Summer in the UGL

You did it! Finals are over and summertime (well, almost)  in the UGL has started. For those of you who in town or who are taking classes, the UGL will be open. Come on in and check out some DVD’s or video games. If you need a space to study, you’re in luck, the UGL has various spots where you can relax or do homework.

Summertime in the UGL. Photo courtesy of Alain via Flickr Media Commons

Summertime in the UGL. Photo courtesy of Alain via Flickr Media Commons

The hours will be the following:

Monday-Thursday: 8:30 AM- 6:00 PM

Friday: 8:30 AM- 5:00 PM

Saturday: 1-5 PM

Sunday: Closed

We will be closed May 24th and 25th. There are a couple of days where the UGL is closed, so if you have any questions, feel free to check the hours on the library gateway page. Have a great summer and be on the lookout for our summertime reader’s advisory blogs and other fun stuff!

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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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Valentine’s Day Hangover: Reader’s Advisory

You made it through Valentine’s Day and 3 bags of chocolate later, you are done. Whether  you had a date with your sweetheart or with your favorites, Ben and Jerry, you can rest assured that everyone is worn out and stress free. Let’s focus on the important things now, here at the UGL, we have a couple of recommendations to cure that Valentine’s Day hangover. From our great selection of movies, we have exactly what you need.

Austenland. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Austenland. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

One can never go wrong with a Jane Austen inspired movie like “Austenland.” Ms. Jane Hayes’ obsession with Jane Austen is, well, taking over her life and complicating her love life. She decides to journey to a Jane Austen inspired resort, where she meets interesting characters and two fine gentlemen. Will Ms. Hayes get her Mr. Darcy?

“Warm Bodies” for your zombie needs

For the zombie lover, “Warm Bodies” is a great combination of blood, guts, and romance. Set in a zombie epidemic, R and Julie form a relationship as chaos surrounds them. As R begins to become more human, he is the hope that the world needs.

Five-Year Engagement. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Five-Year Engagement. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Five Year Engagement” is a story of a happy couple who get engaged. Emily Blunt and funny man, Jason Segel are the happy couple of this story. Like all romantic comedies, they are happy with their quirky partners, but life happens. Five years engaged, but now who knows if they will make it down the aisle.

Dan in Real Life picture

Dan in Real Life

“Dan in Real Life” is a story of when boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy finds out that girl is dating his brother. Chaos happens and hilarity ensues. No matter what happens, it’s guaranteed to give you a good laugh. Starting Steve Carell and Dane Cook.

The Break Up image

The Break Up

Actress Jennifer Aniston brings us a classic, “The Break-Up.” Brooke and Gary’s relationship has taken a toll. After Brooke breaks up with Gary, none of them are willing to move out of their condo. Between the fighting and the screaming, Brooke and Gary do not know if their relationships is worth saving.

The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy

The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy

“The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy” depicts a group of friends who gather at the the Jack’s Broken Heart Restaurant. They can lean on each other as they live through gay life. As tragedy strikes, their friendships are tested.

What other movies do you plan on watching? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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Read.Watch.Play: The winners

Don’t let the cold weather get you down – February is an awesome time to curl up with a nice warm book, watch a movie with friends, or play a fun video game from the UGL collection.  And who better to recommend one than the winners of our READ.WATCH.PLAY contest from last Fall.

We promised to make then library-famous, and now we have. Please join us in congratulating the first three of our six winners – Grant Wilson, Liz Armstrong, and Maggie Wolfe, who can’t wait to share some of their favorites with you.  Check out their amazing choices below, photographed in our highly literary video production studio, and look for their posters on the upper level of the UGL.

First up, we have Liz Armstrong, who chose Pride and Prejudice, the movie (the Keira Knightley version).  With Valentine’s Day coming up, take a break to remind yourself how love can overcome any obstacle

Watch! with Liz Armstrong. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

Watch! with Liz Armstrong. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

Next, we have Grant Wilson who recommends “Unwind” by Neal Shusterman.  Set in a dystopian future, this science fiction novel brings you action, excitement, and plot twists framing a thoughtful discussion of a hugely-relevant social issue.

 

Read! with Grant Wilson. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

Read! with Grant Wilson. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

 

And third, we have Ms. Maggie Wolfe, who shares a favorite of hers, “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare. Find inspiration in the words of the immortal bard, which still feel connect to the lives of college students today.  When things feel out of your hands, Maggie encourages us to think of Prospero, entreating “let your indulgences set me free.”

Read! with Maggie Wolfe. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library.

Read! with Maggie Wolfe. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library.

A photo shoot and your very own poster sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Be on the lookout for our next Read.Watch.Play contest, and start planning your own poster now.

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Things to Do: June

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

Sunny photo of UGL from outside

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

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

On the Big Screen

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

Arts and Performances

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

Go Outside!

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

In the Library

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

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

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Mom Movies

This weekend (April 4-6) is Mom’s Weekend! Are you ready for all moms, all the time? Here’s a round-up of official Mom’s Weekend resources, as well as some mom-themed movies you can watch in your downtime, whether your mom is visiting this weekend or not.

