Oscar Casares’ “Amigoland” Selected As 2010 Mayor’s Book Club Pick

thumbamigoCasares, Oscar 2009Oscar Casares’ novel, “Amigoland,” (2009, Little, Brown) is the ninth annual official selection of the Mayor’s Book Club. The selection was announced at a press conference held by Mayor Lee Leffingwell on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at City Hall in downtown Austin.

Casares was in attendance during the announcement. His novel, set on the South Texas-Mexico border, is the story of estranged brothers Don Fidencio Rosales, nearly 92 years old, and Don Celestino, 20 years his junior. Celestino finds himself involved with his young cleaning woman, Socorro, who becomes a catalyst for the two brothers to reconnect. The improbable trio takes off on a bus trip into Mexico, where the brothers hope to settle a longstanding dispute about how their grandfather arrived in the United States. The trip stirs up powerful issues of family, pride and how we care for the people we love.

The Library, in conjunction with the Mayor’s office, Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, and the University of Texas Humanities Institute, launches its annual citywide reading campaign to develop a community experience through reading and discussion of a shared book. All of Austin is invited to read the book and then join together in special events and programs during January through April.

Casares joined the Department of English and the Michener Center for Writers in 2004 after his debut of “Brownsville’s” publication to critical acclaim.

Sociologist Wins Best Book Award

giving_backMarc Musick, associate professor of sociology and College of Liberal Arts associate dean for student affairs, won the Best Book Award for “Volunteers: A Social Profile” (Indiana University Press, 2007) from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organization and Voluntary Action.

Musick and John Wilson, co-author of the book and professor of sociology at Duke University, accepted the award on Nov. 19 at the organization’s national conference.

In “Volunteers: A Social Profile,” Musick and Wilson cover a broad range of topics, including volunteer motivation, historical trends and social influences, providing insight into the causes and consequences of volunteering.