September Events

It’s almost sweater weather, but there are still plenty of outdoors things to do before the winter descends upon us. Read on for the latest scoop on September events.

 

Parade in Downtown Champaign

Photo by Daniel Schwen

Urbana Labor Day Parade- September 5th, 10am — Free

Celebrate workers and historic labor movements in America at the annual Labor Day Parade! The parade starts at 10am at Lincoln Square, so get a good seat! After the parade there will be a picnic in Prairie Park, featuring food, games, and a local union softball game.

Champaign Urbana Pride Festival

Champaign-Urbana Pride

Champaign Urbana Pride Festival — Free

Yet another historic & “sick’ning” celebration is happening in CU this month. Pride Festivals began in 1969 after the Stonewall Riot, which served as a catalyst for LGBTQ movements in America. Join the CU Pride Festival for events including a parade, drag shows (featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race Alumnus- Jade Sotomayor), comedy, dancing, and workshops. Check their website for updates and more events!

The Pygmalion Festival

The Pygmalion Festival

The Pygmalion Festival- Weekends, September 16-24 — Prices Vary

You can come for the music, Made Fest, or the literary and technology lectures, but whatever you do, don’t miss Pygmalion. Pygmalion is known for its line-up of music artists, but it also features many free events: a market of handmade items from local and regional artists and an impressive group of authors, scientists, and others who will present their work. Buy tickets for the music events, but Made Fest and lectures are free! And as always, there will be food.

Celebrating Labor History

Celebrating Labor History Event

Celebrating Labor History with Rep. Carol Ammons September 15th 5-7pm — Free

If you’re not a fan of the outdoors or loud parades, we do have one indoor event on the calendar for September: a lecture with Representative Carol Ammons on the history of local unions and labor in Champaign County and Illinois. Dinner is provided.

Flannel Fest

Flannel Fest

Flannel Fest — Free

It’s almost plaid season! Break out that flannel you haven’t worn in months and join the Flannel Fest. Flannel Fest features music, art demos, games, crafts, food trucks, a mustache contest, and a Lumberjack show. When was the last time you saw axe throwing? To round out this event, regional mattress company Bemco is sponsoring the Human Mattress Domino event, which allows community members to purchase mattresses to be donated to homeless shelters in central Illinois. Those who cannot afford to purchase a mattress may also donate in smaller increments.

Ghostbusters Outdoor Screening

Ghostbusters (2016) Outdoor Screening

Ghostbusters Outdoor Movie Sept. 22nd Starts at Dusk (Approx 8:15pm) – Free

If you’re bored on September 22nd, who you gonna call? The Women’s Resource Center is hosting a screening of the recent Ghostbusters remake later this month on the Quad. What’s better than a group of women kicking ghost butt? If you ain’t afraid of no ghost, you better come.

We hope we’ve covered the major events happening in Champaign-Urbana for the next month…but if we missed anything, let us know! Check out our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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

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

 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

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

 

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (Image from Amazon)

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

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

 

The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Expats by Chris Pavone

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

 

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

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

 

A Gentleman’s Game: A Queen and Country Novel

A Gentleman’s Game: A Queen and Country Novel

A Gentleman’s Game: A Queen and Country Novel

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

 

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

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

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

 

Commencement Advisory

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

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Book: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Gilmore Girls Season 7

Gilmore Girls Season 7

Television Show: Gilmore Girls Season 7

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

 

The Graduate

The Graduate – Image from Amazon

Movie: The Graduate

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

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

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UGL Advisory: What to Read/Watch After Catching Up on Your Unplayed Podcasts

Having to wait until next week for the newest episode of podcast can be frustrating, but we here at the UGL can help you pick out something to read or watch that will continue the excitement of your favorite moments listening to your favorite podcasts. Take a look at our list of books, comic books, and DVDs, that we’ve paired up with some of the most popular podcasts right now, and come over to the UGL to check them out!

If you like Serial

You should try…

The Good Nurse: a Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

The Good Nurse: a Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

Book: The Good Nurse: a Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

If you’re looking for more of the true crime mystery and suspense that Serial provides, look no further than The Good Nurse. Charles Graeber chronicles the life and career of Charlie Cullen, also known as “The Angel of Death,” and provides insight into the intelligent, twisted, complicated young man who killed nearly 300 medical patients. Graeber’s ability to use investigative journalism to look past the simple facts and reveal the creepy complexity of Cullen will have you asking, “Who is Sarah Koenig?”

