Reader’s Advisory: I, Spy, a Fantastic Reading Time

It’s the beginning of the summer, and things are heating up, both in Champaign and in these spy thrillers! Cool off with one of these novels that we have selected from our collection.

 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

You’ll enjoy this classic spy novel by John le Carré, as it follows an aging Spymaster named George Smiley who is working to uncover a Soviet mole in the British Secret Intelligence Service. This complex novel is gritty, uses “spy language” that Le Carre himself created, and is loosely based on the author’s experiences during the 50’s and 60’s when multiple KGB moles were found in the British Intelligence Services. The novel has 2 sequels, and has also been turned into a television miniseries, a radio series, and a 2011 movie that can checked out at our library on DVD here.

 

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (Image from Amazon)

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

Jason Bourne is a man with amazing survival abilities, but suffers from amnesia, and is on a journey to discover his identity. Robert Ludlum’s spy thriller is considered one of the best spy books of all time, and is the beginning of a trilogy that has all been turned into the movie series starring Matt Damon. A new film entitled, “Jason Bourne,” is coming out this July, not based on any of the original Ludlum novels, but will pick up where the third book of the original series, “The Bourne Ultimatum” left off. The DVD of the “Bourne Identity is available at the UGL, and the catalog entry can be found here.

 

The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Expats by Chris Pavone

Can we ever escape our secrets? Kate and Dexter Moore keep many secrets, especially from each other. After a move to Luxembourg, Kate is no longer struggling to make ends meet, but she is struggling to keep up her double life. When Kate meets another expat couple, she has a strange feeling that leads to an investigation into shell corporations, fake offices, and deception. The Expats, by Chris Pavone, is an exceptional spy novel that the New York Times says, “is full of sharp insights into the parallels between political espionage and marital duplicity” so pick it up quickly before it disappears.

 

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

Winner of Best Novel Edgar Allan Poe Award, this thriller novel by Frederick Forsyth follows a professional assassin known as, “The Jackal,” after he is hired by the OAS, “Organisation de l’armée secrète” (a real, short-lived French paramilitary dissident group) to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France. This book helped to define the spy thriller genre, and it stands the test of time, as it was voted one of the top 200 books in the UK in 2003, over 30 years after it was originally released. There are two feature films based on the book, both of which the UGL has! The first film was released shortly after the book’s release, and is called “The Day of the Jackal,” and is a strict adaptation of the novel. The second film, “The Jackal,” a Bruce Willis fronted movie, is a very loose adaptation, so distant in fact, that Forsyth tried to have the name changed to disassociate it from the novel.

 

A Gentleman’s Game: A Queen and Country Novel

A Gentleman’s Game: A Queen and Country Novel

A Gentleman’s Game: A Queen and Country Novel

The international community is about to find out that spying is not just “A Gentleman’s Game.” This electrifying novel by Greg Rucka, a fearless writer, weaves into the American comic book series “Queen and Country” also by Rucka. The series centers on Tara Chace, head of Special Operations for the British Intelligence, a lethal heroine, who is hunting down terrorists who have wreaked havoc on London. Tara is going to be used as bait by her country in order to lure in the terrorists, and she begins to question who is the bad guy in this situation. “In this new kind of war, betrayal can take any form…including one’s duty to queen and country”

 

Did we miss anything? What are some of your favorite podcasts right now? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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June Events

Although campus seems empty, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do this summer in good old Champaign-Urbana! This is only a selection of the bundles of events that will keep your social life sizzling this summer.

Photo Courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Photo Courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Photo Courtesy of Illini Union

Photo Courtesy of Illini Union

Copa America and UEFA Viewing at the Illini Union – June 3-26 and June 10-July 10 – Free

If you thought the Union would be deserted over the summer, think again! Visit the Courtyard Cafe in the Illini Union during these major soccer tournaments to see your favorite–and least favorite–teams duke it out on the field.

