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

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

 

Hamilton Advisory

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

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

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

 

John Adams by David McCullough

John Adams by David McCullough

John Adams by David McCullough

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Burr by Gore Vidal

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

Burr by Gore Vidal

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

 

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss

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

Brookland by Emily Barton

Brookland by Emily Barton

Brookland by Emily Barton

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

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

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Reader’s Advisory: I, Spy, a Fantastic Reading Time

It’s the beginning of the summer, and things are heating up, both in Champaign and in these spy thrillers! Cool off with one of these novels that we have selected from our collection.

 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

You’ll enjoy this classic spy novel by John le Carré, as it follows an aging Spymaster named George Smiley who is working to uncover a Soviet mole in the British Secret Intelligence Service. This complex novel is gritty, uses “spy language” that Le Carre himself created, and is loosely based on the author’s experiences during the 50’s and 60’s when multiple KGB moles were found in the British Intelligence Services. The novel has 2 sequels, and has also been turned into a television miniseries, a radio series, and a 2011 movie that can checked out at our library on DVD here.

 

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (Image from Amazon)

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

Jason Bourne is a man with amazing survival abilities, but suffers from amnesia, and is on a journey to discover his identity. Robert Ludlum’s spy thriller is considered one of the best spy books of all time, and is the beginning of a trilogy that has all been turned into the movie series starring Matt Damon. A new film entitled, “Jason Bourne,” is coming out this July, not based on any of the original Ludlum novels, but will pick up where the third book of the original series, “The Bourne Ultimatum” left off. The DVD of the “Bourne Identity is available at the UGL, and the catalog entry can be found here.

 

The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Expats by Chris Pavone

Can we ever escape our secrets? Kate and Dexter Moore keep many secrets, especially from each other. After a move to Luxembourg, Kate is no longer struggling to make ends meet, but she is struggling to keep up her double life. When Kate meets another expat couple, she has a strange feeling that leads to an investigation into shell corporations, fake offices, and deception. The Expats, by Chris Pavone, is an exceptional spy novel that the New York Times says, “is full of sharp insights into the parallels between political espionage and marital duplicity” so pick it up quickly before it disappears.

 

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

Winner of Best Novel Edgar Allan Poe Award, this thriller novel by Frederick Forsyth follows a professional assassin known as, “The Jackal,” after he is hired by the OAS, “Organisation de l’armée secrète” (a real, short-lived French paramilitary dissident group) to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France. This book helped to define the spy thriller genre, and it stands the test of time, as it was voted one of the top 200 books in the UK in 2003, over 30 years after it was originally released. There are two feature films based on the book, both of which the UGL has! The first film was released shortly after the book’s release, and is called “The Day of the Jackal,” and is a strict adaptation of the novel. The second film, “The Jackal,” a Bruce Willis fronted movie, is a very loose adaptation, so distant in fact, that Forsyth tried to have the name changed to disassociate it from the novel.

 

A Gentleman’s Game: A Queen and Country Novel

A Gentleman’s Game: A Queen and Country Novel

A Gentleman’s Game: A Queen and Country Novel

The international community is about to find out that spying is not just “A Gentleman’s Game.” This electrifying novel by Greg Rucka, a fearless writer, weaves into the American comic book series “Queen and Country” also by Rucka. The series centers on Tara Chace, head of Special Operations for the British Intelligence, a lethal heroine, who is hunting down terrorists who have wreaked havoc on London. Tara is going to be used as bait by her country in order to lure in the terrorists, and she begins to question who is the bad guy in this situation. “In this new kind of war, betrayal can take any form…including one’s duty to queen and country”

 

Did we miss anything? What are some of your favorite podcasts right now? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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Reader’s & Watcher’s Advisory: So, You’re Graduating Soon?

Whether you’re sappy or psyched for commencement this year, we believe in you! No matter how you feel about graduating, we know you’ve got some feelings. We’ve got some materials for you to read and watch to deal with those feelings.

 

Commencement Advisory

What commencement story should you read or watch next? Check the flowchart to find out!