Keep calm and have fun with mom.

The UGL can help!

Your first stop in Mom’s Weekend planning should be consulting the official Mom’s Weekend site. It’ll give you an overview of what’s happening, so you can get an idea of what kind of events you want to attend. When it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and plan your agenda, the Mom’s Weekend calendar will provide you with more details about times, locations, and prices. It has every single campus event you and your mom could possibly dream of.

Those will give you all the basic information you need. For extra credit, you can dig into the Daily Illini’s Mom’s Weekend Guide, for interviews and background on the scheduled events (as well as potential alternative plans). You can also find more information about the U of I Mom’s Association, who help plan and coordinate Mom’s Weekend, on their new official site.

The events that are lined up will be a lot of fun, but your mom (and you!) will probably want to rest at some point. For when you’re just hanging out, here are some movies and shows about moms that you can watch together. And if you don’t have a mom visiting you this weekend, grab a friend’s mom. They like to watch movies, too.

Gilmore Girls Seasons 1-7 starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel
Brave starring Emma Thompson and Kelly MacDonald
The Namesake starring Tabu and Kal Penn
Terms of Endearment starring Shirley MacClaine and Debra Winger
Mommy Dearest starring Faye Dunaway
Stepmom starring Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts
The Waterboy starring Adam Sandler and Kathy Bates
Freaky Friday starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan

What’s your favorite mom movie to watch? By that we mean your favorite movie to watch with mom, or your favorite movie with a mom in it. Let us know in the comments, and have a good weekend!

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Warm up for Spring Break at the UGL

Hey UGL-ers! Here in Chambana, it’s finally starting to warm up. Which means there’s only one thing on our minds—spring break! Whether you’re staying in town to catch up on sleep or packing for an exotic adventure, the UGL has all the resources you need to make this spring break the best yet.

Cover of Foder's Los Cabos guidebook

Where can you snorkel in Los Cabos? Find out here!

If you’re heading out of town for spring break this year, check out the UGL’s collection of travel guides to read up on your favorite destination. Where is the best place to hike in Wisconsin? Which towns in Spain are must-sees? Where can you snorkel in Los Cabos? All your travel questions can be answered in these handy guidebooks.

Traveling out of the country? Learn a few phrases or brush up on your conversation skills in hundreds of languages for FREE using our Tell Me More language software. Take a look at our previous blog post to learn how to use this great resource.

Cover of The Globetrotter Diaries

Get inspired for an adventure of your own.

If your spring break plans look a lot like your pillow, the UGL can bring out your inner hitchhiker while you catch some Z’s right here at home. Check out our Pinterest board that highlights a few of our favorite books about travel writing and photography, as well as the guidebooks we mentioned above.

The Hobbit DVD cover

“Not all who wander are lost.”

As always, the UGL’s collection of movies, TV shows, and audio books are ready to cure your travel bug from the comfort of your couch. Need a European adventure? Live vicariously through every James Bond film. Feeling wanderlust? Trek through Middle-earth with a Lord of the Rings marathon. Or, get pumped for the release of the next Captain America film with your Avenger pals. Stock up on all your favorites before break!

If you’re looking for a thrilling page-turner to pass some time over break, be on the lookout for our up-coming display “Road Trip with a Book.” We’ll surprise you with a great new read!

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Spotlight On…Film Resources

The 2014 Oscars have now been awarded, and whether you agree with the winners or not, the library has resources you can use to learn more about film history and theory, as well as find more movies to watch.

Researching Film History and Theory

  • Film Study Reference Guide – This research guide, put together by the Literature and Languages Library, is a one-stop shop for all film theory research needs. It has resources for finding film reviews, if you want to find out what critics said about those Oscar winners before they were winners, as well as lists of books that can serve as your introduction to the history and study of film.
  • Finding Article about Film in Databases – The Communications Library has put together a list of databases that contain articles pertaining to film history and criticism. Once you gotten a good introduction using the reference guide above, you can use these databases to find more specific articles about whatever film topic interests you.

Findings Movies to Watch

  • Finding Movies in the Library – Reading about movies is great, but reading reviews and articles won’t be helpful if you haven’t seen the movies themselves! The Undergraduate Library has a guide to help you find the movies you need in the library catalog.
  • Ideas for What to Watch – If you don’t know where to start, the UGL has Pinterest boards that collect our favorite horror movies, science fiction features, summer films, and movies based on books. Browsing the entire media collection by genre is tough, because it’s just not arranged that way, but here’s a tip: on the catalog search screen, change the first dropdown menu from “Keyword” to “Subject,” then try typing in what you’re looking for. You could try a genre, like “Horror films,” or a topic followed by the kind of  movie you want, like “High school students – Comedy.” It takes some practice, but soon you’ll be a master at finding great new movies.

What do you think about when you decide whether a movie is good or not? Let us know in the comments!