Photo Courtesy of Illini Union

Photo Courtesy of Illini Union

Eye in the Sky on the Quad – Thursday June 9, 9pm – Free

After a day of frollicking in the sun, enjoy a June night on the Quad with your friends and Alan Rickman! The Illini Union will be showing this film that explores ethics during war. With a 95% rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a pricetag of $0, there’s no excuse not to give it a chance.

Photo Taken from Facebook Event

Photo Taken from Facebook Event

The Princess Bride at the Virginia Theater – Monday June 13 and Tuesday June 14, 7pm – $4

Always wanted to see Wesley on the big screen? As you wish! This classic spoof on the Romantic Comedy movie genre is just one movie being shown as part of the Virginia Theater’s ROMCOM16 series. Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity would be better than missing this!

Photo Taken from Urbana Business Association Facebook

Photo Taken from Urbana Business Association Facebook

Uncork Urbana Wine Festival – Saturday June 18, 1-9pm – Admission $15 online, $20 at the gate (includes 5 tastings and souvenir glass)

For the 21 and up crowd, be sure to check out the Uncork Urbana Wine Festival this month. The festival features wine tasting, food trucks, and live music in downtown Urbana. Nab your tickets a couple days early to save $5 on admission!

Photo Taken from Champaign Parks Website

Photo Taken from Champaign Parks Website

StreetFest – Saturday June 18, 7pm-Midnight – Free

This annual live music event also features food and drinks from all your favorite local spots. Enjoy the great June weather with bands The New and Slightly Used, Sun Stereo, and Jim Markum Swing Band. If you can’t make it in June, StreetFest will be back with new bands on July 16.

Photo Taken from Lola's Brush

Photo Taken from Lola’s Brush

Wine Bottle Painting at Lola’s Brush – Wednesday June 22, 6-8pm – $20

Paint a wine bottle and get a little tipsy at this BYOB event at Lola’s Brush in Champaign. Admission includes materials. If you can’t make it on this day, don’t fret! There are BYOB painting events at Lola’s throughout the summer, including a couple’s paint and wine glass painting.

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UGL Summer Hours

You did it! Finals are over and summertime in the UGL has begun. For those of you staying in town or who are taking classes, the UGL will be open, but will have reduced hours. Come on in, say hi, and check out some DVD’s or video games! If you still need a space to study, you’re in luck. The UGL will be open so you can relax or do homework.

Summertime in the UGL. Photo courtesy of Alain via Flickr Media Commons

We hope you enjoy your summer break! Photo courtesy of Susanne Nilsson via Flickr Media Commons

The hours will be the following:

Monday-Thursday: 8:30 AM- 6:00 PM

Friday: 8:30 AM- 5:00 PM

Saturday & Sunday: Closed

There will be a few days during the summer where the UGL will be closed, so if you have any questions, feel free to check the hours on the library gateway page. Have a great summer and be on the lookout for our summertime reader’s advisory blogs and other fun stuff!

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They’re Back! Therapy Pets at the Library

Summer is almost here! Take a break from studying for finals and stressing about deadlines to play with therapy pets at the library! This year’s group of therapy pets is cute, cuddly, and ready to play. If you didn’t catch them at Grainger last week, therapy pets will be waiting to cuddle at ACES and the UGL on the following dates:

Monday, May 9th at ACES from 2-4 PM: Atlas, Maisey, and Wyatt the cat can’t wait to have their tummies rubbed.

Tuesday, May 10th at the UGL from 2-4 PM: Atlas and Beowoof are excited to see everyone!

Beowoof

Come see Beowoof!

Beowoof is a fashionable Saint Bernard. Beowoof loves to make people happy. The only thing bigger than his paws is his heart! He has a contagious smile and a way of making even your worst day better by simply being in the room. His favorite trick is to give high-fives and his favorite leisure activity is sleeping (or maybe eating homemade peanut butter dog cookies).

Atlas

Atlas Therapy Dog

Atlas is a 7 year old Rottweiler that was adopted from South Suburban Humane Society when he was a year old. He especially loves hanging out with kids at libraries and schools, helping them read. His favorite toy is his Kong and his favorite spot to be scratched is his “bow tie” on his chest.

