University of Texas at Austin
Libraries Home | Mobile | My Account | Renew Items | Sitemap | Help |
support us
University of Texas Libraries
Celebrating the Life

The Road

[Longhorn Review] The Road

Material Type: All, books — Tags: fathers and sons, fiction, post-apocalyptic, pulitzer prize — Posted on November 10, 2008, 2:58 pm

By: McCarthy, Cormac

There is nothing funny about Cormac McCarthy’s latest novel. It is a compelling,
provocative story about a man and his boy trying to survive in a post-apocalyptical
environment. It is so real and so frightening, it seems that McCarthy displays
prescient tendencies. Has he been there and back? Can he see the future? Is it this
bleak? Reading this novel is a spiritual experience. I am deeply indebted to Reggie
Akers, Fine Arts Library circulation supervisor, for recommending it to me. My
vision of the future has been transformed.

Reviewer: Laura Schwartz

View this item in the Library Catalog

Submit your own review of this item

Colors Insulting to Nature: A Novel

[Longhorn Review] Colors Insulting to Nature: A Novel

Material Type: All, books — Tags: coming of age, family, fiction — Posted on November 10, 2008, 2:54 pm

By: Wilson, Cintra

My friend Stephanie recommended this book to me. She picked it up in the Bay Area
where the author is a local celebrity. Turns out Wilson is also a performing artist
and arts critic, even more reason for me, as Fine Arts Librarian, to delve into this
novel. It is another coming of age story, this one of Liza Normal (who is anything
but normal). Her raison d’etre is to become a successful actress and/or singer. The
book is the trials and tribulations of this quest. The characters that surround Liza
include her loudmouth mother, reclusive brother, and a whole host of bizarre and
endearing characters. Wilson’s book is hilarious. From the first few pages, until
the very end, I was completely engaged and amused.

Reviewer: Laura Schwartz

View this item in the Library Catalog

Submit your own review of this item

Carousel of Progress: A Novel

[Longhorn Review] Carousel of Progress: A Novel

Material Type: All, books — Tags: coming of age, family, fiction, Los Angeles, Southern California — Posted on November 10, 2008, 2:51 pm

By: Tanney, Katherine

I love fiction especially coming of age stories. I was having lunch with Nancy
Schiesari, a Radio-Television-Film professor and lauded cinematographer earlier this
Spring and she recommended Carousel of Progress to me. The story is about a teenage
girl growing up in L.A. whose parents are getting divorced. There is so much truth
and honesty in this tale, the characters are so real, and the dynamics of the
relationships so complex. Tanney grew up in L.A. and now lives in Austin, just like
me. Schiesari knows Tanney personally because Tanney is also a cinematographer. The
story was so familiar, it was hard to put down.

Reviewer: Laura Schwartz

View this item in the Library Catalog

Submit your own review of this item

The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket

[Longhorn Review] The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket

Material Type: All, books — Tags: fish, food, history, Japan, sushi — Posted on November 10, 2008, 2:48 pm

By: Corson, Trevor

The story starts in medieval Japan with the development of proto sushi which is
whole fish pressed on top of rice in a specially designed weighted box through the
development of sushi rice and finally to how sushi developed in Japan after World
War II. Once you have this background the story moves to the United States. The
author delves into how sushi became an American food item now sold in grocery stores
across the country. Corson shows that it was the development of sushi schools in
California that made it possible for sushi chiefs to be trained more quickly than in
Japan. These schools also lead to sushi innovations that would eventually travel
back to Japan—the inside out roll being a classic example. Truly an American tale of
taking something very foreign and making it American.

Reviewer: Susan Ardis

View this item in the Library Catalog

Submit your own review of this item

Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times

[Longhorn Review] Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times

Material Type: All, books — Tags: history, textiles, women — Posted on November 10, 2008, 2:46 pm

By: Barber, E. J. W.

The best parts of this book are the chapters on the development of string.
Barber’s hypothesis is the ability to make string is an important precursor to the
development of civilization. Her point is that once people can make string, then
they can tie things together. This means you can make rope and rope can be used to
tether an animal or child, it can be used to make fishing lines, fishnets, bags and
just as importantly you can use string to carry items on your back. Once you can
carry loads then you can begin to move goods. And once you can do these things you
are on track to make coiled pottery and weave. What interested me the most was the
description of how easy it is to make string. The easiest way is to use already
existing vines, the second step according to Ms Barber is to take plant fibers and
roll them on your leg to make an every expanding string. Rope is merely a number of
strings put together. The evidence cited in this book is pottery and wall paintings,
since most fabric doesn’t survive. Barber examined thousands of early pots and
paintings looking for evidence of early cloth making.

