Reader’s Advisory: Book to Film

Well it appears that the summer is over and school is back to dominate your life. With school comes endless amounts of homework and social events that could really slow down your progress on that constantly growing “to-read” list. Unfortunately for you, your time to read these books before they are inevitably adapted into movies could be coming to an end. From Sci-Fi to young adult dystopians, no genre is safe from the entertainment machine that is the movie industry! You better put your reading hat on, you do not want the movie to ruin the book!

Here at the UGL, we understand your plight, so this week’s reader’s advisory is focusing on books that will be adapted into movies during the Fall semester.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

First on the list is James Dashner’s The Scorch Trials. If you were a fan of the first book in the series, then you will be quite pleased to read The Scorch Trials. Centered on the Gladers after their adventures and hardships in the maze, the story sees the group from the first story face even more tragic situations and encounter new friends. From start to finish, this book is full of excitement and with the adaptation, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, coming out September 18th, you better get off your butt and do some reading.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Have you ever wondered if you would be able to survive in the wilderness with just your wit and your smarts? Well stop wondering, you would definitely not make it. But Andy Weir’s debut novel, The Martian, depicts someone who is attempting to survive on Mars with just those tools (and a couple degrees in botany and engineering). In Weir’s groundbreaking novel, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after a freak accident. Now, against all odds Mark must survive long enough for NASA to save him. Humorous, dark, and amazingly hopeful, Weir’s novel is the go-to read of the fall. With the adaptation coming out October 2nd, you have a couple weeks to read this page turner.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Next on your young adult list is the final chapter of the popular Hunger Games trilogy: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. After the last hunger games, which saw the launch of a revolution, Mockingjay sees Katniss’ story end with a violent revolution, secrets, and love. With the success of the previous films and pending release of Mockingjay Pt. 2 in theaters on November 20, you have some time to read this one, but why wait?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Let’s be completely honest, you probably skipped Frankenstein in your high school class. So what better time to read Mary Shelley’s magnum opus than now? Frankenstein tells the classic story of a doctor attempting to create life. Frankenstein has been spoofed and adapted into a number of different movies, novels, and plays, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from trying again. Harry Potter himself (Daniel Radcliffe) is starring in an adaptation that tells the story from Igor’s perspective titled Victor Frankenstein. With this coming out November 25th, you better start scheduling some “me time” with Mary Shelley.

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

Guys and gals, Moby Dick was real! In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex tells the real life story of man’s encounter with nature and giant whales. The novel, by Nathaniel Philbrick, tells the story of the survivors of the Essex, a whaleship that was attacked by a sperm whale in November 1820. Tragedy after tragedy befalls the survivors of the attack who were eventually saved in February of 1821. This is a must read for non-fiction aficionados and it is also a great way to mentally prepare to see Chris Hemsworth (yes, that is indeed Thor) on the big screen once again. In the Heart of Sea comes out December 11th which sounds like a thrilling way to kick start your Christmas vacation.

Which of these fine books are you most looking forward to read? Let us know by tweeting @AskUndergrad. All of these and more can be found at the Undergraduate Library or online using the library catalog.

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New Science Fiction Books at the UGL

Are you a fan of space travel? Do you crave futuristic storylines? Are you interested in reading about science, technology, and parallel universes? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, you’re in luck. The UGL has recently added several new science fiction works to its collection. Whether you’re looking for a standalone cyberpunk novel, or a space opera series, the UGL has you covered.

Nigerians in Space by Deji Bryce Olukotun


Olukotun’s debut novel is equal parts action and history. Nigerians in Space, which is primarily set in Cape Town, combines African politics, culture, and thrilling adventure. This afrofuturist science fiction novel is a great choice for readers that want a little bit of everything.


The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle

The Atlantis Gene is the first novel in the Origin Mystery Trilogy. Riddle’s novel takes place at the start of the next human evolution. This novel takes both the past and future of humans into consideration with great detail. The Atlantis Gene is a great choice for anyone who is looking to be immersed in incredible detail and a fast-paced plot.


