New Alkek Library READ poster and postcards with graduate Daniela Garcia!

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This is our new READ poster image with recent graduate, Daniela Garcia! You can get your free postcards at these locations in Alkek Library:

Circulation and Research & Info desk – main or 2nd floor
Periodicals/Media desk –  3rd floor
Government Info desk – 4th floor
The Wittliff – 7th floor

They will also be available soon at the Round Rock Campus Library.

Here is Daniela’s full testimonial about reading and the library. Her quote is on the back of the READ postcards too:

“Growing up I never truly had immediate access to luxury entertainment thus naturally causing me to shift my attention towards books. My sisters were older than me by a few years so I always found myself connected to characters inside books of many sorts instead. Throughout my public education, I would look forward to the school book raffles sometimes giving me the opportunity to get more than one book! My own personal library has been developing since those times and has even inspired me to write my own stories. Out of this inspiration derived the decision to attempt a degree in English to be able to hone my writing craft. Being surrounded by books to me means surrounded by a myriad number of worlds and characters. Being surrounded by books means surrounded by endless possibilities and opportunities to learn. This is why I love books and why the library is the most magical place for me to be.”

Daniela Garcia
BA in English, Film emphasis
Minor in Anthropology
Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society Member

Literary Passings: Tom Wolfe

Our Tom Wolfe holdings here.

From the NPR obituary:

In a career that spanned more than half a century, Tom Wolfe wrote fiction and nonfiction best-sellers including The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities. Along the way, he created a new type of journalism and coined phrases that became part of the American lexicon. Wolfe died Monday in Manhattan. He was 88.

Wolfe didn’t start a novel with a character or a plot, but rather, with an idea. In 1987, wearing his signature white suit, Wolfe told me how he began his first novel, a panoramic story of New York Society:

“I looked at the whole city first,” he said. “I wanted to do New York High and Low. I figured Wall Street could stand for the high end, and also some of the life on Park Avenue. And at the low end, there would be what you find caught up in the criminal mechanism in the Bronx. Once I zeroed in on these areas, I would then find the characters.”

The novel that grew out of Wolfe’s research — The Bonfire of the Vanities — was the tale of Sherman McCoy, a wealthy bond trader who loses everything after a wrong turn in the South Bronx with his mistress in the passenger seat. It was a huge critical and commercial success. Wolfe had written the novel from the same “you are there,” stream-of-consciousness, first-person perspective that he pioneered in his nonfiction 20 years earlier.

Literary Passings: Philip Roth

Our Philip Roth material here.

From the New York Times obituary:

The Nobel Prize eluded Mr. Roth, but he won most of the other top honors: two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle awards, three PEN/Faulkner Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize.

In his 60s, a time of life when many writers are winding down, he produced an exceptional sequence of historical novels — “American Pastoral,” “The Human Stain” and “I Married a Communist” — products of his personal re-engagement with America and American themes.

And starting with “Everyman” in 2006, when he was 73, he kept up a relentless book-a-year pace, publishing works that while not necessarily major were nevertheless fiercely intelligent and sharply observed. Their theme in one way or another was the ravages of age and mortality itself, and in publishing them he seemed to be defiantly staving off his own decline.

Mr. Roth was often lumped together with Bellow and Bernard Malamud as part of the “Hart, Schaffner & Marx of American letters,” but he resisted the label. “The epithet American-Jewish writer has no meaning for me,” he said. “If I’m not an American, I’m nothing.”

And yet, almost against his will sometimes, he was drawn again and again to writing about themes of Jewish identity, anti-Semitism and the Jewish experience in America. He returned often, especially in his later work, to the Weequahic neighborhood of Newark, where he had grown up and which became in his writing a kind of vanished Eden: a place of middle-class pride, frugality, diligence and aspiration.

 

Featured Author: Rsyzard Kapusckinki, World Journalist/Storyteller

Interested in writing nonfiction, international journalism, or some of the best reportage ever put on paper?

Check out our Rsyzard Kapusckinki books (yes, we have them in English).

Kapusckinki wrote about colonialism in Africa, the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Soccer War in Central America (my personal favorite and you’ll have to get the book to get the whole story).

Often travelling outside the major cities, Kapusckinki regales us with stories of lemonade stands in Central Asia, the circular logic of policeman at an African road checkpoint, mountains of frozen ice from perpetually broken pipes in Siberia, and his comical attempts to navigate a city during a wartime blackout.

