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.


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.


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:

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:

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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It has begun: Finals week is here

As most of you already know, finals week has arrived. It’s that time of the year where everyone is pulling all nighters and frantically searching for those notes they took back in January.  Remember that the UGL will be open 24 hours, 7 days a week until Friday, May 15th at 7 PM. In order to ease your stress, the UGL also has some study tips for productivity and success.

Tip 1: Make a list

Make a list of all the tasks you have to do! Photo courtesy of John. Schultz via Flickr Media Commons

Make a list of all the tasks you have to do! Photo courtesy of John. Schultz via Flickr Media Commons

Create a list of everything that has to be done this week. This includes school and non-school work. It works best if you make a list, but separate the two. Then, prioritize and organize. Finals week is a time of great stress and sometimes you forget that the electric bill is due because you were too busy concentrating on a paper.

Tip 2: Review, review, review

Review the concepts. Photo courtesy of wudzt via Flickr Commons

Review the concepts. Photo courtesy of wudzt via Flickr Commons

Review your notes everyday. Looking over class notes for about 10 or 15 minutes per day can be helpful in retaining information. Don’t wait until the day before the exam to study all the material.

Tip 3: Study aids

Study Aids. Photo courtesy of Yin Tung Ho via Flickr Media Commons

Study Aids. Photo courtesy of Yin Tung Ho via Flickr Media Commons

Study aids can be a great resource for not only finals week, but for tests or quizzes. Check out the subject guides that the Undergraduate Library has to offer. You’ll find a variety of different topics. If you want a little study break mixed with productivity, check out the UGL’s Pinterest board on study tips. On our study tips board, there are some cool infographics you can check out. See? You can still have fun while doing something productive.

Tip 4: Communication with your Professor or TA

Go to office hours. Photo courtesy of Nathan Wagoner

Go to office hours. Photo courtesy of Nathan Wagoner via Flickr Media Commons

Is there something you just don’t understand? Talk to your TA or Professor. Find out if they have office hours, if not, email. Communicating to your teacher about difficulties is key. Forming study groups is also a good idea. Learning concepts with a group of people can be beneficial. You never know, they might have the same questions as you.

Tip 5: Summary sheet

Make a summary sheet so that you cover all the concepts in class. Photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley

Make a summary sheet so that you cover all the concepts in class. Photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley via Flickr Media Commons

In order to go over everything that was taught in the class, develop a summary sheet for yourself. This way, you will have no surprises and it will also refresh your memory. Summary sheets can be done for each class.

Tip 6: Quiz yourself

Quiz yourself. Photo courtesy of Matt Cornock via Flickr Media Commons

Quiz yourself. Photo courtesy of Matt Cornock via Flickr Media Commons

Make a mini-quiz for yourself in order to see if you are retaining all that information. It doesn’t have to be long, maybe 5 or 7 questions. These quizzes will also allow you to gauge your knowledge and what you might need to work on.

Tip 7: Take a break every once in a while! All of this studying can be stressful and you need to take some time to your self. Did you know that the UGL has a gaming center? Come take a study place with your friends. The UGL also has a great media selection. Watching a comedy or horror movie will ease your study time from finals.

Tired of studying? Take a nap! Photo courtesy of The LEAF Project via Flickr Media Commons

Tired of studying? Take a nap! Photo courtesy of The LEAF Project via Flickr Media Commons

If you need help with research or anything else, come to the UGL and ask us! or, if you’re at home and need immediate help, go to Ask a Librarian. Good luck with finals, you’re almost there.



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Research and Writing Cram Night

The countdown until finals is T-minus 19 days until the first day of finals. We can do this and you can do it. As we are working hard to get our projects going and our papers finished, there are 2 places on campus that can help. The Undergraduate Library and the Writers Workshop. On Tuesday, April 21st from 7-10 PM (Room 291), the Writer’s Workshop and the UGL will have a research/writing cram night. Do you have a paper that you need someone to look over? Are you having trouble with finding scholarly articles? Then this cram night is the place for you!

Come to our research/writing cram session! Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Come to our research/writing cram session! Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Our friends, Michael and McCall at the Writers Workshop, were kind enough to grant us a small interview to talk more about this event.

How long will the appointments be?

Michael: 15 minutes, which is the same as our drop-in hours


Michael: Room 291 (which is a computer lab)

What can students bring?

McCall: Any type of writing that they want to have looked at (yes, that includes cover letters and resumes)

Michael: Typically what we’re looking for when we do our cram sessions or midnight madness, are people who are coming in with papers. Undergraduate course papers are what we see the most. These hours are more for last minute citation issues and last minute questions about content or organization.

What’s your favorite library resource?

Michael: I usually use the Purdue OWL, because it’s such an incredible compendium of resources and also teaching people how to do a nuance search of a database is really helpful.

