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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Spring Break Hours

Spring break is finally here! We hope your week is more break than work, but for those of you here next week, the UGL will be open with limited hours. The following are the hours that the UGL will be open and closed:

Have a wonderful spring break! Photo courtesy of Billy Wilson via Flickr Commons

Have a wonderful spring break! Photo courtesy of Billy Wilson via Flickr Commons

Friday 3/18   12:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday 3/19   Closed
Sunday 3/20   Closed
Monday 3/21   8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday 3/22   8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday 3/23   8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday 3/24   8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday 3/25   8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday 3/26   Closed
Sunday 3/27   1:00 PM – 12:00 AM (Resume Regular Hours)

For other library hours, please visit: http://www.library.illinois.edu/

Be sure to get all your books, movies, and loanable technology before you leave for break! Or if you’re staying in town, be sure to visit us! Enjoy your break!

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UGL Open House

Where did all of the art come from on the Upper Level of the UGL? What’s with the yoga mat and rocking chair in the study rooms on the Lower Level? The Undergraduate Library has a lot of cool new spaces and services and we want to show them off and answer all of your questions by hosting an open house! The Undergraduate Library Spring 2016 Open House will take place Tuesday, March 15 and the events are scheduled from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. Read more for a complete schedule of events:

Student Art in the UGL Student Art Gallery

“Untitled” by Monica Wilner

Art Gallery Opening

The new art gallery, located on the Upper Level of the UGL, showcases student artwork from The School of Art + Design. We are incredibly excited to showcase the artwork of talented students and we can’t wait to officially welcome this new space in our library. the UGL Open House will include a ribbon cutting ceremony for the art gallery (7:00), remarks from faculty in the School of Art + Design (7:10 – 7:30), comments from the featured artists (7:30 – 7:50), and free refreshments and cake (7:45 – 9:00).

Film Production Studio

Film Studio at the Undergraduate Library

Respite/Relaxation Room and Film Studio & Audio Studio Tours 

In addition to the art gallery opening, we will also be offering tours of our brand new respite/relaxation rooms and the Media Commons Film Studio and Audio Studio! If you’ve ever been curious about video production (or if you just want to see what the green screen room looks like), tag along and demo the spaces at 7:20pm and 8:20pm. Our new respite/relaxation rooms offer a spot to de-stress and unwind without leaving the library. You can sit on the rocking chair, test out the white noise machine, and learn more about the tranquility kits (which include a natural spectrum light, a stress ball, exercise bands, and more) on the tours at 7:40pm and 8:40pm!

UGL Loanable Tech Cameras

UGL Loanable Tech Cameras

Hands-On Loanable Technology Demos, New Collections, & More!

During the Open House event there will also be opportunities for you to interact with some of our more unique collections and services. From 7:00 – 9:00 you will be able to get a close-up look at some of our loanable technology devices, test out the library’s mobile app, and learn more about new software and services offered by the Media Commons. Writer’s Workshop will also be in attendance with information about their consultation services and some of our new collections will be on display for you to check out!

What is your favorite service or space at the UGL? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages!

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Viewer’s Advisory: International Science Fiction Films

Hey UGLers! This week’s viewer’s advisory will be a follow-up to the first annual Science Fiction Film Festival that was held in the Main Library last week. While we viewed a couple of the most influential movies in sci-fi, this viewer’s advisory post will be about other science fiction films that have really turned some heads in recent years.

Children of Men Movie Cover

Photo taken from Amazon.

Children of Men
First up, is the 2006 British movie Children of Men. Directed by Academy Award winning directo Alfonso Cuaron (see Gravity), Children of Men tells the story of a chaotic world in which women have become infertile. Theo Faron, a former activist, agrees to help transport a woman who has somehow become pregnant. Hunted by nefarious groups, Theo and Kee must travel vast differences to safely deliver the baby and restore hope for humanity. A little heavy, but excellently made, Children of Men perfectly showcases a dystopian world and the talents for a heavily acclaimed director.

Super 8

Super 8
Next up is a nice monster movie to compliment the classic Yongary from the Science Fiction Film Festival. Directed by acclaimed director J.J. Abrams (see Star Wars), Super 8 tells the story of a group of movie making kids in the year 1979. During one of their filming sessions, the children witness a tragic train crash that unleashes a government detained beast. As the government tries to recapture the beast, the children look for a way to finish their latest masterpiece. For those who have a fondness of monsters or the classic Goonies, Super 8 is the perfect Friday night movie event.

Battle Royale

Photo taken from AsianWiki.

