Get Cooking

School’s (almost) out for summer, so it’s time to pick up that hobby you’ve been putting off all year because you’ve been too busy: learning how to cook. Did you know that the UGL has always had a collection of cookbooks (they’re in the TX call number range)? Thanks to the hard work and discerning eye of one of our Graduate Assistants, we just got a whole bunch of new ones! We’ve been lucky enough to peek at them before they hit (and then quickly fly off of) the shelves, so we’ve had our eyes on a few. Whether you’re staying here for summer classes or even planning to go home for a few weeks (provided you have internet access and can renew the library books you check out…), we’d like to recommend a few of our awesome new cookbooks for you. GET COOKING!

Pioneer Woman Cooks book coverFan of comfort food? You definitely want to meet Pioneer Woman. Part blogger, part rancher, part Food Network star (new!), Pioneer Woman kind of has it going on. Her cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl, is chock full of good ol’ fashioned yummy things – think loaded potato skins and insanely good looking guacamole. Definitely achievable, even if you’re cooking skills are…under construction.


cook like a rock star book coverIf you’re feeling ambitious about learning to cook this summer (i.e. you’re graduating and, happily or unhappily, have no big plans for the next couple of months), you might want to dip into Cook Like a Rock Star: 125 Recipes, Lessons, and Culinary Secrets by Anne Burrell. Chef Anne Burrell is a bit of a rock star chef, herself, so she has a right to teach you these things. The recipes use basic, accessible ingredients (hello, “Killer Mac & Cheese with Bacon”), but with Chef Anne’s advice, actually turn out pretty fancy. Wow your friends and/or family.


Y'all Come Eat book coverThe Deen brothers, Paula Deen’s adorable and oh-so-Southern sons Jamie and Bobby, will have you drooling before you even start cooking with Y’all Come Eat (to which we say: we’ll be right there!!). Two words: cornbread casserole…or, two other words: cheeseburger pie. If those things don’t get you excited about chowing down, this book may not be for you! And, if you’re already stoked for tailgating when Illini football starts back up, this book–with its selection of tail-gating faves–is most definitely for you.


Manana, Mediodia, y Noche book coverDo you speak Spanish or have Puerto Rican and/or Latin American roots? You’ll definitely enjoy Daisy: Mañana, Mediodía, y NocheDaisy Martinez pulls together her family’s recipes with those she’s collected on trips around the Caribbean and Latin America to create a tantalizing menu of flavorful dishes.  If you’re fluent in Spanish (the whole book is in Spanish) but know much about Latin American culture, never fear! Daisy also takes the time to introduce you to the key ingredients you’ll need to whip up comida deliciosa para tu familia o tus amigos!



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QB: Answering your questions for more than 40 years.

QB questions can be read in person at the QB board on the lower level.

QB: The amazing genderless question-answerer

Got a burning question and don’t want to ask a librarian (or ask-a-librarian)?  Why not ask QB?

QB is the Undergraduate Library’s anonymous question-answering service.  Established in 1972 as part of the UGL’s reference services, QB has answered thousands of questions submitted by library patrons.  You can still submit your questions the old-fashioned way: by filling out and depositing a question form on the physical Question Board (pictured above, and located on the lower-level of the UGL across from the media collection).  Or, you can send your questions to QB online, if that’s your preference.  Either way, QB will try to get to your questions ASAP (but please be patient, folks, as QB’s services are in high demand, and QB needs time to provide you with the quality, witty responses you’ve come to expect).

Not sure what kinds of questions to ask QB? Some awesome topics QB has tackled include how to kill an immortal, whether blondes have more fun, how to become a ninja, whether Santa Claus is real, why the Greek system is Greek, and many more answers as well.

Here’s a random sampling of some of our favorite questions from this past year (and some choice snippets of QB answers… click on the linked answers to read the full responses):

Question: If you have ever been on the Bardeen (Engineering) Quad, you may have noticed that the paths cutting across it are rather indirect. Why does the Engineering Quad have these swoopy, inefficient paths, while the Main Quad has direct, straight-line connections between its buildings?

Answer: …Looking back into campus history, QB notes that before the plan for the quad, the area was meant to be used as experimental horticulture grounds. Although that didn’t happen, in 1871 a plan for the area included curved (not straight) paths surrounded by gardens. The University, however, decided against it because of, among other things, the possibility that “rowdy boys” would be “incited to mischief by the opportunity presented.” QB usually sees students at their most studious and is amused to hear about the danger they may have posed to plant life in bygone years…

Question: I’m considering buying my girlfriend some jewelry and I am all about saving money. Can girls honestly tell the difference between real diamonds and cubic zirconium? What are the odds she will find out that the cubic zirconium is not real diamond if I tell her that it is a real diamond?