Maisey

Come see Maisey!

Maisey is a 6 yr old Australian Shepherd-Retriever Mix that was adopted back in 2011 from a local shelter in Muncie, Indiana. Maisey participates in various therapy dog events, including visits to the Carle Foundation Hospital, kids read to dogs programs at local libraries and a number of school groups. When not doing therapy dog work, Maisey enjoys taking long walks, chasing squirrels, and squeaking her plush hedgehog toy.

Wyatt

Come see Wyatt!

Wyatt is six years old and loves to be pet and complimented. Wyatt is a very social cat and is a mix of Siamese, Maine Coon, and Persian. When Wyatt is not “on the job,” he spends his time as a typical cat – napping, playing and eating.

Have any questions about therapy pets? Want to express how excited you are to meet these animals? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at Illinois)!

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May Events

May has finally graced us with its presence and it brings wonderful events along with flowers and sunshine just before (and some after, for those of you sticking around) graduation. We’re going to avoid having graduation itself on this list so those of you ignoring its ever-looming presence may be at ease and are instead going to focus on some of the lighter and less real-life-inducing things you can do around town this month. With events ranging from the swansong of a local music staple to the always pleasant opportunity to take in some nature, we hope we’ll find a little something for everyone this month.

For those of you graduating, we wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors and we thank you for sharing some of your time at the U of I with us here at the UGL. Congratulations to the class of 2016!

Photo taken from methodshop on Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo taken from ScypaxPictures on Flickr Creative Commons.

 

How to Be Single at the Illini Union – May 6 and 7 at 7pm

Sometimes it seems like the only way to make it through finals is to watch a laugh-out-loud movie with friends. Lucky for you, the good folks at the Illini Union are going to screen the new How to Be Single movie, starring Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson for those of you looking looking to take a break from all that cramming. This funny, smart, not-so-original rom-com may be all you need to get you through this coming week.

Photo taken from Facebook event page.

Photo taken from Facebook event page.

The Final Show at Mike N Molly’s – May 13 at 7:30pm

Many of the events blogs we’ve posted in the past have featured glimpses into the deep musical soul of our twin cities and many of those past events have been hosted at one of CU’s finest local music venues: Mike N Molly’s. As the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end” and May 13 will be the final night for locals to bask in the glorious sounds that can be found emanating from the glorious green bar in Downtown Champaign. Local giants Withershins will play the final set ever and while we would advise seeing them anytime they’re playing around town, we think this performance will be even a bit more special. It’s a night that will be remembered for many years to come just like the ceremony happening the days following it.

University of Illinois Arboretum.

University of Illinois Arboretum.

Visit the UI Arboretum – Anytime

If you’ve never been to the Arboretum over near the intersection of Lincoln and South Florida Avenues, anytime in May would be the perfect time to visit. The Japan House is a serene spot where you can simply sit and watch an afternoon slip on by or if you head toward the back of the Arboretum you’ll find yourself lost in the flowers of the Selection Garden, sure to be in bloom by the end of finals and offering more colors than you can imagine in one place. The Idea Garden is another beautiful spot to spend some time in and overall, we think you’ll find some sense of inner peace when walking around on a sunny day. And after finals, that may be just what you need.

Photo taken from the Champaign Park District.

Photo taken from the Champaign Park District.

Sounds at Sunset Concert Series at Clark Park – May 22 from 6pm to 8pm

Champaign-Urbana is chock full of lovely parks that are a great place to spend a summer day and the Parks District is looking to bring even more people to them this summer with their Sounds at Sunset Concert Series. May 22 will feature the Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project, a group that is sure to play some lively and intricate tunes that could be the cap to a perfect weekend. The parks department encourages you to bring chairs and refreshments, so put on your weekend shorts and shades and listen to some great music as the sun goes down before another work week.

Photo taken from the Champaign Park District.

Photo taken from the Champaign Park District.

