Featured Author: Michel Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles)

Michel Houellebecq books here.

A good introduction from this article:

Michel Houellebecq is, simply, a satirist. He likes to take what’s happening now and imagine what would happen if it kept on happening. That’s what satirists do. Jonathan Swift saw that the English were treating the Irish as animals; what if they took the next natural step and ate their babies?

Houellebecq is not merely a satirist but—more unusually—a sincere satirist, genuinely saddened by the absurdities of history and the madnesses of mankind. He doesn’t “delight in depicting our follies,” as reviewers like to say; he’s made miserable by them. French reviews and American previews of “Submission” might leave one with the impression of a sardonic, teeth-baring polemic about the evils of Islam, the absurdities of feminism, the terrible demoralization of French life. In truth, the tone of the book is melancholic rather than polemical. Life makes Houellebecq blue. “The totality of animals, the crushing majority of men, live without ever finding the least need for justification,” his narrator, a literature professor at the Sorbonne, reflects. “They live because they live, and that’s all, and that’s how they reason—and then I suppose they die because they die, and this, in their eyes, ends the analysis.” That’s Houellebecq’s typical tone; the book’s virtues lie in his mordant, disabused eye for depressing details of French life.

Even if, sentence by sentence, Houellebecq is not a writer to envy, certainly he does have a voice of his own, one of slightly resigned sociological detachment. In the very first pages of the new book, he remarks, apropos the uses of a university degree in literature, that “a young woman applying for a job as a saleswoman at Céline or Hermès will, in the first place, have to take care of her appearance, but a literature degree could constitute a secondary attribute pleasing to the employer, suggesting a certain intellectual agility that might indicate a potential evolution of her career—literature, in place of useful skills, still has a positive connotation in the domain of the luxury industry.” You master Proust to become a better salesgirl, and what else would you expect? The commodification of the world and the art and the people in it leaves Houellebecq unexcited.

 

Use Lexis Nexis for Foreign News

Here’s a great resource for print news (magazines and newspapers) from India, Asia, Africa and the Middle East (among others): Lexis-Nexis.

Not just recent months but the last several years in fact.

Covers topics of local foreign interest, not just different takes on international issues (although it does that as well).

Go to Lexis Nexis, and choose News, then Newspapers and Wires. Foreign Language is an option as well.

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.

The Economics of Water Resources

A growing population in some of the world’s driest areas is leading many people to study the economics of water. Why is a diamond expensive and water free? It’s a famous question posed in economics.

Actually that may not persist much longer.

Here is the main category for the economics of water.

To get an idea of how much renewable water a country has, go to Worldbank/World Development Indicators database.

Type freshwater as a search term.

Or check p.142 of the paper copy of World Development Indicators.

How to Use Google Scholar (Or Not)

Google Scholar searches the contents of many (but not all) academic journals. However, it does not provide access to the fulltext material. If you are off-campus, you will be prompted to log in or buy the article.

If you follow the Alkek Library link to Google Scholar here, you will have to sign in ONCE with your NET ID and then it’s all clear sailing.

In any case, please don’t buy the article – you can get it through us.  If you hit a dead end, use interlibrary loan.

Google Scholar does not search ALL the scholarly literature because some publishers restrict access.

How to Look up Treaties

Here are some ways to find out which countries have signed what kind of treaties. Also, bear in mind that membership in international organizations de facto carries some kinds of agreements and cooperation (i.e. European Union).

on the internet:

Organization of American States Free Trade Agreements

U.S. Free Trade Agreements

GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). Avoid www.gatt.org, one of the most famous protest sites on the internet.

UN Database of Treaties – All treaties entered into by any member state.

CIA World Factbook – see which international organizations a country belongs to. Choose your country and click on government to the bottom of the screen.

Treaties in Force – Treaties America has signed.

our databases:

Search Lexis Nexis for the full text of lapsed and current U.S. Treaties.
In Lexis Nexis, go to 1) Search by content type then 2) European Union, Commonwealth and Foreign Nations Tab 3) choose your selection from the box.

see below:

Finding Books Outside Alkek Library

Here’s how to find books and other materials that the Alkek Library doesn’t own.

Use Worldcat to search the world’s libraries at once. Request the item you want through interlibrary loan (for books, expect the process to take a minimum of 6 to 8 days). The tutorial below also shows you how to search area libraries if you want to get the item immediately (if you have a Texshare card).

Other Books Tutorial CLICK HERE