Dystopian Worlds: Reader’s Advisory

August is just beginning here on campus. It’s hot, humid and, oh yes, HOT! For those of us wishing we were elsewhere, have you ever wondered what the future is going to be like? Or how the present would be different by the changing of a past outcome? There’s a whole genre of books that deal with these types of ideas and thoughts, they’re called Dystopian Worlds.

 

We here at the UGL wanted to recommend some of our favorite, lesser known books that give human past, present and future a different spin.

 

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair is heaven for those loving puns, books and adventure. A literary cornucopia of inside jokes for readers of any classic literature, Jasper Fforde gives us Great Britain, circa 1985. In this version of 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë’s novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

What if the Puritan lifestyle hadn’t faded away? What would the consequences of this be for both men and women? Atwood gives us just such a world, creating an extreme of the gender hierarchy in today’s society. In the novel, certain women are nothing more than brood mares, and signs are all pictures because women are no longer allowed to read.  Filled with scathing satire and dire warning, The Handmaid’s Tale is a book for those who question the need for continued feminism in society.

 

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Fans of the Hunger Games rejoice! Here is a book that can fill the void. In this world, society is coded by color, with Gold being the highest caste in society and Red being the lowliest. Yet even young Gold’s are challenged amongst themselves for dominance. If you’ve ever thought of which Greek god you’d have an affinity with, how you’d fare in a Lord of the Flies type situation, or the lengths you’d go to in order to end societal imbalance, then read the story of Darrow, a Red in a Gold’s body, and how he faces these challenges and more.

 

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

If you’ve ever felt ostracized by society and had your values questioned, you might relate to the story of Hannah. In a not-too-distant America, Roe v. Wade is no more, and the lines between church and state have been eradicated. Here, prisoners are not kept in cells, but thrown out into society with markers showing all the world their crimes. There are interesting parallels to Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter in both the heroine and subject matter explored. When She Woke reads like a thriller, but puts a spotlight on the politicizing of the church and how that affects society.

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This book looks toward the next step in role playing technology and adventure. In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts (his name has alliteration due to the influence of Stan Lee) really feels alive is when he’s plugged into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize.

 

These are just the tip of the dystopian world iceberg, so go ahead and feel free to search our catalog for other books with a subject search using the word dystopia to see what all is available in our collection. Dystopian worlds fill the imagination with questions such as “what might have been” or “how will this affect society”, if you’re a curious soul, take one out for a spin before it’s time to buckle down for the fall semester.  See you in the alternate reality!

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Summer Music Festivals: Reader’s Advisory

Summer music festivals have been around for over half a century here in the United States, and they’re currently more popular than ever. Seemingly every city has some form of music festival these days, whether it be a commercial behemoth like Lollapalooza or one like Champaign-Urbana’s more modest, yet still excellent, Pygmalion Festival. If you’d like to learn more about the history of music festivals, get some insights into some of the biggest festival draws playing today, or would just like to enjoy some music festivals on DVD without having to brave the heat and crowds, look no further than this carefully curated list of DVDs and books from the UGL’s popular music collection.

Monterey Pop

The Complete Monterey Pop Festival (DVD)

directed by D. A. Pennebaker

One of the first rock festivals in the United States, Monterey Pop took place in 1967 in California. Masterfully shot and recorded, this concert film shows how vibrant rock music, and the accompanying hippie subculture was in its early years. Notable moments include The Who demolishing their instruments, one of Janis Joplin’s first major performances, Jimi Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire, and soul legend Otis Redding tearing down the house. If you’re a Dylan fan, you may also be interested in Don’t Look Back, Pennebaker’s documentary of Dylan’s 1965 tour of the UK.

Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter (DVD)

directed by David and Albert Maysles

This film covers The Rolling Stones’ 1969 tour of the United States which culminated with a free concert festival at the Altamont Speedway in California. This concert is often considered the moment when the idyllic dream of the 1960′s began to sour (particularly in contrast to the Woodstock Festival which took place four months earlier), with several people dying, including an 18 year-old girl who was stabbed to death. Gimme Shelter depicts a great rock band at the peak of its powers, and the culture that is beginning to fray around it.

