Archive for the ‘We Recommend’ Category

Help Yourself with the Last Self-Help Book

#howtotuesday: Help Yourself with the Last Self-Help Book

Why can you size up Saturn, or a stranger, in 10 seconds—but not yourself, whom you have known all your life?

Why is the Self the only object in the Cosmos which gets bored?

Why is it that the Self—though it professes to be loving, caring, to prefer peace to war, concord to discord, life to death; to wish other selves well, not ill—in fact secretly relishes wars and rumors of war, news of murders, obituaries, to say nothing of local news about acquaintances dropping dead in the street, gossip about neighbors getting in fights or being detected in sexual scandals, embezzlements, and other disgraces?

These are but a tiny sample of the questions posed by Walker Percy in Lost in the Cosmos: The Last-Self Help Book.

Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book is a tongue-in-cheek, mock self-help text containing essays, multiple-choice quizzes, and “thought experiments” authored by past Loyola University New Orleans mentor and professor Walker Percy. The book, Percy’s most popular work of non-fiction, is formatted to satirize standard self-help books while encouraging readers to seriously contemplate their Self and existential situation. Percy embarks upon an array of topics—religion, science, movie trivia, fear, exhilaration, sex, boredom—and discusses both contemporary events and popular figures (e.g. Jonny Carson, Mother Teresa, and Carl Sagan).

Loyola University Special Collections & Archives holds nine copies of Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book—five copies feature the signature (and in a single case, a rather lengthy inscription) of Walker Percy with one additional copy being inscribed by the book’s editor, Robert Giroux.

Are you interested in taking “A Preliminary Short Quiz so that you may determine whether you need to take the Twenty-Question Self-Help Quiz” or courageously embarking upon Percy’s “Twenty-Question Multiple-Choice Self-Help Quiz to test your knowledge of the peculiar status of the self, your self, and other selves, in the Cosmos, and your knowledge of what to do with your self in these, the last years of the twentieth century?” If so, visit Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 or Friday 9:00-12:00!

For further study of Walker Percy, Loyola University Special Collections & Archives holds a significant amount of material relating to the author including the Walker Percy Papers, Percy-Walsh Correspondence, Percy-Romagosa Collection, Percy-Suhor Letters, and Patrick Samway, S.J Papers.

#howtotuesday: Prevent Yellow Fever

#howtotuesday: Prevent Yellow Fever

Above: sanitary map of the city of New Orleans

Yellow Fever, sometimes called Yellow Jack or Yellow Plague, is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of female mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti species. Most cases of Yellow Fever cause mild symptoms including fever, headache, and chills; however, approximately 15% of cases develop into toxic, severe stages of recurring fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin) due to liver damage, abdominal pain, vomiting, and internal bleeding.

The city of New Orleans was plagued by several epidemics of Yellow Fever during the 19th century, the most deadly in 1853. Sadly, in a single year, 7,849 residents of New Orleans (population: 154,000) succumbed to the illness.

The Yellow Fever epidemic of 1853 led to further study of the viral disease and publication of The Cause and Prevention of Yellow Fever at New Orleans and Other Cities in America, a text investigating “the origin and mode of transmission of the great epidemic of last year, together with all causes affecting the salubrity of the city.”

The publication includes eight foldouts, each employing a map or chart to illustrate data.

Above: chart exhibiting the annual mortality of New Orleans

Local researchers conducted many experiments in an attempt to control the epidemic, including but not limited to, purifying the air by burning tar and firing canons throughout the city (a method only employed once). After identifying mosquitoes as the transmitters of Yellow Fever, efforts were launched to control the breeding of insects, particularly through extensive sanitation–an endeavor largely responsible for ending the crisis.

Interested in learning more about the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1853? Visit us in Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 or Friday, 9:00-12:00 where The Cause and Prevention of Yellow Fever at New Orleans and Other Cities in America and additional texts (like this one) are available for viewing!

I hope each of you have a wonderful holiday weekend (and don’t forget to wear a bit of bug spray)!

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

We Recommend: Paris is Burning


Paris Is Burning

The 1990 documentary film, “Paris Is Burning” directed by Jennie
Livingston highlights the ball culture in late eighties New York City.
While it explores fashion and celebrates the expression of pride amongst
it’s LGBT contestants, it also examines racism and homophobia while
leaving an indelible mark on music, pop culture, and the shifting
perception of family and acceptance.