Answer:  When it comes to love, Cheap, honesty really does tend to be the best policy. Chances are, you’re a college undergrad. Do you think your girlfriend doesn’t know you’re broke? If you really want to impress her, give her a gift from the heart. Short on ideas? Why not check out _The Idiot’s Guide to Making Great Gifts_, available here in the Undergrad Library.

Question: How do magnets work?

Answer: Throughout time, your question has been posed by scientists, scholars and–most recently–Juggalos. That’s right, Magnetic: Insane Clown Posse also asked this question in their song, “Miracles,” which first appeared on their 2009 album, “Bang! Pow! Boom!”. A video for the song was released in 2010, and the verse “I see miracles all around me / Stop and look around, it’s all astounding / Water, fire, air and dirt / F@$*ing magnets, how do they work?” drew quite a bit of attention, spawning an internet meme, a “Saturday Night Live” spoof and polarizing audiences worldwide. Regardless of the musical relevancy of “Miracles,” however, the question still remains: Magnets–how do they work?

So come along and drop QB a line today. You know you want to!

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Image of stacked books covering entire floor of library

So many books,  so little time. How do you choose?

Are you obsessed with award-winning books of all kinds? If so, have you ever done one of those challenges to read all the winners/nominees of a certain award like the Pulitzer or National Book Award?  That’s a true sign of obsession right there. Or perhaps you’re like us, and you just don’t have tons of time to read, so you pick up award winners with the hopes that a medal means quality? (Hint: Usually, but not always, since even the esteemed experts who give out book awards are often swayed by their own totally subjective opinion of the books…)

We’re feeling inspired by the announcement earlier this week that, for the first time in 35 years, the Pulitzer Prize committee did not award a fiction winner. Gasp! So let’s look at some of the book awards and winners this year. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to pick up something new and incredible…once finals are over.

Pulitzer Prize

Established in 1917 by Hungarian-born American publisher Joseph Pulitzer, these annual awards are given in the areas of journalism, literature, and music. As mentioned above, there was no winner in Fiction this year, but some of the contenders were: Swamplandia! by debut novelist Karen Russell (which was named one of the top 10 books of 2011 by the New York Times, and was long-listed for the UK’s Orange Prize for Fiction), and unfinished but posthumously published novel The Pale King by David Foster Wallace (set in Peoria, IL!). We’ve highlighted some of the 2012 literature winnersbelow:the Swerve book cover

General NonfictionThe Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt: Are you a lover of history, philosophy and literature? Then this might be the book for you.  Best-selling biographer and Harvard professor Greenblatt tells the story of how the discovery of a single work (On the Nature of Things by Lucretius) in the 15th century had a lasting impact on the thought and works of some of the world’s greatest artists, writers and philosophers, from Shakespeare to Darwin.

Malcolm X book coverHistoryMalcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, by Manning Marable: We’ve heard great things about this one. The late Manning Marable reportedly includes never-before-seen information about Mr. X. If you’re already a Malcolm X fan, or want a remarkable introduction to this influential, and infamous, 20th century change-maker, put this on your must-read list.

National Book Awards

The National Book Awards (NBAs), another important American literary prize, is awarded each fall to exceptional works of literature in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature. The awards were established in 1950 by the nonprofit National Book Foundation and are judged by well-known published writers, including past NBA winners, chosen each year. Check out some of the 2011 winners:

Salvage the Bones book cover

FictionSalvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward: Chosen out of the 315 fiction titles submitted for judging in 2011, Ward’s novel draws on her Mississippi upbringing to tell a tale of family and poverty that takes place during the 12 days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. If you can handle a little heartache, this beautiful story is very much worth it. (Finalists for this award included: debut novel The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht, and The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, both of which are high on our Summer reading list!)

Inside Out and Back Again book coverYoung People’s LiteratureInside Out & Back Again, by Thanna Lai: Lai takes us to Saigon at the time of the Vietnam War, shown to us through the perspective of ten-year-old Ha. She and her family flee Saigon when the war breaks out, exchanging the warmth and beauty Ha has known for the very foreign land of Alabama, a move that reflects Lai’s own childhood experience. The novel is actually told in verse, making it atmospheric, simple and stunning. Make it the most unique thing you read this year!