Living with The Dead

Living With The Dead: Twenty Years on the Bus with Garcia and the Grateful Dead (Book)

by Rock Scully with David Dalton

One of the most acclaimed touring bands in rock, The Grateful Dead were notorious for their long, improvisational performances and their insanely devoted fanbase (known as Deadheads) who would follow the band across the country from festival to festival.  The band’s manager, Rock Scully, recalls his wild time on the road with the band in this memoir.

you don't know me

You Don’t Know Me but You Don’t Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posse, and My Misadventures with Two of Music’s Most Maligned Tribes (Book)

by Nathan Rabin

In this book former AV Club writer Nathan Rabin explores two subcultures of modern music fandom; Phish fans and Juggalos. Although Rabin was not a fan of either group before beginning work on this book, he attempts to understand their cult appeal by following the bands on the road. Throughout his journey (during which he is diagnosed as bipolar), Rabin discovers that these critically reviled bands provide the deep-rooted human need for community. An excerpt of the book is available from NPR.

Mo' Meta Blues

Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove (Book)

by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Ben Greenman

Although it’s too late to catch The Roots Picnic in Philadelphia this year (there’s always next year!), you can still get a feel for the eclectic brilliance of hip-hop drummer Questlove in this memoir of his career and musical passions. Questlove is both an incisive music critic, cultural commentator (check his Vulture column on hip-hop), and an unabashed fan, making this book a must-read for hip-hop, soul, and R&B fans.

There are tons of other books on music in the UGL’s collection (you’ll want to look for the section beginning with ML), if you want to delve further into the stories of popular music. If you’re a fan of live music, you may also want to visit Smile Politely, a Champaign-Urbana culture website that provides coverage of the local music scene, including upcoming concerts. Pitchfork also has a handy guide to 2014 Music Festivals if you’re still looking to attend one. Stay cool and keep rockin’!

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World Cup 2014: Reader’s Advisory

It’s officially the season of pool parties, Summer II classes, and smoothies.  For those “futbol” fans among us, the summer of 2014 marks the most important event of the season, the World Cup. The first World Cup began in 1930 and takes place every four years and is hosted by a different country every time. This year, it is taking place in the Mecca of soccer, Brazil. Now, if you’re not familiar with the World Cup, or even soccer, have no worries, the UGL is here to the rescue!

We have compiled a list for the fans and for those who are starting to get familiar with the sport.

“A Beautiful Game” by Tom Watt

A Beautiful Game: The World’s Greatest Players and How Soccer Changed their Lives” by Tom Watt

Ever wonder how soccer can change the lives of kids? Well, read now read it from the players themselves. Lionel Messi, Landon Donovan, David Beckham, among others. An insight on how soccer affected and changed their lives, to become some of the greatest names in the sport.

The ESPN World Cup Companion: Everything you need to know about the planet’s biggest sports event

The ESPN World Cup companion : everything you need to know about the planet's biggest sports event

“The ESPN World Cup companion : everything you need to know about the planet’s biggest sports event”

Chips, check. Soda, check, the game is on the television, check. Now what? It’s time to sit back and enjoy the game. Have this handy guide next to you if you’re just getting to know the game. If not, it never hurts to have a guide to the game.

Why Soccer Matters” by Pele (AKA Edson Arantes do Nascimento)

“Why Soccer Matters” by Pele

A fascinating insight into the mind and thoughts of one of the greatest players of all time (in our humble opinion). Edson Arantes do Nascimento, a Brazilian player, also known as Pelé, is one of the greatest players to come out of Brazil. In this book, he explores the game of soccer from his perspective and also writes about working with charitable organizations all over the world. A great read for the soccer fan or for an inquiring mind.

Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona vs Real Madrid” by Sid Lowe

“Fear and Loathing in La Liga” by Sid Lowe

The rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid has been going on for years, but the conflict stems from the time of the Spanish Civil War. It’s much more than Messi vs. Ronaldo. Read all about this fascinating rivalry and why it’s more than just a game.

Solo: A Memoir of Hope” by Hope Solo

“Solo: A Memoir of Hope” by Hope Solo

A memoir of world-famous American Goalkeeper, Hope Solo. Follow her journey from a broken childhood to a world-class goalkeeper and an Olympic gold-medalist. She serves as a role model to not only Americans, but to people from all over the world.

The Girls of Summer: The U.S Women’s Soccer Team and how it changed the world” by Jere Longman

“The Girls of Summer” by Jere Longman

In July of 1999, the American Women’s soccer team defeated China in the Women’s Wold Cup. From this day forward, the popularity of women’s soccer increased and has been going strong ever since.

As a special treat, we have “1283” which is limited edition, 500 page book by Pele. This book was recently purchased by the International and Area Studies Library here at UIUC. It is available by request, so check it out!