Battle Royale
Want some more dystopian action? Well you should check out the Japanese movie Battle Royale. The movie tells the story of 42 junior high students who have been taken to a remote island. The 42 students are instructed that they have three days to kill each other until only one remains. Shackled with an explosive collar, the children must fight or be killed by their government. In the same vein as The Hunger Games, Battle Royale warns of the rise of authoritarian government and the implications that would have on its citizens. Battle Royale is the perfect film if you are looking to watch a sci-fi movie while also filling that Katniss void.

Attack of the Block

Photo taken from Amazon.

Attack the Block
The last film on this week’s viewers advisory is the British film Attack the Block starring John Boyega – before he became the most popular storm trooper in history. Attack the Block follows the story of a South London gang who must defend their block from an alien invasion. As the stakes get higher and the aliens get more savage, there is nothing for these reluctant heroes to do but fight. Featuring laughs, action, and incredible sci-fi imagery, Attack the Block has something for everyone in your friend group.

Did we miss anything? What are some of your favorite sci-fi movies from around the world? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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March Events

March is possibly the best month for events as winter finally starts to dwindle away and as the snow melts, the city shakes itself into a frenzy of activity. We can’t promise that the snow is going to stay away all month, but we can promise that CU is rife with events that are worthy of your time and we’ve done our best to come up with a list of some of the greatest you can find. We’ll assume you already have plans for spring break and will leave that week and weekend out.

Poster for Grapes of Wrath at Krannert

Photo taken from Krannert website.

The Grapes of Wrath at Krannert March 3-13
John Steinbeck is undeniably one of the greatest authors America has ever produced and many believe “The Grapes of Wrath” to be his finest work. Yeah, that book you read in high school about the Dust Bowl, you remember it. Well, Krannert is putting on the staged production of the novel for a few weeks and it’s definitely one you won’t want to miss. The working class struggles of the Tom Joad and his comrades are ones that resonate as deeply today as they ever have, so give yourself a nice night at the theater and check this one out for only $10 student tickets.

Poster for Urinetown

Photo taken from Illini Student Musicals website.

Urinetown at Gregory Hall Theatre – March 11 and 12 at 7:30pm and 13 at 2:30pm
Illini Student Musicals is an organization dedicated to putting on high quality musical productions here at the University and will be presenting “Urinetown”, the Tony-Award winning musical romp by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis. Musicals aren’t necessarily for everyone, but this is one that even the most discerning person will find themselves in stitches by intermission. Tickets are only 10 bucks for student and the three nights make it a flexible plan for even the busiest person.

Photo Noir Art Show at Gallery 217 – March 11 through April
While one could simply visit the new Student Art Gallery on the Upper Level of the UGL, one may also want to make a trip out of seeing new and exciting local art. Gallery 217 has a fantastic downtown location and has been putting on amazing art shows featuring local and regional talent. We suggest hitting Pekara just up the road for some bread then checking out the brooding and beautiful noir photography work this show will offer.

Watson’s Shack & Rail – Anytime
Normally we try to pick specific events for these posts, but since Spring Break falls right in the middle of March, we thought we’d give everyone something they could do that week if they’re around or another week if they feel like it. One of the hottest new restaurants causing mass salivation in downtown Champaign is Watson’s Shack & Rail, the new fried chicken place. If that alone doesn’t excite you, take a look at their website. How good does that look? And for those of you with dietary restrictions, the locally sourced salads and grilled cheese look like they surely won’t disappoint. Make a night of it!

Poster for Spotlight Film Series

Photo taken from Illini Union website.

Spotlight Film Series: Carol at the Illini Union – March 29 at 7pm
Though this blog was written before the Oscar’s and we therefore do not know the results, we can still say that “Carol” is one of the top movies that came out in 2015 and is one you surely don’t want to miss. So long as you have your i-Card, you can see this movie at the Union on March 29 for free (along with other great movies featuring stories highlighting the struggles women have faced throughout history the rest of the month). This one’s a no-brainer, really. Free. Award nominated (and possibly winning). Free. Done.

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International Science Fiction Film Festival

The University of Illinois Library is excited to announce the International Science Fiction Film Series, to be held February 23rd and 25th from 7 to 10 PM in room 66 of the Main Library. Each day of this fantastic cinematic event will consist of two films, one acclaimed short, food, and discussions. Check out the schedule below!

Tuesday, February 23rd from 7-10 PM:

International Science Fiction Film Festival

Come find your new favorite science fiction film at the International Science Fiction Film Festival!

