Sunday, August 30, 2009
Twelve years ago today, August 31, 1997, Princess Diana was killed in Paris. It seems like just yesterday when the earth stood still and everyone was talking about the same thing, her tragic death.
Are you or someone you know really into the royal family? Do you have all the books and magazines with Diana's face on the covers? Do you spout royal trivia and dates with ease? Yeah, I know someone like that too. I remember growing up my mother was absolutely mad about Princess Diana and everything English royalty. She claims that she is related to Prince Charles, a cousin of a cousin of a cousin or something, and loved seeing the two get married on television decades ago. She was thrilled with the births of each of their sons, was sad when the two decided on divorce and even more saddened with Princess Diana's death. If you needed any kind of royal question answered you would call on my mom.
Today, however, I just use the library. There is so much available, even today, on Princess Diana and the English royal family in the library, in print and online. First, there are countless books and DVDs in our library catalog that will bring you up to snuff on Princess Diana and anything royal. I did a simple search for Princess Diana and a list of 103 items popped up. That should keep you busy for a few days.
And don't forget about our databases. There are several that I used to learn a little bit more about Princess Diana. Encycloepdia Britannica, Biography Resource Center, MasterFILE Premier, any of the magazine & journal or newspaper & current events databases will give you much, much more.
Now, I wonder if you read up on Princess Diana you could beat my mom in a trivia contest. I bet you could, but don't tell her I said that.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Four years ago tomorrow, the first report of a levee breach in New Orleans, Louisiana was made (see a timeline of Katrina here). New Orleanians that had weathered the brutal Category 5 Hurricane Katrina were to realize shortly that the worst of the storm would begin only after it had ended. The flooding was terrible and, undoubtedly, still remembered by even those of us who have never called New Orleans home. Today New Orleans is slowly rebuilding, but it hasn’t been and still will not be easy. Some sections of the city are coming up just fine, while others, particularly the poorer areas, are still abandoned and have been left untouched since Katrina.
There are a ton of books out there about New Orleans, and, if you’ve ever been there, you would understand why. New Orleans has a culture all its own and its food, music, and people are well-known in the Western world. Katrina’s impact on New Orleans has been the central theme of most books that have been published about the city in the past few years. For example, there’s Why New Orleans Matters by Tom Piazza (2005), a New Orleanian who describes the city so intimately that there’s no doubting his love and passion for it. Or, Nine Lives by Dan Baum (2009), who arrived in New Orleans after the storm as a reporter and became so intrigued by the city he wrote the stories of nine of its inhabitants and their hurricane experiences. A similar story portrayed in graphic novel format, is A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge by Josh Neufeld (2009), who captures the Katrina experiences of seven people in bold, color-infused panels, that was originally serialized in Smith magazine. Celebrate this fine city, its past as well as its future, with a great book or documentary from the Austin Public Library. Do a subject search in FindIt, our online catalog, by choosing Subject in the dropdown menu and search for “Katrina, 2005”, to see all of the materials we have about the storm, or “New Orleans and biography”, to see all of the materials we have about New Orleans and its culture.
City of Refuge
A novel by Tom Piazza about two families weathering Katrina.
Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans
An excellent idea for an excellent book - listen to the story behind it here on NPR.
The Old Man and the Storm
A PBS Frontline documentary
When the Levees Broke
Acclaimed 3-disc documentary by the legendary Spike Lee
Articles and News
Barriers to Mental Health Services for Children Persist in Greater New Orleans, Although Federal Grants Are Helping to Address Them *requires an APL card
An interesting report compiled by the U.S. Government Accountability Office on New Orleanian children and their mental health
The State of New Orleans
Op-ed from the New York Times
Then and Now: New Orleans After Katrina
Carl Lastie is the man behind the quote that titles this blog post. More about his and others' rebuilding triumphs can be read about and seen in this article.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I like dogs. I prefer to be outside. I like stories. Mr. Bass covers all those. He lives in rural
The Austin Public Library has a fine selection of Rick Bass’ work.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Other features include:
- Job searches can be statewide or isolated to a specific city.
- The job radius search feature allows you to look for employment within a set distance from the center of a chosen city.
