Austin Public Library Blog

APL Blog

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I’ve been working in libraries for so long that my To Be Read list is super long. I’ll never make it through everything at this rate, and more books keep coming out that I want to read! Part of my strategy in deciding what’s worthwhile reading is book reviews. I have come to love them almost as much as I love reading books; really well constructed reviews can tell a little bit of the story and describe the method of storytelling in a way that makes a delicious little appetizer of the book. (Alternatively, they can also give you an idea of which books you would spit out in a napkin at a dinner party…) The trick is finding a review resource that you can trust, and honestly, most of that comes by trial and error.

To give you a solid starting point, click here for some of my favorite online book review sites that I’ve been relying on for years. I try to read a little of everything, so you’ll find resources for general fiction and non-fiction, as well as more genre-specific ones. Balance is important too, which is why I look at professional/official reviews AND smaller outfits like bloggers and other individual fan-level sites.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Audiobooks are an easy sell. Many people prefer to listen to stories rather than to read them, and it doesn’t surprise me. Studies have shown that listening to a story activates the cortices in your head that generate movement, thought, and emotion. They place you in the story. In your mind at least, you’re there.

I was reminded of this recently after borrowing and downloading the audio edition of This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz. The title is available in APL’s OneClickdigital collection, which offers cardholders a large assortment of audiobooks and eBooks. The author himself narrated this story centered on Díaz’s reckless lothario and alter literary ego Yunior (he of Oscar Wao fame).

“You don’t even want to hear how it went down with Magda,” says Yunior / Díaz early in the audio track. And when I heard that I thought, Yes, I do. What followed was a vivid depiction of love soaring, crashing and burning. This is well-worn fictional terrain, but listening to the story gave me the fresh, fleeting sensation of being there, in the moment. Such is the sound and beauty of storytelling.

The app in action.There are audiobooks galore in our OneClickdigital service. You can access them for free both online through APL’s website and on a mobile device through the OneClick app. Click on the graphic at right for a glimpse of the app in action. The graphic combines four screenshots that I grabbed from an iPad to show the collection homepage, the borrowing period options, the audiobook being downloaded, and the audio chapters.

Though OneClick offers eBooks, it has more audiobooks. Think of it as a companion to our OverDrive service, which offers more eBooks than audiobooks. Luckily, both offer apps to keep your story experiences mobile.


One of the virtues of the Virtual Library is that it provides APL cardholders with an abundance of digital content, including databases that are mobile-friendly and that you can access through apps when you’re on the go. This blog post is the last in a 6-part series that sampled a few of those mobile-friendly databases. The series was published twice a month from August to October 2014, using the blog tag On the Go.

(Top Image Credit: Fe IIya via Flickr Creative Commons)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On October 31, November 1, and November 2, there is a holiday dedicated to remembering loved ones who have died, and celebrating their lives with family and friends. This is Día de los Muertos.

Celebrated in Mexico, this day gives people a time to build a memorial to their loved ones who have passed on (called ofrendas), and to make special treats and decorations for their memorials and their graves. You may have seen Día de los Muertos events, activities, and displays around Austin at this time of the year. It is also celebrated in other cities around the world.

Although this holiday came from outside my own culture, years ago I had the chance to experience a Día de los Muertos celebration and remember those I’d loved in life. I remember a short one-act play from the event, in which actors with black and white face paint reenacted the ways we go about our lives, sometimes holding grudges, worrying over passing troubles, making mountains out of molehills, never quite knowing when our time may come. There was an air of humor to the drama, reminding us not to cling so tightly to this life and our dramas that we forget to enjoy the beauty of life.

Afterwards, attendees were invited to leave items and reminders of their departed on the memorial. I left several keepsakes: a small sculpture as a memento, and a photo. Though I knew I would never see those things again, letting them go became all the more poignant.

This year, if you’ve never been, consider going to a Día de los Muertos event at your library or elsewhere in Austin, to enjoy this rich tradition. You just might come away with a new appreciation for each and every day, and for each and every one you love.

Monday, October 27, 2014

We are getting ready for the holiday season with these lovely hand embroidered cards. Using cardstock, embroidery thread and pushpins you can create beautiful and unique holiday or greeting cards. Use one of our templates or create your own design, this craft is a great way to prepare for the holidays...or just say hi!


WHAT: Night Crafters - Embroidered Cards
WHERE: Manchaca Road Branch
WHEN: Wednesday, November 5, 2014 @ 6-8:30 p.m.
WHO: Adults interested in crafting.