Derrick Jefferson, Public Services & Outreach Librarian

We Recommend: Generation Zombie

Generation Zombie : Essays on the Living Dead in Modern Culture – Stephanie Boluk

[Cover] In recent years, the popularity of zombies has been resurrected in popular media. Television shows such as The Walking Dead and films such as Warm Bodies and World War Z have captivated modern audiences. Boluk compiles essays by a number of scholars who examine the rise of the zombie myth in popular culture. The work artfully attempts to explain the significance of the zombie in modern literature as well as the ways zombies are used to critique modern culture.

-Andrew Naquin, Technical Services

We Recommend: The Loser by Thomas Bernhard


The Loser (translated from Der Untegeher, 1983)
by  Thomas Bernhard

A fictional biography of the late, great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, originally written in German by the late, great Austrian novelist. Gould serves as a litmus test with which Bernhard’s protagonists may gauge their own and others’ attitudes toward art and life. Those who claim Gould as one of their own are uncompromising monomaniacs; they dismiss others who fail to appreciate Gould as being intellectually inadequate. The essentially paragraph-less, unrelenting narrative bears aspects of counterpoint and fugues in the works admired by the real-life Gould and, by extension, Bernhard. Despite so much doom and gloom expressed in this tale of three friendships, the reader may occasionally smile or even laugh out loud at unanticipated moments of humanity and comedy.

– Mike Olson, Dean of Libraries

We Recommend: In the Mood for Love


In The Mood For Love

Directed by Wong Kar-Wai

Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood For Love takes us to Hong Kong in 1962. Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow have just moved next door to each other and soon discover that their spouses are having an affair. They turn to each other for comfort and companionship and a romance develops between them, but they choose not to act as their spouses have. Much of the story is told without dialogue and not everyone will enjoy its slower pace. But it’s a beautifully shot film with amazing music; it’s one of those movies you watch for the experience. And on a personal note, I want to wear all of Mrs. Chan’s amazing dresses.

-Kayla Whitehead, Electronic & Continuing Resources Analyst

We Recommend: Cajun and zydeco CDs and LPs

Cajun music, and its cousin, zydeco, are musical forms that originated in south Louisiana.  Cajun music ranges from small to large ensembles, from folk to pop, country and rock styles, and is available to hear in the Monroe Library, on CD and LP.  Cajun is usually sung in a local form of French and played on violin, small accordion, guitar, bass, and drums.  Zydeco can be in French or English and features large accordions, electric guitar and bass, rubboard, and sometimes saxophone and trumpet.  There’s a large original group of songs, like the Valse de Bayou Teche and the Eunice two step, with some English pop, rock and country tunes.  We have recordings by giants like Clifton Chenier, BeauSoleil, the Balfa Brothers, and Amedé Ardoin.  We have CD and vinyl recordings; click here to do a catalog search.

We Recommend: The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce – C. S. Lewis

Call Number -  BJ1401 .L48

CSLewis TheGreatDivorce.jpg C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce follows the spirit of a deceased man as he explores the realms of the after life. Much like in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the man begins his journey in Hell and eventually ventures to Heaven. Lewis masterfully describes a journey through the afterlife, making this theological fantasy a must read for any fan of Lewis’ work to fantasy in general.

-Andrew Naquin, Student Library Assistant

We Recommend: Visualize This

Visualize This by Nathan Yau– Nathan Yau

In Visualize This, Nathan Yau gives readers a practical, hands-on guide to harvesting, organizing, and visualizing data. In reading this book, you will get experience using R, Adobe Illustrator, Python, and other programs to organize data into bar charts, heat maps. scatter plots, star charts, and even Chernoff Faces.

Checkout the embedded video for more information. If your interested in Visualize This be on the lookout for Yau’s second book Data Points.

-Brian Sullivan, Instructional and Research Technologies Librarian

We Recommend: Flatland

Flatland : A Romance of Many Dimensions – Edwin Abbott
[Cover] Abbott’s Flatland is one of the few novels about math and philosophy that can appeal to the non-philosophy or math student. This short fantasy takes us to a completely flat world of two physical dimensions where all the inhabitants are geometric shapes, and who think the planar world of length and width in which they live is all there is. But one inhabitant discovers the existence of a third physical dimension, enabling him to eventually grasp the concept of a fourth dimension. Watching Arthur Square, our Flatland narrator, we begin to get an idea of the limitations of our own assumptions about reality, and we start to learn how to think about the confusing problem of higher dimensions.
-Andrew Naquin, Student Library Assistant