Summer Reading

There’s still time left this summer to enjoy some good reading. Whether you are looking for a true beach read that places you in the midst of the season and/or a moving story that is timeless we have several recommendations for you. The following are titles we recently enjoyed and thought to share.

the vacationers book coverThe Vacationers: A Novel by Emma Straub

Straub’s second novel (Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, 2012) is contained in the two-week vacation of the extended Post family: Franny and Jim, married over 30 years; their teen daughter, Sylvia; twentysomething son Bobby, his girlfriend, Carmen, in tow; and Franny’s best friend, Charles, and his husband, Lawrence. Trading one grand island for another, the mainly Manhattanites arrive in Mallorca with, of course, a few secrets tucked in their literal baggage—and so begin the games that occur above the plane of the Scrabble board. Jim has suddenly left his beloved magazine job, and not everyone knows the circumstances; Sylvia’s excitement to get to Brown might have more to do with leaving home; Carmen wishes Bobby would ask his parents for that favor already; and it’s more than work e-mails keeping Lawrence searching for a Wi-Fi signal. Straub masters a constantly changing flow of perspectives as readers wonder who will forgive and be forgiven in this sun-soaked, remote paradise. Spongy and dear, sharply observed and funny, Straub’s domestic-drama-goes-abroad is a delightful study of the complexities of family and love, and the many distractions from both. -Annie Bostrom, Booklist. Recommended by librarian Lindsay Hansen

mr. loverman book coverMr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

Barrington Walker is a 74-year-old transplanted Antiguan living in Hackney, London, and wrestling with a late-life crisis. For more than 20 years, he has pondered leaving his profoundly unhappy wife, Carmel, for his lover and childhood friend, Morris de la Roux. Barry is a dapper dresser, lover of Shakespeare, wise investor, and shrewd observer of the human condition. But he is unable to reconcile his own inner conflicts and come to account for what his actions and inactions have cost his wife and his lover. Can he do it this time, with his daughters more than grown up? Carmel herself is obviously dissatisfied with the marriage, giving Barry an ultimatum as she journeys back to Antigua to see her dying father. She is fed up with his weekends of drinking and carousing with, she thinks, women. He is fed up with her clutch of churchy, judgmental friends so critical of him. In this vibrant novel, Evaristo draws wonderful character portraits of complex individuals as well as the West Indian immigrant culture in Britain. -Vanessa Bush, Booklist. Recommended by librarian Anna Fidgeon.

my real children book coverMy Real Children by Jo Walton

It’s 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know — what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don’t seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev.

Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War — those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?

Two lives, two worlds, two versions of modern history; each with their loves and losses, their sorrows and triumphs. Jo Walton’s My Real Children is the tale of both of Patricia Cowan’s lives… and of how every life means the entire world.​ – Publisher description. Recommended by librarian Anna Fidgeon.

boys in the boat book coverThe Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

If Jesse Owens is rightfully the most famous American athlete of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, repudiating Adolf Hitler’s notion of white supremacy by winning gold in four events, the gold-medal-winning effort by the eight-man rowing team from the University of Washington remains a remarkable story. It encompasses the convergence of transcendent British boatmaker George Pocock; the quiet yet deadly effective UW men’s varsity coach, Al Ulbrickson; and an unlikely gaggle of young rowers who would shine as freshmen, then grow up together, a rough-and-tumble bunch, writes Brown, not very worldly, but earnest and used to hard work. Brown (Under a Flaming Sky, 2006) takes enough time to profile the principals in this story while using the 1936 games and Hitler’s heavy financial and political investment in them to pull the narrative along. In doing so, he offers a vivid picture of the socioeconomic landscape of 1930s America (brutal), the relentlessly demanding effort required of an Olympic-level rower, the exquisite brainpower and materials that go into making a first-rate boat, and the wiles of a coach who somehow found a way to, first, beat archrival University of California, then conquer a national field of qualifiers, and finally, defeat the best rowing teams in the world. A book that informs as it inspires. –Alan Moores, Booklist. Recommended by librarian Lindsay Hansen

secret daughter book coverSecret Daughter: A Novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

