Center for the Study of 19th Century America Celebration

Ben Tarnoff, author of The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature and A Counterfeiter’s Paradise: The Wicked Lives and Surprising Adventures of Three Early American Moneymakers, will be presenting “Mark Twain and the Bohemians of the Far Western Frontier” at Mckee Library on Oct 24, 2014 in the library’s Knowledge Commons. Convocation credit given.

Learn more about Ben Tarnoff at his website

McKee Library Les Miserables Collection

McKee Library has both the book and sound recording of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, plus these five movies.

Check Out These Great Gatsby Films Available at McKee Library

Check out Holes a Fun Film for Everyone


Suggested Reading by SAU Staff

David and Goliath: Underdog, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell.

Gladwell anchors this book with a dissection of the Biblical story of David & Goliath. Through this story and others, Gladwell identifies characteristics about seemingly disadvantaged people that actually make them better equipped for the challenges of life. As a professor of Social Psychology, I appreciate Gladwell’s presentation of social science principles in a ways that are intriguing and easily digestable. Furthermore, an unintended consequence of reading this book was that it profoundly impacted my faith as I realized even more that God’s “power is made perfect in weakness.”

Recommended by Professor Tron Wilder

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.

A great, concise collection of ideas that will bring clarity to anyone pursuing a creative discipline

-Recommended by Professor Zach Gray


We’re sure it’s a bit of a coincidence, but after years of visiting different branches of the San Francisco Public Library, we started to discover that there are some incredibly talented people who work behind the desks, shelve the books and keep order in the world of reference materials. We set out to meet just a few of the astonishing number of musicians, artists and other creative types who dutifully serve the public every day….

Moazzam Sheikh has a theory as to why so many creative types hold down day jobs in the public library system.

“Writers and artists and painters and dancers and photographers, in their bones, they see themselves as marginalized people,” he says. “We are really drawn to people who have never touched a computer or don’t have language skills or young kids who have never read before. We go out of our way to make sure these huge, expensive buildings don’t intimidate them. Every day we come to work and expend our patience, knowledge and caring to the marginalized and lonely people.”

Sheikh, who is a librarian in the art and music department at the Main Library, is also a prolific translator whose works are frequently published in Punjabi and Urdu, and a fiction writer who has put out two short-story collections. The title of his most recent, “Cafe Le Whore,” is a play on the name of his native city of Lahore, Pakistan, and features witty, touching takes on the challenges of immigrant life in the States.

But there is a finer, more literal focus in his work, too.

“I get to work on the 38-Geary,” he says. “I get off on Hyde Street and walk that patch to the library and see that side of life — whores and pimps and war veterans and drug addicts. We cannot turn our back on these people.”

These librarians rock, literally!

Word of the day: baudet (French)


n. Donkey.


Image: Equus asinus Kadzidłowo by Lilly M CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Suggested Reading from SAU Staff.

The Last Hunger Season by Roger Thurow

This book is fantastic because it shows the reality of the hardships and blessings of the lives of small-holder farms in Kenya, but not only that, it describes a compelling story of social entrepreneurship.

-President Mindy Wiygul

The Road Less Traveled by M Scott Peck

This is a self-help book that I highly recommend to people who don’t read self-help books. It is an inspirational read, but in an old-fashioned way. It lacks rosiness and in its place puts self-discipline at the top of the list of values for a good life. If you are someone who believes there are no easy ways to self-improvement, and that things like commitment and responsibility are the seeds of contentment and joy then this a must-read! 

-Professor Kristie Wilder


Today in author birthdays!

“Sometimes it helps to scold yourself, to give yourself advice.”  - R. L. Stine, The Haunted Mask II

“Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.” - Frank Herbert, Dune

“Comics are words and pictures. You can do anything with words and pictures.” - Harvey Pekar

Images from left: Via Art Apparent, via Eliza Loves You and via aeva.

Quotes via Goodreads.