Be sure to mark your calendars for any important games you don’t want to miss! When there aren’t any games being played, be sure to do some summer reading, after all, you wouldn’t want to get behind, would you?

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Got Pride? LGBT Pride Month at the UGL

The Stonewall Inn Riots, a series of protests following police raids on a queer bar in New York City that are widely considered the igniting spark for the modern LGBT rights movement, took place on June 28-29, 1969. Ever since then, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer folks in the United States have taken the month of June as a symbolic time to demonstrate pride in their sexual and gender minority identities.

A rainbow-colored robot invites you to LGBT pride month.

Original image by Quinn Dombrowski.

This year, 45 years later, President Barack Obama has again declared June LGBT Pride Month, recognizing the importance for LGBTQ people to celebrate themselves and the political struggles their communities have been involved in. In order to show off our own pride, the UGL would like to recommend some items from our collection that display some LGBTQ pride and history.

Stonewall

by Martin Duberman

If you’re interested in going back to the beginning, Martin Duberman’s Stonewall is an important look—even 20 years on—at the watershed nature of the events at Stonewall through the eyes of six very different people. His history captures the conflicting and varied responses to the Stonewall events and draws a messy picture of the events leading up to Stonewall that made the riots such a historic event.

Smash the Church, Smash the State book cover with vintage photos of activists

Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation

edited by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Smash the Church, Smash the State takes a look at the political climate immediately following Stonewall by investigating the early years of the Gay Liberation Front, a anti-assimilationist activist group—the first to use the word “gay” in its name—that worked alongside (and sometimes against) other radical movements of the 1970s. Written by former GLF members, this book provides insight into a turbulent and fabulous movement whose work laid the foundation for contemporary LGBTQ politics.

Body Counts boko cover with image of couple kissing

Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival

by Sean Strub

Moving forward in time, another historically significant event in the history of queer people in the United States was the AIDS crisis of the late 80s and early 90s. Sean Strub’s memoir, Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival, documents one slice of that time and what it meant for the gay community. As the founder of POZ magazine and the first openly HIV-positive candidate for the US legislature, Strub’s insight into the critical need for AIDS-related protections and research and his work with ACT UP paints an important picture of this era.

Redefining Realness book cover with image of Janet Mock looking incredibly regal

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More

by Janet Mock

For a contemporary look at one aspect of LGBTQ pride, check out Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More. Mock was born to Black and Native Hawaiian parents in a working class neighborhood of Honolulu, and is now a respected writer and advocate for trans rights, creating #girlslikeus, an online movement for transwomen living visibly. Mock’s memoir traces her life from a childhood in Hawai‘i through her career in New York City, and it highlights the need for mainstream LGBTQ movements to center the experiences of trans women of color to continue to fight oppression both within and outside of LGBTQ communities.

There’s lots more Pride to be found in the stacks of the UGL and in Champaign-Urbana more widely. If you’re looking to celebrate this month, check out the UP Center’s Reel It UP! LGBT film festival, with showings every Tuesday in June at the Champaign Art Theater. Or, if you won’t be back on campus until school starts, Champaign-Urbana Pride  will be on Saturday, September 6 in downtown Champaign. We encourage you to celebrate along with us by checking out some of these resources and events…Happy Pride!

Special thanks to guest blogger Tad Andracki!

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Things to Do: June

Maybe you’re taking summer classes and need to destress in the evening. Maybe you’re working your summer job and need some social time. Maybe you don’t have anything to do this summer and have a lot of time to fill up. Don’t worry – there’s plenty to do in CU over the summer.

Sunny photo of UGL from outside

It’s very sunny out. Don’t let that deter you.

We promise that none of the suggestion on this list are “stay with in the UGL all day every day,” though of course you’re always welcome here during our summer hours and we’re always happy to see you.

On the Big Screen

Summer is the perfect time to sit in a cool, dark room and watch a fine film. If you get tired of doing that in your apartment (with DVDs from the media collection, obviously), you can always take a trip over to Champaign’s very own Art Theater Co-op and watch something there. Every Tuesday in June, the Art Theater is screening films for the 5th Annual Reel It Up Festival, presented by the UP Center of Champaign County. All films in the festival are in the spirit of LGBTQ Pride Month. If you miss the festival, you can always catch one of their regular movies – show your student ID to get a discount!

