From the TV to the Table: Table Top Games to Check Out Based on Your Favorite TV shows

Is your school work starting to weigh you down? Do you need something to do besides binge watch your favorite TV shows? Good News! The UGL has a collection of table top games that you can check out to help you destress. If you need help picking one, here are some recommendations based on some of your favorite TV shows!

Do you love Game of Thrones? Try playing Risk!

Risk board game

Risk

Are you missing Jon Snow, Daenerys, and all your favorite conquers from Westeros? While you wait for the final season, you can come check out Risk at the UGL Circulation Desk. The objective of this game is to conquer all the territory on the board’s map with your political savvy, attacking strategies, and defensive techniques. You can form alliances with your friends and come up with schemes to sabotage your enemies. In the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die. In the game of Risk, you either win, or you lose and don’t get stabbed in the stomach. Leave the swordplay to Arya—check out this game and enjoy all the power with none of the northern frostbite. Also, If you want to watch Game of Thrones, you can check seasons 1-6 out here at the UGL when you come pick up the game!

Jon Snow gif I'm Ready

If you liked The Handmaid’s Tale, give Scrabble a try.

The Handmaid's Tale A Hulu Original Cover

The Handmaid’s Tale

Looking for a way to relieve your stress and show off your wit? Do what Offred does, and play a game of Scrabble. This game is made up of 225 squares, and the objective is to accumulate the most points with your vocabulary (you can also reach for goals like longest word or most triple letter words). If you find yourself in need of some intellectually stimulating entertainment, come check this game out. You can also do one better than Offred, and play the game with someone who isn’t keeping you prisoner. Praise be! You can find Scrabble at the UGL Circulation Desk, and you can stream The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. In the mean time, read up and build that vocabulary!

Offred reading gif

Are you a Parks and Recreation fan? Honor Ben Wyatt and play Settlers of Catan.

The Settlers of Catan game board

Settlers of Catan

Have you ever wanted to play Ben Wyatt’s original table top game, The Cones of Dunshire? Well, it isn’t actually a real game yet (still hoping for the Kickstarter). Instead, you can play one of Ben’s personal favorites: Setters of Catan. The goal of this game is to create a civilization that surpasses all the other players’ settlements on the fictional island, Catan. If you do check this out, be sure to find a good group of friends (like Ben’s) to play with you. Also, if you want to enjoy some Parks and Recreation while you play, you can pick up seasons 1-7 in the UGL’s media collections here.

Ben Wyatt celebrating

If you’re missing Stranger Things, you might find solace in a Pathfinder session.

Stranger Things Season 1 cover image

Stranger Things

Do you find yourself in need of some adventuring? Do what Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will do: play a fantasy role-playing game. At the UGL, we have Pathfinder. You can check out the Core Rulebook or a Beginner’s Box to help you start designing an adventure for you and your friends. You can even stream Stranger Things on Netflix to help you get prepared. In addition to that, you can come to the UGL for short sessions run by our Graduate Assistants! Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to find out when these sessions will take place. Either way, come ready to fight dragons, goblins, and trolls—and if the lights start to flicker, you might want to grab a baseball bat and run.

The boys from stranger things slay the demogorgon

One last piece of good news: these games are just the beginning! Check out our full list of table top games at the UGL! Have an idea of something we should add?  Reach out to us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages, and give us your suggestions!

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September Events

September is in full swing, and with the beginning of the school year also comes the beginning of fall events! Check out our roundup of events happening on campus and around Champaign-Urbana this month.

Greatest Midwest Food Town Celebration

MidwestLiving Greatest Midwest Food Town Celebration Logo

Greatest Midwest Food Town Celebration

Where: Urbana’s Market at the Square, The Blind Pig Brewery, and Grange Grove

When: September 9th, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Celebrate Champaign-Urbana being named the best Midwest Food Town by MidwestLiving Magazine with food samples, games, giveaways and music. The day begins at Urbana’s Market at the Square, moving to Blind Pig at 12:45 pm and ending the day at Grange Grove at 4:00 pm. Free admission.

Krannert Center Opening Night Party

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Krannert Center Opening Night Party

Where: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

When: September 14th, 6:00 pm

The Krannert Center’s Opening Night Party this year is also celebrating ELLNORA Guitar Festival and the University of Illinois Sesquicentennial with blues and folk music, food, crafts, and a showcase of mini-performances. Try your hand at screen-printing and guitar pick jewelry-making, and marvel at the community guitar gallery hung throughout the Lobby along with food and music. Admission is $5.