Need ideas for other great library resources? Find more in our Spotlight on… series here.

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It’s Almost Game Day!

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or haven’t watched a game all season, Super Bowl Sunday is a great excuse to get together with friends, take a break from homework, and, let’s be honest, eat. A lot. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, here are some tips and fun facts from the UGL to get you ready for this year’s game.

The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks will face off this Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. If you follow the NFL, you may have strong feelings on the match-up, as the league’s best teams go head to head. What you may not know is our own Big Ten Conference will be well-represented on Super Bowl Sunday. Thirteen former Big Ten student-athletes and nine coaches with conference ties will vie for the title, including Bronco’s running back Montee Ball and Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson, both former Wisconsin Badgers.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks QB and former Wisconsin Badger. Photo courtesy of Football Schedule via Flickr

For many, the football game simply interrupts the true entertainment featured on Super Bowl Sunday: the commercials. Between mouthfuls of nacho dip, watch out for Illini alumnus Jim Coates (AM ’73), who is featured in “Time Machine”, one of the top 5 commercials competing in the Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” Contest.

Mmm…nachos. Photo courtesy of jeffreyw via Flickr

If Super Bowl Sunday is simply an excuse to hang out and eat, join the club. The UGL has your back with tons of cookbooks to help you prep the perfect appetizer, like Bobby Flay’s Throwdown. Are you vegan, gluten-free, or just on a budget? We’ve got you covered. Check out our Pinterest page for more staff suggestions and get cooking!

Whip up a delicious app with the Cheesy Vegan!

Now that the football season almost over, check out more gridiron greats in the UGL collection to keep you entertained until kick-off next season.

We already can’t wait until next season.

 

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Halloween Books and Movies

Fellow UGLers, Halloween is here! Are you ready to dress up and stuff your face with candy? If you’ve decided to stay in, the graduate assistants of the UGL have provided a list of their favorite movies and books for the season. We’ve compiled the list here and hope that it serves as a guide for your Halloween night festivities.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Movie

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Zoe recommends The Nightmare before Christmas. An animated movie directed by Tim Burton, this has been a popular one since its release in 1993. It is the story of the quirky and lovable pumpkin king who decides to bring the Christmas spirit to Halloween Town. A great movie for those who want to combine Halloween and the upcoming holidays. Grab your friends and some popcorn and spend the evening with the pumpkin king.

The Exorcist Movie

The Exorcist. Sure to give you a chill down your spine

If you want a good dose of fear this Halloween, Quetzalli recommends The Exorcist. This classic 1973 movie scared audiences all over the world. For those of who have not yet seen this classic film, based on a true story, it is the chilling story of a girl who becomes possessed and causes several gruesome deaths during her exorcism. Beware Club UGL, this movie is not for the faint-hearted.

 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Are you in the mood for some rock opera, awesome costumes, and a good ole horror movie? Holly’s favorite is The Rocky Horror Picture Show. After a couple of kids have car trouble, they are left stranded at the door of a Gothic mansion. They meet a host of strange characters, including Dr. Fran-N-Furter from the planet Transsexual. Whether it’s your first time watching this movie or you’ve already seen it a million times, this movie is a good excuse to sign along at the top of your lungs.

The Haunting of Hill House Book

Looking for a good read this Halloween? The Haunting of Hill House is just the book for you

For those who want a quiet Halloween, but still feel the urge for a scary evening, Tad recommends The Haunting of Hill House written by Shirley Jackson. Hill House receives four visitors who are curious about the unexplained phenomena happening at the house. Some are there seeking knowledge and others want an adventure. Little do they know that Hill House has other plans for them.

For a quick, but fun read, Tad also recommends Halloween ABC. For each letter of the alphabet, a poem about Halloween and its festivities.

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Movie

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Some of us are not fans of this scary holiday, but don’t worry, Lily has a recommendation for you! The Disney movie, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is the choice for you. This movie recalls two famous stories, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.

From the Dust Returned Book

From the Dust Returned

For those who want to enjoy a good book by the fireplace (or in college students’ case, the heater) while sipping on some hot chocolate, Christina recommends From the Dust Returned written by Ray Bradbury. It’s a story about the Eternal Family, who live in a legendary and mysterious house in upper Illinois. They are rarely seen during the daylight hours and are not like the other Midwesterners in the area. The house is being prepared for a family reunion that will bring together a mix of extraordinary and odd members.

Batman: The Long Halloween

Batman: The Long Halloween

For those who will be drowning in homework on Halloween, you can take a quick break and grab a comic book. Angeline recommends Batman: The Long Halloween. A serial killer nicknamed Holiday is on the loose. He’s killing once a month, but only on the holidays; Batman tries to stop this maniac.

Whatever your plans on Halloween or your interests, you have a variety of choices in front of you. In the mood for a movie? Grab a friend and make a night of it! Feeling like a night in? A good book and some candy corn just might be what you need this Halloween. Either way, have a safe and happy Halloween!

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