The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata

Nagata’s Locus award winning novel blends cyberpunk and hard science fiction to tell a story about nanotechnology, privilege, and strong female characters. The Bohr Maker is the first book in the Nanotech Succession, a collection of standalone novels. Readers looking to think deeply about what it means to be human should consider checking this book out.


Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon

Trading in Danger is the first of five novels in the Vatta’s War space opera series. Kylara Vatta, the novel’s heroine, forgoes tradition and chooses to join the military rather than pursue a career in her family’s business. Things don’t quite go as planned and soon Ky’s easy journey as a ship captain turns into an adventure filled with interplanetary rebellion and exciting space battles. This book is great for readers that are looking to become immersed in an action-packed series about military strategy and brilliant characters.

Tau Zero by Poul Anderson

Tau Zero is a hard science fiction novel that fuses emotion with technology. Anderson’s novel follows the crew of a starship as they embark on a journey to reach a distant star system. With in-depth scientific explanations of how time, relativity, and the cosmos work, this novel is a great read for hardcore science enthusiasts.

What are your favorite science fiction novels? Let us know in the comments!

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New Mystery Books at the UGL

From Miss Marple to Sherlock Holmes, many of the greatest mystery novels act as the playgrounds for brilliant and strong protagonists. This remains true for contemporary mystery books and series, as well. Their intense personalities and sharp intellects augment the intriguing worlds of crime they inhabit. Whether it is a psychological thriller or a classic detective novel, these characters pull you, the reader, into their psyches. This makes mystery novels great for addictive summer reading, akin to ghost stories around the campfire. Luckily, the UGL has a huge collection to choose from, depending on your taste!

Motive: Alex Delaware by Jonathon Kellerman


For a great psychological suspense series, you do not need to look further than Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware. With a degree in psychology, and numerous published works on psychology and psychopathology, Kellerman understands how to get into the minds of his hero and his villains. Alex Delaware is a forensic psychologist who assists the Los Angeles Police Department in solving crimes. This series is notable for the inclusion of a gay police officer who acts as Delaware’s sidekick. With twenty-eight additions, undertaking this series is a substantial yet fruitful endeavor.

Rizzoli and Isles: The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen


If you have ever flipped through the cable channels – or merely keep up with current television trends – you have probably heard of Rizzoli and Isles, the popular TNT drama about a police detective and a medical examiner who team up to solve crimes. But did you know that the television show is based on a book series by Tess Gerritsen? Gerritsen received a medical degree from Stanford University before starting her writing career. This gives her a unique advantage when tackling the medical side of her thrillers, including accurately portraying medical examiner, Maura Isles. This is a great series to read if you like medical thrillers and if you like books with female protagonists.

Mortal Causes: Inspector Rebus by Ian Rankin


If you enjoy rogue detectives in the vein of Sherlock Holmes, Ian Rankin’s work might work well for you. While studying for his PhD in Scottish literature, Rankin began writing a mystery series that would ultimately turn in the award winning, and very popular, Inspector Rebus series. It chronicles the cynical and deeply flawed Inspector John Rebus. Written in real time, Rebus ages along with the series, growing both in age and wisdom. This is, perhaps, what makes this series so rewarding to return to with each new addition. ITV did a television adaptation of the first thirteen novels in 2000.

The Scent of Death by Andrew Taylor


Interested in historical fiction? In his more recent works, Andrew Taylor expertly interweaves mystery with history. Set in 1778 New York, The Scent of Death chronicles Edward Savill’s adventures as a loyalist in Revolutionary America and the chain of murders that pull him into a dark, secret world that makes him, and the reader, question his preconceptions of loyalty. Taylor does an excellent job of mingling history with crime, emulating an American Gothic style, atmosphere, and plot that culminate in a shocking climax. A must read for anyone who enjoys a historical mystery!

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear


A historical crime novel? A psychological thriller? A mystery novel with a strong female protagonist? Jacqueline Winspear combines all three when writing her bestselling Maisie Dobbs series. Maisie Dobbs is an orphan who, through a benefactor, receives a degree in psychology before World War One breaks out. Years after the war, she sets up an independent shop as a Psychologist and Investigator. When an ordinary case turns into a multiple murder, Maisie realizes she needs to confront her own troubled past to solve it. This series owes much of its addictive nature to Maisie’s resilient characterization.