- Search only for Hourly and Part Time positions.
- Search for jobs in specific categories such as Accounting and Finance, Construction/Trades, Government/Military, Hospitality/Travel, Law Enforcement/Security, Non-Profit/Volunteer, Retail, Sales, etc.
- Federal Contractors with Veteran Preference and Work in Texas positions are clearly noted.
- A general search will list all jobs within the category as well as the employer. Click on the position’s title to see the full job description.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bizell
Comic thriller about Dr. Peter Brown, a successful Mafia hit man who entered witness protection and turned to medicine, and who also has a fear of sharks.
Blind Willow by Huraki Murakami
Stories in this collection have Murakami’s matter-of-fact style combined with plausible but surreal premises to produce a dizzying adventure. In one story a mother loses her only son to a shark attack in Hawaii and then travels to the site of the accident for a vacation every year.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Already a classic, a survival story about 16-year-old Pi Patel who drifts in a lifeboat for 227 days through shark-infested waters while fighting hunger.
Meg: a Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten
A riveting tale of prehistoric Megalodon sharks spawned a series with the following sequels:
Meg: The Trench
Meg: Primal Waters
Meg: Hell's Aquarium
Raw Shark Texts by Stephen Hall
In this tale of awakening and discovery, a young man learns that the agony of losing the love of his life in a scuba-diving accident three years before has destroyed his memory.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
We all know that babies have an amazing capacity to learn. If you think about it, the first five years in the life of a human are very dramatic. We learn so much in a short period of time: walking, running, eating, and, of course, talking. Children do not only have the capacity of learning how to talk and to communicate in just one language, but to learn up to four languages at once. Yes, that’s correct, that’s why people say that children are like sponges, they are literally absorbing every bit of knowledge available, in this case, languages.
According to Richard Tucker from the Carnegie Mellon University, there are more bilingual or multilingual people in the world than monolingual ones. He also mentions that worldwide the majority or children learn more than one language at once at an early age. CNN also published a brief article a while back with some interesting facts about world languages in which they found that “66 percent of children in the world are raised bilingual.”
You might be thinking: what are the pros and cons of raising a multilingual child? Well, the pros are easy to count: it’s easier for a person to learn a new language from birth than later in life; your child will learn to appreciate other cultures; it will facilitate communication with other members of the community; and it helps children develop stronger writing and reading skills. When we consider the benefits of learning more than one language, the cons seem minuscule in comparison: multilingual children tend to speak later than monolingual children; they also have a tendency to mix languages (something that they overcome with consistency in the use of one language or the other by family and friends); and parents of multilingual children need to make an extra effort to provide them with materials and an adequate learning environment. Visit the Multilingual Children's Association web site for more information.
In case you want to learn more about multilingualism and children, here are some resources for you:
- 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child
- The Bilingual Edge: Why, When, and How to Teach your Child a Second Language
- The Bilingual Child: Early Development and Language Contact
- The Infinite Gift: How Children Learn and Unlearn the Languages of the World
- Raising Multilingual Children: Foreign Language Acquisition and Children
Here are some tools in case you want to expose your children to a new language in a fun way:
- Baby's First Steps in Chinese
- Baby's First Steps in French
- Baby's First Steps in Italian
- Baby's First Steps in Spanish
Monday, August 17, 2009
Les Paul was an honorary board member of the organization, Little Kids Rock. This organization makes sure underprivileged kids get music instruments and instruction when they wouldn't otherwise. This participation shows that Mr. Paul was a giver; he wanted to extend his innovations and talent to the world and was successful every time. Musicians around the world are influenced by him and will continue to be long after today. Even though he has many honors and has won many awards, it all boils down to the fact that he touched everyone from those learning how to play guitar at a wee young age to those who are listening to the masters play it for the first time.
Thanks Mr. Paul. We appreciate you, your vision and what you've done for us.
For a little more info on Mr. Paul, check out the Biography Resource Center database. Search our FindIt catalog as well.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I can always find inspiration at the library as well. From books about fashion, developing and honing your own style, and basic upkeep and tailoring of your clothes, we’ve got it all:
Avedon Fashion 1944-2000
Christian Lacroix on Fashion
Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, The Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937
The Golden Age of Couture: Paris And London, 1947-57
(just published – copies on order – place a hold today!)