Sholem Aquatic Center Opening Day Celebration – May 28 from 11am to 7pm

Summer and all its sunshine and warmth will hopefully be in full swing by the end of the month and the best way to cool off is to hit the pool. Sholem Aquatic Center will be celebrating its opening day and for only $9 for admission, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to beat the heat.

 

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Reader’s & Watcher’s Advisory: So, You’re Graduating Soon?

Whether you’re sappy or psyched for commencement this year, we believe in you! No matter how you feel about graduating, we know you’ve got some feelings. We’ve got some materials for you to read and watch to deal with those feelings.

 

Commencement Advisory

What commencement story should you read or watch next? Check the flowchart to find out!

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Book: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

In this commencement story by Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides, nothing is easy: Madeleine is unsure of her life goals except for that she loves Leonard, who experiences emotional rollercoasters she is unable to fully grasp. Mitchell, Madeleine’s college friend, pines for her while examining philosophical life questions during his travels abroad. But even for graduates of Brown University in the 1980s, the best laid plots may fail. This novel examines love in an unexpected (and not always happy) way and is not for a reader who loves a perfect ending.

 

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham

Book: Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham

If you ever feel like you’re awkwardly fumbling through life, you are not alone. Lena Dunham’s smash hit Not That Kind of Girl, similar to her tv show Girls, is a silly, but simultaneously gravely serious, memoir of what it feels like to not always know what you are doing. Although Dunham details her life from childhood to a few years after her college graduation, she captures the spirit of many young graduates embarking on their own self-discoveries.

 

Gilmore Girls Season 7

Gilmore Girls Season 7

Television Show: Gilmore Girls Season 7

Re-watching all of Gilmore Girls with your roommate during your final semester of college?!? Well, hurry up and get to the last season (even though it suffers because the creator was gone). Rory is starting (and finishing) her last year at Yale, all the while still in a long distance with Logan (obviously the greatest boyfriend she’s ever had), and Lorelai is doing what Lorelai does best…making questionable decisions. Will Lorelai and Luke end up together? Will Rory have the job of her dreams? What were the four words Amy Sherman-Palladino (the show’s creator) wanted to use for the ending of Gilmore Girls? What happens next? Luckily, you will find out! Sherman-Palladino and the rest of the Stars Hollow family are coming back for a series of four 90 minute Netflix episodes, due to be released in the near future.

 

The Graduate

The Graduate – Image from Amazon

Movie: The Graduate

In what is regarded as one of the best movies of all time by the American Film Institute, Dustin Hoffman stars as Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate, in this 1967 comedy-drama. Braddock has decided to spend the summer after he graduates lounging by the pool, ignoring any suggestion from the adults in his life about what to do after graduation. After engaging in an affair with one of his parent’s friends, Benjamin’s life takes a wild turn. This movie is based off the 1963 novel of the same name, that has also been adapted into a Broadway play. Will Benjamin figure out what he wants to do with his life? Will he get the girl of his dreams? Spend some time and find out, by watching the movie that Champaign native and University of Illinois favorite, Roger Ebert, called “funniest American comedy of [its] year.”

Did we miss anything? What are some of your favorite podcasts right now? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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Reader’s Advisory: Poetry

Uggles the UGL cat wearing a beret.

Uggles the UGL cool cat.

April is National Poetry, so we’ve perused our stacks to find some exciting and diverse poetry books to help you celebrate. Whether you’re a fan of the funny or the frightening, there should be something to tickle your poetic fancy. Grab those berets and have your coffee close and let us find your new favorite poetry book.

The Undergrad is
sure to have all the poems
a cool cat could want.

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

Book: The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

Poetry can often be a bit intimidating and can seem not fun, so we decided to start this list with something a bit less high-brow. Shel Silverstein is a beloved author of popular children’s books like The Giving Tree of Where the Sidewalk Ends and, fun fact, was a dropout of the University of Illinois! The Missing Piece Meets the Big O is one of his lesser celebrated books but is one that compassionately and lightly can show you how to navigate relationships in your life that you may not know how to approach. The best poetry has a way of sneaking up on you and we have a feeling this lovely book will be no different.

Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems by Juan Felipe Herrera

Book: Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems by Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is the current poet laureate of the USA and is the first Chicano poet laureate of our country. This book earned Herrera the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008, an award presented for the “finest books and reviews published in English”. Herrera’s work often touches on racial identity and this work collects both newer, previously unpublished material as well as older poems that have stuck with the poet. It may not be the type of poetry a newer poetry reader may want to pick up first, but it is one that holds many wonders and can provide a great introduction to the world of modern American poetry.

Graphic Clasics: Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Tom Pomplum

Book: Graphic Clasics: Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Tom Pomplun

Edgar Allen Poe is one of the most celebrated, creepiest, and most thoroughly interesting poets and writers that have ever lived. His poems and works of fiction are dark and gloomy and have captivated audiences for years and this collection brings these stories to life in comic form, something you non-poetry types might really enjoy. Actually getting to see the raven quothing “nevermore” over and over again in vivid illustrations may be just the push you need to really get into poetry full time.

America's Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz

Book: Americans’ Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz

We decided to include a general collection of favorite poems for those of you just starting to really get into poetry. Americans’ favorite poems was compiled by the editors via letters from the American public admitting their love of poems from all types of authors from all sorts of places around the world. You’ll get beautiful classic Shakespeare, you’ll get stark raving Ginsberg, you’ll get some love poems that you’ll write in the margins of your notebooks for months. These are poems that are meant to be shared and loved and digested thoroughly and included are comments by normal people confessing their love of these wondrous works. Find a new favorite and rave about it to your friends!

Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams

Book: Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams

It would be a crying shame to not include something from our enormous Media Collection on the Lower Level on this list and we couldn’t think of a better poetry driven film than Dead Poets Society. Featuring the late, great Robin Williams in one of his most iconic (and more serious) roles, this film will have you falling head over heals for Whitman and jumping on your desks reciting “Oh Captain! My captain!” How great is that scene? Classic.

Did we miss anything? What are some of your favorite poetry books? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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UGL 101: Silent UGL

Photo courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Silent UGL featuring Uggles the UGL Cat

The UGL has a new web series: Silent UGL. Silent UGL features tasks, punishment, humiliation, exploding food, and Uggles the UGL Cat. Watch as contestants perform tasks while trying, and sometimes failing, to remain silent on the Lower Level.

The Staring Contest

The Lower Level of the UGL is a space meant for quiet studying. Staring contests are allowed, as long as they are silent.

Food Foolishness

The UGL has a new food and drink policy: food is allowed as long as it is not smelly, noisy, or greasy. You should probably keep your exploding chips back at your dorm room.

Read more about policies at the UGL on our About the Library page.

Like the video? Let us know by tweeting at us (@askundergrad) or writing on our Facebook wall (Undergraduate Library @ UIUC). Make sure to follow us on Instagram (@askundergrad) to get a peak behind the scenes and catch up on the latest adventures of Uggles!

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April Events

There’s movies, there’s art, there’s even Mom’s weekend (though we’re gonna skip that to highlight some other cool things going on). As the semester winds down and graduation looms, you may find yourself feeling a little misty-eyed and shut-in, so why not try to hit the town and beat the end-of-the-year blues by going to one of the cool events we’ll highlight below?

Photo taken from event's Facebook page.

Photo taken from event’s Facebook page.

Boneyard Arts Festival – April 7-10

Champaign County is filled to the brim with creative people making art in a variety of ways and the yearly Boneyard Arts Festival brings the work of these varied and abundant individuals to the forefront of the community for 4 days each Spring. This festival isn’t limited to just the typical art galleries across campus and around town; you can find work from artists in non-traditional locations such as retail stores and salons. It’s the perfect time to go out and get inspired and see the huge amount of work being produced by artists of all kinds right here in our own backyard. Their new website is also really cool and features some videos from past festivals that will give you an idea of the variety in store.

Photo taken from event's Facebook page.

Photo taken from event’s Facebook page.