Planeta Bur
The first film of the lecture series will be the Russian feature Planeta Bur (Planet of the Storms). Released in 1962, Planeta Bur follows two Soviet spaceships on a mission to Venus. After one ship is destroyed by a meteor, the remaining two ships land and explore the planet hoping to gather information about Venusian life. The trip takes another turn as the crew of the two ships encounter beastly aliens, mysterious rocks, and unforeseen dangers. Because of its groundbreaking, and often copied visuals by Pavel Klushantsev, Planeta Bur has had a significant influence on the genre, making it the perfect film to launch our lecture series. The film will be introduced by Richard Tempest, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

International Science Fiction Film Festival

Brainstorm
Have you ever wanted to experience someone else’s mind? Brainstorm features an all-star cast led by the incomparable Christopher Walken and Hollywood icon Natalie Wood, in her final role. A group of brilliant researchers have developed a system of recording people’s actual life experiences and thought processes with incredible detail. These events can then be experienced by others using a special device. The head researcher, played by Walken, loses control of the experiment as nefarious government agencies aim to manipulate the technology for their own agendas. This film will be presented with commentary by College of Media Professor and sci-fi effects expert Julie Turnock, whose Plastic Reality: Special Effects, Technology, and the Emergence of 1970s Blockbuster Aesthetics has just been published by Columbia University Press.

Thursday, February 25th from 7-10 PM:

International Science Fiction Film Festival

Yongary
The second night of this exciting film series will delight fans of kaiju on rampages. Yongary, directed by Korean filmmaker Ki-duk Kim, begins when an atomic blast causes massive earthquakes—or so it seems. The earthquakes are revealed instead to be a new and terrifying threat that was awakened by the blast: Yongary, an amphibious monster who shakes up Seoul. Often called the Korean Godzilla, Yongary is a definite popcorn movie that is sure to delight fans of classic monster tropes and effects. The film will be presented with commentary from Robert Cagle, the cinema studies specialist for the University of Illinois Library.

International Science Fiction Film Festival

Big Man Japan
The final film of the lecture series will bring humor and subversiveness to the genre. Big Man Japan follows the life of Daisoto, who is continuing his family’s long-standing tradition of defending Tokyo from monsters. Constantly belitted, and always lamenting his family’s history, Daisoto must conquer not only the monsters at Tokyo’s door, but his own negative reputation. If you are looking for a movie that offers excitement, a contemporary twist on super-monster films, and a hefty dose of weird, this is the movie for you. This 2007 film will be introduced by Richard Leskosky, a local legend in the film community and internationally renowned expert on animation film.

The Science Fiction Film Lecture Series will take place in room 66 of the Main Library. The series will be open to UIUC faculty, staff, and students only. Refreshments will be provided during the series. Have any questions? What are your favorite international science fiction films? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or let us on know you’re coming on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC).

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Reader’s Advisory: New Manga at the UGL

The UGL is going super saiyan! The Undergraduate Library recently added a bunch of series to its ever-increasing collection of manga and graphic novels. This week’s reader’s advisory will highlight a few of the additions that will need to be added to your “must-read” list.

Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama

Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama

First up on this week’s reader’s advisory is an old classic straight from your childhood. Dragon Ball has made its appearance on the lower level of the UGL! Originally published from 1984 to 1995, Dragon Ball follows the adventures of Goku as he travels the world looking for seven orbs known as Dragon Balls. Each issue is packed with adventure, friendship, and world famous fight scenes that inspired an anime series. Check out this series, and its sequels, and you may be able to match Goku’s abilities.

Golgo 13 by Takao Saitō

Golgo 13 by Takao Saitō

Next up is one of bestselling manga series in history. Golgo 13 was first published in 1968 and is still pumping out new adventures of its anti-hero Duke Togo. Duke is a professional assassin who is willing to take any and every job that is thrown his way. However, his lack of discretion and his actions have attracted numerous organizations who all attempt to take him out. Golgo 13 is filled with action, mystery, and suspense. If you are looking for something to get lost in, the almost countless volumes on the lower level are sure to take up your time.

Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue

Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue

Not into fantasy or assassination? Well maybe the incredibly popular manga Slam Dunk will get you into the manga game. Selling 120 million copies in Japan alone, Slam Dunk follows delinquent Hanamichi who is introduced to the game of basketball by the girl of his dreams. After reluctantly joining the team, Hanamichi discovers he is a natural, but he needs to control his emotions. A 31 volume series, Slam Dunk is the perfect combination of classic coming-of-age story tropes and sports drama. Check this out if you are looking for an exciting sports read.

Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama

Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama

Finally, if you are a big fan of Sherlock Holmes or mystery novels, then the UGL has the manga for you. Case Closed follows Jimmy Kudo,a high school detective, who is exceptionally good at what he does. After being attacked by the Black Organization, a crime syndicate, Kudo is transformed into a child. Going by the new moniker Conan, Kudo attempts to solve cases and bring down the Black Organization. A little out-there, but an incredibly enjoyable read, Case Closed is an engrossing manga that will keep you entertained and guessing.

Are there any other manga you would like to give a shout out to? Tweet us at @askundergrad or find us on Facebook. Until next time!

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Valentine’s Week Events

Valentine’s Day can be a bummer for some and a lovely day for others and we’re here to help you with however you plan on feeling this coming Sunday and all week. There are a ton of things for those of you lovebirds who haven’t made plans yet and for you lone wolves looking to spend this week like it was any other week, one of which is happening all week right here in the UGL!

Blind Date with a Book Display

Use our dating service Sparks to swipe right and fall in love with a book!

Stop by the Upper Level to find your match made in heaven (or someplace else) this Valentine’s week. We have books and movies ready for those of you that love a good love and for those of you that hate a good love. Our dating service “sparks” is sure to find some sort of match to you, so be sure to swipe your new companion right to the Circulation Desk and enjoy!

And for those of you that don’t plan on making it into the library, check out this nifty infographic to find an appropriate piece of media to indulge in.

Valentine's Day Movie Flowchart

What movie should you watch next? Check the flowchart to find out!

Now, onto the non-UGL events.

Coconut Macaroons

Photo from Flickr Media Commons, courtesy of Stacy.

Coconut Macaroons at Mirabelle, Pekara, Rick’s Bakery, and/or Strawberry Fields – When they’re available

Smile Politely did the seriously difficult and life-threatening (joking) work that was tasting these little bundles of coconutty joy and reviewing the bakeries that baked them for you. No one stood above the other according to the article, so we suggest hitting up every single bakery listed and grabbing some of these macaroon’s to snack on with or without a partner. While you’re at Pekara, we also highly suggest getting a frozen hot chocolate despite the cold because it’s one of the most delicious things you can have.

Casablanca Movie Poster

Photo from Flickr Media Commons, courtesy of Breve Storia del Cinema.

Casablanca at the Art Theater – February 14 at 11:30am and 7:30pm

If you’ve never seen this masterpiece of American cinema, now is the time. Casablanca is a seriously amazing movie that has stood the test of time and stayed in the public consciousness like no other movie; it’s just one of those movies. Humphrey Bogart is the epitome of cool and his performance is worthy of a full text-book alone; it’s not exactly surprising, therefore, that there literally are books dedicated to this movie alone. The Art Theater is one of the crown jewels of downtown Champaign and if you need a date idea for the night, there’s probably nothing more romantic than catching this black-and-white masterpiece and hearing Ingrid Bergman’s world famous “kiss me” line (among the million other amazing quotes from this).

Bullnettle

Bullnettle. Photo taken from The Accord website.

FREE show at The Accord featuring Bullnettle, Tongue Party, and Orator – February 14 at 7pm

Unofficially dubbed the “Valentines Shmalentines” show, this free night at The Accord in downtown Champaign is the perfect getaway for those of you that literally want to shut all the love and good feelings out of your ears on Valentine’s Day. Bullnettle and Orator are two heavier/louder local acts that often make noise around town and they are joined by the heavy/loud from Minneapolis, so if heavy/loud music is your thing, it’s probably the safest way to avoid all the googly eyes and kissy faces.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)!

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Reader’s Advisory: Inspiring Memoirs

As the year starts, the UGL is suggesting some biographies and memoirs to inspire you. Reading stories about people we admire is a great way to find role models and better ourselves. Sometimes we just need that little inspiration to spur us towards our own goals. The UGL holds lots of books about people from different walks of life, here are just a few of the many amazing biographies you will find in our collections.

Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli

Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli

Like a modern Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs continues to fascinate writers and filmmakers. This is especially true after his early death from liver cancer. Schlender was a writer for Fortune who had unprecedented access to Jobs, interviewing him many times over the years and becoming his friend. This book offers many fresh insights into Job’s personal relationships. Fans of Apple products and geniuses in general will like this book.

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to sit on the Supreme Court when President Obama appointed her in 2009. Her memoir tells the powerful story of her rise from a difficult childhood in the Bronx projects to the Supreme Court, via Princeton and Yale Law School. What we learn from Justice Sotomayor’s life that coming from a tough background does not necessarily define where we will end up in life. A mixture of determination, hard work and some luck can help us rise beyond the circumstances of our birth. Those looking for some inspiration to take on this semester will enjoy My Beloved World!