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Book: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

In this commencement story by Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides, nothing is easy: Madeleine is unsure of her life goals except for that she loves Leonard, who experiences emotional rollercoasters she is unable to fully grasp. Mitchell, Madeleine’s college friend, pines for her while examining philosophical life questions during his travels abroad. But even for graduates of Brown University in the 1980s, the best laid plots may fail. This novel examines love in an unexpected (and not always happy) way and is not for a reader who loves a perfect ending.

 

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham

Book: Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham

If you ever feel like you’re awkwardly fumbling through life, you are not alone. Lena Dunham’s smash hit Not That Kind of Girl, similar to her tv show Girls, is a silly, but simultaneously gravely serious, memoir of what it feels like to not always know what you are doing. Although Dunham details her life from childhood to a few years after her college graduation, she captures the spirit of many young graduates embarking on their own self-discoveries.

 

Gilmore Girls Season 7

Gilmore Girls Season 7

Television Show: Gilmore Girls Season 7

Re-watching all of Gilmore Girls with your roommate during your final semester of college?!? Well, hurry up and get to the last season (even though it suffers because the creator was gone). Rory is starting (and finishing) her last year at Yale, all the while still in a long distance with Logan (obviously the greatest boyfriend she’s ever had), and Lorelai is doing what Lorelai does best…making questionable decisions. Will Lorelai and Luke end up together? Will Rory have the job of her dreams? What were the four words Amy Sherman-Palladino (the show’s creator) wanted to use for the ending of Gilmore Girls? What happens next? Luckily, you will find out! Sherman-Palladino and the rest of the Stars Hollow family are coming back for a series of four 90 minute Netflix episodes, due to be released in the near future.

 

The Graduate

The Graduate – Image from Amazon

Movie: The Graduate

In what is regarded as one of the best movies of all time by the American Film Institute, Dustin Hoffman stars as Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate, in this 1967 comedy-drama. Braddock has decided to spend the summer after he graduates lounging by the pool, ignoring any suggestion from the adults in his life about what to do after graduation. After engaging in an affair with one of his parent’s friends, Benjamin’s life takes a wild turn. This movie is based off the 1963 novel of the same name, that has also been adapted into a Broadway play. Will Benjamin figure out what he wants to do with his life? Will he get the girl of his dreams? Spend some time and find out, by watching the movie that Champaign native and University of Illinois favorite, Roger Ebert, called “funniest American comedy of [its] year.”

Did we miss anything? What are some of your favorite podcasts right now? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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Reader’s Advisory: Poetry

Uggles the UGL cat wearing a beret.

Uggles the UGL cool cat.

April is National Poetry, so we’ve perused our stacks to find some exciting and diverse poetry books to help you celebrate. Whether you’re a fan of the funny or the frightening, there should be something to tickle your poetic fancy. Grab those berets and have your coffee close and let us find your new favorite poetry book.

The Undergrad is
sure to have all the poems
a cool cat could want.

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

Book: The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

Poetry can often be a bit intimidating and can seem not fun, so we decided to start this list with something a bit less high-brow. Shel Silverstein is a beloved author of popular children’s books like The Giving Tree of Where the Sidewalk Ends and, fun fact, was a dropout of the University of Illinois! The Missing Piece Meets the Big O is one of his lesser celebrated books but is one that compassionately and lightly can show you how to navigate relationships in your life that you may not know how to approach. The best poetry has a way of sneaking up on you and we have a feeling this lovely book will be no different.

Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems by Juan Felipe Herrera

Book: Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems by Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is the current poet laureate of the USA and is the first Chicano poet laureate of our country. This book earned Herrera the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008, an award presented for the “finest books and reviews published in English”. Herrera’s work often touches on racial identity and this work collects both newer, previously unpublished material as well as older poems that have stuck with the poet. It may not be the type of poetry a newer poetry reader may want to pick up first, but it is one that holds many wonders and can provide a great introduction to the world of modern American poetry.

Graphic Clasics: Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Tom Pomplum

Book: Graphic Clasics: Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Tom Pomplun

Edgar Allen Poe is one of the most celebrated, creepiest, and most thoroughly interesting poets and writers that have ever lived. His poems and works of fiction are dark and gloomy and have captivated audiences for years and this collection brings these stories to life in comic form, something you non-poetry types might really enjoy. Actually getting to see the raven quothing “nevermore” over and over again in vivid illustrations may be just the push you need to really get into poetry full time.