In her engaging debut, Gowda weaves together two compelling stories. In India in 1984, destitute Kavita secretly carries her newborn daughter to an orphanage, knowing her husband, Jasu, would do away with the baby just as he had with their firstborn daughter. In their social stratum, girls are considered worthless because they can’t perform physical labor, and their dowries are exorbitant. That same year in San Francisco, two doctors, Somer and Krishnan, she from San Diego, he from Bombay, suffer their second miscarriage and consider adoption. They adopt Asha, a 10-month-old Indian girl from a Bombay orphanage. Yes, it’s Kavita’s daughter. In alternating chapters, Gowda traces Asha’s life in America—her struggle being a minority, despite living a charmed life, and Kavita and Jasu’s hardships, including several years spent in Dharavi, Bombay’s (now Mumbai’s) infamous slum, and the realization that their son has turned to drugs. Gowda writes with compassion and uncanny perception from the points of view of Kavita, Somer, and Asha, while portraying the vibrant traditions, sights, and sounds of modern India. -Deborah Donovan, Booklist. Recommended by librarian Coleen Martin.

empty mansions book coverEmpty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr.

What goes on behind closed doors, especially when those doors are of the gilded variety, has fascinated novelists and journalists for centuries. The private lives of the rich and famous are so tantalizing that Robin Leach made a career out of showcasing them. One of the biggest eccentric, rich fishes out there was Huguette Clark. Deceased for more than two years, Clark, brought to life by investigator Dedman and Clark’s descendant, Newell, owned nouveau riche palaces in New York, Connecticut, and California. An heiress, Clark disappeared from public view in the 1920s. What happened to her and her vast wealth? Answering this question is the book’s mission. Based on records and the hearsay of relations and former employees, the book pieces together Clark’s life, that of a woman rumored to be institutionalized while her mansions stood empty, though immaculately maintained throughout her life. Clark left few clues about herself, but she willed vast sums to her caretakers and numerous charitable endeavors. Still, her absence acts as a shade to seeing her fully, hinting at possible financial malfeasance, all the while conspiring to produce a spellbinding mystery. – James Orbesen, Booklist. Recommended by librarian Lindsay Hansen.

raising my rainbow book coverRaising my Rainbow by Lori Duron

In her first book, Duron comes out of the mommy blog closet with an optimistic and delightful memoir of her family’s process of understanding, supporting, and celebrating their gender-creative son, C.J., who prefers Barbies to trucks and princesses to pirates. The story of the phenomenal growth that this mother exhibits as she tries to do what she thinks is best—steering C.J. toward gender-neutral toys, navigating ever-changing rules about what is okay for him to wear in public—is humorous and light, even when the issues involved are heavy. Duron employs a range of resources as she tries to understand her son and how best to parent him, including speaking to her gay brother and his transgendered friend, finding LGBTQ resources on the Internet, and discovering peers when she begins publishing a blog about C.J. (RaisingMyRainbow.com). In Duron’s story, parents will find support for a love them, not change them style of parenting, optimism about the outcomes for their gender-creative children, sympathy for the difficulties of parenting, and an affirmation of the appropriateness and necessity for fierce advocacy. Duron’s call for compassion should be heeded by educators, caregivers, and neighbors—an open heart, a desire to listen and learn, and a willingness to accommodate go a long way in doing well by someone who differs from your expectations. – Publishers Weekly. Recommended by librarian Anna Fidgeon.

unsweetined book coverUnsweetined by Jodie Sweetin

. . . In this deeply personal, utterly raw, and ultimately inspiring memoir, Jodie comes clean about the double life she led—the crippling identity crisis, the hidden anguish of juggling a regular childhood with her Hollywood life, and the vicious cycle of abuse and recovery that led to a relapse even as she wrote this book. Finally, becoming a mother gave her the determination and the courage to get sober. With resilience, charm, and humor, she writes candidly about taking each day at a time. Hers is not a story of success or defeat, but of facing your demons, finding yourself, and telling the whole truth—unSweetined. – Publisher description. Recommended by librarian Anna Fidgeon

