Search Palgrave’s Reference Sources for High-Level Research Help

This is one of my go-to sources for in-depth introductions and entries on complex topics. This is much better than Wikipedia or general encyclopedias. When people start doing research they very often need summaries of their pretty intricate topic. How else are you going to understand those complex journal articles?

All Palgrave’s books here – including online!

 

Staff Picks: Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley)

Patricia Highsmith is best known for her crime novels The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers On A Train – both made into classic films. But she also wrote a lot of other novels and short stories that feature such disparate subjects as animals taking revenge on cruel people, giant snails, and icy and claustrophobic tales of daily life.

In fact, it was the giant snails that got me as a kid. A professor goes in search of legendary giants snails on a Pacific Island and, well, he does find them.

There’s also the dinner party at which the host’s cat brings in a finger, a mysterious furry thing that lives in the birdhouse that may or may not have gotten into the narrator’s house and lots more stories guaranteed to put a chill in your heart.

All Highsmith books here..

Scarecrow Press – Great Overviews for Virtually Any Topic

All Scarecrow Press books here. The first one somehow isn’t Scarecrow and then the rest are.

I have fond memories of Scarecrow Press. If you needed an introduction or overview of almost anything – the history of Panama, women music educators, anthropological theorists, you name it – you would eventually run into Scarecrow Press.

Just a couple of hours reading these books did wonders to increase your comprehension of advanced or graduate-level courses.

You can either search the link above or type in your keyword and then the word Scarecrow.

We Have Screenplays

Find all screenplays here.

Did you know that we have screenplays at the Alkek Library? Technically, they are housed at the Southwest Writers, Wittliff Collections Reading Room, on the seventh floor of the library.

While the screenplays cannot leave the building, stop by and spend a few minutes reading everything from major Hollywood productions to critically acclaimed small films.

Getting Book Reviews And Why They’re Important

Don’t forget book reviews! Most databases will allow you to select book reviews as a source type. Reason: find out a book’s reputation, any hidden context, its significance among experts, and any problems with the book. Most authors are pretty persuasive and you need a second opinion.

Be sure to limit results to “review” or “book review,” depending on the interface.

Complete list of book review databases here

Favorites:

New York Times archives is a good option for nonacademic books published before 2006.

JSTOR is another good one for many subjects.

Wilson OmniFile FullText. A good grabbag. You can limit it to search “book reviews” by a particular discipline.

These are not your only options but are some of the best. You can always check your favorite database to see if it has book reviews.

Featured Author: Walter Kirn (Up In The Air)

All Walter Kirn books here

Walter Kirn is an American novelist and journalist who has written for several prominent magazines as well as being the author of Up In The Air (which was made into an excellent film starring George Clooney).

His most recent book is Blood Will Out (link to a review of the book, signin required) –  a fascinating nonfiction account of his relationship with a con man with a murderous past. Excerpt from the review linked above:

“Powerful people fell for a man who said he had a master key to Rockefeller Center.Kirn was targeted for something else. At certain moments of lucidity, Kirn self-flagellates over his phony pal, and the reader feels a little sorry for him. (Yeah, yeah, but first: “In 1975, when I was twelve, my family packed a U-Haul van, snapped a Yale padlock on its rear loading door, and left predictable rural Minnesota for burgeoning, anarchic Phoenix.” Even Walter Kirn‘s hardware is pedigreed.) Kirn writes, “Maybe my egotism was a homing beacon. Maybe it made me a more attractive mark.”

This was the central characteristic of Rockefeller’s frauds–and Crowe’s, and Chichester’s, if not Gerhart’s: their puffed-up prey. The prey who needed some insecurity polished by having nobility, American or otherwise, within their lives. There were the wealthy old ladies threatened by the middle-class-ification of their town. There were the Wall Street men who wanted to employ a broker who was to-the-manor-born and had connections in Hollywood. Then there was the management consultant who wound up leading her firm’s work for Michael Bloomberg and Charles Schumer; her Rockefeller connection could not have hurt her there. And of course there was the educated, snobby journalist on the make, looking for a story and an entrée into society. The people who accepted Gerhartsreiter in his various grandiose guises had hustles of their own. Powerful people within a nation ostensibly impervious to aristocracy fell for a man who said he had a master key to Rockefeller Center. Gerhartsreiter’s joke was on them.”

Staff Picks: Thomas Pynchon (Inherent Vice)

All Thomas Pynchon books here

From Literature Resource Center 

Pynchon is widely regarded as one of the most eminent literary stylists in contemporary American fiction. His novels, often described as labyrinthine or encyclopedic in scope, are characterized by an aura of great mystery and reveal a knowledge of many disciplines in the natural and social sciences. Pynchon’s use of sophisticated ideas is balanced by his verbal playfulness with such elements as black humor, outlandish puns, slapstick, running gags, parody, and ridiculous names. Through this blend of serious themes and comic invention and combination of documented fact and imaginative fantasy, Pynchon paradoxically affirms and denies the notion that mundane reality may possess hidden meaning. Living amidst the chaos of modern existence that is mirrored in the fragmented structures of his novels, Pynchon’s protagonists typically undertake vague yet elaborate quests to discover their identities and to find meaning and order in their lives. While Pynchon’s novels have often been faulted as labored or incomprehensible, all have provoked ongoing scholarly debate and earned widespread popularity among young readers.

Coming Soon: