Summer Music Festivals

Knebworth_Fair_1976_-_The_Rolling_Stones_-_Geograph-3536179-by-Richard-Humphrey

The Rolling Stones at the 1976 Knebworth Festival. Photo by Richard Humphrey.

The music festival season is once again in full swing! Every summer brings seemingly more and more options for concert fans to choose from. Festivals can be a great way to experience a wide variety of musical acts from the superstar headliners to lesser-known local groups. Many music festivals have been expanding their offerings to include literature readings, art displays, and massive record and merchandise tents. Recent years have also seen festivals focus further on partnering with innovative local food and beverage companies. The UGL is here to highlight some of the festivals that will be going down in Illinois as well as a couple in locales a little further away.

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Sleater-Kinney. Photo by SLEATER92.

Pitchfork, arguably the most prominent music website in recent years, puts on an excellent festival in Chicago in Union Park. This year’s festival takes place from July 17-19, and will feature Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, and hometown hero Chance the Rapper as headliners. Other performers of interest include Future Islands, Run the Jewels, Courtney Barnett, and Vince Staples, among many others. I’ve been to the Pitchfork Music Festival a couple times, and it’s always a good time. Pitchfork does a good job splitting the difference between the super huge festivals (Coachella, Bonnaroo, etc.) and the smaller more niche festivals, while still offering a varied lineup.

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Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Photo by Moses.

If you’re looking to travel a little further afield for a festival experience, you should consider checking out the inaugural Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Founded by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and The National’s Aaron Dessner, this festival seeks to “encourage music-genre-walls to melt away.” The lineup includes Bon Iver, The National, Spoon, Sufjan Stevens, and Low. It also includes some artists that don’t fall under the indie rock umbrella, such as hip-hop collective Doomtree, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Sturgill Simpson (for my money the best contemporary Country artist), and Japanese noise rock all-stars Melt Banana. First-year music festivals can sometimes be dicey propositions, but this one should be well worth visiting, especially if you are a fan of Bon Iver or The National.

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Frank Ocean performing at Lollapalooza in 2012. Photo by Shane Hirschman

One of the monsters of the summer music festival circuit, Lollapalooza is taking place in Chicago’s Grant Park from July 31st to August 2nd this year. Lollapalooza always draws massive headliners, and this year is no exception with Paul McCartney, Metallica, and Florence + the Machine taking the top three slots on the bill. Lolla features a ton of acts, but here’s a brief sample of some of the non-headliners: Sam Smith, Tame Impala, A$AP Rocky, Bassnectar, and TV on the Radio. On the culinary side of things, the festival’s Chow Town food section is curated by Graham Elliot of MasterChef fame. If you can swing the high ticket prices and large crowds, Lollapalooza is a treasure trove of musical entertainment.

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Photo by Suzette.

If you’re looking for something a little more local, I’d recommend checking out the Urbana Sweet Corn Festival. Set in downtown Urbana, this year’s festival takes place on August 28th and 29th. British post-punk/new wave rockers The Psychedelic Furs will be headlining the festival this year. Eddie Money and Kansas were the last two headliners to give you an idea of the festival’s target demographic. Although the musical acts skew a little older than some of the other aforementioned festivals, it’s still a great time, particularly if you’re interested in eating delicious locally grown sweet corn.

Tune_Yards_2012

Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards

Although the Pygmalion Festival technically starts on the first day of Fall, I can’t avoid mentioning the biggest Champaign-Urbana festival. This year’s fest takes place from September 23rd to the 27th, and features musical acts Ride, Purity Ring, Tune-Yards, and Strand of Oaks among others. The festival takes place at various venues around Champaign-Urbana, and includes a number of tech speakers and literature readings, including Stephen Wolfram, Will Leitch, and Brandon Stosuy. One cool thing about this festival is you can buy individual tickets for shows or speakers if you don’t have the time or money to get the full festival pass. Pygmalion is going to be announcing more musical acts and speakers in the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled for announcements.

Are there any summer music festivals in the area that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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Reader’s Advisory: Graphic Novels

Rejoice dear UGLers – this blog post is sure to excite! Forget about all that humdrum required reading you had to do during the school year – it’s time for some positively pulsating tales from the house of wonder. Got summer blockbusters on the brain? All those heroes on the big screen got their start somewhere, and now’s your chance to catch up on the breathtaking back-stories behind your fabulous costumed favorites.