stiff book coverStiff by Mary Roach

“Uproariously funny” doesn’t seem a likely description for a book on cadavers. However, Roach, a Salon and Reader’s Digest columnist, has done the nearly impossible and written a book as informative and respectful as it is irreverent and witty. From her opening lines (“The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back”), it is clear that she’s taking a unique approach to issues surrounding death. Roach delves into the many productive uses to which cadavers have been put, from medical experimentation to applications in transportation safety research (in a chapter archly called “Dead Man Driving”) to work by forensic scientists quantifying rates of decay under a wide array of bizarre circumstances. There are also chapters on cannibalism, including an aside on dumplings allegedly filled with human remains from a Chinese crematorium, methods of disposal (burial, cremation, composting) and “beating-heart” cadavers used in organ transplants. Roach has a fabulous eye and a wonderful voice as she describes such macabre situations as a plastic surgery seminar with doctors practicing face-lifts on decapitated human heads and her trip to China in search of the cannibalistic dumpling makers. Even Roach’s digressions and footnotes are captivating, helping to make the book impossible to put down. – Publishers Weekly. Recommended by librarian Anna Fidgeon.

Resource Guide: Data

Data imageData is an increasingly a popular topic for scholars and researchers. Moreover, data literacy is a new necessity for many institutions of education and employers. When to use them? Where to find them? What best to do with them? How to cite them? The Oviatt Library has a resource guide to help answer these questions: http://library.csun.edu/Guides/Data

Click on each various tab to guide you through either open datasets for different subjects if you are looking to find data for your research; learn to cite data; try creating an infographic with data; share data you have gathered; and manage the data so they will be preserved for future scholars.

- Charissa Jefferson

Using Permalinks: For Faculty

The Oviatt Library subscribes to many online databases in order to provide quality content for CSUN students, faculty, and staff. Trends in technology and higher education have given libraries the opportunity to provide access to content online, users no long have to come to the physical library to do research. When students or faculty are off campus and they want to access ebooks, databases, or articles that are available online, they will need to authenticate or login using their CSUN ID and passwords. Because of copyright issues and licensing agreements there are different ways for faculty to share these resources with their students without breaking any laws. Permalinks are stable URLs for online resources; they may also be labeled as, persistent links/URL, document URL, or DOI (digital object identifier).

For resources available in any of the Oviatt’s subscription databases, permalinks provide a stable URL that leads users directly to a source and prompt users off campus to login. These permalinks will have the term libproxy in the URL and this is how you know that off campus users will be asked to login. If you do not see this in the web address or URL, you can create your own proxied link using the Oviatt’s Proxied Link Builder.

The following video provides more information on permalinks and how to appropriately provide access to library content for CSUN students, within the campus LMS, Moodle.

Using Library Content in an Online Environment: For Faculty

- Laurie Borchard

Cool TCC Books for a Warm Summer

Postcards from campHoping to quench your thirst for some great summer reading? You can find terrific books in the Library’s Teacher Curriculum Center’s (TCC) literature collection. It’s the place for readers of all ages. For the younger set, check out titles such as, A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, Mosquitoes are Ruining My Summer, and Froggy Learns to Swim. “Off-to-camp-ers” will enjoy, Postcards from Camp, Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (parents – and grandparents may fondly remember the latter), and Cheesie Mack is Cool in a Duel. Young adults will surely warm to titles such as, How to Ruin a Summer Vacation and The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls. As always, the friendly TCC staff is here to help you find what you’re looking for — or even make reading recommendations to suit your interests. So, let your flip-flops do the walking and set you on the path to great summer reading adventures. We look forward to “sea-ing” you in the TCC, so dive on in! 

- Mara Houdyshell

Meet the Librarians of the Oviatt Library

Steve KutaySteve Kutay is a Digital Services Librarian here at the Oviatt. He’s responsible for providing access to Oviatt’s more historically relevant resources online through Oviatt’s Digital Collections, check it out! He is also the subject liaison for Pan-African Studies and Art. Read on to learn more about why he loves teaching and what he wants you to know about librarians.

