8th 2009 to January 3rd, 2010. This is a collection of some of the most important astronomical discoveries over the last 500 years
- Telescopes From the Ground Up
- Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens
If you feel like checking something out from the library, here are some suggestions:
- 400 Years of the Telescope [DVD]: A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought
- Galileo's Glassworks: The Telescope and the Mirror
- Galileo's Battle for the Heavens [DVD]
- The Church and Galileo
- Galileo's Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation Between Galileo and the Church
- The Telescope: Its History, Technology, and Future
- Stargazer: The Life and Times of the Telescope
** Picture taken from Encyclopædia Britannica Online
Sunday, December 06, 2009
In America, we are very familiar with the media and the people whose lives get thrust upon the television screens, newspapers and magazines. In turn, we, the average citizen, form our own opinions of those people. Chris Brown, Tiger Woods, Courtney Love, President Clinton, and Michael Jackson are just a few people who have been judged in the court of public opinion in recent time. Their stories have been splashed and vamped up with minutia of information.
I have listed below some items that are quite interesting to read. Read as much as you can, listen to as many people and opinions as you can, then form your own.
Private Death of Public Discourse
Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture: Why Media is not the Answer
Peaches & Daddy: A Story of the Roaring Twenties, the Birth of Tabloid Media, and the Courtship that Captured the Heart and Imagination of the American Public
Michael Jackson: The Magic, the Madness, the Whole Story, 1958-2009
Media Message: What Film, Television, and Popular Music Teach us about Race, Class, Gender and Sexual Orientation
Importance of Being Famous: Behind the Scenes of the Celebrity-Industrial Complex
Read as many newspapers and magazines as you can here.
Friday, December 04, 2009
It has actually become somewhat common knowledge by now that the FBI deliberately set out to destroy the BPP in the 1960s and early 1970s. J. Edgar Hoover and other officials classified the group as nothing more than another criminal gang to contend with. Ultimately, though, it was state and local officials that lent a big hand in destroying the leadership of the BPP. Members and leaders that officials did not kill have been accused of crimes, often serious crimes, they insist they have not committed, such as former Party member Assata Shakur. Even today, the FBI is still offering a $1 million dollar reward for information leading to Shakur's arrest and capture for crimes she is adamant she did not and could not have committed.
One of the consequences of this targeting of the BPP and other members of the Civil Rights Movement, is that African-Americans have been repeatedly robbed of some of their best and brightest leaders. Fred Hampton was a well-known activist who started up food programs for low income kids and health care clinics in areas that desperately needed them, negotiated truces among Chicago inner city gangs, and brought together different minority groups coining the phrase "rainbow coalition." He was charismatic, intelligent, well-respected and well-liked. It was leaders like this that were deliberately targeted, and, as Dr. Quentin Young, put it, "the people who made it their business to kill the leaders of the black movement picked the right ones."
Many people have very strong opinions on this matter and I'll leave it up to you to form and/or strengthen your own. The library is the best place out there to do just that:
*Anything quoted in this article comes from the "Fred Hampton" entry in Contemporary Black Biography, volume 18, and was found using Biography Resource Center - an excellent source for comprehensive biographies and links to resources on a large number of well-known people.
Breaking the Cycle
*Requires an APL library card
Article from 1992 expressing outrage at Fred Hampton, Jr.'s (Fred Hampton's son) arrest during the riots that took place after the Rodney King verdict. Hampton, Jr. spent 9 years in prison for the arson conviction that came after this arrest. He maintains his innocence and details his other run-ins with law enforcement (including being wrongfully accused of murder) here.
Fed by Fear: The FBI's Crusade Against Fred Hampton and the Black Panters
Was Fred Hampton Executed?
*Requires an APL library card
Article from 1976 providing details of the raid and evidence that contradicts the police report.
BOOKS, CDs, MOVIES
Assata: An Autobiography
The Black Panthers: Photographs
Eyes on the Prize (documentary)
The Huey P. Newton Reader
The Murder of Fred Hampton (documentary)
Two Nations of Black America (documentary)
Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party
You Can't Kill Revolution: Black Panther Party, 1969 (CD - a recording of a speech made by Fred Hampton)
Black Panther Coloring Book
Very interesting; distributed by the FBI in the late 60s
Fred Hampton sound clip from UC Berkely
Power Anywhere Where There's People
Text of a Fred Hampton speech
Shoot it Out: The Death of Fred Hampton
Very thoroughly researched and detailed account of the December 4, 1969 raid
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Nope. Fortunately the library isn’t the place for giving up. The following books are great introductions to weather forecasting. They might not enable you to predict the weather, but they will provide a foundation and just maybe prompt a little slack for the local news meteorologist.