More On Computer-Authored Journalism

Many of the news articles you read are actually auto generated by artificial intelligence programs. In fact, robot- authored articles are slated to hit 1 billion. So the odds are you have actually have read one.

Here is an excerpt from the article “You’ll Be Sorry When the Robot Journalists Take Over.”

“Algorithms may be good at crunching numbers and putting them in some kind of context, but journalists are good at noticing things no one else has. They’re good at asking annoying questions. They’re nosy and persistent and willing to challenge authority to dig out a story. They’re good at provoking irritation, devastation, laughter or controversy.”

We at Alkek Library add that the problem with this is that robo-programs have to have finite numbers of rules built into the programming. They are unable to react changes or nuances in perception, values or new situations. The odds are pretty high the machines will miss something.

FabJob Books Help You Start Your Career Or Business

All FabJob books here.

FabJob books are well-written, easy-to-read guides to how to get a job or start a business in your chosen field. There are books on becoming a coffee shop owner, a fashion designer, a secondhand close retailer and more. Covers everything from the credentials you might need, to capital requirements and the nuts and bolts of running that business.

Highly recommended.

How To Read A Call Number and Find a Book

callnumCall numbers are those letters and numbers written on a piece of paper taped to the spine of the book. There are just codes for different subjects – psychology, criminal justice, poetry, and so on.

Normally, you’d be doing a search in the catalog and you’ll see this.

bigca

The call number is in the middle of the record.  It also tells you what floor to go to.

Once you get to the floor, each aisle tells you what numbers are on that aisle. Just like a grocery store.

Featured Author: Jim Thompson (The Grifters, The Getaway)

All Jim Thompson books here

Jim Thompson wrote a lot of dark crime thrillers set in the southwest.  They are classic American noir: doomed characters, cheap hotels, lonely towns – the works.  Since you are living in San Marcos, you should know that one of his most famous novels – The Getaway – was made into a classic film that was partially filled right here in San Marcos!

From Contemporary Popular Writers

The Getaway (1959) provides a telling example of just how Thompson can alter the boundaries of normal crime fiction; it begins as a relatively orthodox big caper novel about the usual daring and capable crook who plans a perfect crime that inevitably goes awry. He takes the premise much further, however, when the criminal mastermind, Doc, must escape by, among other difficulties, being buried alive and tunneling through excrement–a characteristic Thompson touch–before ending up at the perfect hideout, an expensive resort designed especially for crooks on the lam. Once there, however, Doc realizes that he has descended into a version of Hell itself, truly a last resort.

Some of Thompson’s titles, like A Swell-Looking Babe (1954) and A Hell of a Woman (1954), suggest the rather quaint raciness and directness of his pulp antecedents; others, like The Killer inside Me (1952) and The Nothing Man (1954), neatly sum up the perversity and emptiness of his vision. Like the later Pop. 1280 (1964), which it resembles in plot, narrator, and murder-by-murder progression, The Killer inside Me details the virtually motiveless violence of a pure psychopath, a man who is almost beautiful in his entirely conscious, unsullied madness. The narrator-protagonist, Deputy Lou Ford, beats women for his (and sometimes their) sexual pleasure, commits a series of brutal murders, and, most horribly, enjoys conversing in a series of exaggeratedly idiotic platitudes that mock his listeners, readers, and perhaps even himself. His thoroughly insincere harangue about sending black people back to Africa, as well as his reiteration of sentiments about clouds with silver linings, heat and humidity, rain bringing rainbows, and so forth, betray his cunning madness and his wholesale hatred better than all his terrible violence. Even worse than the banality of evil, for Thompson, is the conscious banality of its utterance.

Extending its despair even further than The Killer inside Me, The Nothing Man may serve as the best example of Thompson’s vaunted nihilism. Its protagonist, a newspaperman named Clinton Brown, who talks occasionally like Lou Ford, has suffered essentially the same war wound as Jake Barnes; his lack of a penis defines his nothingness and impels him to destruction. He drinks, scorns, hurts, and kills, but is so much a nothing man that he cannot even get himself blamed for the crimes he commits; his doom is to continue his life as a nothing man.

Although his style often breaks down into the mixture of urgent pacing and heavy facetiousness of too many pulp writers, and his dialogue seems less acceptable than his narration, Thompson’s characters, actions, and themes underline the originality of his achievement. Within a narrow and violent world his work attains a special and most disturbing originality; some of his peers write better, but none, like it or not, attains so bleak a vision of human emptiness.