Featured Author: Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)

All Chuck Palahniuk books here.

Chuck Palahniuk is best known as the author of Fight Club, the classic novel that was also made into a classic film. The novel opens with the memorable line “Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s bushmen got into my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.”

From there on we learn the tale of a milquetoastish individual who discovers his Nietzschean will to power via the machinations of the mysterious Tyler Durden. The first rule of Fight Club is not to talk about Fight Club.

The author also went on to write several equally unusual books. Link above.

How to Find Primary Sources

Primary sources are documents that are direct records of an event, raw data, documents, magazines or newspapers from the time, photos or other material created at the time of an event. Even audio recordings, buildings, or just about anything could be considered primary sources.

Our historical primary source databases are located here.

Again, if you’re working in the field of history, you can search our catalog for published collections of primary sources.

Our history maven Margaret Vavarek suggests the searching the following key words in the catalog: Correspondence, Description and Travel, Diaries, Interviews, Personal Narratives, Sources, Letters or Speeches

Featured Author: Novelist Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt (link to our books here) s a best selling author whose principal theme is the moral seduction of working class innocents who are drawn into the world of glamorous but dangerous wealthy people.

Here’s a review of her work (about her famous debut The Secret History) from Literature Resource Center.

“The Secret History is less a mystery–the killers are revealed on the first page–than “an exploration of evil, both banal and bizarre,” in the words of Martha Duffy in Time. The story is narrated by Richard Papen, a transfer student who disavows his own middle-class upbringing to gain entrance into an elitist circle of students. “The gradual moral seduction of Richard is all the more cleverly revealed by its depiction in his own voice,” commented Andrew Rosenheim in the New York Times Book Review. As Richard becomes accepted by the group, he learns that four out of the five other members had participated in the bloody murder of a farmer who interrupted their late-night “bacchanal.” When one among the small coterie threatens to betray this dark secret, that person, too, is killed. “Tartt shows a superior sense of pace, playing off her red herrings and foreshadowings like an old hand at the suspense game,” Duffy stated in Time. In the New York Times Book Review, Rosenheim praised Tartt’s “skillful investigation of the chasm between academe’s supposed ideals and the vagaries of its actual behavior” and further commented that her prose was “at once lush and precise.” Nancy Wood, reviewing The Secret History in Maclean’s, believed that Tartt “is strongest when she finds poetry in everyday events: the sights and smells of a campus, the familiarity of certain television shows.” The Secret History, Wood concluded, “stands out as well written and original.”

 

Texas State University’s Archives and Research Center Now Open

ARCstaffFeatureatThe Archives and Research Center (ARC) at the  Science, Technology and Advanced Research(STAR) Park Research campus in San Marcos is now open. The ARC is the third library facility operated by the University Libraries joining the prominent Albert B. Alkek Library, located in the heart of the San Marcos campus, and the growing Round Rock Campus Library

The ARC is a state-of-the art archive library that will preserve decades of university treasures and library resources, collections and research materials. Its climate-controlled environment with cold temperatures and low humidity will prolong the life of these unique assets keeping them available for exploration and discovery, while supporting the growth of the Alkek Library and Texas State. The new library facility will be open to the public and will include a reading room to allow students, faculty, staff and researchers to review and interact with materials on site. Daily transportation of materials checked out from the ARC to the Alkek Library will make accessing materials quick and easy so patrons on the San Marcos campus will not need to drive to STAR Park to retrieve desired items.

The 14,000 square-foot ARC features a high-density shelving model that rises 35 feet high, contains more than six miles of shelving space and is environmentally controlled at 50°F with 30 percent relative humidity for ideal preservation of most materials. The initially identified materials that will move to the ARC over the next two years will include more than 600,000 library items and 3,000 linear feet of archival and Wittliff Collections materials.

ARCoutsideWith the new ARC facility, Texas State joins other major research universities like Harvard, Stanford, Rice, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M and many others who have built similar high-density, climate-controlled storage facilities to house and preserve their valuable collections and research materials.

Unique to the Texas State facility, is a secondary climate-controlled environment that will preserve art and artifacts that need a slightly higher temperature and humidity level. Items that need cooler temperatures, but could become brittle in the extreme cold and dry environment like oil paintings and wooden artifacts will be stored in the Art and Artifacts room at 68°F and 40 percent relative humidity.