Ebertfest – April 13-17

One of CU’s most noteworthy former citizens and a proud alumnus of UIUC is Roger Ebert, the famous film-critic who popularized the now everyday idea of giving things a “thumbs up” and informed moviegoers of what was new and exciting at the cinema for years. Each year, CU is fortunate to have a small slice of Hollywood drop in for a few days in Ebert’s honor as new films are premiered and stars of the screen find their way to our humble sister cities to present their films. This year will be no exception with famed director Guillermo Del Toro making an appearance on opening night and plenty of movies are slated to delight audiences. If a festival pass is too pricey, and you just wanna catch a movie, tickets are $13 for students. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet Guillermo and find yourself in the next Pacific Rim!

Photo taken from event's Facebook page.

Photo taken from event’s Facebook page.

Jim Ottivani Talks Comics and Science at Grainger Engineering Library- April 15 at 7pm

Alan Turing was a wholly brilliant scientist that was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the recent Academy Award winning film The Imitation Game. That film was based on a book about that brilliant man and Grainger is now happy to bring the author of a graphic novel based on that book to their library! Ottivani is also an alumnus of UIUC and his graphic novels have won many awards and are available in our graphic novel collection on the Lower Level. RSVP to the Facebook event by following the link below:

http://www.facebook.com/events/1574951326157402/

Photo taken from Illini Union's calendar page.

Photo taken from Illini Union’s calendar page.

Phoenix Improv at lllini Union – April 21 and April 28 at 7

If you’ve never been to any sort of improvisational comedic performance, you absolutely need to rectify that situation by catching Phoenix Improv at the Union for free. Improv is the basis for a lot of the TV plots you watch in your favorite comedy shows and some of the funniest actors and actresses of all time got their start doing improv at various levels. And, since we’re only a short trip from the famous Second City in Chicago, you never know who might move on from one of these Union performances to make a splash in Hollywood.

Illini Baseball vs. Minnesota – April 29 – May 1

By this time, the sun should be shining and those May flowers should be popping out of the ground and we can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend than root root rooting for the home team as they take on Minnesota in three games across the weekend. Two day games also mean you can still have the night to do as you please!

Did we miss anything? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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UGL Advisory: What to Read/Watch After Catching Up on Your Unplayed Podcasts

Having to wait until next week for the newest episode of podcast can be frustrating, but we here at the UGL can help you pick out something to read or watch that will continue the excitement of your favorite moments listening to your favorite podcasts. Take a look at our list of books, comic books, and DVDs, that we’ve paired up with some of the most popular podcasts right now, and come over to the UGL to check them out!

If you like Serial

You should try…

The Good Nurse: a Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

The Good Nurse: a Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

Book: The Good Nurse: a Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

If you’re looking for more of the true crime mystery and suspense that Serial provides, look no further than The Good Nurse. Charles Graeber chronicles the life and career of Charlie Cullen, also known as “The Angel of Death,” and provides insight into the intelligent, twisted, complicated young man who killed nearly 300 medical patients. Graeber’s ability to use investigative journalism to look past the simple facts and reveal the creepy complexity of Cullen will have you asking, “Who is Sarah Koenig?”

 

In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

Movie: In Cold Blood

Based on Truman Capote’s non-fiction book of the same name, this movie tells the story of two men who break into a family’s home in Holcomb, Kansas, brutally murder the four family members, and attempt to elude the police. The movie examines the senseless killing in a very dramatic way and remains a benchmark for true crime films. If you love the chilling intrigue that Serial provides, you’ll find this movie both thrilling and disturbing.

 

If you like Welcome to Nightvale

You should try…

House of Leaves

House of Leaves

Book: House of Leaves

If you’re a fan of Welcome to Night Vale’s surreal news radio updates and are looking for a novel with the same weird atmosphere, you may want to check out House of Leaves. Danielewski’s book is a strangely arranged book that includes vertical footnotes, colored words, and multiple appendices. The story begins with a young family who makes a shocking discovery – their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Prepare to be challenged by the originality and forever changed by the questions it will leave you with.