CU Pride Fest 2017

CU Pride Rainbow Logo

CU Pridefest 2017

Where: Downtown Champaign

When: Events September 15-17

Sponsored by Uniting Pride, celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride with events September 15-17 in Downtown Champaign! Pride Fest kicks off at 6:00 pm on Friday, September 15th with live music, drag shows, and comedy at 51 Main. Pride Fest continues on Saturday with the CU Pride Parade at 4 pm, and an afterparty at 51 Main. The weekend wraps up on Sunday at 11:00 am with a Drag Brunch at City View. Admission prices vary.

The Pygmalion Festival

Pygmalion Festival Logo

Pygmalion Festival Logo

Where: Downtown Champaign

When: September 20-24

The 13th year of the Pygmalion Festival brings food, drink, music, technology, and literature to an intimate event. Pygmalion highlights local bands, authors, restaurants and innovators, and focuses on creating a festival experience that is meaningful, impactful, and sustainable. Tickets are available as single day passes or full weekend passes.

Stargazing at Meadowbrook Park

MeadowBrook Park at Night

Stargazing at Meadowbrook Park

Where: Meadowbrook Park, 2808 S. Race Street

When: Thursday, September 21, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Celebrate the last days of summer with outdoor stargazing at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana. Join expert astronomers from the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society and William M. Staerkel Planetarium to learn about stargazing and observe through high powered professional telescopes. Bring a blanket and a telescope of your own if you have one! Free admission.

Urbana Food Truck Rally

Urbana Food Truck Rally Logo

Urbana Food Truck Rally

Where: Urbana Civic Center, 108 E. Walter Street

When: Tuesday, September 26th, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Come one, come all to the lunchtime food truck rally series in Downtown Urbana! The last Tuesday of every month features a convergence of local food trucks in Downtown Urbana for a lunch time break. Food trucks for September include Dragon Fire Pizza, Chester’s BBQ, The Empanadas House, and more. Indulge your tastebuds for a lunch time treat. Free admission, cost for food.

Hopefully we’ve covered most of the major events happening around Champaign-Urbana for the month of September, but if we missed anything, reach out to us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages, and stay tuned for an events post every month!

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Binge on This: Books That Inspired the Latest Shows

Summer is the perfect time to unwind and catch up on your reading and binge-watching. Many books are brought to life as films and television programs, so if you need suggestions on what to read next, check out these books which have spawned television shows just this year! (And don’t forget: the libraries at the University of Illinois often have items available in audiobook or e-book format!)

Read Before You Watch

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods on HBO

American Gods on HBO

For the three years Shadow spent in prison, all he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place. On the plane ride home to the funeral, Shadow meets a man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday, a self-declared grifter, who offers Shadow a job. Shadow, a man with nothing to lose, accepts. But he soon learns that his role in Wednesday’s schemes will be far more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Find the book on our shelves, and the show on Starz.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies on HBO

Big Little Lies on HBO

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yoga new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Find the book on our shelves and the show on HBO.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray for the Commander to make her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules. Find the book on our shelves and the show on Hulu.

Coming Soon! Check out these books before their small-screen counterparts premiere later this year.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man. Find the book on our shelves and the show, known as Strike, on HBO later this year.

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Cover of Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Young Pip Tyler doesn’t know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she’s saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she’s squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother — her only family — is hazardous. But she doesn’t have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she’ll ever have a normal life. Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world–including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn’t understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong. Find the book on our shelves and the miniseries on Showtime.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Cover of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory. As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims — a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming. Find the book on our shelves and the show on HBO.

Whether you’re a binge reader or a binge watcher, we’ve got you covered. Let us know what your favorite show to binge watch is on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

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Women’s History Month 2017

Happy Women’s History Month! There is still half of March left to celebrate women’s history, so we’ve compiled a list of a few events on campus and a few books or DVDs related to the content of the event. Whether you are a woman or you want to support women, you can always learn something new about women’s contributions to our world.

Be sure to also check out the list of Women’s History Month events on campus listed on the Women’s Resource Center website.

7th Annual Campus Ecofeminism Summit Keynote Lecture with La Donna Brave Bull Allard
Tuesday, March 14, 7 to 8 pm at Unit One/Allen Hall (1005 W Gregory Dr, Urbana)

Ecofeminism Summit

Ecofeminism Summit

In honor of the 7th Annual Campus Ecofeminism Summit, join the Women’s Resources Center, together with cosponsoring units, for a keynote lecture from LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Lakota historian, activist, and Director of the Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock. Find out more on the Facebook event.

The lecture will be followed by a Q & A. Local campus and community organizations will be offering resources and information. You can also join La Donna Brave Bull Allard at a Meet and Greet event at the Native American House from 2-4pm on Tuesday, March 14.

After the event, read The Dance Boots by Linda LeGarde Grover. 

