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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Reader’s Advisory: Books About Music

November is American Music Month, so we decided to take the opportunity to walk you through some of our music books about American musicians and movements. Though the Music and Performing Arts Library holds all the actual music the libraries have to offer, the UGL does have a pretty eclectic collection of books about music. Whether you’re into Broadway or Grunge, we like to think our collection has at least a little something for everyone. Take this opportunity to find a new favorite genre or simply to learn a bit more about your favorite band with the suggestions below.

No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead by Peter Richardson

With the band playing what are supposed to be their final shows together back in July for their Fare Thee Well series, there has been resurgence in interest for the Deadhead world and in the great American rock band those fans follow. This 2015 book attempts to find out why the Grateful Dead were so popular and spin the band and their fans not as the hippie burn-outs the mainstream media has portrayed them, but as a cultural tour de force and one of the most influential and talented bands to tour the world.

Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth by John F. Szwed

Billie Holiday is one of the most influential and remarkable individuals to ever grace this Earth with their presence. If you like Adele or Amy Winehouse, you are indebted to the work that Billie Holiday did in her lifetime. In fact, if you like popular music at all, reading this book will help you recognize the huge impact Billie Holiday has had on the musical world of today. Szwed is also an accomplished author who has unraveled the mystery around many other great American musicians and music industry giants such as Alan Lomax, Sun Ra, and Miles Davis.

Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

If you’re into the history of indie rock at all, find out about its ins and outs via this unique and personal book by Kim Gordon. Saying that Gordon is cool is an understatement. Kim Gordon was a founding member and bassist/guitarist/vocalist of Sonic Youth, one of the biggest punk bands of the 80s and 90s and one of the most influential bands to ever make music. Gordon details her life in this book from her days growing up in California to the aftermath of her divorce from Sonic Youth cofounder Thurston Moore.

The Riot Grrrl Collection edited by Lisa Darms and Johana Fateman

Punk rock has always been strongly associated with DIY ethics and strong personal identities and the 1990s Riot Grrrl movement was one of the most well known and documented of these sorts of movements. This collection of zines, personally produced and published magazines, shows how so many people during this era found their way to feminism and found their own voices through a kind of music and culture that finally represented them. This collection does a great job of showing just how easy it is for someone to take part in a movement bigger than themselves and celebrates the voices of the many fans and fighters of a historic and interesting cultural movement.

The B Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song by Ben Yagoda

The American songbook is rich and deep and it all started with Tin Pan Alley. This book tells the end of the Tin Pan Alley era as rock n’ roll reared its tumultuous and tide-changing head. The intertwining stories told in this book are ones that shaped the entire landscape of American music, giving readers a better, deeper understanding of the reasons things played out the way they did. Frank Sinatra had it his way and rock n’ roll had its own and this book breaks down the very difference between those contrasting ideas.

How are you celebrating American Music Month? Did we miss any of your favorite books about music? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)!

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Viewer’s Advisory – Horror Films

Club UGLers! It’s that time of the year again. Grab all of the Halloween candy you can get your hands on because this week we’re talking horror films. Halloween gives us numerous opportunities to act out of the ordinary. Whether it’s dressing like vampires or eating ridiculous amounts of candy, Halloween is a special time. Our media collection has a wide variety of horror films – from the gruesomely bloody, to the outrageously weird. In this week’s Viewer’s Advisory, we will be detailing some of our little known horror flicks from around the globe. So get your popcorn ready, these movies won’t watch themselves.

Trollhunter

First on the list is a little watched movie all the way from Norway. Trollhunter (2011), details the accounts of a group of reporters who follow an enigmatic hunter in the frozen forests of the country. Little do they know, there aren’t just deer and rabbits in those trees. From the big and gruesome to the bigger and more gruesome, this movie has some delightful scares, inside jokes, and a much needed application of humor. This movie would be a great watch for those of you who are a little on the squeamish side when it comes to gore.

