Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book of the Month for September

BOM for Sept: Reality Hunger: a Manifesto, David Shields.

Knopf. 2010.

Probably the best way to review David Shields’ bizarre new screed Reality Hunger: A Manifesto is to present one passage:

I find nearly all the moves the traditional novel makes unbelievably predictable, tired, contrived, and essentially purposeless…
I like work that’s focused not only page by page but line by line on what
the writer really cares about rather than hoping that what the writer cares
about will somehow mysteriously creep through the cracks of narrative,
which is the way I experience most stories and novels.

If you’re the kind of writer, reader, or thinker who reads this fatuous passage as a neat indictment of its author’s shallowness and general stupidity, you’re not going to have a meaningfully different experience with the rest of the book and its glib pronouncements, which greatly outnumber and overwhelm the few interesting explorations it affords.
If you, however, read it with a fist pump and an “in your face, traditional novel!” read the rest of the book.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Welcome to Fall 2010

Welcome back to FSU for the new semester! We're sure we'll see many of you here in the library for studying, research, instruction sessions, and computer use.

If you're a new student or faculty member, be sure to familiarize yourself with our homepage to learn about our policies and services.
Here's a libguides page with an overview of library policies.

Have a great semester!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Michel Pastoureau's Black: The History of a Color

BOM for August: Black: The History of a Color. Michel Pastoureau. Princeton University Press: 2009.

Medieval historian Michel Pastoureau continues his work on the history of colors and patterns with his latest book Black: The History of a Color (he has previously written on the color blue and stripes). Pastoureau tackles this admittedly complex subject in the context of European art, beginning with prehistoric and ancient cultures and concluding with how the modern perception of black is shaped by social, political, cultural and artistic currents. Throughout visual history the color black has come to represent a gamut of concepts including austerity, evil, death, secrecy, elegance, power, luxury modernity and danger and has been exploited by artists and propagandists alike to communicate these sentiments.

Pastoureau’s most interesting narrative comes early in the book when he discusses black’s place in the color spectrum and lexicon. Black's status as a color in its own right has fluctuated for centuries, depending on scientific and technical advancements such as Sir Isaac Newton's discovery of the color spectrum and the invention of the printing press--black ink on white paper. Pastoureau asserts that contemporary thinking once again considers black a color but cautions us to not consider black in isolation, both from other colors and from historical and cultural context.

Pastoureau supports his ideas with historical documents, artifacts like coats of arms, and beautifully reproduced, full color paintings, etchings and photographs. The book is divided into short, digestible chapters, organized chronologically. Although the prose is sometimes abstract and overly conceptual, Black: The History of Color is an enjoyable and fascinating read for anyone interested in aesthetics, art and design.

Library Catalog Scheduled to Go Offline for an Upgrade

Catalog USMAI
, the online catalog system for Frostburg State University and the entire University System of Maryland, will be unavailable from 3 pm Saturday, August 7 to 5 pm Sunday, August 8 for a scheduled upgrade.