Friday, April 29, 2011
One of the Soli’s models for the photojournalists in the novel is the real-live photojournalist Dickey Chapelle, the first American female war correspondent to die in action. Dickey Chapelle was also the first journalist to report that American troops were actually in combat in Vietnam, not just advising. Chapelle in her 1962 book, What's a Woman Doing Here?, writes of her work as a correspondent: “They were stories, yes. Telling them fed me, yes. But their substance was not innocent. I had become an interpreter of violence.” She was killed in action by a landmine on November 4, 1965 at Chu Lai. In the rescue helicopter on the way to the base hospital, Dickey Chapelle looked into the face of a marine, "I guess it was bound to happen," she said.
Like Chapelle, Helen Adams, the female photojournalist in The Lotus Eaters, is ambivalent about her moral position as a war journalist. She wonders whether those who represent war — through reporting or photography — are doing anything but replicating the violence they depict. Does war journalism change public opinion, or does it lead, as one photojournalist in the novel asks, to “a steady loss of impact until violence becomes meaningless”? I have read about several photojouralists who have left the profession becasue of the danger, and gotten involved in humanitarian work in the same countries where they had taken photographs.
The Lotus Eaters is also a love story and a well researched exploration of Vietnam between 1963 and 1975.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
So beautiful (and rare) that Audubon's Birds of America sold at auction earlier this year for over $11 million, which firmly perches it as the most expensive printed book ever sold. The Austin Public Library does not own a copy of this edition. However! We do own an edition the Audubon Society published and cutely titled the Baby Elephant Folio. This folio includes all of Audubon's watercolors and essays and measures only slightly smaller than the $11 million version.The baby elephant folio does not checkout, but is worth a trip downtown.
Other writings and paintings by John James Audubon:
The Audubon Reader
Writings and Drawings
Another great resource is the National Audubon Society's online offering. This digital Birds of America provides a nice browsable counterpoint to APL's physical holdings.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Curious Orange and I are reading the same books. He was wandering around here with The Big Squeeze the other day, which I had just read, and then he blogged about it. On his post he lists There is Power in a Union, and I'd just returned that one, too, and Studs Terkel, whose book, Working, changed my life when I read it decades ago.
So if he doesn't already know about it, I bet Mr. Orange would be interested in another one I read recently, Deadly Spin, a book that talks about the public relations industry, its history, its mores (yes, the industry does have standards), and how the movers and shakers have used PR to misdirect our attention so that we waste our energy on trivialities instead of protecting ourselves from being robbed.
Remember the suffragettes? Neither do I, but I've seen the old photos. Remember hearing about how they (gasp!) smoked in public to announce that gender would no longer dictate their behavior? Well, the effort for the vote was real of course, but the smoking thing was a PR campaign cooked up by Edward Bernays, the inventor of 20th-century public relations, who had been hired by the American Tobacco Company to promote Lucky Strikes. Bernays called the project "Torches of Freedom". It was extremely successful, and we've been dealing with the fallout (lung cancer, pernicous public relations practices) since.
Even if you're a savvy consumer, I think you'd be gobsmacked by the story of public relations, although we should have seen it coming: Bernays' 1928 book, the one that describes his newly minted business model, is titled Propaganda.
- The Father of Spin: Edward Bernays & the Birth of Public Relations
- Life Inc.
- Mixed Media: Moral Distinctions in Advertising, Public Relations, and Journalism
- Putting the Public Back in Public Relations
- Thinker, Faker, Spinner, Spy
- Evaluating Public Relations
Names of authors (click to enlarge):
Friday, April 22, 2011
My problem is not being able to fall asleep. I just lay there with my mind running a mile a minute. I've been reading up on sleep and how to overcome this bit of insomnia that has struck and it's led me to a few books here at Austin Public Library. I've read about relaxation techniques, acupuncture, exercise, and no caffeine or alcohol before bed, but I'm still trying to find the solution that works for me. Are there any sleep solutions out there that work for you? If not, maybe these resources below will be helpful:
How Sleep Works: National Sleep Foundation
This page links to a number of articles on sleeping including info on how much sleep people typically need (short answer: it can vary widely from individual to individual) and creating a good sleep environment.
Medline Plus: Sleep Disorders
This is a brief article with tons of links at the bottom directing to reputable sources on sleep disorders and strategies for getting a good night's rest.
Your Guide to Healthy Sleep
A nice little guide from the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute
The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Sleep Disorders
Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night's Sleep
I Can Make You Sleep: Overcome Insomnia Forever and Get the Best Rest of Your Life
The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night Well and Wake Up Happy
Parents usually have a hard time getting their babies to sleep. This is a very popular guide, but the method presented here is a bit different than the Ferber method outlined in one of the books below.
The Power of Rest: Why Sleep Alone is Not Enough: A 30-day Plan to Reset Your Body
Sleepmanual: Training Your Mind and Body to Achieve the Perfect Night's Sleep
Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems
This is the book by Richard Ferber outlining the Ferber method referred to above.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
National Poetry Month!