You can find these mystery novels and many more at the UGL. So stop in and get lost in a thrilling mystery!

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New Fantasy Books at the UGL

The fantasy genre has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years with the success of the Game of Thrones television show based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. There is an abundance of good fantasy literature, both old and new. This encompasses the familiar swords and sorcery setting, Lovecraftian weird fiction, fantasy horror, and other works that subvert genre expectations. The UGL recently added a number of fantasy works to its collection. Let’s take a brief look at some of the more notable additions.

Dreamsongs: Volumes I and II by George R.R. Martin


GRRM now looms large over the fantasy genre, accompanied by fellow master J.R.R. Tolkien. If you’ve been eagerly waiting for Martin to finish The Winds of Winter, his next release in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, you can bide your time by checking out this two-volume collection of some of his shorter work. These volumes include Hugo and Nebula award-winning short stories, as well as Martin’s novella “The Hedge Knight,” which acts as a prequel to A Song of Ice and Fire.

Image courtesy of Rmdolhen at Wikimedia Commons

The Works of Michael Moorcock


Although he’s not as well-known as Tolkien and GRRM, British author Michael Moorcock is one of the most critically acclaimed authors working in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. Moorcock has been publishing since the 1960s, producing a body of work that can be daunting to the uninitiated. Thankfully, the AV Club has written a helpful primer to the works of Moorcock. The author is perhaps best known for his character Elric of Melnibone, an albino prince with a magical sword called Stormbringer. Elric’s adventures have been re-released in a multi-volume collection, which starts with Elric: The Stealer of Souls.

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton


The winner of the 2004 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, Tooth and Claw takes the familiar Victorian romance novel (think Anthony Trollope) and gives it a major twist. Rather than focusing on cultured, upper-class humans, Walton instead chooses to populate her plot with firebreathing dragons. The intricate plot of Victorian novels is left intact, making this a must read for fans of Dickensian literature who are craving something a little more fantastical or for people who loved Watership Down.

Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer


Jeff Vandermeer, noted author of the New Weird genre and resident of Tallahassee, Florida, captures the Sunshine State’s dark side in this mysterious trilogy of novels. All published in 2014, these award-winning novels (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) revolve around an abandoned ecological disaster zone called Area X which is controlled by a government agency called The Southern Reach. Highly recommended for fans of Weird Fiction, environmental literature, and thrilling mysteries.

Books of Blood by Clive Barker


If you prefer your fantasy with a heavy helping of horror, look no further than the collections of short stories in Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. Barker is perhaps most well-known in popular culture for writing the works that the Hellraiser and Candyman film series are based on. Barker’s work definitely leans heavily towards horror, but contains fantasy elements as well. Recommended for fans of horror film, Stephen King, and those who like to terrify themselves in short doses.


These are just some of the fantasy works the UGL has recently added to the collection. Take a look around our bookstacks on the lower level, particularly in the P shelves, for other fantastical literature.

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Secret Societies: Revealed!

Secret societies have flourished for many centuries in many different cultures. Though some, like the Shriners, perform semi-public activities, not much is known about what goes on within them – that’s why they’re called ‘secret.’ This lack of knowledge has led the mysterious groups to captivate our cultural imagination, as unexplained coincidences and nefarious plots are attributed to them.

If you’ve watched The Good Shepherd, National Treasure, or read about the V.F.D in A Series of Unfortunate Events, then you’ve already been exposed to how fun and engrossing the idea of a sinister secret society can be. To help you find more things to enjoy in that vein, here’s a round-up of books that feature shadowy groups, conspiracy theories, and men in fezzes.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, conspiracy-wise, start with the Illuminatus! trilogy. Every weirdo theory out there is covered, and connected to the most secretest secret society of all – the Illuminati. There are lots of symbolic eyeballs, and you’ll be eyeballing your surroundings after reading it, especially that buck – what’s the deal with that spooky staring pyramid, anyway?

 The New Avengers: Illuminati by Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed, and Jim Cheung

This is a kinder, gentler Illuminati. Sort of. A gathering of well-known powerful Marvel comics characters are revealed as having manipulated several important events from behind the scenes. Their intentions are mostly good, but as with many tales of good versus evil, things get muddy, and what Professor Xavier, Tony Stark, and Doctor Strange (among others) resort to meet their goals may not always be so nice.