Where are you originally from?

Born, raised, and educated in the Golden State!

What do you admire most about CSUN students?

I find the students at CSUN to be very receptive to new ideas.  I’m impressed with the kinds of projects they are doing, and the research questions they ask.  I think they are very in tune with what is relevant, particularly regarding issues that pertain to the diverse communities that make up our student population.

What’s your favorite book?

Understanding Comics : The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. I’m not a comic book guy, per se, but this book transcends the ways in which we typically learn about visual art, and by extension, visual media. It’s a comic book about comics. The work is dense, but it cleverly unpacks its concepts through the graphic medium. It is a brilliant (and exceptionally fun) examination of Art, Art History, abstraction and reality, Geometry, Visual Psychology and Design. To me, it was so effective, that it felt like I had taken an entire Art course in one sitting.

Why did you become a librarian?

To preserve and disseminate the products of knowledge. Given our information ecology, it’s never been more exciting to be a librarian.

What do you wish every student knew about the library or
librarians?

Our librarians are dedicated to helping students help themselves.

What’s your favorite quote?

“Information is not knowledge.” – Albert Einstein.

AND,

“Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.” – Frank Zappa

Is there a specific class that you really enjoy doing library instruction
for?

I honestly enjoy all my classes, and sometimes for different reasons. I have to say I really like teaching the freshman classes, because it is such a pivotal time in their lives.  I like to think I can meaningfully contribute by helping make the college transition seem less overwhelming.

If you could learn any skill what would it be?

Web and application programming. Unfortunately, it appears I haven’t the patience for writing code. Still waiting on the application that writes itself…

What are some of your current projects/tutorials that you are
working on?

As this year’s Co-Research Fellow with Ellen Jarosz, we are working on a pilot project called “Guided Resource Inquiries” that incorporates digitized archival and Special Collections materials with online course assignments for use across disciplines.  In addition, it makes use of the many excellent online tutorials created by my colleagues here at the Oviatt Library.

What are your research interests?

Currently these are: digital systems for using archival content in education, faculty research needs and collaboration, accessible content management systems, accessibility processing for digitized archival materials, and library assessment.

- Laurie Borchard

Research Therapy: Let the Library Help during Finals Week

Finals Are You Stressed ComicHow the Library Can Help ComicThere’s no need to worry, the Oviatt Library can help! The Oviatt is open 24/7 from Monday to Friday during finals week. We know that none of you would wait until the last minute to do your research, but just in case you did and you’re struggling, you can get help from a Librarian 24/7. Come see a librarian at the reference desk in the Learning Commons. During finals week from Monday to Thursday there will be a librarian at the desk from 8am to 9pm, on Friday from 8am to 4:45pm. You can also contact us online, via chat or email as well as text messaging, check out our Ask a Librarian page. You can also get help online with oour subject and course guides, including a guide for Citing Your Sources.

The Learning Resource Center is located on the 3rd floor of the library in the East wing; they offer tutoring, help with paper writing and citations. Check out their webpage for more information and be aware that their Writing Center closes Wednesday May 14th so make sure to call ASAP to make an appointment.

If you just need a place to study, don’t forget that you can reserve group and individual study rooms in the library. You can reserve these rooms in advance online, using our online booking system.

In case you need a break we have special events happening every day of Finals week. We’ll be handing out pillows all week along with special events like: arts & crafts, comedy movies, nap time and therapy dogs. Check out the flyer for dates and times of these events.

For more suggestions on how to de-stress, check out Pinterest page for tips on relaxation, motivational memes and cute photos of animals.

Just remember to keep calm and carry on and if you can’t do that, then scream, dance, or shake it out!!! http://youtu.be/WbN0nX61rIs

-Laurie Borchard

Business Resources at the Oviatt

The new business librarian at the Oviatt, Charissa Jefferson, liaises to the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics. She is responsible for developing the library collection for business subjects and is willing to take your suggestions! Simply fill out the purchase recommendation form: http://library.csun.edu/Services/PurchaseRecommendation

Over the 2013-214 academic year, the business collection has increased in electronic resources, although there are still print books bought. So remember the books on the shelves are only a small part of the larger collection that tells the story of the business collection at the Oviatt. Find these new and wonderful sources from the Library Catalog or the Books and Media tab from OneSearch.