 

John Dies at the End

John Dies at the End
Image from: Amazon.com

Movie: John Dies at the End

This movie is based on David Wong’s comic horror novel of the same name. The dark, fantasy/science fiction horror film follows two college dropouts who are trying to save the world from an otherworldly invasion as a street drug, called Soy Sauce, which makes users hallucinate and drift across time and other dimensions. This humorous horror film is great for those of you that love the absurdist qualities of Welcome to Night Vale.

 

If you like Black Girls Talking

You should try…

TwERK

TwERK
Image from: Amazon.com

Book: TwERK

This collection of poems written by the highly praised LaTasha N. Nevada, is a full body and mind experience. Through use of multiple languages, cultural inclusivity, and identifiable markers of American popular culture, Nevada attempts to remind the reader that America has always been more than just the English language. Like “Black Girls Talking”, “TwERK” is humorous and satirical, but offers many moments of seriousness and sincerity that give balance, keep your interest, and remind you of its intent.

 

Beyond the Lights

Beyond the Lights
Image from: Amazon.com

Movie: Beyond the Lights

Gugu Mbatha-Raw gets her chance as a Hollywood leading actress with her turn as “Noni Jean”, a pop star who makes it big immediately, but suffers under the immense pressure of stardom. A movie widely praised by critics for its “smart direction” by director Gina Prince Blythewood (“Secret Life of Bees” & “Love and Basketball”) and powerhouse performance by Mbatha-Raw (“Jupiter Ascending” & “Concussion”), the romantic drama transcends its cliché plot to bring true entertainment to the screen.

 

If you like Guys We F’d: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast

You should try…

The Single Standard

The Single Standard
Image from: Amazon.com

Movie: The Single Standard

This silent movie filmed in 1929 (after “talkies” had been invented) stars Greta Garbo, Nils Asther, and Johnny Mack Brown in a love triangle film. Garbo, a strong independent woman, believes in equality of the sexes though, and thinks that the “single standard” for freedom, equality, and relationships should go both ways, and she is not going to fall for a man who thinks he will be able to mold her into something she does not want to be. For those of you who like comedians Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson in their female-empowering, sex-positive, and hilarious podcast “Guys We F’d”, take the time to watch Greta Garbo deliver a romantic performance where she makes her own choices over her body and love, and thinks about what will be best for her child and her own well-being.

 

Men Explain Things to Me

Men Explain Things to Me

Book: Men Explain Things to Me

This scathingly hilarious essay, written by Rebecca Solnits, examines the disconnect in conversation between men and women. She tackles the difficult issue of men making assumptions about female encounters without considering if their assumptions are mutual. Similar to “Guys We F’d” where Corinne and Krystyna interview sexual partners from their pasts, and celebrities like Amber Rose and Andy Dick, “Men Explain Things to Me” uses personal experiences to highlight the importance of not silencing women, to combat “mansplaining”, and tackle other important aspects of gender that need to be discussed.

 

If you like The Nerdist Podcast

You should try…

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

Comic Book: The Walking Dead

If you are all about Chris Hardwick, host of “The Nerdist”, and his quest for ultimate nerd-dom, you should check out the monthly comic book series “The Walking Dead”. Hardwick hosts a television re-cap show called “The Talking Dead” where he recaps episodes from the television show loosely based on this award winning comic book series. The plague of the undead have taken over the world, and it is up to Rick, a sheriff from Kentucky, and the remaining survivors on Earth, to band together and work together to survive.

 

Ant Man

Ant Man
Image from: Amazon

Comic Book: Ant Man

“Ant Man” the hit Marvel superhero movie from the summer of 2015, stars Paul Rudd as a superhero with the ability to shrink down to the size of an Ant, but who can still do some serious butt-kicking. As one of Marvel Comic’s lesser known comic series, host of “The Nerdist” Chris Hardwick, is excited at the prospect of such a small series being such a hit. He attended the red carpet for the premier of the film, and interviewed Paul Rudd last summer, for “The Nerdist”, about joining the immense world of Marvel as such a pint-sized superhero.

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