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Learn to create iPhone / iPad apps!

Ever had a great idea for an iPhone app and the only thing keeping you from making it was your lack of app-making knowledge?  Well, now you can turn your app dreams into “re-app-lities” (OK, that doesn’t really make sense… but you get what we’re saying, right? You can learn to make iPhone apps!). Come to the UGL (Room 289) next Friday, April 27th from 6:30-8:00PM for an app-making workshop specifically designed for beginners.  No programming experience required! In fact, we encourage those with little or no experience to attend!

This is the second session we’re offering this month.  The first session filled up quickly, so we expect this one will, too! Register now to secure your spot.  More details below:

Learn to make iPhone apps!

The Undergrad Library is pleased to announce a free workshop for developing iPhone and iPad applications.  While these workshops are primarily aimed at undergraduate students, all interested campus affiliates are welcome to participate. Advanced registration is requested due to limited seating. All materials will be provided.  We will be using templates from Apple’s Dashcode development environment, which takes a web-based approach for application design.

Where: Room 289, Undergraduate Library

When: Friday, April 27th, 6:30PM – 8:00PM



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Nooks and iPads…here at last!

iPads come with chargers and other accessories.

Yes! We have iPads!

The UGL would like to introduce you to the newest members of our loanable technology family: iPads and Nook Colors!

Nooks also come with charger and guide.

Yes, we’re serious. You can now check out an iPad or Nook Color to take home and play with (ahem, we mean use for very serious homework and research…) for one week. Just like our other loanable tech, you can book these in advance of when you need them, use them for whatever you need them for, and return them a week later (just call us @ 333-3477 or visit the Circulation Desk to make your reservation). You can load them with e-books, apps, and other tablet-y things. All of which we promptly wipe away after you return the tablet, so that the next person can put their own touch (ha!) on it.

You might be wondering a couple of things about these new little bundles of flat-screen joy. Like, why did the UGL decide to start loaning out tablets? And, why didn’t we start sooner?!?!

We were wondering about that, too, so we asked our very own librarian, Jim Hahn, who spearheaded the UGL’s adoption of tablet tech. Given that tablets are designed to be personalized, the UGL – and libraries everywhere! – have been studying them to be sure they are a good investment and can actually stand up to being used by multiple patrons. Hahn conducted a research study to examine the uses of iPads in a university learning environment, wrapping up with focus groups this past winter, in which he found that iPads in particular have numerous applications for internet-based class work. So… these findings encouraged the UGL to start circulating a few tablets.  We’re still in something of a trial period, so we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

What do you think about these new tablets at the UGL? How do you use them? Reserve one today and let us know!

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Get Game

Displays of games, consoles, and books about gaming.

If you’re curious about what it takes to get a career in the video game industry, don’t miss this: on April 19th, the UGL will hold our annual Gaming Career Night. From 7-10pm, artists, writers, programmers, IT managers, music composers and more from local video game company Volition, Inc. will be in room 291 to share their advice and experience. You will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one and in small groups with Volition team members to discuss careers, networking and job-seeking tips, academic advice, and more. PLUS: if you have any artwork, story line ideas, and/or games you’ve created, bring a portfolio of samples to have them critiqued by the experts!

Did you know that Champaign is home to a world-class video game company? Cool, huh?! Champaign-based company Volition, Inc., was born in 1993 as Parallax Software, founded by Mike Kullas and Matt Toschlog. In 1994, the released a shareware version of Descent, which quickly made it into the Top 100 Internet Games charts. The full version of Descent, released in 1995, won a PC Gamer’s Editor’s Choice award, earning one of the top ratings (96%) a game has ever gotten. In 1996, Parallax became Volition, Inc, and the affiliated company Outrage Entertainment. Since then the company has released more highly popular and critically-acclaimed games such as Summoner, Red Faction and Saints Row.

Wondering why the UGL is hosting this particular event? Well, the UGL is part of a Gaming Initiative, which is why we have a large video game collection, a gaming center in the library, and handheld consoles like PSPs for you to check out. The collection supports interdisciplinary research in gaming that goes on in the areas of psychology, computer science, information science, literature and more. Ridiculously awesome.

If you can’t make it to the Gaming Career Night, check out this handy guide to careers in gaming! Here you can read sample job descriptions, advice from industry insiders from previous Gaming Career Nights, a list of UIUC courses in gaming and game design, and more.

Filtered image of games on shelf



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