Authors of the Storm: Meteorologists and the Culture of Prediction
Man vs. Weather: How to be Your Own Weatherman
Meteorology Today: An Introduction to Weather, Climate, and the Environment
The Rough Guide to Weather
Storm Warning: The Origins of the Weather Forecast
Monday, November 30, 2009
In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed
Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It
The Myth of Multitasking: How Doing it All Gets Nothing Done
The Tyranny of Email: The Four-Thousand Year Journey to Your Inbox (on order)
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Clothes, appliances, electronic devices, and pretty much everything we use have been invented with a purpose in mind: to solve a problem. Sometimes, however, accidents are the inspiration for some neat inventions that end up being fundamental in our everyday lives. Some well known “accidents” are the telephone, penicillin, TNT, Teflon, Velcro, and silly putty.
Some other mishaps that turned into something useful are:
Popsicles: invented in 1905 by Frank Epperson who was 11 years old at that time. He mixed soda water powder and water. He left this mixture, with the stirring stick in it, on his porch by accident overnight. The temperature dropped and the next day he had this frozen “ice cream” as a result. Later on, he started his Popsicle business.
Tea bags: around 1904, Thomas Sullivan, a coffee and tea seller, decided to stop sending samples of his products in big heavy cans and instead began using little silk bags to send tea to customers. People realized that these bags were easier to brew and the rest is history.
Scotchgard: during the 50’s some scientists were working with a substance called fluorochemicals used in aircraft. Some drops of this substance were spilled on one of the scientists shoes and later she noticed that the rest of the shoe was getting dirty except for the area with fluorochemicals. This is the beginning of this fabric protector that remains popular today.
All of these examples and more can be found in a juvenile book titled: Mistakes That Worked by Charlotte Fotlz Jones. If you want to read more books related to this topic, you can check the following titles out:
- Accidental Inventions: 10 Inventions, 10 Extraordinary Stories DVD
- It Looked Good on Paper: Bizarre Inventions, Design Disasters, and Engineering Follies
- 100 Greatest Science Inventions of All Time
- Flash of Genius: And Other True Stories of Invention
- The 12 Amazing Secrets of Millionaire Inventors: Smart, Simple Steps for Turning Your Brilliant Product Idea into a Money-Making Machine
- Big Ideas: 100 Modern Inventions That Have Changed Our Lives
- What Would MacGyver do?: True Stories of Improvised Genius in Everyday Life
You might also want to visit the National inventors Hall of Fame
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Vowell, who is both patriotic and irreverent, said she wanted to show that the Puritans got one thing right: the leaders they chose were the best educated and the smartest. She also aims to explain how, as a nation, we've inherited the Puritans' notion that we are God's chosen people. She writes about the first Thanksgiving, and explains that Squanto helped the Puritans when he returned to America from England after being kidnapped because his entire family and village were dead from small pox, so he had nothing else to do.
I don’t remember much high school history, and read mostly fiction, so this book was perfect as an entertaining history lesson. And by the way, Sarah Vowel is coming to the Paramount in February.
Friday, November 20, 2009
This type of book is anything but new. Many were written in the 1970s, a time in our country's history when a significant number of disillusioned people moved to farms and communes. But other than books like Thoreau's Walden, the earliest of these types of accounts that actually influenced the 1970s movement are Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing (collected into one volume called The Good Life). The Nearings departed their New York City life during the Great Depression in 1932 and moved to a rural area in Vermont (and later Maine) where they began producing their own food, built their own shelter, and provided entirely for themselves on very little money. What was particularly remarkable about such a move is that the couple had no prior experience in any sort of self-sustaining activities. It's simply amazing, inspiring, and motivational to read their account. After reading about the Nearings, I've become addicted to memoirs and nonfiction accounts of stories similar to Helen and Scott's, like these:
Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live off the Land
This is an excellent comprehensive guide to country skills and knowledge published by Storey Publishing - an excellent publisher of quality country living and skills books, including one on making cider by Annie Proulx.
A biography of Helen Nearing
Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl
The Road Washes out in Spring: A Poet's Memoir of Living off the Grid
A Scott Nearing Reader: The Good Life in Bad Times
Scott Nearing was well-known for his writings on a number of social issues. Here is a collection of rare writings.
Siesta Lane: A Year Unplugged, or the Good Intentions of Ten People, Two Cats, One Old Dog, Eight Acres, One Telephone, Three Cars, and Twenty Miles to the Nearest Town
The Unlikely Lavender Queen
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
More Google related titles:
What Would Google Do?