Freakin' Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be Better than Everyone Else
How to Have Style
The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own
Style Clinic: How to Look Fabulous All The Time, At Any Age, For Any Occasion
Tim Gun: A Guide to Quality, Taste, & Style
Mending, Tailoring, and Upkeep:
Hand Mending Made Easy: Save Time and Money Repairing Your Own Clothes
S.E.W.: Sew Everything Workshop: The Complete Step-By-Step Beginner's Guide
Sew Fast Sew Easy: All You Need To Know When You Start To Sew
A Stitch in Time: Life's Most Essential Hand-Sewn Repairs
See any designer’s complete collection here, photo by photo.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Miep Gies was one of these resisters. She appears throughout Anne’s diary: having sleepovers with the Frank girls, bringing vital news, and most importantly, ensuring food. Gies remains adamant that she did nothing special, saying: “I am not a hero but did what seemed necessary at the time.” Her humility is certainly admirable but the day-to-day risks she encountered were heroic. After decades of refusals, Miep Gies fortunately agreed to depict her time during the war. Her memoir is titled Anne Frank Remembered and is an excellent companion to The Diary of a Young Girl. Gies tells of the constant struggle to find enough food, yet never flinches in her devotion to the preservation of the Franks.
After reading these two memoirs I began seeking out other World War II memoirs and found an excellent one in Philip Freiherr von Boeselager’s Valkyrie. Von Boeselager passed away in 2008 and was the last survivor of the 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler. This memoir reveals the conflict felt by von Boeselager and his comrades: how do you serve the country you love yet destroy the apparatus committing genocide? Von Boeselager and his conspirators answer was to assassinate the Nazi leadership.
World War II was horrendous, but I am enjoying learning through the memories of its victims and its participants.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Another insight that was offered was the idea that the act of cooking, as with the act of producing tools and works of art, is an intrinsically human act. Cooking is something our species does because of some deeply seeded need and is a primal act. Marketing experts would disagree however. A very prominent marketing executive recently heralded the death of cooking. He went on to proclaim that within a few generations the act of cooking would be as alien as using a rotary dial phone is now. A very succinct example he used to bolster his argument was eating chicken. In the past, such meals were not entered into lightly. Cooking such a dish involved a tremendous amount of preparation. Before one could even begin to actually cook the meat one had to kill a chicken, pluck the bird, and remove and dispose of the bones and innards (not to mention all the blood). Suffice it to say, preparing the same dish is vastly more convenient nowadays.
Nonetheless, there is something instinctively more appealing about sitting down to a beautifully prepared, exquisitely flavorful home-cooked meal as compared to something squeezed out of a plastic bag, plopped onto a plate, and then zapped in a microwave for ten minutes. So, in the interest of preserving our humanity (and beating back the tide of obesity), I challenge everyone to prove the marketing executives wrong by picking up pots and pans and cooking utensils and revolt by dedicating some time in the kitchen to whipping up something tasty and nutritious.
To pull up the vast amounts of items the Austin Public Library has in its collection on cooking, use the subject term, cookery. You can further refine your retrieved results by specifying that certain terms appear within the title field or subject field of the bibliographic records. Here are a few titles that interest me:
The Food of a Younger Land: A Portrait of American Food: Before the National Highway System, Before Chain Restaurants, and Before Frozen Food, When the Nation's Food was Seasonal, Regional, and Traditional: From the Lost WPA Files
Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico
Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen
Friday, August 07, 2009
Then on Monday morning, the NYT had an article on Mongolia’s rising tourist industry. A 131-foot-tall statue of Genghis on horseback, wrapped in 250 tons of gleaming stainless steel, is the pride of Mongolians and a new tourist attraction. Eventually it will be large park, where tourists can sleep in yurts on the steppes, just like you see in the movie.
Fictional biographies of Genghis Khan have been published recently, and the Library has all four.