 

In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

Movie: In Cold Blood

Based on Truman Capote’s non-fiction book of the same name, this movie tells the story of two men who break into a family’s home in Holcomb, Kansas, brutally murder the four family members, and attempt to elude the police. The movie examines the senseless killing in a very dramatic way and remains a benchmark for true crime films. If you love the chilling intrigue that Serial provides, you’ll find this movie both thrilling and disturbing.

 

If you like Welcome to Nightvale

You should try…

House of Leaves

House of Leaves

Book: House of Leaves

If you’re a fan of Welcome to Night Vale’s surreal news radio updates and are looking for a novel with the same weird atmosphere, you may want to check out House of Leaves. Danielewski’s book is a strangely arranged book that includes vertical footnotes, colored words, and multiple appendices. The story begins with a young family who makes a shocking discovery – their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Prepare to be challenged by the originality and forever changed by the questions it will leave you with.

 

John Dies at the End

John Dies at the End
Image from: Amazon.com

Movie: John Dies at the End

This movie is based on David Wong’s comic horror novel of the same name. The dark, fantasy/science fiction horror film follows two college dropouts who are trying to save the world from an otherworldly invasion as a street drug, called Soy Sauce, which makes users hallucinate and drift across time and other dimensions. This humorous horror film is great for those of you that love the absurdist qualities of Welcome to Night Vale.

 

If you like Black Girls Talking

You should try…

TwERK

TwERK
Image from: Amazon.com

Book: TwERK

This collection of poems written by the highly praised LaTasha N. Nevada, is a full body and mind experience. Through use of multiple languages, cultural inclusivity, and identifiable markers of American popular culture, Nevada attempts to remind the reader that America has always been more than just the English language. Like “Black Girls Talking”, “TwERK” is humorous and satirical, but offers many moments of seriousness and sincerity that give balance, keep your interest, and remind you of its intent.

 

Beyond the Lights

Beyond the Lights
Image from: Amazon.com

Movie: Beyond the Lights

Gugu Mbatha-Raw gets her chance as a Hollywood leading actress with her turn as “Noni Jean”, a pop star who makes it big immediately, but suffers under the immense pressure of stardom. A movie widely praised by critics for its “smart direction” by director Gina Prince Blythewood (“Secret Life of Bees” & “Love and Basketball”) and powerhouse performance by Mbatha-Raw (“Jupiter Ascending” & “Concussion”), the romantic drama transcends its cliché plot to bring true entertainment to the screen.

 

If you like Guys We F’d: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast

You should try…

The Single Standard

The Single Standard
Image from: Amazon.com

Movie: The Single Standard

This silent movie filmed in 1929 (after “talkies” had been invented) stars Greta Garbo, Nils Asther, and Johnny Mack Brown in a love triangle film. Garbo, a strong independent woman, believes in equality of the sexes though, and thinks that the “single standard” for freedom, equality, and relationships should go both ways, and she is not going to fall for a man who thinks he will be able to mold her into something she does not want to be. For those of you who like comedians Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson in their female-empowering, sex-positive, and hilarious podcast “Guys We F’d”, take the time to watch Greta Garbo deliver a romantic performance where she makes her own choices over her body and love, and thinks about what will be best for her child and her own well-being.

 

Men Explain Things to Me

Men Explain Things to Me

Book: Men Explain Things to Me

This scathingly hilarious essay, written by Rebecca Solnits, examines the disconnect in conversation between men and women. She tackles the difficult issue of men making assumptions about female encounters without considering if their assumptions are mutual. Similar to “Guys We F’d” where Corinne and Krystyna interview sexual partners from their pasts, and celebrities like Amber Rose and Andy Dick, “Men Explain Things to Me” uses personal experiences to highlight the importance of not silencing women, to combat “mansplaining”, and tackle other important aspects of gender that need to be discussed.

 

If you like The Nerdist Podcast

You should try…

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

Comic Book: The Walking Dead

If you are all about Chris Hardwick, host of “The Nerdist”, and his quest for ultimate nerd-dom, you should check out the monthly comic book series “The Walking Dead”. Hardwick hosts a television re-cap show called “The Talking Dead” where he recaps episodes from the television show loosely based on this award winning comic book series. The plague of the undead have taken over the world, and it is up to Rick, a sheriff from Kentucky, and the remaining survivors on Earth, to band together and work together to survive.