Arts and Performances

If you’re looking for entertainment that’s a little more immediate, there’s also plenty of live entertainment. You can visit the Krannert Center for Performing Arts to catch some theater – for June both a musical drama and a short play festival are lined up. For live music, Smile Politely has a weekly column called The Overture that highlights upcoming shows in downtown Champaign and Urbana.

Go Outside!

Remember that thing called outside? The one you used to explore when you weren’t in a classroom all day every day? Well, it’s still there and ready for you to explore. You can learn how to fish in Urbana parks, if you’d like, or take that fondness for live music outside with outdoor concerts in Champaign parks. You’re also free to do your own thing and run around with your friends, of course – just be care and make sure you know how to cope with the heat.

In the Library

We said you don’t have to stay in the UGL all day…but if you happen to be in the library this month, we have some pretty neat exhibits up. You can learn about the history of Western witchcraft, or what CU’s music scene was like in the 1980s.

These are just a few suggestions – there are tons of other ways to entertain yourself this summer. What are you doing in the name of fun?

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The UGL Gets a Makeover

It’s almost summer! Here at the UGL, we just wrapped up a busy weekend providing you with 24 hours access to the library space and resources. We hope you also had a productive weekend studying for your finals and finishing any last papers or projects!

Undergraduate Library courtyard

The UGL is about to get a big makeover!

While you’re at home, on vacation, working at an internship, or traveling the world this summer, there are going to be some big changes going on at the UGL. Starting on Monday, May 19th, the main floor of the UGL will be closed off until August 1st due to new carpet installation on the entire floor. When you get back to school this fall, come check out the UGL’s new look!

What’s Changing for the Summer

Things will be moving around a lot, but most UGL resources will still be available.
If you have a question about finding or using something in the UGL, head downstairs to the lower level. We’re moving our circulation desk down there, and that’s where we can answer any questions you have. Here’s a brief summary of what the setup will be:

  • Books and movies are staying downstairs and are still available, but you’ll check them out downstairs at our relocated circ desk inside the media collection.
  • Media reserves, new books and magazines, and some of our loanable technology are moving to the lower level. If you have a question about what loanable tech will be available, call us and ask!
  • Textbooks on reserve will be at the Main Library Circulation Desk. There will be signs to direct you and plenty of staff members waiting to help.
  • Group study rooms will not be available. If you’d like to find a study room in another library on campus, visit our group reserve system to book a room.
  • The CITES computer lab on the upper level will not be available. For more information about other CITES computer labs across campus, visit their website. If you’re looking for a specific software, you can find a directory of software available in libraries and figure out where that software is available on campus.
  • The lower level won’t be a quiet zone this summer. Quiet study spaces can be found in many other libraries on campus.
  • The Writer’s Workshop, gaming zone, and video production studio will not be available due to the re-carpeting.
  • Media commons resouces will be available, with limitations. If you need to use the Media Commons resources, such as the audio booth or digital media software, please contact the Media Commons staff at mediacommons@illinois.edu. They will be able to help you with any questions about what specific resources will be available over the summer.

If you have any questions about what services are being provided or where a resource is located, just ask! We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Summer Hours

To prepare for all these big changes (and to take a break for graduation!), the Undergraduate Library will close on Friday, May 16th, at 7pm. We’ll stay closed all weekend, and open again on Monday, May 19th, at 8:30am. We will be open during Summer I for the following hours:
Monday – Thursday: 8:30am-6pm;
Friday: 8:30am-5pm
Saturday – Sunday: 1pm-5pm.
If you want to visit another library on campus this summer, check out the whole library schedule.

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Finals week is here!

It’s that time of the semester again. Yup, finals week is here. Here at the UGL, we know you’re scrambling to finish last minute papers and projects. People are starting to get a bit anxious, but no worries. The UGL is here to help, always. And by always we mean we’re not closing until finals are over.

The UGL is open at night. All night.

We’re open forever. Never leave us.

Beginning today, May 8th, the UGL will be open 24 hours – no closing between 2 AM and 10 AM like usual, so you can do that last-minute cramming. We’ll be open all the way through May 17th, when we will close early at 7 P.M. and start our summer hours. That’s right folks. We’re open that whole time. Take advantage of it and come in and be productive.

This, too, shall pass. Finals will come to an end. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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Return of the Dogs

They’re back! Rejoice! Therapy Dogs will be returning to UIUC libraries during finals week to soothe all your exam woes (or help you celebrate any impending graduations). We’ve also got a guest star this semester. Who’s excited about…therapy cats?