The Dance Boots

The Dance Boots

Linda LeGarde Gover is a member of the Bois Forte band of Ojibwe. The Dance Boots is her short story collection about hardships Native American tribes have faced in the United States. This Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction winner features stories about the oppressive history of Indian boarding schools, balancing survival of the self and of tribal traditions, identity, alcoholism, and violence. This is a difficult, but important, short story collection to add to your to-read list.

Spring Break Reading Group: We Should All Be Feminists

Wednesday, March 22, 11am to 12pm on Twitter

The Spring Break Reading Group will happen virtually via Twitter over spring break, so you can join this event from wherever you’ll be next week! Read the TEDx Talk’s adaptation and follow the conversation with @iSchoolUI and others.

Before the event, read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is known for her novels like Americanah and Purple Hibiscus, but she is also known for her discussion of feminism in her TEDx Talk “We Should All Be Feminists.” The great success of this talk led to the written adaptation of the same name. In this 49-page essay, she discusses how gender divides and discrimination harms everyone.

Bonus points: also watch the film adaptation of Adichie’s book Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun is one of Adichie’s best known novels, but it was also adapted to film. The story focuses on twin girls born into a wealthy Nigerian family. They have a falling out when their life choices lead them down different paths. As Nigeria comes closer to civil war, the story explores the twins’ relationships with others and themselves.

Hot Topics — Herstories and the Futures of Arab Feminisms
Monday, March 27, 7–9 pm at the Women’s Resources Center

Interested in Arab women’s activism? This is the event for you! Come chat about Arab Feminisms with your campus community. Hot Topics is a discussion series hosted by the Women’s Resources Center and the YWCA. Refreshments are provided.

Before you go, read Headscarves and Hymens : Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy

Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American journalist, exposes the fights women in the Middle East have been taking on since the Arab Spring: fighting oppressive men in power pre-Arab Spring, and now, fighting against an entire political and economic system that oppresses women in Egypt and other Arab countries. Learn more about her perspective in this call to action.

The Consent Workshop | Sexual Health Series

Friday, April 14, 2-3pm at the Women’s Resource Center

If you’ve ever felt like you needed more practice with consent, attend this consent workshop, a part of the Women’s Resource Center’s Sexual Health Series. Learn how to identify consent, build healthier relationships, and make the world a safer and less violent place.

After you go, apply what you learned to Unsportsmanlike Conduct : College Football and the Politics of Rape by Jessica Luther

This expose of the politics of campus sports and sexual assault demands change from universities, the NCAA, athletic departments, athletes, and the media. Time and time again athletes in schools and professional sports organizations are not held accountable for acts of violence toward their peers or partners. Jessica Luther, an investigative journalist, explores how and why this happens and advocates for a safer and better world.

We hope you have a great Women’s History Month, and be sure to check out our Women in Television display on the Upper Level of the UGL! We hope we’ve covered the major Women’s History Month events happening around campus… but if we missed anything, let us know! Check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

 

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (And the Space Race and Time Travel)

When you’re on an airplane, the Amtrak, or even in a giant peach this winter break, the best way to recover from the end of the semester might be a good book. Check out these books from the UGL today! No matter what their mode of travel, all of these books are going somewhere.

Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin

changing-planes-ursula-k-le-guin-pa15-lge

Were you ever waiting for a delayed flight in an airport and wished you could hop on a different plane to somewhere you have never been? Changing Planes is sort of like that except the different planes are actually fifteen societies not found on Earth. This is a short story collection that features the same main character who passes her long delay in an airport by visiting societies where the sole purpose is holiday shopping and another where adults are silent. Ursula K. Le Guin is known for her futuristic and imaginary worlds, and Changing Planes is no different.

Get it from the library

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

strangers

Two men meet in a twist of fate on a train: one a successful architect, Guy, who wants to divorce his wife and marry someone else, and the other a psychopath, Bruno, who wants his father dead. When the psychopath convinces the architect to “swap murders” with him so that neither has a motive for killing their victim and therefore avoid suspicion from police, Guy doesn’t take Bruno seriously. But when his wife ends up dead, Guy doesn’t know what to do. Bruno wants Guy to hold up his end of the bargain, and he’ll stop at nothing. This classic inspired the Hitchcock movie of the same name, so if you can’t read on trains, try the film, also at the UGL!

Get the book!

Get the film!

Ghostland: an American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

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Okay, so this isn’t quite a roadtrip, but it does take you to some creepy spots around America! This book explores all those places you’ve heard of as “the most haunted mansion in America” or “the most haunted prison” and other, perhaps lesser known places. This book takes the reader through a different kind of history of America. This isn’t a book of ghost stories, but of tales of omitted history lessons and how we can learn from a ghost story.