McCall: I have to agree, freshman year, I had no idea how to use the library and I really wasn’t that familiar. From my high school experience on how to do research on this scale and using a university library, being able to help people with that is really useful.

What can students do to get the most out of this appointment?

Michael: Come prepared with specific questions. It’s 15 minutes and those 15 minutes will go fast. They know their writing, so when they’re coming to this, have an idea of what their major concerns are and what other specific anxieties about this specific question for this particular assignment.

McCall: If it’s a longer paper just come in for getting help on one or two things.15 minutes goes fast! Maybe help on working on a thesis statement, introduction, or specific paragraph.

What are you waiting for? Come join us on Tuesday night (April 21st) from 7-10 PM in room 291 on the upper level of the UGL! Remember, librarians will also be there to help with your research needs. We hope to see you there.

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UGL 101: Subject Guides

As the year comes to an end, we have projects, papers, and all sorts of things going on. It can be a bit overwhelming, but if you know the resources available and where to find them, it doesn’t have to be that bad. Our UGL 101 for this week is the library’s subject guides.

For those who have taken a rhetoric or communications class, you have class guides available. These guides were made specifically for your class and have great resources for your speech or research needs. Class pages include CMN 101, CMN 111, ESL 112/115, LAS 100, Rhetoric, and Rhetoric 233-Ricketts.

CMN 101 Subject Guide

CMN 101 Subject Guide

We have more subject guides available that cover a wide variety of topics. If you go to the UGL website and click on “subject guides”, below the search bar, you can browse or search the subject guides.

Now, there are hundreds of subject guides, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be overwhelming. If you’d like to browse to see what we have, no problem! Click on a subject, which are organized alphabetically. You can also browse by keyword.

Once you have selected your guide, there are a couple of resources available in them. For example, let’s say we’re looking at the “Natural Disasters” subject guide. In this guide, we will find an infographic on the first page of links to starting research points. These resources include government websites, statistics, and subject databases. The tabs for this subject guide are background information, ways of finding articles and books, and credible websites related to this topic.

Natural Disasters Subject Guide.

Natural Disasters Subject Guide.

The UIUC Library has subject guides for tons of topics. Chances are, we have a subject guide for your research paper! If not, we’re always here to help. Come get help at Office Hours from Sunday to Friday 1-5, at a desk in front of the Writer’s Workshop.

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Spring Break: Your Reader’s Advisory

In just one week, you will be able to enjoy the time known as Spring Break. Most of us are going home, traveling to exciting places, volunteering, or staying around Champaign-Urbana. We will use this time to catch up on projects, papers, and homework. Remember that it is a break and it’s important to take a couple of hours to do fun activities or take the time to learn new recipes or hobbies. Prepare yourself for our Spring Break Advisory!

If you’re thinking of taking up a new hobby, gardening might be the hobby for you. The weather is nice and it is almost time to plant new flowers or vegetables.

The Mix and Match Guide to Companion Planting

The Mix and Match Guide to Companion Planting by Josie Jeffery

If you are interested in planting vegetables, this is a helpful resource. You will be able to plant a healthy and happy garden. For those who are unfamiliar with gardening, “The Mix and Match Guide to Companion Planting” is a great book that will guide you step-by-step!

Fresh From the Farm by Susie Middleton

Fresh From the Farm by Susie Middleton

Take Spring Break as an opportunity to learn new recipes. “Fresh from the Farm” by Susie Middleton provides great opportunities for new cooking skills. It includes 125 seasonal recipes, so for this Spring, bring your cooking tools and get ready to learn some skills that will impress your friends and family members.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

With the season premiere of Game of Thrones coming soon, it is only obvious what should be done over spring break. Binge watch the whole series. You heard it right, it may be possible for you to watch all 4 seasons, before the 5th season premieres in April. In order to take full charge of this task, you will need to get that studying done within the first 3 days of Spring Break. After you are all done, you will be ready to watch the series in peace. For those of you who want to read the book series before starting the television series, don’t worry, we got you covered. For the television series, click here. For the books, check out what is available.

The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffmann

The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffmann

“The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing” by James Hoffmann is a great way to pick up a new hobby–coffee brewing. While it may seem like a simple process, there are various ways that coffee is brewed and prepared around the world. From ground coffee to espresso, immerse yourself in the world of coffee.

Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties by Kevin Gascoyne

Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties by Kevin Gascoyne

For those of you who do not like coffee, the art of preparing tea is an interesting one. It is the world’s second most popular beverage, so what are you waiting for? With “Tea: History, terroirs, varieties” by Kevin Gascoyne will give you information on tea history, tea families, tea ceremonies, and much more.

What are you doing for Spring Break? Any fun plans? Let us know in the comments below!

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