Related Books:
, ,
Cover of the book Stitched blooms : 300 floral, leaf, & border motifs to embroider
By Carina Envoldsen-Harris.
"One part project book and one part resource guide, Stitched Blooms will be the go-to collection of floral embroidery motifs for today's stitchers and crafters. Its 300 designs run the gamut from classic flowers to folk-art leaves and borders, and the accompanying CD offers yet more possibilities! Use them on the 20 featured projects, including a blouse, Swedish stuffed horse toy, cute girl's skirt, and more. Beginners and experienced embroiderers alike will appreciate the basics section, as well as in-depth instructions for each stitch, and the useful motif reference. "--
Monday, October 27, 2014

Los sueños han sido una fuente de discusión desde que se tiene memoria.  No podemos controlar nuestros sueños, éstos suceden involuntariamente mientras dormimos.  De acuerdo a los onirólogos, o médicos especialistas en este tema, los sueños son fragmentos de información que se almacenan en la memoria y que de alguna manera se reviven  mientras dormimos. Todos soñamos cada día, lo que pasa es que no siempre recordamos lo que soñamos.  A veces recordamos sólo una frase, un sonido o un sentimiento, en otras ocasiones tenemos sueños tan reales que juramos haber estado en otros lugares o que conversamos con alguien a quién no hemos visto por años.  

Hay diferentes interpretaciones de los sueños dependiendo de la época histórica, de la cultura, incluso de la persona. Para muchos los sueños pueden ser proféticos, pero otros, como Sigmund Freud, estudiaron los sueños desde la perspectiva de la psicología y los analizaron desde un punto de vista más racional.

Casi que en la mayoría de los casos, los sueños tienen alguna lógica, pero en otros, vemos una mezcla de elementos que no concuerdan o que pueden ser hasta catalogados como fantásticos: animales que hablan, peces que flotan en el aire o amigos que nos dicen cosas incoherentes. También, como ya sabemos, están las pesadillas. Esas quizás son las que más nos impactan porque nos producen desasosiego y los sentimientos son tan intensos que nos despiertan, por lo mismo, podemos recordarlas vívidamente.

Pero si usted es como mis abuelitos que creían que los números de la lotería les eran dados en los sueños además de alguna otra información, la biblioteca tiene libros que le pueden ayudar a descifrar sus sueños:

Related Books:
Cover of the book SuenÌos : lo que significan para usted
By Migene González-Wippler.
Cover of the book El libro de los suenos : diccionario
By Rosa del Carmen Garita.
, ,
Cover of the book Viajes durante los suenÌos
By John-Roger ; [traducción al español David Rodriguez Vela, con la colaboración de Saúl Monard, Ana Arango y Nora Valenzuela].
Dynamic and informative, this book reveals the fascinating inner world of soul travel, and how accessing such a world can result in heightened spiritual awareness during one's waking hours. Even for those who have difficulties remembering their dreams, this manual offers ways to delve into the "sleeping" part of one's life and includes guidance on how to use dreams for advancement, the different levels of dreaming, and precognitive dreams. Dinámico y informativo, este libro revela el mundo interior del viaje del alma y como acceder a tal mundo puede resultar en mayor conciencia espiritual dura.
, ,
Cover of the book Interpreta tuÌ mismo tus suenÌos : siÌmbolos para comprenderte a ti mismo
By Betty Bethards ; traducción, Verónica D'Ornellas.
Brinda interpretaciones de cientos de símbolos de ensueño, y una guía para aprender a acordarse claramente los sueños y a comprenderlos para usarlos para resolver problemas personales.


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The APL Blog promotes Austin Public Library's resources and services through thematic item lists from our collection; topics related to today's events and news; research tips; programs and events; and databases.

APL Recommends

Cover of the book All our names
By Dinaw Mengestu.
An unforgettable love story about a searing affair between an American woman and an African man in 1970s America and an unflinching novel about the fragmentation of lives that straddle countries and histories. All Our Names is the story of two young men who come of age during an African revolution, drawn from the safe confines of the university campus into the intensifying clamor of the streets outside. But as the line between idealism and violence becomes increasingly blurred, the friends are driven apart--one into the deepest peril, as the movement gathers inexorable force, and the other into the safety of exile in the American Midwest. There, pretending to be an exchange student, he falls in love with a social worker and settles into small-town life. Yet this idyll is inescapably darkened by the secrets of his past: the acts he committed and the work he left unfinished. Most of all, he is haunted by the beloved friend he left behind, the charismatic leader who first guided him to revolution and then sacrificed everything to ensure his freedom. Elegiac, blazing with insights about the physical and emotional geographies that circumscribe our lives, All Our Names is a marvel of vision and tonal command. Writing within the grand tradition of Naipul, Greene, and Achebe, Mengestu gives us a political novel that is also a transfixing portrait of love and grace, of self-determination and the names we are given and the names we earn.--Publisher's description.

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