Get it at the library

Kindred by Octavia Butler

octaviaebutler_kindred

Fans of science fiction and historical fiction can unite with this time-travel slave narrative by the award-winning science fiction author Octavia Butler. Dana, an African-American writer in 1976, is launched into pre-Civil War Maryland plantation. She travels back and forth from the plantation and meets her ancestors, a spoiled and selfish slave-owner and a free woman forced into slavery. This novel explores power, gender, interracial relationships, race, violence and egalitarianism. If you like your fantasy or science fiction with a social justice bent, check out this title and others by Octavia Butler.

Get it at the library

Hidden Figures: the American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

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We’ve all heard about Neil Armstrong. Where are the women? Margot Lee Shetterly’s book answers that question! This book, soon to be a movie, tells the story of four exceptional black women called from their jobs teaching high school math to join the WWII effort and the space race. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden worked through segregation and discrimination for three decades to help Americans reach space. Read a different space story this time!

Get it at the library

The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang

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After a financial crisis in which he loses everything, a Chinese immigrant businessman and his family embark on a cross-country road trip from Bel-Air to upstate New York where they will stay with their “art world it-girl” eldest daughter. Along the way, his wife is about to leave the family for 1000-threadcount sheets they can no longer afford, his son is losing it for a temptress in New Orleans, and many other laughs are to be had in this comical look at the American family. The UGL has the audiobook and the print version, perfect for your own cross-country trip this break, however you’ll be getting there.

Get the book

Get the audiobook

Have some favorite travel reads of your own? Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

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History is Happening: A Reader’s Advisory for the Hamilton Fan

Everyone has caught Founding Fathers fever with the overwhelming popularity of the musical Hamilton. Not only is it currently playing to sold out crowds on Broadway, and coming to Chicago this September, but it’s winning accolades left and right from the Pulitzer Prize for Drama to the Tony Award for Best Musical. The UGL can help you explore even more about the time and people from the smash musical. What’s our name? Undergraduate Library!

 

Hamilton Advisory

There’s a million books you haven’t read…just you wait!

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

What better place to start than the book that inspired the musical? Chernow, who also penned books about the Morgan family and John D Rockefeller, uses his skills as a historian to shed light on yet another figure central to American finance. Alexander Hamilton seeks not only to recast a monumentally misunderstood figure in American history, but to explore his relationship to the American Revolutionary War and the mythic figures who emerged from it. Come for the musical inspiration, stay for the amazing history lesson.

 

John Adams by David McCullough

John Adams by David McCullough

John Adams by David McCullough

Much like Chernow’s book about Hamilton, David McCullough’s book about John Adams also inspired an adaptation–this time as an HBO miniseries. McCullough has written about many influential American historical figures. This 2002 biography of the second president won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. McCullough not only examines the public and political life of Adams, but the personal and private as well. Read the book and then check out the miniseries starring Paul Giamatti, both available at the UGL!

 

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts

Much has been said about the men who wrote the Federalist Papers, battled the British, or founded our nation, but the women in their lives have barely been mentioned. Just as Lin-Manuel Miranda shoves the Schuyler sisters out of relative public obscurity, journalist Cokie Roberts includes women in the sequel, and brings to light the influences that these mothers, sisters, and daughters had on the founding of our nation. Roberts includes Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed, and Martha Washington, many of whom are never included in a school textbook, but have used their courage, pluck, sadness, joy, energy, grace, and sensitivity to manage their businesses, raise their children, provide their husbands with political advice, and WORK!

 

Burr by Gore Vidal

Burr by Gore Vidal- (Image from Amazon.com)

Burr by Gore Vidal

If you like heroes a little on the controversial side, try Burr by Gore Vidal! Vidal’s historical novel shows the Burr-Hamilton feud in a new light with Burr as our anti-hero of the story who reflects on his experience thirty years after Hamilton was killed. Burr will give you a new lens through which to view your favorite Hamilton characters.

 

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss

Alexander Hamilton is only one of many stars of this historical fiction novel by David Liss. The Whiskey Rebels follows former Revolutionary spy as he serves Alexander Hamilton in the midst of the Jefferson-Hamilton rivalry over the national bank and a woman who distills whiskey in order to move west. As Hamilton’s circle closes in on whiskey and its profits, these two main characters each prepare for a patriotic fight.

Brookland by Emily Barton

Brookland by Emily Barton

Brookland by Emily Barton

This historical fiction novel set in New York during the revolution, steps away from the war and into the sights and smells of 18th century Brooklyn. After inheriting a gin distillery from her father, Prue makes a big promise to the residents of Brooklyn: she’s going to build a bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Barton’s highly praised second novel places you in “the room where it happens” but in a completely different context.

We hope we were writing like we had plenty of time…but if we missed anything, let us know! Check out our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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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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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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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.

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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