 The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin

Can you have a good secret society/conspiracy theory reading list without Nazis? No, you cannot. Nazis are the fallback conspiracy of literature at large. So, here is a book about secret Nazis hiding in South America and plotting to kill six aging men. Why do they want to kill these six men in particular? What are the connections between them and the exiled SS members? The writing has been described as ‘cinematic,’ which explains why there is a movie version.

The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White

The members of the secret society in this group want to save the world and make it a better place – but very slowly, over hundreds of years and multiple reincarnations. One could say they want to do so in increments. The plan seems to be progressing well, if at a glacial place, but then something goes wrong with the lovebirds who star in the story, and they go wrong rather quickly, as they often do.

Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society, a Visual Guide by Adam Parfrey

Most of the secret societies on this list are fictional, but as we mentioned before, there have been real ones throughout history. This book takes a comprehensive look at the secret fraternal societies of America in particular, describing their history, traditions, and influence. As indicated by the ‘visual guide’ part of the title, almost every page features reproductions of fraternal memorabilia, including many snapshots of men in aprons and silly hats.

Alright, we’re done conspiring to bring you fun things to read – for now. We’ll duck back behind our librarian curtain and let you take over – what are your favorite books or movies about secret societies? Let us know in the comments. Bonus points if you write it in code.


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ACM GameBuilders Event at UGL

The University of Illinois has a wide range of organizations and clubs that allow students to nurture their talents and explore their interests. One of these groups, Gamebuilders from the University of Illinois chapter of the Association of Computer Machinery, will be showcasing their work Tuesday November 11th, from 7 to 9 PM in the UGL. The event will take place in the gaming area of the Media Commons. Students from ACM Gamebuilders will be on hand at the event to demonstrate over 25 games that they have created. It should be an informative and a fun look into the art and craftsmanship that went into producing these games. If you’re not able to make it to the event, you can still check out the groups work, as the UGL will have a computer running the games until the end of the semester.

GameBuilders focuses on creating and developing computer video games. This involves a wide range of activities and processes, including programming, visual asset creation, sound and music authoring, as well as game design. The group also provides education on game development and mentoring for interested students who are new to game development. If you’re interested, GameBuilders meets every Tuesday evening from 7 to 8 in Room 3403 of the Siebel Center.


The following are some of the games that students from GameBuilders have created.



Flagfight is a capture the flag game created by Luke Puchner-Hardman and Ryan Norby for the 2013 Global Student Game Developer Competition.




A turn-based tower defense game created by Luke Puchner-Hardman for the Fall 2013 Gamebuild-a-Thon.




This game is a 3D block-based puzzle game that features a number of abilities used to solve puzzles (ex: breaking blocks, throwing fireballs). Created by Jack LaSota.




Mineralz is a 3D tower defense game where you control a robotic dragon that is tasked with defending a crater against a horde of robotic enemies. Created by Ryan Norby, Luke Puchner-Hardman, Eric Christianson, Danny Sapato, and Rafael Rego Drumond.


If reading about these student-created games whetted your appetite for gaming, you’re in luck! The UGL has a large collection of modern videogames (including Xbox One and Playstation 4 titles), which can be either used in the UGL at the gaming center or checked out to play at home.The UGL also has a vintage gaming collection that is being preserved for classroom instruction and research use. We’re always adding new titles to our collection, so be sure to keep an eye out for new releases and old favorites.

What are your favorite independently developed games? Any favorite games of 2014 so far? Let us know in the comments.

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The combination of narrative and dialogue with sequenced illustrations is generally what sets a graphic novel apart from other literary forms. Speech bubbles between characters move the plot along, and expository notes from the author help us follow the illustrated action. Some artists, however, focus exclusively on the ‘graphic’ part of graphic novels, and create works with no words at all. In the following books, there are no sentences or paragraphs, but that doesn’t mean nothing is said.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

First things first, if you haven’t already read “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan, pick it up right now. For those of you who have come a long way to attend UIUC, or who are still getting used to your new college environment, this book is a gentle, comforting tale of finding your bearings in a strange land. The illustrations are high detailed, but soft and warm. It’s the best picture book for adults, period – though children can enjoy it, too, of course.