Planet Google: One Company's Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know
The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture
The Google Story
Friday, November 13, 2009
There are many font fans in the world, and there have been many articles and discussions on this very simple, yet historied, topic. As you can see in this recent NYT article, "Typography Fans Say Ikea Should Stick to Furniture," there are many people out there who have very strong feelings on font. Many of us, though, do not even notice the subtle differences. Those who do are hardcore fans, graphic designers, typographers and the like. Check out Typophile's blog and dive into that world of font and typography. Check out Typography, too. Mark Simonson's blog has a very interesting article and comparison of the fonts Helvetica and Arial. You'll never look at words the same way again.
You may also remember there was a film that came out a few years ago dedicated to the Swiss font Helvetica. You can read more about the film here, but basically it "looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which recently celebrated its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives." If you can't get a hold of the movie, check out the book (not affiliated with the movie), which is labeled as an homage to the typeface Helvetica.
You can also check out some other books on the topic:
The Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography
Type: The Secret History of Letters by Simon Loxley
Typology Type Design from the Victorian Era to the Digital Age by Steven Heller
20th Century Type by Lewis Blackwell
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Two new titles on the Good Read's 2009 Recommended Nonfiction list are about US soldiers fighting in the 21st century. The Good Soldiers is by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Finkel who chronicled the 15 months the 2-16 Infantry Battalion spent in Baghdad as part of the "surge". Horse Soldiers is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war on horses against the Taliban.
The Good Soldiers
David Finkel. 956.7044342 Fi
Horse Soldiers: the Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan
Doug Stanton. 958.1047 St
Monday, November 09, 2009
The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes 338.2728092 Bu
The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds
Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas: Profiles of Organic Farmers and Ranchers Across the State 381.4109764 Wa
Halliburton's Army: How a Well-connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War 956.704431 Ch
The History of Texas Music 780.9764 Ha
Mavericks: a Gallery of Texas Characters 920.076409 Fo
Reata: Legendary Texas Cuisine 641.59764 Mi
Remarkable Plants of Texas: Uncommon Accounts of Our Common Natives 581.6309764 Tu
State Fare: An Irreverent Guide to Texas Movies 791.4362764 Gr
Tinsel: A Search for America's Christmas Present 976.4556 St
Friday, November 06, 2009
Congratulations on 40 years, Sesame Street! I hope that for the benefit of children everywhere you have 40 more!
"A Stroll Among the Memories on Sesame Street"
NPR audio that takes a look back at the many years of Sesame Street
"Behind the Scenes of Sesame Street"
A really cool article that goes behind the scenes to the puppeteers of Sesame Street.
Sesame Street: Games
Online games you and your kids can play together on sesamestreet.org
Sesame Street: PBS Kids
Really fun site for kids!
Monsters Munch Lunch! A Story for Two to Share
Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street
New book (2009) chronicling Sesame Street's history
Sesame Street and the Reform of Children's Television
We All Sing with the Same Voice
The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch): Lessons from a Life in Feathers
A Celebration of Me, Grover
A Sesame Street Christmas
Songs from the Street: 35 Years of Music
Videos and DVDs
Bert & Ernie's Word Play
Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
Elmo and the Bookaneers
Follow That Bird
I was obsessed with this movie starring Big Bird when I was a kid and I recently re-watched it - I probably enjoyed it about as much as I did when I was 3!
Sesame Street, Old School, volume 1, 1969-1974
Sesame Street, Old School, volume 2, 1974-1979
Sesame Street Shows and Clips on Hulu.com
Watch clips and episodes here such as this Ray Charles clip. Or check out the clips on YouTube, like this Elmo and Mr. Noodle clip (Mr. Noodle was one of mine and my nephew's favorites when he was little!), or a clip of Feist's appearance on the show.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
One problem with the publishing industry is once it finds a money maker, it tends to ride that horse to the exclusion of younger, fresher ones. We know Philip Roth is good. We know Margaret Atwood is good. But how do we find new writers when the bulk of publishing and its marketing arms primarily promote the established writers?
Fortunately, there are several online advocates of up-and-coming writers. One of those, The Complete Review, is a veritable treasure trove of world literature. On these shores, the National Book Award is doing its part to champion young writers. Their annual “5 Under 35” highlights five writers under the age of 35. This year’s selections are:
All the Living
Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing
St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
The New Valley
Monday, November 02, 2009
Money Still Doesn't Grow on Trees: A Parent's Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Teenagers and Young Adults
Raising Financially Fit Kids
Teen Guide to Personal Financial Management
Friday, October 30, 2009
I really enjoy reading stories set in the Arctic and other cold climates. My all time favorite is Smilla's Sense of Snow (1993). Place a hold on one of these newer titles to learn more about and appreciate the Arctic region.