The following reader’s advisory is going to highlight some of the new graphic novels added to the UGL’s already impressive collection. Dive in and learn some of the scintillating secrets of this summer’s biggest stars!

Essential Astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1

Essential Astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1

Essential Astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1

If you have been paying attention to the commercials on television, you may have noticed that there is a tiny movie coming out later this summer. Marvel’s Ant-Man is being released in theaters on July 17th and what better way to prepare than read some of the character’s most iconic stories. Focusing on the first Ant-Man, Hank Pym, Essential Astonishing Ant-Man Vol. 1 contains the earliest adventures of the tiny scientist including his infamous origin story.

Marvel's Fear Itself

Marvel’s Fear Itself

Marvel’s Fear Itself

If ant-sized characters aren’t really your style, the UGL recently acquired Marvel’s Fear Itself series. The Fear Itself series is an example of Marvel’s recent history with sweeping, epic story-lines that include some of their most famous characters. This series depicts the likes of Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Thor, among many others, dealing with an otherworldly threat called the Serpent. With numerous characters highlighted in various tie-ins, this series is a must read for the die-hard Marvel fan.

Hulk: Season One

Hulk: Season One

Hulk: Season One

Did you see how awesome the Hulk was in Marvel’s smash hit Avengers: Age of Ultron? Well if you can’t get enough of the green goliath you should check out Tom Fowler and Fred Van Lente’s retelling of the origin of “the other guy” in Hulk: Season One. This acclaimed story brings together classic characters and some surprising new ones, all while modernizing everyone’s favorite green rage-monster.

The New 52: Justice League

The New 52: Justice League

The New 52: Justice League
If you are getting burnt out on the Marvel extravaganza of the last few years, DC comics has a few characters that are sure to delight. The New 52 Justice League series contains some of the company’s most iconic heroes including the Flash, Cyborg, and everyone’s favorite: Batman. With Warner Bros. releasing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice next March, its a good time to read up on the slew of DC characters coming to the big screen.

Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City

Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City

Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City

Sometimes heroes can be a little boring, so maybe reading a villain-centric graphic novel will entice you. Harley Quinn: Hot in the City is an outrageous story following Harley Quinn the infamous villain and anti-hero known to most Batman fans. While this graphic novel may lack in realism, it does not lack in hilarity or extravagance. And don’t forget, Harley will finally be making her big screen debut next fall in Warner Bros. Suicide Squad. So what better way to spend you summer than to mentally prepare for that villainous flick?

These selections are just a small portion of the new and exciting graphic novels added to our collection. If you aren’t familiar with our impressive assortment of graphic novels you should swing by the lower level of the UGL to see what we have to offer. Do you have any other suggestions for the comic book fan in us all? Send us your suggestions now! Excelsior!

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Tattoos, Piercings, and Body Modification Reader’s Advisory

Summer is here! The stress of finals is over and, depending on your summer plans, you probably have some free time. You could spend that time a million different ways, but if you’re interested in the subject of tattoos, piercings, or body modifications, this is the perfect time to do some research! Whether you’re considering a tattoo and need some inspiration or just looking to learn more about the subject of body modification, the UGL has you covered.

This reader’s advisory will highlight some of the books from the Undergraduate Library collection that have the potential to inspire and inform. Have some favorites that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments!

The History of Tattooing by Wilfrid Dyson Hambly

The History of Tattooing by Wilfrid Dyson Hambly

The History of Tattooing by Wilfrid Dyson Hambly

If you’re interested in the how tattoos have changed over time, The History of Tattooing is something to check out. Hambly, an anthropologist, writes about tattoos, as well as other forms of body marking, and their connection to religious beliefs, social purposes, and magical uses. In addition to discussing the use of tattoos for luck, protection from witchcraft, and survival of the soul, the book is heavily illustrated to showcase photos of tattoos through the ages.

Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos by Ed Hardy

Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos by Ed Hardy

Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos by Ed Hardy

You may know Ed Hardy from the unique designs featured on t-shirts and other apparel, but did you know that Hardy had a major role in the appreciation of tattooing as an art form? In Wear Your Dreams, Hardy recounts his experiences as a tattoo enthusiast and skilled tattoo artist. The book touches on the history of tattoo art, Hardy’s experience in training to become a tattoo artist, as well as a display of his original artwork.

Encyclopedia of Body Adornment by Margo DeMello

Encyclopedia of Body Adornment by Margo DeMello

Encyclopedia of Body Adornment by Margo DeMello

DeMello’s Encyclopedia of Body Adornment is a great read for anyone who is not only interested in the history of tattoos, piercings, and body modifications, but also wants to know about the social and cultural practices. The encyclopedia addresses acupuncture, branding, foot binding, henna, and lip plates, among many other subjects. The book includes information on cultural beauty practices and how body adornment and modification can affect a society.

In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification by Victoria Pitts

Encyclopedia of Body Adornment by Margo DeMello

In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification by Victoria Pitts

Pitts’s book includes several years worth of interviews with body modifiers. It gives a critical look at the phenomenon of body modification and how those that are involved in the movement are seen by society. The book examines cultural attitudes about identity and the body in regards to body adornment and modification.

This list only scratches the surface of books available on this subject. To learn more about tattoos, piercings, and body modifications, stop by the Lower Level of the UGL or browse the online catalog. Have any suggestions for future reader’s advisory topics? Let us know!

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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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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 (http://ow.ly/LefGX)

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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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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UGL Study Spaces

We are halfway though the semester and midterms are here! Yes, not many people are excited about having to turn in papers, projects, and study for midterm exams. It can be very overwhelming and sometimes your dorm room or apartment is not the best place to study and get work done. Don’t you worry, the UGL has a couple of suggestions for some great study places. Not only are there a variety of spaces, but there is something for everyone’s project needs.

The group rooms on the upper level of the UGL

The group rooms on the upper level of the UGL

First, we have the study group rooms, located on the upper level of the UGL. For group projects the group rooms are a great fit. There is an enclosed space, large table, and a TV screen where you can hook up your own laptop. Here you will be able to work and interact with your classmates.

Edit video or sound on these computers!  Photo Courtesy of the Media Commons

Edit video or sound on these computers! Photo Courtesy of the Media Commons

Also on the upper level, we have the computer spaces in the Media Commons. If you need specific software, the UGL has iMacs on the upper level. These computers have a lot of programs for all your project needs. For video editing, sound editing, building databases, the Media Commons has got you covered. Visit this page of the Media Commons for a detailed list of the software and programs. All your work can be done here!

Computers on the lower level of the UGL

Computers on the lower level of the UGL

Some of us need complete silence to do our work in peace. Lucky for you, the lower level of the UGL is the quiet level of the library. You can have the convenience of a computer in a quiet zone and in a semi-private space. As you arrive in the lower level, the computers are located near the entrance, close to the Media Collection.

Lower Level Tables and Carrels. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Lower Level Tables and Carrels. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

For those who do not need a computer or already have a laptop, the lower level tables and carrels are perfect. The tables are perfect for laying out your notebooks, textbooks, gel pens, and other study necessities. You can find these tables all around the lower level of the UGL.

For more privacy, the carrels are a great place to study, They are just the perfect size for a textbook, notebooks, or laptop. This perfect space for one person allows you to fully concentrate on your work and projects. Like the tables mentioned above, the carrels are located all around the UGL on the lower level.

For study tips, be sure to check out our Pinterest board!  Where is your favorite study space? Tell us below in the comments.

 

 

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Women’s History Month 2015

March is the official month for celebrating Women’s History Month. Like Black History Month, Women’s History Month was originally a week long. In 1987, congress gave the President authorization to proclaim March as the month to celebrate women’s history. For more information, visit the official government website for Women’s History Month. You will find exhibits and collections, videos of women who have shaped our country, and other information. For resources on campus, be sure to check out the Women’s Resource Center. This center has information on programs and events going on around campus.

The UGL has compiled a mix of a reader’s advisory. While this month is celebrated in the United States, March 8th is International Women’s Day. The following books or mini-biographies will showcase the writings and contributions of women, near or far. We hope you enjoy it!

“Dorothy Parker” by Dorothy Parker

http://secure.syndetics.com/index.aspx?type=xw12&isbn=0679601325/LC.JPG&client=uillurch

“Dorothy Parker”

Dorothy Parker was a writer of short stories, poems, plays, and film screens. She was known for her wit and provocative humor. While she had many great writings, her stories expressed the discomfort that some women felt on their dependency on men. With her poems and stories, Ms. Parker was able to transform the role of the woman in society. In 1967, Ms. Parker died and left her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Princess Kasune Zulu

Princess Kasune Zulu. Photo courtesy of A and U Magazine

Princess Kasune Zulu. Photo courtesy of A and U Magazine

Princess Kasune Zulu is an AIDS activist from Zambia. While she has “Princess” in her name, she is not a member of Zambian royalty, but her roots can be traced to the royal lineage. Her family was also affected by this disease and she was left orphaned. Having first hand experience and having HIV herself, Ms. Zulu became an activist. She became a spokesperson for the Hope Initiative and has met several world leaders, including George W. Bush. For more information, be sure to check out the reference and biography resources offered through the UIUC library.

“What I Know for Sure” by Oprah Winfrey

“What I know for Sure” by Oprah Winfrey

Arguably one of the most influential women in the United States, Oprah Winfrey is the former host of the show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” In this book, Winfrey shares the journey of being host of her own show, being the nation’s only black billionaire, and having her own television network. She has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor and has received an honorary degree from Harvard. Her influence, struggles, and accomplishments have made her an amazing woman. For more works on Oprah Winfrey, be sure to check out the books in our catalog.

“The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt” by Eleanor Roosevelt

“The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt” by Eleanor Roosevelt

Mrs. Roosevelt was the wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the First Lady of the United States. Before becoming the First Lady, she joined her husband on the campaign trail and began working with the Women’s Trade Union League. As First Lady, she gave her vocal support to the African-American Civil Rights Movement. After her husband died, she continued as a delegate for the United Nations. This autobiography entails the good and the bad of being a First Lady.

Judy Baar Topinka

Judy Baar Topinka. Former State Comptroller

Judy Baar Topinka. Former State Comptroller. Photo courtesy of Illinois News Network

Ms. Baar Topinka, a native of Illinois, was born to immigrant parents. She graduated from the school of journalism at Northwestern University. She became a journalist for the Cook County suburbs and was elected State Treasurer in 1994. Ms. Baar Topinka became the first woman to hold such position and was nominated for Illinois Governor by the Grand Old Party (GOP). Being the first woman as State Treasurer of Illinois, she has paved the way for other women and their role in Illinois politics. She died December of 2014 and she is remembered for her political style and her ability to poke fun at herself. For more information about Ms. Baar Topinka, be sure to check out her website

For more, check out our Pinterest board for Women’s History Month! Who are the influential women in your life? Share with us in the comments!

 

 

 

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Secret Societies: Revealed!

Secret societies have flourished for many centuries in many different cultures. Though some, like the Shriners, perform semi-public activities, not much is known about what goes on within them – that’s why they’re called ‘secret.’ This lack of knowledge has led the mysterious groups to captivate our cultural imagination, as unexplained coincidences and nefarious plots are attributed to them.

If you’ve watched The Good Shepherd, National Treasure, or read about the V.F.D in A Series of Unfortunate Events, then you’ve already been exposed to how fun and engrossing the idea of a sinister secret society can be. To help you find more things to enjoy in that vein, here’s a round-up of books that feature shadowy groups, conspiracy theories, and men in fezzes.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, conspiracy-wise, start with the Illuminatus! trilogy. Every weirdo theory out there is covered, and connected to the most secretest secret society of all – the Illuminati. There are lots of symbolic eyeballs, and you’ll be eyeballing your surroundings after reading it, especially that buck – what’s the deal with that spooky staring pyramid, anyway?

 The New Avengers: Illuminati by Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed, and Jim Cheung

This is a kinder, gentler Illuminati. Sort of. A gathering of well-known powerful Marvel comics characters are revealed as having manipulated several important events from behind the scenes. Their intentions are mostly good, but as with many tales of good versus evil, things get muddy, and what Professor Xavier, Tony Stark, and Doctor Strange (among others) resort to meet their goals may not always be so nice.

 The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin

Can you have a good secret society/conspiracy theory reading list without Nazis? No, you cannot. Nazis are the fallback conspiracy of literature at large. So, here is a book about secret Nazis hiding in South America and plotting to kill six aging men. Why do they want to kill these six men in particular? What are the connections between them and the exiled SS members? The writing has been described as ‘cinematic,’ which explains why there is a movie version.

The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White

The members of the secret society in this group want to save the world and make it a better place – but very slowly, over hundreds of years and multiple reincarnations. One could say they want to do so in increments. The plan seems to be progressing well, if at a glacial place, but then something goes wrong with the lovebirds who star in the story, and they go wrong rather quickly, as they often do.

Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society, a Visual Guide by Adam Parfrey

Most of the secret societies on this list are fictional, but as we mentioned before, there have been real ones throughout history. This book takes a comprehensive look at the secret fraternal societies of America in particular, describing their history, traditions, and influence. As indicated by the ‘visual guide’ part of the title, almost every page features reproductions of fraternal memorabilia, including many snapshots of men in aprons and silly hats.

Alright, we’re done conspiring to bring you fun things to read – for now. We’ll duck back behind our librarian curtain and let you take over – what are your favorite books or movies about secret societies? Let us know in the comments. Bonus points if you write it in code.

 

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The UGL Celebrates Black History Month

“I feel safe in the midst of my enemies, for the truth is all powerful and will prevail.” —Sojourner Truth

In 1976, Former President Gerald Ford made February the official month to celebrate Black history. President Ford urged American citizens to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Here at the UGL, we have compiled some books and movies that celebrate Black Americans and their struggles and accomplishments. For more information on Black History Month, be sure to visit the official government website.

“Staring at Zero” by Jimi Hendrix

“Starting at Zero” by Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix became an international icon after 4 years. He is known as one of the greatest guitars players there ever was. Hendrix was also known as a private person, but in this book, he is able to tell his own story.

“12 Years a Slave”

12 years a Slave. Directed by Steve McQueen

12 years a Slave. Directed by Steve McQueen

Based on true accounts, this film recalls the story of Solomon Northup, a free man of color. He is invited to a violin performance in Washington D.C, where he is kidnapped and sold as a slave. Northup suffers years of violence, abuse, and injustice. He was held captive for nearly 12 years and was soon reunited with his family. For the complete account by Solomon Northup, be sure to check out his book.

“Army of God: Joseph Kony’s War in Central Africa” by David Axe and Tim Hamilton

“Army of God” by David Axe and Tim Hamilton

The Kony2012 campaign was one that got a lot of national attention. This raised awareness, but also controversy. War correspondent, David Axe teamed up with Tim Hamilton to publish a graphic novel that explains who Kony is and the conflict that caught the attention of people all over the country.

“Song of Soloman” by Toni Morrison

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison, writer and winner of multiple awards brings us “Song of Solomon.” This story is about 4 generations of of black life in the United States. This story begins with Macon “Milkman” Dead III. The reader follows him from birth to adulthood. “Song of Soloman” raises questions on African-American identity and relationships with black and white members of the community.

“Zami, a new spelling of my name” by Audre Lorde

"Zami: A New Spelling of My Name" by Audre Lorde. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

“Zami: A New Spelling of My Name” by Audre Lorde. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

This is the 1982 autobiography of writer and poet, Audre Lorde. She is the daughter of Black West Indian parents. Growing up in Harlem, she is legally blind, but learns to read before starting school. This book details Lorde’s experiences with racism, lesbianism, and political issues.

“Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” by Barack Obama

“Dreams from my Father” written by current President, Barack Obama.

In 2009, Barack Obama made history by becoming the first black President of the United States. Before the presidency, Obama was a civil rights lawyer, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, and a community organizer. This book was published in 1995, right before Barack Obama was preparing for his campaign for the Illinois Senate. This book details his life in Hawaii, Indonesia, and his time at Harvard Law School.

Be sure to also check out our “A-Z Black Biography” on the UGL’s Pinterest Page.

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