Six Novels in Woodcuts by Lynd Ward

Before graphic novels, there were wordless novels: long series of woodcuts which, when viewed in sequence, told a story. Lynd Ward was the first prominent American artist to work in this proto-graphic-novel form, and we have all 6 of his stark works for you to enjoy. You can also read more about wordless novels in general in “Wordless Books” by David A. Beronä (lots of words in that one, though).

Mister O. by Lewis Trondheim

Mister O is a small person. Mister O is shaped like an O. Mister O would like to cross that chasm so that he can continue his walk, but everything in the world seems to conspire to prevent him from doing so – cranky birds, aliens, poorly aimed cannons… It’s very simple, but sometimes the simplest pictures are best. There’s a punchline on every page – almost instant gratification!

Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring

While “The Arrival” (above) focuses on making a new home in a new place, “Congress of the Animals” is more about what happens when you leave home and have no idea where you are. Frank, a small buck-toothed critter, escapes his safe, but stifling environment and journeys through bizarre, woodcut-esque landscapes. Stuff gets real weird, but if you’re into it, you can check out the similarly wordless “Weathercraft” by the same author, which the publisher describes as containing “32 pages of almost incomprehensible suffering.”

Greetings from Hellville by Thomas Ott

As the title implies, the short stories in this collection are hellish and disturbing; finely-textured nightmares in which nothing goes right. The artists Thomas Ott draws inspiration from early silent horror movies, so give ’em a look if you want to be seriously creeped out (and possibly scared speechless, much like the characters). You can also check out more of Ott’s work in “R.I.P: Best of 1985-2004;” just leave your nightlight on.

Sshhhh! by Jason

What an appropriate title for a book with no words. This is a collection of 10 short vignettes that follow a bird-headed man in a hat through journeys simultaneously mundane and surreal. Bird-head man explores love, jealousy, parenthood, aging, death, and isolation, in absolute contemplative silence. If you dig Jason’s style but want a little more conversation with your illustration, try another of his works, “Tell Me Something,” which (aptly enough) has some dialogue.

We think we’ve said enough about stories that thrive on a lack of words. Do you have a favorite graphic novel without words? Tell us about in the comments…or draw us a picture, if you’re really in the spirit!

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Classic Horror Stories Readers’ Advisory

Halloween season is here! Although there are many things to enjoy about the holiday (dressing up in silly costumes, eating tons of candy, the return of the NBA, etc.),a favorite part of Halloween is the tradition of reading scary stories. You can be scared witless by a story at any time of the year, but around this time feels just right to curl up with a scary book as the leaves are beginning to turn.


Horror fiction has a long, rich history. Many modern horror novels and films are influenced by the classic horror stories of yesteryear. The following reader’s advisory are horror stories and novels whose frights have withstood the test of time.


The Raven: Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

 Arguably the father of the horror short story, Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most notable writers in the horror/suspense genre. Poe is perhaps best known for his poem, “The Raven,” but his short stories are where the true scares can be found. This collection includes the titular poem, as well as nail-biters like “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Masque of the Red Death.” Recommended if you like Gothic literature, detective stories, and mystery.

The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

 This 1895 collection of weird, supernatural short stories has experienced something of a renaissance this year. The cause behind this spike in interest is the HBO series “True Detective”, which heavily referenced Chambers’ work in its suspenseful first season (ex: The Yellow King, Carcosa, etc.). American horror master H.P. Lovecraft was also heavily influenced by this collection. Recommended if you like supernatural stories and/or if you’re a “True Detective” fan waiting for Season 2.


“The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

 Published in 1898, this novella is a literary tale of psychology and the supernatural. Given its short length, this is a good choice if you’re looking for an evening of mystery. Like many of the best horror stories, this novella is still inspiring a debate over whether the ghosts in the tale are real or merely imagined. Recommended if you like psychological literature, ghost stories, and New Criticism.

Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft

 Despite not being widely recognized during his lifetime, H.P. Lovecraft is now one of the most celebrated authors of Horror and Weird Fiction. Although not all of his work falls into the horror genre, Lovecraft’s short stories and novellas have plenty of terrifying and eerie moments. This collection contains all of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu stories, including his most famous story, “The Call of Cthulhu,” as well as his legendary novella, “At the Mountains of Madness.” Recommended if you like terrifying creatures, complex mythologies, and artist H.R. Giger’s work on the Alien films.


The Shining by Stephen King

 One of Stephen King’s best works, The Shining is a quintessential haunted house (or hotel) story. Although Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation is excellent and quite scary at times, the book is way more terrifying. Set at a luxurious mountain hotel in Colorado, The Shining explores what happens when the Overlook Hotel closes for the winter and aspiring novelist Jack Torrance and his family stay on as caretakers. Recommended if you like supernatural terror, haunted houses, and being scared of bathtubs.


These five works merely scratch the surface of the scares that horror literature has to offer. What are your favorite scary stories or films? Tell us in the comments below. Happy haunting!

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An Ocean of Good Reads

Central Illinois is a wonderful place. It is home to our wonderful Alma Mater, the charming cities of Urbana and Champaign, and enough cornfields to support even the most voracious grilled corn habit. There is, however, a distinct lack of salt air, of booming waves, and of billowing sails. If you find yourself pining for the sea life, take home one of these ocean-themed books from the UGL. You can read them in a hammock and pretend you’re below-decks!

Silver : My Own Tale as Written by Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder
by Edward Chupack

An Ocean + A Boat = Pirates, obviously. You’re probably familiar with Treasure Island, perhaps the most well-known pirate story of Western literature. But have you ever wondered about how the infamous pirate Long John Silver became who he is? This is his life story, recounted by Silver himself, as he sails imprisoned towards his execution in England. Many murders and treasure troves are recounted, in highly stylized pirate lingo, but the biggest and most mysterious treasure is only hinted at…

The Seas: a Novel
By Samantha Hunt

“Long walks on the beach” are often heralded as being the height of romance. What if, however,  you’re a young woman in a desolate seaside town, grieving the loss of your father, convinced you’re a mermaid, and in love with a older, damaged veteran? Time spent on the beach together might have a different feel to it, then. That’s the premise behind this novel, which draws from ethereal fairy tales but is set in cold, hard reality.

8 Men and a Duck : an Improbable Voyage by Reed Boat to Easter Island
by Nick Thorpe

Translating the art of the road trip to the southern Pacific, this is the tale of 8 dudes (mostly non-sailors) who attempt to travel from the coast of Chile to Easter Island in a boat made out of reeds. Their motivation? Living to tell the tale, mostly. There are sharks, storms, and rival sailing teams who attempt to sabotage the mission; there is also, as promised, a duck. The duck’s name is Pedro.

The Sea is My Brother
by Jack Kerouac

Before he became a famous figure in Beat literature, Jack Kerouac was a merchant marine. That means he worked as a sailor on ships carrying passengers and cargo, and that is the setting of this, his first, incomplete novel. Young men at sea grappling with loneliness, identity, and drinking in the modern world – if that sounds like your cup of grog, pick this one up.


The Sea Wolf
by Jack London, adapted by Riff Reb’s

Originally a novel by Jack London, of White Fang and Call of the Wild fame, this graphic novel adaptation adds dramatic, high-contrast illustrations to a classic adventure tale. Instead of furry beasts in snowy Yukon climes, the ‘wolf’ in this story is a hardened sailor in the South Pacific. He and his crew of seal hunters pick up a shipwreck victim, Humphrey, who is initially glad for their help…but Humphrey soon realizes that this ain’t no pleasure cruise, and he will have to fight to survive.


That’s it for our fleet of ocean-centered stories. We hope you got to see more of the ocean this summer that the UGL ever does, from it’s vantage point underground. Do you have a favorite book or movie set on the high seas? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Got Pride? LGBT Pride Month at the UGL

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

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

Original image by Quinn Dombrowski.

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


by Martin Duberman

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

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

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

edited by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

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

Body Counts boko cover with image of couple kissing

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

by Sean Strub

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

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

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

by Janet Mock

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

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

Special thanks to guest blogger Tad Andracki!

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