Arctic adventure stories
Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler
Freezing Point by Karen Dionne
Stephen Coonts' Deep Black: Arctic Gold
Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child
The Terror by Dan Simmons
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Do you remember those horror movies you saw when you were a kid that gave you nightmares? Have you seen them since? If you haven’t, you should watch them, and you will discover that instead of being horrified like in the old times, you will laugh out loud.
Most of these movies are known as B-Movies, low budget films made mostly during the 50s and 60s. This is the era of mutants and all sorts of oversize creatures on the big screen: giant ants, lizards, and evil or extraterrestrial monsters. According to those studying what’s behind horror movies, these films represent the fear about the idea of an atomic bomb and communism, in other words, the Cold War in general. Movies during this era were also competing with television, and films were trying to offer a different and unique experience that would draw more people to the movie theater instead of staying in the comfort of their home watching TV. The B-Movies “category," however, covers all decades; for example, Evil Dead from the 80s is considered by some a B-Movie as well.
I know, your significant other might cringe when she/he sees you coming home with The Curse of Frankenstein, but hey, why not have a good laugh this Halloween with a movie that was supposed to scare you? Here are some titles Austin Public Library has for you to check out and watch while eating candy corn:
- Creature from the Black Lagoon
- House of Wax (VHS)
- Godzilla King of Monsters and Other Movies
- Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth
- The Thing from Another World
- The Mummy
- The Old Dark House
- The Blob
- Forbidden Planet
- Cat People
In case you want to read about horror movies, how to make them, or how they are related to culture, here are some ideas:
- Splatter Flicks: How to Make Low Budget Horror Films
- Horror Films of the 1980s
- The Rough Guide to Horror Movies
- Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture
- Nightmare on Main Street: Angels, Sadomasochism, and the Culture of Gothic
- I was a Monster Movie Maker: Conversations with 22 SF and Horror Filmmakers
For more information about B-Movies in general, including horror films, you can visit:
- B-Movie Central
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
We need your ideas for the new Central Library building. Please join in the discussion at one of the five input meetings with the design team. If you are curious about what the trends are, please check out a book or see the plans and designs for other new city libraries.
The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities
Heart of the Community: The Libraries We Love: Treasured Libraries of the United States and Canada
The Thriving Library: Successful Strategies for Challenging Times
Place of Learning, Place of Dreams: A History of the Seattle Public Library
A Library Story: Building a New Central Library (youth book)
New Central Libraries
Minneapolis Central Library
Monday, October 26, 2009
The National Book Awards announced its 2009 finalists earlier this month. This year’s finalists are an interesting bunch, notable for their topical diversity as well as their lack of big names. There was no room in the inn this year for literary giants such as Philip Roth and Lorrie Moore.
The winners will be announced in Manhattan Wednesday, November 18th. 193 publishers submitted 1,129 books divided among the following four categories.
Fiction (236 entries)
American Salvage (Bonnie Jo Campbell)
Let the Great World Spin (Colum McCann)
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Daniyal Mueenuddin)
Lark and Termite (Jayne Anne Phillips)
Far North (Marcel Theroux)
Nonfiction (481 entries)
Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook (David M. Carroll)
Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species (Sean B Carroll)
Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (Greg Grandin)
The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy - on order (Adrienne Mayor)
The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (T.J. Stiles)
Poetry (161 entries)
Versed (Rae Armantrout)
Or to Begin Again (Ann Lauterbach)
Speak Low (Carl Phillips)
Open Interval - on order (Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon)
Transcendental Studies - on order (Keith Waldrop)
Young People’s Literature (251 entries)
Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith (Deborah Heiligman)
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Phillip Hoose)
Stitches - on order (David Small)
Lips Touch: Three Times - on order (Laini Taylor)
Jumped (Rita Williams-Garcia)
Friday, October 23, 2009
Finally, consider the androids developed by Hiroshi Ishiguro. They look like humans, fidget like humans, and can be used as doubles to be sent out into the world to do your bidding (read the full article here). Japan and South Korea have been developing androids for some time now and are really moving the technology along. While Ishiguro says it is unlikely that anyone could ever create an android that humans would mistake for human for more than several minutes, no one can say whether or not the further development of this technology would propel us into a world full of surrogates.
Explore the topic further with the library's excellent resources and these websites:
Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots
Article from Scientific American about Ishiguro's androids and his pursuit of android science.
"Meet the Remote-Control Self"
"Virtual Worlds - Past, Present and Future: New Directions in Social Computing"*