The opening of the ARC also advances planned improvements to the Alkek Library that will meet the needs of today’s digitally focused students. The migration of seldom-circulated, but valuable resources from the Alkek to the ARC will free up space for the addition of modern, technology-rich learning commons features that will make the Alkek a showcase information and research facility.

Planned additions to the Alkek support research, innovation and student success and include: a virtual reality and makerspace center, 3D technologies, video presentation studios and practice labs, a digital media center, a GIS/data research hub, technology-centric group study and collaboration spaces, flexible model classrooms with robust technology, and a café.

Even as the ARC makes way for the Alkek to evolve into a more modern library facility, generous space will continue to be dedicated to new and in-demand book stacks, resource materials and quiet independent study spaces so that students and faculty across all disciplines can find what they need and the space to suit their individual preferences within the walls of the Alkek Library.

Additional space on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library will also make way for the expansion of the prestigious Wittliff Collections with growing assets that now include the Southwestern Writers Collection, the Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection, the Lonesome Dove Collection and major papers of such notable authors as Cormac McCarthy, Sam Shepard and Sandra Cisneros. The collection also boasts the largest repository of modern and contemporary Mexican photography in the U.S. and is one of the university’s most valuable research resources.

Submitted by Debbie Pitts, University Libraries Marketing and Promotions Coordinator

Olga Gerhart’s Library Testimonial

OlgaGerhartTestimonial“Since arriving at the Texas State University Philosophy Department two years ago, the library has been an incredible resource.  In terms of my teaching, librarians have provided customized learning sessions for both my lower- and upper-level classes, and I frequently use the “Ask a Librarian” feature to find a fact or statistic before I go into lecture.  I also have been able to order books that I have adopted in classes so that I can place them on Reserve for the students.  And if the library does not have an article I would like to assign my students to read, the Copyright Officer purchases access to it.  In terms of my research, interlibrary loan has been invaluable.  Moreover, after I have written a piece, the Copyright Officer will not only help me determine what copyright permissions need to be obtained, the Officer will actually do the work to get those permissions.  Finally, in terms of character, the librarians with whom I have worked have always been friendly, knowledgeable, and über competent.”

— Olga Gerhart, Philosophy Faculty

Arun Banotra’s Alkek Library Testimonial

“I love the library because it’s like a limitless universe of learning. That means I’ll always have a place to learn, volunteer and make new friends. My library access is my permanent ticket to get a bunch of FREE education and entertainment. I feel so lucky to have this library as my resource. I love this place.

When I was a grad student here at Texas state I used to spend most of my time in the library. It was kind of a second home for me because my home at that time was just for sleep and to get some rest. I still remember those group studies, working on projects, preparing for midterms and finals in library. My choice of floor to study used to vary depending on the criticality of my task. If it was exam time, then I used to study on either the 5th or 6th floor, because those are silent floors, or get some personal study room on the 6th or 7th floor so that I could concentrate easily on my studies without any kind of noise.  If I had to work on some projects along with some chit-chat with my friends while doing my work, then the choice of floor was the 2nd or 4th floor. I personally love the 2nd floor and I believe this is the most happening and lively floor in the whole Alkek library. You can spend long hours on studies there, and if you’re starving, you always have the option to grab some goodies from Outtakes on the 2nd floor or the lounge on the 1st floor. Last but not least, how can I forget about the 3rd floor. If you need any digital media for fun or some prototypes for your project or class, this is the best place for you. While preparing for job interviews after my graduation, I spent almost 2 months in the library studying day and night. Even though that was a hard time, I met so many wonderful people in the library and made a lot of good friends over there who always motivated me in my hard times. Thanks to this place which gave me the chance to meet so many amazing people.

I used to spend so much time in the library because it feels good to see so many people burning their mid-night oil and preparing so hard along with you. You never feel alone in your struggle, and it acts as a stress reliever and boosts your morale. The best part about the library is they always have some happening events going on throughout the year. Sometimes those events include informative sessions about GIS etc. and sometimes they include fun events like game night, etc.

Even though I am a professional now and fortunate to have a full time job at Texas State, I still try my best to spend a few hours at Alkek each week to learn new things. I feel very at home there, and it’s always fun to catch up with old friends and learn new things with them because the library is swirling with galaxies of knowledge and worlds of books to explore.”

—- Arun Banotra, Electronic Research Specialist, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Master of science in Computer Science from Texas State.

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.