Alkek Library Staff Art Show, 1st Floor, until July 31st

Drawing by Tara Spies

Come see visual art made by staff of the Alkek Library Building at Texas State University. Exhibit includes art by librarians, library assistants, and other staff in various departments of the library as well as staff in Instructional Technologies Support.  See works of fiber arts, photography, jewelry, woodcut, paintings, drawings, and more!

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.

How to Access the Wall Street Journal

Here’s how you find the Wall Street Journal. You could get a paper copy on the third floor in periodicals. The most recent edition is kept at the periodicals desk.

Or, you can read the Journal online in ABI Inform. You can browse a daily edition by setting the date to one day only.

Older editions (1889-1995) are available fulltext online at ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Here’s a complete list of our Wall Street Journal links.

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.

Data Planet and dataZoa Make Data Easy

It’s the age of big data.  And learning to make attractive graphs and charts for presentations as an important job skill.

But data planet and dataZoa make it easy for you.  These databases allow you to easily import data from several different sources and easily make charts and graphs.  True, there’s a way to do this in Microsoft Excel but it is much easier in these two databases.

Data-Planet Statistical Datasets

dataZoa

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.