 

Ant Man

Ant Man
Image from: Amazon

Comic Book: Ant Man

“Ant Man” the hit Marvel superhero movie from the summer of 2015, stars Paul Rudd as a superhero with the ability to shrink down to the size of an Ant, but who can still do some serious butt-kicking. As one of Marvel Comic’s lesser known comic series, host of “The Nerdist” Chris Hardwick, is excited at the prospect of such a small series being such a hit. He attended the red carpet for the premier of the film, and interviewed Paul Rudd last summer, for “The Nerdist”, about joining the immense world of Marvel as such a pint-sized superhero.

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

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March Events

March is possibly the best month for events as winter finally starts to dwindle away and as the snow melts, the city shakes itself into a frenzy of activity. We can’t promise that the snow is going to stay away all month, but we can promise that CU is rife with events that are worthy of your time and we’ve done our best to come up with a list of some of the greatest you can find. We’ll assume you already have plans for spring break and will leave that week and weekend out.

Poster for Grapes of Wrath at Krannert

Photo taken from Krannert website.

The Grapes of Wrath at Krannert March 3-13
John Steinbeck is undeniably one of the greatest authors America has ever produced and many believe “The Grapes of Wrath” to be his finest work. Yeah, that book you read in high school about the Dust Bowl, you remember it. Well, Krannert is putting on the staged production of the novel for a few weeks and it’s definitely one you won’t want to miss. The working class struggles of the Tom Joad and his comrades are ones that resonate as deeply today as they ever have, so give yourself a nice night at the theater and check this one out for only $10 student tickets.

Poster for Urinetown

Photo taken from Illini Student Musicals website.

Urinetown at Gregory Hall Theatre – March 11 and 12 at 7:30pm and 13 at 2:30pm
Illini Student Musicals is an organization dedicated to putting on high quality musical productions here at the University and will be presenting “Urinetown”, the Tony-Award winning musical romp by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis. Musicals aren’t necessarily for everyone, but this is one that even the most discerning person will find themselves in stitches by intermission. Tickets are only 10 bucks for student and the three nights make it a flexible plan for even the busiest person.

Photo Noir Art Show at Gallery 217 – March 11 through April
While one could simply visit the new Student Art Gallery on the Upper Level of the UGL, one may also want to make a trip out of seeing new and exciting local art. Gallery 217 has a fantastic downtown location and has been putting on amazing art shows featuring local and regional talent. We suggest hitting Pekara just up the road for some bread then checking out the brooding and beautiful noir photography work this show will offer.

Watson’s Shack & Rail – Anytime
Normally we try to pick specific events for these posts, but since Spring Break falls right in the middle of March, we thought we’d give everyone something they could do that week if they’re around or another week if they feel like it. One of the hottest new restaurants causing mass salivation in downtown Champaign is Watson’s Shack & Rail, the new fried chicken place. If that alone doesn’t excite you, take a look at their website. How good does that look? And for those of you with dietary restrictions, the locally sourced salads and grilled cheese look like they surely won’t disappoint. Make a night of it!

Poster for Spotlight Film Series

Photo taken from Illini Union website.

Spotlight Film Series: Carol at the Illini Union – March 29 at 7pm
Though this blog was written before the Oscar’s and we therefore do not know the results, we can still say that “Carol” is one of the top movies that came out in 2015 and is one you surely don’t want to miss. So long as you have your i-Card, you can see this movie at the Union on March 29 for free (along with other great movies featuring stories highlighting the struggles women have faced throughout history the rest of the month). This one’s a no-brainer, really. Free. Award nominated (and possibly winning). Free. Done.

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Reader’s Advisory: New Manga at the UGL

The UGL is going super saiyan! The Undergraduate Library recently added a bunch of series to its ever-increasing collection of manga and graphic novels. This week’s reader’s advisory will highlight a few of the additions that will need to be added to your “must-read” list.

Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama

Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama

First up on this week’s reader’s advisory is an old classic straight from your childhood. Dragon Ball has made its appearance on the lower level of the UGL! Originally published from 1984 to 1995, Dragon Ball follows the adventures of Goku as he travels the world looking for seven orbs known as Dragon Balls. Each issue is packed with adventure, friendship, and world famous fight scenes that inspired an anime series. Check out this series, and its sequels, and you may be able to match Goku’s abilities.