The Host

Speaking of monster movies, no one does it better than Joon-ho Bong in the South Korean flick The Host. The movie follows a father looking for his daughter who was kidnapped by a monster. With numerous monster scenes, action sequences, and thrills, this will be another palatable horror movie for those who aren’t into slasher flicks. But be warned, the monster is awesomely terrifying.

Let the Right One In courtesy of Josh Daniels via Flickr

Vampires have been a staple in Halloween celebrations for decades because vampires are awesome. Immortal, strong, and ravenous, vampires are pretty terrifying. Let the Right One In, a Swedish romantic horror film, takes the classic villain of the night and incorporates a stunning and beautiful friendship. Oskar, a fragile boy, meets a strange but charming girl who lives next door. As their friendship grows and people start mysteriously disappearing, Oskar is confronted with the fact that Eli may be more than she seems. This movie is the perfect combination of horror and friendship that makes the story equal parts endearing and frightening. It’s not the date night movie of the year, but it definitely is the date night movie of October.

Martyrs

The last movie on our list is easily the most unsettling. Martyrs is not a movie for the faint of heart. When a young girl is rescued from her gruesome captors, she begins seeing a horrible and ghoulish creature. After years of torment the young girl teams up with others who have been held captive by the same people. In their hunt for revenge they uncover something more terrifying and bloody then they could have imagined. Martyrs is easily the most terrifying and gruesome movie on this list. Just remember to keep something nearby to cover your eyes.

Check out our handy flowchart for other Halloween suggestions:

Have any other suggestions on foreign horror movies? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and comment with your favorite horror flicks!

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UGL 101: The Unexpected Joys of the Undergraduate Library

Photo courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Photo courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Have you ever wanted to learn about all of the unique services the UGL has to offer in one video? Lucky for you, the UGL has created a new tour video! Group rooms, video production studio, loanable technology – we’ve got it all. Check it out below to learn more!


For more information on UGL services, check out some of the following links:

Reserve a Group Study Room

Office Hours

Video Studio Reservation

Audio Studio Reservation

Loanable Technology

Like the video? Let us know by tweeting at us (@askundergrad) or writing on our Facebook wall (Undergraduate Library @ UIUC).

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UGL 101: Welcome Back!

Welcome back to campus! Whether it’s your first time visiting the Undergraduate Library or you consider the UGL your second home, we’re glad to have you here. We know this is a busy time for students, so to help ease the stress of a new school year, we’re putting together some helpful UGL information to get you started on the right foot.

Photo courtesy of UGL Flickr

Photo courtesy of UGL Flickr

The UGL will have some abbreviated hours during the first two weeks of school before returning to the normal hours. Here is a breakdown of the following two weeks:

Monday 8/23 through Thursday 8/27: 8:00am to 12:00am
Friday 8/28: 8:00am to 9:00pm
Saturday 8/29: 10:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday 8/30: 10:00am to 12:00am
Monday 8/31 through Thursday 9/3: 8:00am to 12:00am
Friday 9/1: 10:00am to 9:00pm
Saturday 9/2: 10:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday 9/3: 10:00am to 12:00am
Monday 9/4 (Labor Day): Closed

The library will open back up at 8:00am on Tuesday, September 5, and the UGL’s regular 24 hour (Monday through Friday) schedule will resume.

For more information on library hours, check out the library homepage: http://www.library.illinois.edu/

Upper Level of the UGL. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Upper Level of the UGL. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

The UGL has a little something for everyone. If you’re looking for a place to meet for a group project, need some help getting started with research, a space to play video games, or want to check out a GoPro to document your bike ride through campus, our Upper Level is the place to go. The Lower Level of the UGL is perfect for studying quietly, discovering a new graphic novel, or finding a video game or television series to check out.

Media Commons. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Media Commons. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

The Media Commons, located on the north and east side of the upper level of the Undergraduate Library, provides students with the opportunity to experiment with emerging technologies. The Media Commons offers students a chance to create and use digital media. With an audio booth, green screen room, editing software, and loanable technology at your fingertips, you’ll be able to create nearly anything.

Learn more about the Media Commons here: http://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/mc/index.html

What’s your favorite part of the UGL? Tweet at us at @askundergrad and let us know!

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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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