Library Therapy Dog Program, May 8th, 12th, and 13th

If you haven’t attended a therapy dog event before, allow us to inform you about what they are. Many studies have shown that interacting with animals can reduce stress levels (and, in turn, improve academic performance). Based on this, the UIUC libraries work with CU Canine Connection, a local therapy dog group, to bring animals to you in places where you are often stressed (ie the library – sorry about the stress).

Sam, Tycho, and Raven, friendly doggies from past semesters, will all be returning to various libraries during finals week so you can reconnect and get your snuggles. Neo regretfullly cannot make it this semester, but sends his love from afar and will catch you next time. To refresh your memory on who’s who (or to get a primer before you meet them for this first time) you can revisit our previous blog posts about therapy dogs. We also have three new visitors this semester: Darby the English Springer Spaniel, and Wyatt and Herbie the Therapy Cats. Learn more about them below!

A Springer Spaniel reclines on a sofa.

Darby!

Darby

Darby is a 6-year-old English Springer Spaniel. She lives with her people-mom and -dad in a 36-foot motor home. Traveling is a way of life for her, and she has become very adaptable to long trips on the road and different campgrounds. Darby is also a service dog, helping her hearing-impaired dad at home.  She enjoys flying at her humans’ feet on frequent flights between Illinois and Florida.She likes people of all ages as long as they will provide lots of loving and affection (so she’ll fit right in at the UGL!) This will be her first appearance in the library, but her second  at the U of I: the first was the Smoke Out event last year.
A relaxed orange cat lays on a mat.

Herbie!

Herbie

Herbie is a 15-year-old British short hair mix. Adopted from the Champaign County Humane Society, he is a laid back orange tabby that loves attention, string toys, catnip, and wrestling andplaying with his 3 cat brothers. He visits Clark-Lindsey retirement village every week, where he visits with residents and staff. He is registered as a therapy cat with Love on Leash, and his “mom” is involved in I-CAT, International Cat-Assisted Therapy.

A soft-looking cat, also on a mat.

Wyatt!

Wyatt

Wyatt is a five year old Ragdoll. He has long silver and white fur. He loves for his friends to give attention to him, and will purr and flex his paws if you pet him. Wyatt is very laid back and loves his people to visit, and he works every week at a nursing home in Champaign County. He is registered with Love on a Leash.

Here’s the schedule for spring semester 2014, showing which dogs (and cats) will be at which libraries on which days:

  • Grainger Engineering Library on Thursday, May 8th, from 2-4 PM: Sam and Darby
  • UGL on Monday, May 12th, from 2-4 PM: Tycho, Wyatt and Herbie
  • Funk ACES Library on Tuesday, May 13th, from 2-4 PM : Raven

We hope to see you there!

 

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UGL Study Spaces

Hooray, it’s May! The end of the semester is soooo close, we can almost taste the incredible amount of Custard Cup we’re going to eat this summer. But, before we can order a celebratory sundae, we have a whole lot of studying to do, papers to write, and projects to complete. Here at the UGL, we try to provide different spaces to fit a whole range of study needs.

How to Choose Your UGL Study Spot

Whether you’re doing a group project, studying with a friend, or need some serious concentration space, we want to help you be successful during these important final weeks of the semester. We created this infographic in order to help you find the perfect study spot here at the Undergraduate Library! Click on the image to view it full-size.

UGL Study Spaces

For more helpful tips, check out our Study Smarts Pinterest board. Happy studying!

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An Evening of Carnatic Violin Music

Happy Spring ya’ll! We know that finals are almost here and you are rushing to turn in last minute papers and projects. Why not take some time to relax from all the craziness? Come  to the International and Area Studies Library (located on the third floor of the Main Library building) for an evening of relaxing Carnatic violin music, along with some yummy Indian snacks and pastries!

An Evening of Carnatic Violin, April 27th, 5-7 PM, in 321 Library

An Evening of Carnatic Violin. Photo courtesy of the International and Area Studies Library

For the event, performers include veena player Saraswathi Ranganathan, mridangam player Patri Satish Kumar and Ganapathi Ranganathan on the kanjira.

So, what exactly is carnatic violin music? It is defined as the “system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent” and “It is one of two main sub-genres of Indian classical music that evolved from ancient Hindu traditions.” Want to learn more? Well, lucky for us, there is a subject guide about that! (you see, there are helpful subject guides for everything!). Be sure to take a study break and check it out!

If you would like to hear more about carnatic violin, here are some more resources like books and audio recordings from the library catalog. Be sure to arrive to the event early! It’s sure to be a full house.

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