Golgo 13 by Takao Saitō

Golgo 13 by Takao Saitō

Next up is one of bestselling manga series in history. Golgo 13 was first published in 1968 and is still pumping out new adventures of its anti-hero Duke Togo. Duke is a professional assassin who is willing to take any and every job that is thrown his way. However, his lack of discretion and his actions have attracted numerous organizations who all attempt to take him out. Golgo 13 is filled with action, mystery, and suspense. If you are looking for something to get lost in, the almost countless volumes on the lower level are sure to take up your time.

Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue

Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue

Not into fantasy or assassination? Well maybe the incredibly popular manga Slam Dunk will get you into the manga game. Selling 120 million copies in Japan alone, Slam Dunk follows delinquent Hanamichi who is introduced to the game of basketball by the girl of his dreams. After reluctantly joining the team, Hanamichi discovers he is a natural, but he needs to control his emotions. A 31 volume series, Slam Dunk is the perfect combination of classic coming-of-age story tropes and sports drama. Check this out if you are looking for an exciting sports read.

Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama

Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama

Finally, if you are a big fan of Sherlock Holmes or mystery novels, then the UGL has the manga for you. Case Closed follows Jimmy Kudo,a high school detective, who is exceptionally good at what he does. After being attacked by the Black Organization, a crime syndicate, Kudo is transformed into a child. Going by the new moniker Conan, Kudo attempts to solve cases and bring down the Black Organization. A little out-there, but an incredibly enjoyable read, Case Closed is an engrossing manga that will keep you entertained and guessing.

Are there any other manga you would like to give a shout out to? Tweet us at @askundergrad or find us on Facebook. Until next time!

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Reader’s Advisory: Inspiring Memoirs

As the year starts, the UGL is suggesting some biographies and memoirs to inspire you. Reading stories about people we admire is a great way to find role models and better ourselves. Sometimes we just need that little inspiration to spur us towards our own goals. The UGL holds lots of books about people from different walks of life, here are just a few of the many amazing biographies you will find in our collections.

Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli

Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli

Like a modern Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs continues to fascinate writers and filmmakers. This is especially true after his early death from liver cancer. Schlender was a writer for Fortune who had unprecedented access to Jobs, interviewing him many times over the years and becoming his friend. This book offers many fresh insights into Job’s personal relationships. Fans of Apple products and geniuses in general will like this book.

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to sit on the Supreme Court when President Obama appointed her in 2009. Her memoir tells the powerful story of her rise from a difficult childhood in the Bronx projects to the Supreme Court, via Princeton and Yale Law School. What we learn from Justice Sotomayor’s life that coming from a tough background does not necessarily define where we will end up in life. A mixture of determination, hard work and some luck can help us rise beyond the circumstances of our birth. Those looking for some inspiration to take on this semester will enjoy My Beloved World!

The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kyi and the New Struggle for the Soul of a Nation by Rena Pederson

The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kyi and the New Struggle for the Soul of a Nation by Rena Pederson

Many of you would have heard about Burma (now called Myanmar) and the military junta that ruled the country for almost fifty years. Aung San Suu Kyi is the poster child for Myanmese resistance to this oppression. She was put on house arrest in 1989 and remained there until 2011, when the government began to move towards democracy. Hers is a story of bravery, soul and political finesse against one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. Read this if you want to be inspired to create change or simply to get to know a really nice lady.

Giorgio Armani by Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani  by Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani tells the story of Armani’s rise from a World War II childhood to the head of a global and widely respected fashion house. The book is filled with pictures spanning his entire life and deep reflections on his success. Unsurprisingly, Armani tells us that he values hard work and creativity. You’ll also enjoy the personal stories about Armani’s family and love life. Read this book if you’re an Armani fan and want to learn what made the man behind the fashion revolution tick.

I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, Glory by Ray Lewis

I Feel Like Going on: Life, Game, Glory  by Ray Lewis

If you are a football fan, you’ll find Ray Lewis’s biography engrossing. This is another story about rising above the circumstances of one’s birth. Lewis, the Football Hall of Famer, writes about his troubled family life in Florida and his ultimate triumph with the Baltimore Ravens at Super Bowl XLVII. Having had his own run-ins with the law, he comments on the current debate on law enforcement in African American communities and thus adds his own personal dimension on this topical issue. Apart from football fans, followers of current affairs and those looking for a fast paced but engrossing read will find this book interesting.