The Blue Wolf is an imagined tale about the life of Genghis Khan. The author Inoue Yasushi was a prolific Japanese writer and a Harvard professor best known for his sweeping historical epics. He pieces together a psychological portrait of this "lone wolf" from the materials of myth and history (relying largely on The Secret History of the Mongols, written shortly after the khan's death). Focusing on the relationship between Genghis and his father, and the warrior's obsession with his true paternity, Inoue tries to uncover the root of the khan's insatiable appetite for supremacy.
If you want more of page-turner, but less authenticity, then read the masterful series by Conn Iggulden, coauthor of the megaseller The Dangerous Book for Boys.
Genghis: Birth of an Empire
Genghis: Bones of the Hills
NOTE: We hope you like the new blog design.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
“The scene at Woodstock was just what you see in the movie footage. If you think it looked like fun, and if you think the music was great, then multiply that by a billion.” From the book “Woodstock Revisited”
Yes, it is incredible, but it has already been 40 years since almost half a million people gathered in Bethel, New York to celebrate “3 days of peace and music.” It took 6 months to put together this concert, which was considered by Rolling Stone one of the 50 Moments that changed the history of Rock and Roll.
At the time, no one knew that this was going to be one of the most important concerts in history: not the organizers, the participants, or the artists. For example, some of the most influential musicians declined the invitation to the concert, including Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jethro Tull, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.
Thirty-two famous artists, however, performed at this concert. Among them were: Richie Havens, Sweetwater, a six months pregnant Joan Baez, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who and of course the amazing Jimi Hendrix.
When you think about half a million people crowded on 600 acres for three days without enough food, rain, mud, and no place to sleep, you might think that this would be a formula for disaster. But when you see some of Woodstock’s statistics, it seems like things were quite different:
Number of deaths (one each from heroin overdose, ruptured appendix, and being run over by a tractor): 3
Number of people arrested on drug charges: 13
Number of doctors who treated 6,000 patients: 18
Number of caldrons of rice-carrot-raisin combo made at Hog Farm Free Kitchen by 3 a.m. Sun, Aug 17: 51
Lawsuits filed after the festival: 80
Cows unfenced for three days with the campers: 450
Frankfurters and hamburgers consumed on the first day: 500,000
Gosh! I wish I was there. Were you?
Some materials for your enjoyment at the library are:
Back to the garden : the story of Woodstock
Woodstock vision : the spirit of a generation
Woodstock : the summer of our lives
The road to Woodstock
Woodstock revisited : 50 far out, groovy, peace-loving, flashback-inducing stories from those who were there
Woodstock : peace, music & memories : 40th anniversary
Taking Woodstock : [a true story of a riot, a concert, and a life]
Woodstock: 3 days of peace & music
Jimi Hendrix: Woodstock
Monday, August 03, 2009
So, I'm probably not alone when I say that I need to do a little research on my intended destination before a trip. I like to Google as much as I can about the town, city, village, resort we're going to and then I check the Library's catalog and databases for more information. With this trifecta of research, I am always satisfied when I travel back home that I've seen and done it all and avoided the traps.
Here are some hints on getting prepared for your wonderful trip!
The Library has many wonderful travel magazines, take a peek!
Frommer's Budget Travel
Conde Nast Traveler
National Geographic Adventurer
National Geographic Traveler
Travel & Leisure
Travel 50 & beyond
These two databases are an absolute must when traveling near or far.
Global Road Warrior is a very informative database offering everything from greetings and courtesies, holidays, currency converter, health notes to maps, tipping, and travel warnings for 175 countries. Great for the foreign business traveler too.
PressDisplay is the database to use if you want to read newspapers from around the world, there are more than 800 U.S. and international titles! This wonderful database offers full text, full color, full page formating. Read what's going on in Italy, Brazil and the UK, among many other countries before you go.
If you're at a loss of where to go, just wander around in the 910s of any library, those books focus on geography and travel. You will find so many guidebooks, you won't know where to go first!
When you Google (or any other search engine), try these keywords:
how to travel
how to travel with a baby
how to travel with a dog
how to travel to China (or your desired country)
how to travel alone
Check out popular travel websites!
Texas Parks and Wildlife
Enjoy your trip, and don't forget to visit the library when you get there!
[image from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery]