Name the UGL Courtyard Tree

It’s National Poetry Month! We were originally going to talk about the incredible selection of poetry we have available at the UGL, but another event has stolen our attention: April Absurdity! Although it is a shame that we can’t point readers to great works such as current Poet Laureate Charles Wright’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner Black Zodiac, your chance to give the UGL courtyard tree a nickname is too important.

UGL April Absurdity 2015

April is an exciting month at the University of Illinois, as temperatures rise and students are able to enjoy time outside. We won’t suggest reading Wendell Berry’s The Broken Ground, even though it would be a great way to celebrate nature and the good weather we have been getting, so instead we hope that you will participate in naming the tree that gives students a glimpse of life while studying underground at the UGL. Names for the tree will be accepted between April 6 and April 13 and they can be suggested by online survey, on the whiteboard near the UGL Circulation Desk located on the Upper Level, and through Facebook and Twitter.

Student studying in UGL courtyard in 1969, photo taken from University Archives (

During the week of April 13 through April 20, students will be able to vote for their favorite name at the UGL Circulation Desk and through the UGL’s social media. The whiteboard next to the Circulation Desk will be updated with brackets to show the progress of the names. If we didn’t have to tell you that the final name would be announced on Arbor Day (which is April 24) we could highlight some of our other books of poetry, such as Sharon Olds’s Stag’s Leap, or even a classic work like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Collected Poems and Translations.

UGL Courtyard Tree, courtesy of Media Commons

National Poetry Month is such an exciting time at the UGL, which is why it is so upsetting that we can’t mention our books like Lucille Clifton’s Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, or Adrienne Rich’s The School Among the Ruins. (See what we did there?) If you need inspiration to come up with tree names, be sure to check out Americans’ Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology.

Americans’ Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology

Stay up to date with April Absurdity and do your part in helping name the UGL courtyard tree!

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Reader’s Advisory: Spring Reads!

Happy Spring UGL’ers! (let’s ignore the fact that it is still freezing). Spring time is not only time for blooming flowers, but also a time for a new reader’s advisory post. We have gathered the favorite books from the UGL graduate assistants just for you.


The Secret Garden

Christina recommends…
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Tiny British orphans living in a dreary manor discover a secret garden on the premises and bring its plants and animals (and themselves) back to life. Perfect for reading as the world theoretically thaws and things start growing again. There’s also a movie ver??




How to live safely in a science fictional universe

Zoe recommends...

How to Safely live in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

Want to escape into a new world but never leave your couch? Meet a fellow lazy man in Charles Yu’s fantastic novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe. Bringing the love of machines before Her became famous, this novel follows the story of a young man who loves his operating system, fixes time machines, and lives in a very small universe indeed. Travel the universe, begin to understand paradoxes, and never leave your bed.




Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Lily recommends…Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of food and life by Barbara Kingsolver.

A newer work by a beloved writer, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle details the author’s journey with her family into a lifestyle of gardening, local produce, and organic ingredients. Far more than a how-to book, this work combines journalism, food culture insight, narrative, humor, and recipes into an extremely readable exploration, written collaboratively by several members of the Kingsolver clan. It’s liable to make you want to spend some time outside, assuming things warm up around here (or inside cooking if they don’t). Check out “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” for an instant taste!


The Art of Fielding Book

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Ira recommends…The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Spring means the return of baseball. Get ready for the season with this fantastic debut novel about a slick-fielding college shortstop named Henry Skrimshander, as he strives for perfection on the field. Littered with allusions to Melville, this novel is doubly recommended for those who like both Moby Dick and the national pastime.




Claude Monet; Springs in the Field

Claude Monet: Springs in the Field

Quetzalli recommends…Claude Monet: Springs in the Field by, Claude Monet

Spring is almost nearing (well, at least, it’s supposed to). Although there might be snow and ice on the ground, that doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare for the spring. Let this book take you into the world of impressionist painter, Clause Monet. With paintings of beautiful spring scenery, this book is sure to leave you wanting for Spring!


Watership down Book

Watership Down

Linsy recommmends….Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down is a tale of an epic adventure undertaken by rabbits.  After surviving a mass genocide of their warren, rabbits Fiver, Hazel and Bigwig must set out on their own to establish a new home.  Their adventure contains many near-death experiences as this band of survivors tries to “make it” in this unknown world (South-central England).  Richard Adams has anthropomorphized these animals, giving them their own language, proverbs, poetry and mythology.  Reading about these rabbits adventures will transport you to warmer weather until Illinois is able to catch up.

Chasign Spring book

Chasing Spring

Other recommendations:Chasing Spring: An American Journey Through a Changing Season by Bruce Stutz

Join author Bruce Stutz as he journeys through the United States in the changing season of Spring. A good read for those wanting to have a good book and some black coffee. The author will journey through the dry desert, Alaskan Arctic, and other places throughout the country. In this book, you will find a wonderful story that will eagerly leave you waiting for Spring.



Well, there you have it folks! All of these books are available through the library catalog. Happy book hunting!










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