Finals Events at Alkek!

Alkek Library will be open 24 hours/day before and during finals, starting at 7am on Monday, May 1st until midnight on Friday, May 5th.  Saturday May 6th we’re open from 10am to 1am, and then we re-open 24 hours/day from 10am Sunday, May 7th until we close at 5pm on Wednesday, May 10th.

ShinerFinals are stressful, so starting Wednesday, May 3rd, the main floor of the library will have all sorts of ways to take study breaks.  Stop by the Research & Information Desk to pick up a piece of candy, stress-relief bubble wrap, or a pencil for your scantron.  As always, we’ll have the 3D Doodle Pens and Lego available near the Media Corner, where we’ll be showing cartoons.

We’ll also have sommakerdaye special events in the Open Theater on the main floor.  Therapy dogs are returning (yay!), and will be here from 1-3pm on Tuesday, May 2nd and Wednesday, May 3rd Maker Day will be on Tuesday, May 9th from 10am-4pm – all supplies are provided, so stop in and relax while making something to take home.

ZevThe point is, take a breather!  And if you’re stuck and have a last-minute research question, chat with us using Ask-A-Librarian, or email, call, or just stop by the Research & Information Desk – we’re happy to help.

Happy finals, everyone!

Passings: Robert Pirsig (Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance)

Link to this obituary:

Robert M. Pirsig, whose novel “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” became a million-selling classic after more than 100 publishers turned it down, has died.

Pirsig’s publishing house, William Morrow, announced that he died Monday at his home in South Benwick, Maine. He was 88 and had been in failing health.

“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was published in 1974 and was based on a motorcycle trip Pirsig took in the late 1960s with his son, Chris. The book was praised as a unique and masterful blend of narrative and philosophy and was compared by a New Yorker critic to “Moby Dick.” Pirsig, a native of Minneapolis, also wrote “Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals.”

All Pirsig books here.

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.

Investment Reports @ Alkek

Many people read investment reports before investing in a stock or mutual fund.

We have two of the best in Valueline and Standard and Poor’s. They cover stocks and mutual funds as well as other investments. If you are using Standard and Poor’s to search for stocks, enter the stock and then choose stock reports on the left side of the screen. An investment report should appear!

Books on Interpreting Dreams

There’s an actual science to interpreting your dreams – how to relate your dream to your life, what your dreams really mean, and different versions of yourself or others in the dream (hidden parts of your personality or other people may appear as different characters in your dream).

Reading this material will definitely help you decode what you are dreaming about.

Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation Of Dreams is here.

You can also browse other books about dream Interpretation and meaning here.

Featured Author: Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)

All Martin McDonagh Books and films here.

Did you enjoy the film In Bruges? Discover the world of Martin McDonagh.

From this interview

Thinking about being Irish only came into my life when I decided to write Irish plays. Before that I tried to write a few re-workings of Irish fairy tales, or myths I’d heard growing up. But none of them were specifically Irish at that point. The whole history of Irish storytelling didn’t really come into it, and has only come into it in the last two or three years. So I couldn’t say that it had any kind of influence at all. It’s interesting when I hear it said about the stuff I do, but honestly I couldn’t say there is an awful lot of truth in it. If I was Italian or Luxemburgian, they would be the same stories. It depends on the way you see the world, to me anyway, more than the way you’ve been brought up or your history of storytelling. I suppose most of my storytelling influences weren’t Irish, they were mostly American films. Novel-wise, and short-story-wise, mostly American or, like Borges, South American. I didn’t read many Irish books or short stories when I was younger, I read what my brother had, and they were mostly American books. So Irish stuff didn’t have any kind of influence really, certainly not when I was growing up. Now it’s become a bit more clearly defined, but even now, I’m more aware of the idea of Irish storytelling, the tradition, but I still haven’t studied it or taken enough time out to actually see what it’s all about. Although I am interested in the general myth of the Irish storyteller and I’ve just finished the third play in the trilogy that begins with The Cripple of Inishmaan. It isn’t as good as the other two but it’s all about the Irish storytellers, the seanchais. I find it interesting to play around with that from a fictional point of view. And it’s interesting to play around with it. Now that I am an Irish storyteller, I’ve told Irish stories. It’s interesting to come back and see things with that perspective, knowing that there were Irish storytellers in the countryside telling the myths, the stories, the legends. I think that was the spark that gave me the idea for The Banshees of Inisheer. But it would be phony of me to say I have anything to do with Irish storytelling. The plays are Irish stories, and I hope someday they’ll be recognized as Irish stories . . . But for me, now, I feel kind of phony. Maybe I’m just having a bad morning. I hope someday they’ll be regarded as true Irish stories, I don’t think they are at this minute. It will take a long time for the baggage of me being a Londoner to be in the past.

How To Search For Textbooks at Alkek

Find out if Alkek Library has the textbooks you need by following this simple tutorial. Thanks Kay for making this video!

You can find the same tutorial and many others on our YouTube channel.

Textbooks can be awfully expensive, but you may not even need to buy them all. Alkek Library has a good selection of course textbooks available at the Circulation/Reserve Desk on the 2nd floor. You can check most of these out for two hours and use them in the library. That way, you don’t even have to carry them around campus with you! We don’t have every textbook, but we just might have yours.

Discover Robert Aickman, Suspense Writer

All Robert Aickman books here.

Robert Aickman was a master of the “strange story.” His style is related to MR James and the ghost stories of Henry James, but Aickman has his own voice. Enigma, vibe and alienation are some of his hallmarks.

Literature Resource Center sums up one Aickman story:

In “The Inner Room,” collected in Sub Rosa (1968), a woman narrates the story of an incident from her early childhood in a struggling family that later splits apart. She receives as a birthday gift an enormous dollhouse that contains a mysteriously inaccessible inner room. Later in life, she visits what is apparently the actual house on which the dollhouse was modeled and comes close to discovering a nameless horror in the inner room, which signifies the hidden life of dream–or rather dream as reality, which creates emotional peril when repressed.