Charissa has created short videos for faculty and students that highlight her consultation services on research projects as well as her willingness to share her knowledge and expertise with the campus community.

Video for Students: please click on the image below to view the video.

Video for Faculty: please click on the image below to view the video. 

- Charissa Jefferson

Browsing the Oviatt Collection Section by Section

stacksHi Matadors!

Today I wanted to discuss how we organize the library book collection. We often receive questions from students wanting to browse certain collections, such as:

“Where is the poetry section?” or “Where are the art books?”

This seemingly simple question is often difficult to answer because of how we organize the books. Unlike the public library or bookstore the collection is organized using the Library of Congress (LOC) Classification. All materials inside the library have call numbers beginning with a letter or two, then is followed by a set of numbers.  The letters at the beginning represent the subject area.

So in order to browse, you would need to know what subject area it would fall under. For instance, if you are searching for poetry you will need to start in the Language and Literature section of the library (P – PZ). This section is located on the third floor of the library and is pretty extensive covering almost a third of that floor – shelves 3 through 20.

Of course not all of these books are poetry but include fiction, plays, drama, essays, literary criticism, diaries, letters and so on.  Unfortunately, all poetry books are not grouped together in one section; however, they’re divided into regions of author’s nationality or language. American, English, Russian, or Spanish poetry are grouped together in different sections.  You would have to know which country you wanted to browse then look up the call number range. But be careful – you might be missing out on some great resources this way. For instance, if a book is checked out you have no way of knowing if you are only browsing through the stacks.

When browsing the collection it is best to come up with a plan.  First, try utilizing the library catalog. This may be a simpler task than sifting through hundreds of books on a shelf and will also provide some helpful information such as content, summary and/or subject terms. Once you find a book, you can head up to that section of the library. We also have thousands of electronic books that would only be accessible through the catalog.  If you cannot find materials this way and still want to physically browse the shelves take a look at the below classification outline.

If you would like help browsing the collection you could always Ask a Librarian! at the reference desk, via text or live chat.

Here is an outline of the Library of Congress Classification:

  1. A.    General Works
  2. B.    Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
  3. C.    Auxiliary Sciences of History
  4. D.    World History and History of Europe Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand
  5. E.    History of the Americas (North America)
  6. F.    History of the Americas (United States local history, Latin America)
  7. G.    Geography, Anthropology, Recreation
  8. H.    Social Sciences
  9. J.     Political Science
  10. K.    Law
  11. L.    Education
  12. M.   Music
  13. N.    Fine Arts
  14. P.    Language and Literature
  15. Q.    Science
  16. R.    Medicine
  17. S.    Agriculture
  18. T.    Technology
  19. U.    Military Science
  20. V.    Naval Science
  21. W.   Bibliography, library science

A full description of the classification system is available from the Library of Congress.

-       Jamie Johnson  jamie.johnson@csun.edu

Check out a Hugo Award Nominee at the Oviatt or Other Science Fiction and Fantasy Reads

Hugo AwardEscape to other worlds by diving into some of the best contemporary writing – this year’s Hugo Award nominees.

The nominees available at the Oviatt are:

The Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Floor 2 Best Sellers, PS3560.O7617 M46 2012)

Doctor Who, multiple episodes and specials (Floor 2, Music & Media)

Five of the nominees were published for free online by Tor.

For more geeky reads, check out Oviatt’s collection of graphic novels, science fiction, and fantasy.

- Laura Wimberley

Research Therapy: How To Find Statistical Data

Do you need to back your research up with statistics? The Oviatt Library provides access to several statistical databases, as well as online guides to help you find exactly what you need. There are also a lot of resources freely available on the web.

This short video shows you how to find our collection of statistical resources, as well as how to search some of them. 

Research Therapy on Statistics

For more information, check out our Finding Statistics and Finding Statistics by Zip Code guides.

-Isabelle Ramos