The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kyi and the New Struggle for the Soul of a Nation by Rena Pederson

The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kyi and the New Struggle for the Soul of a Nation by Rena Pederson

Many of you would have heard about Burma (now called Myanmar) and the military junta that ruled the country for almost fifty years. Aung San Suu Kyi is the poster child for Myanmese resistance to this oppression. She was put on house arrest in 1989 and remained there until 2011, when the government began to move towards democracy. Hers is a story of bravery, soul and political finesse against one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. Read this if you want to be inspired to create change or simply to get to know a really nice lady.

Giorgio Armani by Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani  by Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani tells the story of Armani’s rise from a World War II childhood to the head of a global and widely respected fashion house. The book is filled with pictures spanning his entire life and deep reflections on his success. Unsurprisingly, Armani tells us that he values hard work and creativity. You’ll also enjoy the personal stories about Armani’s family and love life. Read this book if you’re an Armani fan and want to learn what made the man behind the fashion revolution tick.

I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, Glory by Ray Lewis

I Feel Like Going on: Life, Game, Glory  by Ray Lewis

If you are a football fan, you’ll find Ray Lewis’s biography engrossing. This is another story about rising above the circumstances of one’s birth. Lewis, the Football Hall of Famer, writes about his troubled family life in Florida and his ultimate triumph with the Baltimore Ravens at Super Bowl XLVII. Having had his own run-ins with the law, he comments on the current debate on law enforcement in African American communities and thus adds his own personal dimension on this topical issue. Apart from football fans, followers of current affairs and those looking for a fast paced but engrossing read will find this book interesting.

Are there any other inspirational figures you’d like to read about? Tweet us at @askugl or Find us on Facebook at Undergraduate Library UIUC!

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Reader’s Advisory: LGBTQ Stories

LGBTQ characters in comics, literature, television, and film have become increasingly popular and accepted. The success of TV shows such as Orange is the New Black, the recently critically acclaimed film Carol, and queer retellings of stories such as that of Catwoman have boosted representation of LGBTQ people. If you’ve been searching for more LGBTQ characters, here is a list of books available in the Undergraduate Library that will capture your interest.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home:A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

This graphic memoir by lesbian comic artist Alison Bechdel, author of the long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, explores Bechdel’s sexuality as a child and college student alongside the retelling of her father’s complicated sexuality and premature death. This Lambda Literary and Eisner award-winning graphic memoir is a great introduction to graphic novels and queer literature, but will also please aficionados of the genres. Fans of the Broadway musical Fun Home who were left craving more should pick up this original story!

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

This book tells the story of Ijeoma, a young Nigerian girl who falls in love with another girl of a different ethnic group as the civil war becomes the backdrop of their lives in the 1970s. As the adult Ijeoma reminisces about her childhood, she discovers herself and her desires in this intimate debut novel. People interested in coming-of-age stories will love Ijeoma’s journey to understanding her sexuality.

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
James Baldwin’s 1956 classic Giovanni’s Room follows a man conflicted between the women to whom he has recently engaged and his affair with an Italian bartender—who just so happens to be a man. As David struggles to choose between his goal of a traditional lifestyle and his sexual desires, he falls deeper into his affair with Giovanni. Baldwin wrote the classic tale of self-discovery mixed with a sex and sin in this literary masterpiece.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Fans of lesbian romance, mysteries, and historical fiction alike will devour this period romance by renowned lesbian author Sarah Waters. Sue, an orphan raised in a community of con artists, becomes the maid of a wealthy woman whose inheritance is the object of desire. With a surprising romance and plot twists, if you can’t get enough of this Lambda Literary winning story, it was retold in the form of a BBC One series, which is also available in the Undergraduate Library!

Long Red Hair by Meags Fitzgerald

Long Red Hair by Meags Fitzgerald

Comic artist Meags Fitzgerald details her story of discovering and labeling her sexuality while struggling with the social pressure to choose between her attraction to men and to women. Even within queer literatures, stories of bisexuality and other non-monosexual identities are less prevalent than gay or lesbian narratives. Fitzgerald interweaves historical examples of relationships and sexuality with her own in this 93-page whirlwind of a memoir. Readers who seek representations of lesser-discussed sexualities, or those looking for a book to devour in one sitting, will love this graphic retelling of Fitzgerald’s coming-of-age as a queer woman.

Wandering Son by Takako Shimura

Wandering Son by Takako Shimura

Takako Shimura’s manga series follows two transgender friends in middle school as they discover what it means to be transgender and how to live as their authentic selves. Through eight volumes, Shimura gives readers a coming-of-age story unlike any other: as the characters approach and experience puberty, their experiences are shaped by their gender identities that do not match their bodies. This manga series broke new ground during its first release in 2002. It will be enjoyed by lovers of comics, coming-of-age stories, and LGBTQ literature alike.

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