Are there any other inspirational figures you’d like to read about? Tweet us at @askugl or Find us on Facebook at Undergraduate Library UIUC!

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Reader’s Advisory: LGBTQ Stories

LGBTQ characters in comics, literature, television, and film have become increasingly popular and accepted. The success of TV shows such as Orange is the New Black, the recently critically acclaimed film Carol, and queer retellings of stories such as that of Catwoman have boosted representation of LGBTQ people. If you’ve been searching for more LGBTQ characters, here is a list of books available in the Undergraduate Library that will capture your interest.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home:A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

This graphic memoir by lesbian comic artist Alison Bechdel, author of the long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, explores Bechdel’s sexuality as a child and college student alongside the retelling of her father’s complicated sexuality and premature death. This Lambda Literary and Eisner award-winning graphic memoir is a great introduction to graphic novels and queer literature, but will also please aficionados of the genres. Fans of the Broadway musical Fun Home who were left craving more should pick up this original story!

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

This book tells the story of Ijeoma, a young Nigerian girl who falls in love with another girl of a different ethnic group as the civil war becomes the backdrop of their lives in the 1970s. As the adult Ijeoma reminisces about her childhood, she discovers herself and her desires in this intimate debut novel. People interested in coming-of-age stories will love Ijeoma’s journey to understanding her sexuality.

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
James Baldwin’s 1956 classic Giovanni’s Room follows a man conflicted between the women to whom he has recently engaged and his affair with an Italian bartender—who just so happens to be a man. As David struggles to choose between his goal of a traditional lifestyle and his sexual desires, he falls deeper into his affair with Giovanni. Baldwin wrote the classic tale of self-discovery mixed with a sex and sin in this literary masterpiece.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Fans of lesbian romance, mysteries, and historical fiction alike will devour this period romance by renowned lesbian author Sarah Waters. Sue, an orphan raised in a community of con artists, becomes the maid of a wealthy woman whose inheritance is the object of desire. With a surprising romance and plot twists, if you can’t get enough of this Lambda Literary winning story, it was retold in the form of a BBC One series, which is also available in the Undergraduate Library!

Long Red Hair by Meags Fitzgerald

Long Red Hair by Meags Fitzgerald

Comic artist Meags Fitzgerald details her story of discovering and labeling her sexuality while struggling with the social pressure to choose between her attraction to men and to women. Even within queer literatures, stories of bisexuality and other non-monosexual identities are less prevalent than gay or lesbian narratives. Fitzgerald interweaves historical examples of relationships and sexuality with her own in this 93-page whirlwind of a memoir. Readers who seek representations of lesser-discussed sexualities, or those looking for a book to devour in one sitting, will love this graphic retelling of Fitzgerald’s coming-of-age as a queer woman.

Wandering Son by Takako Shimura

Wandering Son by Takako Shimura

Takako Shimura’s manga series follows two transgender friends in middle school as they discover what it means to be transgender and how to live as their authentic selves. Through eight volumes, Shimura gives readers a coming-of-age story unlike any other: as the characters approach and experience puberty, their experiences are shaped by their gender identities that do not match their bodies. This manga series broke new ground during its first release in 2002. It will be enjoyed by lovers of comics, coming-of-age stories, and LGBTQ literature alike.

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

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

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

What to Read/Watch Next Flowchart

 

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

You should try…

Fringe: The Complete First Season

Fringe: The Complete First Season

TV Show: Fringe

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

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis

Book: Alias by Brian Michael Bendis

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

 

If you like: House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey

You should try…

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

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

TV Show: The West Wing

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

Watergate by Thomas Mallon

Watergate by Thomas Mallon

Book: Watergate by Thomas Mallon

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

 

If you like: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt starring Ellie Kemper

You should try…

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

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

TV Show: Broad City

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

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

Book: The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

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

 

If you like: Master of None starring Aziz Ansari

You should try…

Louie: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

Louie: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

TV Show: Louie

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

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Book: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

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

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Reader’s Advisory: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

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

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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

Matched by Allie Condie

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

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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

Legend by Marie Lu

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

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

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