The Washington Post and the Guardian Win Pulitzer for NSA Revelations

Official announcement here  The Washington Post And The Guardian won the Pulitzer prize for their coverage of Edward Snowden’s revelation of widespread NSA domestic surveillance.

From The Washington Post:

“The awards to The Post and Guardian for their NSA reporting are likely to generate debate, much like the Pulitzer board’s decision to award it public service medal to the New York Times in 1972 for its disclosures of the Pentagon Papers, a secret government history of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

In both the NSA and Pentagon Papers stories, the reporting was based on leaks of secret documents by government contractors. Both Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg — who leaked the Pentagon Papers to Times’ reporter Neil Sheehan — were called traitors for their actions. And both the leakers and the news organizations that published stories were accused by critics, including members of Congress, for enabling espionage and harming national security.

But Post executive editor Martin Baron said Monday the reporting exposed a national policy “with profound implications for American citizens’ constitutional rights” and the rights of individuals around the world.”

The journalism section of the library is a really fascinating place!

Sue Townsend (The Diaries of Adrian Mole): An Appreciation

Sue Townsend, the creator of young adult hero Adrian Mole, has died following a stroke. We have some of her books here.

From this article:

Her publisher, Penguin Books said Friday that Townsend died in Leicester, central England, a day earlier.

Townsend left school at 15, married at 18, and by 23 was a single mother of three. She worked in a factory, in shops and at other jobs — and wrote, honing her style for years before breaking through into publication.

Her first novel, “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾,” was published in 1982 and was hailed as a comic masterpiece. Written in the voice of a gauche but observant teenager, it fused the acute awkwardness of adolescence with the zeitgeist of Thatcher-era Britain.

The beleaguered teen bemoaning his dull suburban life and pining for unattainable classmate Pandora struck a chord with millions of readers. “I have never seen a dead body or a female nipple. This is what comes from living in a cul-de-sac,” Adrian lamented early on.

The book was a huge success, selling more than 20 million copies around the world, and Townsend followed Adrian Mole into adulthood in a series of books, several of which were adapted for the stage, radio or television. The most recent, “Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years,” was published in 2009.

Townsend’s work combined satire of social injustices and a strong sense of life’s absurdity with warmth for her characters — a distinctive combination that won her millions of fans.

 

April: Animal Cruelty Prevention Month

Did you know April is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month?  The Alkek Juvenile Collection has many books recognized for their discussion of animal behavior and issues related to animals.  Take a look at the books from ASPCA Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award, Humane Society’s KIND Children’s Book Award, as well as the Animal Behavior Society’s Outstanding Children’s Book Award.

The American Veterinary Medical Association lists many other events throughout the year!

See what’s going on locally too at PALS!

             
   

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.

Award-winning Poet, Author Sherman Alexie To Read At The Wittliff Collections 4/4, @2PM

by Jayme Blaschke

All Sherman Alexie books here.

Award-winning author and poet Sherman Alexie will visit Texas State University for a book reading, question and answer session and signing at the Wittliff Collections (7th floor Alkek) April 4 at 2 p.m. and at the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center in Kyle at 7:30 p.m.

The events are free and open to the public.

Alexie is the winner of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award, the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the 2001 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story and a Special Citation for the 1994 PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Fiction. His works include the short story and poem collection, War Dances, from Grove Press, and the poetry collection, Face, from Hanging Loose Press. Smoke Signals, a film he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. He lives with his family in Seattle.

Books on Psychopaths

Ever know someone that was a little too charismatic, careless and lost their temper easily?  It could’ve been a psychopath!

They are deceitful, emotionally manipulative, often good looking, fascinating and you have probably been friends with one in your life.

Learn to recognize the signs – especially the signs psychopaths are looking for in you.  All of our psychopath books here.

In the News…Parental Involvement

This Sociology professor at UT-Austin discusses the effect of parental involvement…read and see what you think: The Broken Compass: Parental Involvement with Children’s Education

It seems like common sense that children do better when parents are actively involved in their schooling. But how well does the evidence stack up? The Broken Compass puts this question to the test in the most thorough scientific investigation to date of how parents across socioeconomic and ethnic groups contribute to the academic performance of K–12 children. The study’s surprising discovery is that no clear connection exists between parental involvement and improved student performance.

Keith Robinson and Angel Harris assessed over sixty measures of parental participation, at home and in school. Some of the associations they found between socioeconomic status and educational involvement were consistent with past studies. Yet other results ran contrary to previous research and popular perceptions. It is not the case that Hispanic and African American parents are less concerned with education than other ethnic groups—or that “Tiger parenting” among Asian Americans gets the desired results. In fact, many low-income parents across a wide spectrum want to be involved in their children’s school lives, but they often receive little support from the school system. And for immigrant families, language barriers only worsen the problem.

While Robinson and Harris do not wish to discourage parents’ interest, they believe that the time has come to seriously reconsider whether greater parental involvement can make much of a dent in the basic problems facing their children’s education today. This provocative study challenges some of our most cherished beliefs about the role of family in educational success.
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674725102