America's Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz

Book: Americans’ Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz

We decided to include a general collection of favorite poems for those of you just starting to really get into poetry. Americans’ favorite poems was compiled by the editors via letters from the American public admitting their love of poems from all types of authors from all sorts of places around the world. You’ll get beautiful classic Shakespeare, you’ll get stark raving Ginsberg, you’ll get some love poems that you’ll write in the margins of your notebooks for months. These are poems that are meant to be shared and loved and digested thoroughly and included are comments by normal people confessing their love of these wondrous works. Find a new favorite and rave about it to your friends!

Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams

Book: Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams

It would be a crying shame to not include something from our enormous Media Collection on the Lower Level on this list and we couldn’t think of a better poetry driven film than Dead Poets Society. Featuring the late, great Robin Williams in one of his most iconic (and more serious) roles, this film will have you falling head over heals for Whitman and jumping on your desks reciting “Oh Captain! My captain!” How great is that scene? Classic.

Did we miss anything? What are some of your favorite poetry books? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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UGL 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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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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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.

What are your favorite LGBTQ books? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)!

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UGL Advisory: What to Read/Watch After Your Netflix Series Ends

The fallout after binge watching a new Netflix series can be devastating, but we here at the UGL can help you move on from your current obsession and get a new one from our collection! Whether you want to keep your eyes glued to your laptop/tv screen or if you want to take a break and intake something a bit more tangible, there’s something in the UGL collection to fill the hole a good show can leave in your heart. We may not be able to stitch the wound of losing your new favorite show, but we’re hoping something from our immense collection of movies, books, graphic novels, and video games can serve as a sort of bandage.

What to Read/Watch Next Flowchart

 

If you like: Marvel’s Jessica Jones starring Krysten Ritter

You should try…

Fringe: The Complete First Season

Fringe: The Complete First Season

TV Show: Fringe

This now cult series partially created by the newest “Star Wars” director J.J. Abrams started in 2008 and ran for five thrilling seasons. “Fringe” is also driven by a cool female lead in Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv) and follows dark, science fiction based plotlines that will satisfy both your fantastical and nerdy desires after finishing the new Marvel series. Parallel universes, a glyph code that an intent viewer may want to crack, and mad scientists will give you plenty to think about, and the five seasons worth of episodes should take a least a chunk out of your wait for the next season of Jessica Jones.

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis

Book: Alias by Brian Michael Bendis

“Alias” is what started it all and introduced the world to Jessica Jones. The series you just finished is actually based on this series, so what better way to dive into the lore of the show than reading the source material? Brian Michael Bendis is at his full strength in this series and this series could serve as the perfect gateway to other comics series for those of you who may have been ignoring their powers. The UGL also has a copy of Jessica Jones : the Pulse. The Complete Collection, a more recent series featuring this bad-ass private investigator.

 

If you like: House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey

You should try…

The West Wing: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

The West Wing: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

TV Show: The West Wing

Probably the most natural way to segue from Frank Underwood’s ruthlessness would be to engross yourself in the fictional presidency of Josiah Bartlet, the likable democratic president of the United States from 1999 through 2007 in “The West Wing”. The Aaron Sorkin (future writer of “The Social Network” and “Moneyball”) created show focuses on the daily world of White House is one of the most successful political dramas ever and will surely provide you with enough intrigue to curb your obsession about what Frank is going to do next.

Watergate by Thomas Mallon

Watergate by Thomas Mallon

Book: Watergate by Thomas Mallon

If you have a thing for American politics at all, then you know what Watergate is and why the scandal around it shook the nation. Thomas Mallon gives us a fictionalized account of the entire scandal and focuses on the characters that you may not know. The New York Times praises Mallon’s ability to capture “the fundamental weirdness and mystery at the center of the scandal,” giving you something a bit less serious but a bit realer than the events covered in House of Cards.