As someone who has been forced to read poems in archaic English and the dreaded (to me) concrete poem, I understand that reading poetry can be difficult. However, a friend of mine recently described poetry as "word magic" and I happen to think he's got a point. In fact, in writing this post I spend a chunk of the afternoon reading poetry and have been absolutely swooning over life. Poetry can do it all! Fit any mood! Express any feeling! Take you to any location! Check this out.
Would you like a brief, fun distraction from a long day? Try out Ogden Nash’s “The Ant”
The ant has made himself illustrious Through constant industry industrious. So what? Would you be calm and placid If you were full or formic acid?
Interested in word and phrase origins? By reading Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rhime of the Ancient Mariner” you find the source of the phrase, “Water, water, every where,/ Nor any drop to drink”
Perhaps you want to read a “classic” without being put to sleep. Why not try Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”? It’s about slaying a monster!
Do these options seem too cheerful for you? Perhaps you’d prefer something a big morose? Sylvia Plath is there for you.
“Soon, soon the flesh / the grave cave ate will be / At home on me”
Here are some other favorites of mine, my fellow librarians, and other “word magic” enthusiasts. (In roughly chronological order from newest to oldest).
Monday, April 18, 2011
- There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America
- From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend
- Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do
Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
April 14, 1958
Van Cliburn, piano virtuoso and Texan, traveled to Moscow and won the inaugural Tchaikovsky Competition, defeating an international field including noted Soviet pianists. Van Cliburn received an eight minute standing ovation and when judges struggled with awarding the young American the prize, Nikita Khrushchev asked “Is he the best?...Then give him the prize.” Van Cliburn returned home to a hero’s welcome complete with a Manhattan ticker-tape parade. He subsequently has performed for every American president, including a performance for Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Fort Worth’s Van Cliburn International Piano Competition now serves as one of the world’s great musical competitions.
The Ivory Trade: Music and the Business of Music at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Van Cliburn in Moscow
April 12, 1961
Yuri Gagarin, Soviet cosmonaut, became the first human in space. His spacecraft rocketed out of Earth’s gravitational pull and completed one orbit of our planet before returning to Soviet soil. The twenty-seven year-old became an international celebrity and was named a Hero of the Soviet Union, which was the highest honor in the Soviet Union. In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Gagarin’s accomplishment, First Orbit, a film depicting what he would have seen throughout his orbit has been released. The beautiful images belie what must have been an exhilarating and terrifying mission.
Countdown: a History of Space Flight
The Superpower Space Race
Monday, April 11, 2011
Rod Taylor's time machine was more charming than the Giant Donut, but that wasn't what I liked best about the movie. What I liked was the wall of clocks over the mantel in Rod's living room. I loved the noise of their collective ticking. I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to leave those wonderful ticking clocks and go anywhere else, particularly not back to those goofy Morlocks and our dim-bulb descendants, the Eloi.
So when I got old enough to spend my money foolishly, I bought a bunch of antique clocks. I have a Kienzle from Germany circa 1880; I have a cuckoo clock brought back from the Black Forest as a souvenir for my grandmother; I have a Western Union Naval Observatory clock--the first electric clock to wind itself; and I have an Atmos clock that runs on the temperature gradient. (I've had three or four more that I got rid of. Turns out old clocks are temperamental and expensive.) I could never afford to buy nor to take care of a wall full of clocks like Rod Taylor's, but I keep a few. And I keep them running because they tick so beautifully.
Books about clocks and time:
- Decoding the Heavens
Clock Repairing as a Hobby
The Standard Antique Clock Value Guide
History of the Hour
Friday, April 08, 2011
The Boutenko's story certainly inspired me, but it also morphed my habit of just tossing a small handful of whatever greens I had lying around into my fruit smoothies into efforts to put as much as a full bunch of greens into them. I also learned some great new recipes and found that with a more powerful blender, I could put together some pretty amazing concoctions that were packed with nutrients and tasted wonderful. While Boutenako and others maintain that you retain more nutrients by blending rather than juicing, I've also developed an affection for green juices and have found a few books with some delightful recipes.
Start your day off right, drink your greens!
Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It by Kris Carr
This book is about much, much more than green smoothies and juices. It's an entire lifestyle change to a more alkaline and raw foods diet. Carr was diagnosed with terminal cancer at 31 and radically changed her diet and lifestyle to help get the cancer under control. We have her first books as well Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips and Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor.
Green For Life by Victoria Boutenko
This is Boutenko's first book about the nutritional power of greens including recipes for green smoothies.
Green Smoothies Diet: The Natural Program For Extraordinary Health by Robyn Openshaw
The Juicing Bible by Pat Crocker
Microgreens: A Guide to Growing Nutrient-Packed Greens by Eric Franks and Jasmine Richardson
An easy way to eat greens is to grow microgreens - they're surprisingly easy to grow and just as full of nutrients.
Raw Family Signature Dishes by Victoria Boutenko
Super-Charged Smoothies by Sara Corpening Whiteford and Mary Corpening Barber