Reviewer: Susan Ardis

View this item in the Library Catalog

Submit your own review of this item

Tobacco: The Story of How Tobacco Seduced the World

[Longhorn Review] Tobacco: The Story of How Tobacco Seduced the World

Material Type: All, books — Tags: history, sociology, tobacco — Posted on November 10, 2008, 2:41 pm

By: Gately, Iain

I’m not one for conspiracy theories but this was a fascinating book. I never
would have thought that tobacco growing and selling played such an important part of
our history. One factoid tells the tale: when Benjamin Franklin was sent to London
to negotiate a peace treaty between Great Britain and the future United States he
was also given the task of negotiating the loans George Washington and Thomas
Jefferson owned to merchants in England on their tobacco holdings. This book is
essentially about how drawing smoke from a plant grew from a ceremonial activity in
the new world to a social activity that spread around the world. It is now hard to
find a culture where tobacco smoking is not evident. The subtitle tells it all – “a
cultural history of how an exotic plant seduced civilization.” The story is
fascinating and the book is very well written.

Reviewer: Susan Ardis

View this item in the Library Catalog

Submit your own review of this item

The Book of Margery Kempe: The Autobiography of the Madwoman of God

[Longhorn Review] The Book of Margery Kempe: The Autobiography of the Madwoman of God

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: autobiography, history, medieval, mysticism, religion, women — Posted on November 10, 2008, 2:05 pm

By: Kempe, Margery

Who would have thought that the first known biography in English would be written
by a woman, brewery owner, Christian mystic, and mother of 14 named Margery Kempe.
Margery was illiterate so she dictated her biography to a scribe between 1436 and
1438. Her biography begins with her conversion experience which was heralded by a
vision of Christ in her bedroom one night. The story then follows Margery through
pilgrimages across Europe and the Holy Land. She also tells about her heresy trial
in England and her burgeoning mystical life. After the trial the judge gave her a
piece of paper saying that she was not a heretic. Margery used this piece of paper
many many times when people complained to their local religious leaders about her
loud crying, laughing and preaching. His opinion, like most of her contemporaries
seemed to be that she was she was religiously insane. He was also surprised that she
followed Catholic dogma exactly. She never deviated from the church’s teaching even
when she was ranting and raving.

The book is amazingly lively. You get insight into
the personality of a woman who thought Jesus told her to wear white, live apart from
her husband and give voice to her religious opinions loudly and continually. Her
neighbors, her child and her husband complained regularly about her religious
activities. The book gives dramatic accounts of every day experiences, in Margery’s
home town, in many English regions, and as far away as Brandenburg, Rome and
Jerusalem. Just reading about how she traveled in Europe and how she got to
Jerusalem is illuminating.

Reviewer: Susan Ardis

View this item in the Library Catalog

Submit your own review of this item

Chinaman’s Chance: A Novel

[Longhorn Review] Chinaman’s Chance: A Novel

Material Type: All, books — Tags: espionage, fiction, mystery, thriller — Posted on November 10, 2008, 2:00 pm

By: Thomas, Ross

Lines in the first paragraph pull you into a story that never follows a straight
line: “The pretender to the Emperor’s throne was a fat thirty-seven year old
Chinaman called Artie Wu who always jogged along Malibu beach right after dawn even
in the summer. It was while jogging along the beach just east of the Paradise Cove
Pier that Artie Wu tripped over a dead pelican, fell and met the man with six
greyhounds.” This book is about the ultimate con. You’re never sure until the very
end who is actually being conned and why. This is a character driven story and there
are is an amazing list of characters from Otherguy Overby, to the folk singing trio
of Ivory, Lace and Silk, though a former CIA agent who’s gone out on his own, to big
time record producer and the head of a criminal syndicate.

Reviewer: Susan Ardis

View this item in the Library Catalog

Submit your own review of this item

Shadow of the Silk Road

[Longhorn Review] Shadow of the Silk Road

Material Type: All, books — Tags: international, travel — Posted on November 10, 2008, 10:24 am

By: Thubron, Colin

Thubron has penned a number of entertaining and insightful books over a long
career, and he may be one of the last in the British tradition of "gentleman
travelers." His is an elegant style. He writes with crystalline clarity and his
narratives, and travels, inevitable veer from the beaten track, bringing us vivid
tales from faraway places inhabited by strangers who soon become our familiars. In
this book, he details his journey through modern Asia along the ancient Silk Road
from China to the Mediterranean through Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran
and Turkey, revisiting some of the same people and places he detailed in two earlier
books, only twenty years on. His descriptions of history, cultures and people are
vivid and unforgettable.

Reviewer: Tim Strawn

View this item in the Library Catalog

Submit your own review of this item

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

[Longhorn Review] The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

Material Type: All, books — Tags: bittersweet, native americans — Posted on November 10, 2008, 10:20 am

By: Alexie, Sherman

Alexie's first Young Adult title won him the National Book Award for Young
People's Literature last year. My 11-year old daughter described this book as, "very
funny and sad at the same time," which we adults somtimes call "bittersweet." But
what narrative of Native American life, historical or modern, would not be tinged
with sadness? Alexie, who is of Spokane heritage, writes with humor and poignancy
about his anti-hero, Arnold Spirit, born hydrocephalic who happens to have a great
jump shot, and a number of odd friends and relations. Life on and off the "res," and
the shifting boudaries between modern Native American and Anglo culture are deftly
explored. This book is not preachy at all, but there are lessons here for all of
us.

Reviewer: Tim Strawn

View this item in the Library Catalog

Submit your own review of this item

Syndicate content