 

If you like: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt starring Ellie Kemper

You should try…

Broad City: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

Broad City: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

TV Show: Broad City

If you like “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, it stands to reason that you like Tina Fey (one of the creators of the show), which means you probably also like Amy Poehler (her BFF) who is the executive producer of “Broad City”. The show follows Abbi and Ilana, two real life best friends with enormous on screen chemistry, as they navigate the intricacies of their lives in New York City. That last sentence may make this show seem like any other twenty-somethings in NYC sitcom, but “Broad City” and its stars have voices and a comedic presence that seem so fresh and different that you’ll catch yourself reeling throughout every episode. The transition between these two shows will be as smooth as a nice glass of pinot noir.

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

Book: The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

We are truly living in a golden age of television and comedy with so many distinct and varied voices out there creating things that challenge us, engage us and, perhaps most importantly, make us laugh. Any fan of modern comedy should definitely know Sarah Silverman and her bestselling book should be a fine introduction to anyone who is unfamiliar as of yet. Her comedic style is a bit different than that of Tina Fey and Ellie Kemper, but we’re sure this will have you laughing at least a little bit.

 

If you like: Master of None starring Aziz Ansari

You should try…

Louie: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

Louie: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

TV Show: Louie

It’s not very hard to find similarities between “Louie” and “Master of None” and other shows on this list; both of these shows follow two of the funniest men of our time struggling to find themselves in New York City. It’s a time-tested formula for success, but both Louis CK and Aziz Ansari play with the boundaries of this typical format to bring themselves and their comedic outlook to the front of each show. “Louie” will satisfy on its humor alone and it’s impossible to not feel bad for and laugh along with CK with his sardonic and dark view of the world, but the artsier episodes and heartbreaking storylines will surely win you over and eventually have you begging for the next season of this one to be released.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Book: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

“Master of None” derives some of its humor from the uncomfortable and unfortunate situations minorities face in their daily and professional lives and Mindy Kaling’s latest book also dives into some of this territory. Both Ansari and Kaling are burgeoning comedic voices that are pushing the pre-existing boundaries for television while creating some of the funniest and most deeply emotional shows and other media you can intake. Don’t get caught missing out on this one.

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Reader’s Advisory: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

Now that the last Hunger Games movie is in movie theaters, the beloved trilogy is officially over. Now what? Lucky for you, the UGL has put together a list of young adult novels that have everything you loved about The Hunger Games and may even leave you asking, “Katniss who?” Suzanne Collins’s series may live in your heart forever, but the time has come to test out some other dystopian young adult fiction. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Pierce Brown’s science fiction novel, Red Rising, is the first in a three-part series that blends oppression, rebellion, and an impossibly strong lead character. The story’s teen protagonist, Darrow, lives in a mining colony on Mars and learns about government secrets when he is rescued by an underground revolutionary group. As Darrow attempts to seek justice on the ruling elite, the action heats up and it becomes impossible to set this book down. If you’re looking for a fast-paced story, this is it.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Tahir’s thought-provoking, action-packed novel is the perfect follow-up for The Hunger Games if you are craving complex characters. The story follows Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier, as they both seek freedom from the tyrannical government, inspired by ancient Rome, that destroys everything they hold dear. Tahir’s novel is a heart-wrenching look at what it means to be human and includes everything from gritty action to complex romance.

Matched by Allie Condie

Condie’s book follows a strong female protagonist that has to decide between listening to authorities and standing up for what she believes in. Cassia gets matched with her perfect partner by Officials who have control over people’s love, life, and death. When Cassia falls in love with someone else, she has to decide whether she will obey or follow her own path and fight back. This novel is perfect for anyone who preferred the themes of The Hunger Games, but not the violence.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Aveyard’s fantasy novel follows seventeen-year-old Mare Barrow as she discovers her magical ability and navigates a dangerous, divided society. Mare is torn between the Red commoners that she grew up among and the Silver elites that are gifted with superhuman abilities. Filled with class tension, betrayal, and moments of romance, this clever book is the perfect read if you are looking for a self-aware, strong female character.

Legend by Marie Lu

Legend takes place in what was once the western United States, an area faced with endless war. The story follows June, a wealthy military prodigy, and Day, the country’s most wanted criminal. When June’s brother is murdered and Day is the number-one suspect, their lives become intertwined. June seeks to avenge her brother’s death, but the two characters soon realize they both have a common enemy. This suspense-driven novel is full of twists and turns and provides an interesting look at the role of government and power.

What are your favorite YA books? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)!

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