From the TV to the Table: Table Top Games to Check Out Based on Your Favorite TV shows

Is your school work starting to weigh you down? Do you need something to do besides binge watch your favorite TV shows? Good News! The UGL has a collection of table top games that you can check out to help you destress. If you need help picking one, here are some recommendations based on some of your favorite TV shows!

Do you love Game of Thrones? Try playing Risk!

Risk board game

Risk

Are you missing Jon Snow, Daenerys, and all your favorite conquers from Westeros? While you wait for the final season, you can come check out Risk at the UGL Circulation Desk. The objective of this game is to conquer all the territory on the board’s map with your political savvy, attacking strategies, and defensive techniques. You can form alliances with your friends and come up with schemes to sabotage your enemies. In the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die. In the game of Risk, you either win, or you lose and don’t get stabbed in the stomach. Leave the swordplay to Arya—check out this game and enjoy all the power with none of the northern frostbite. Also, If you want to watch Game of Thrones, you can check seasons 1-6 out here at the UGL when you come pick up the game!

Jon Snow gif I'm Ready

If you liked The Handmaid’s Tale, give Scrabble a try.

The Handmaid's Tale A Hulu Original Cover

The Handmaid’s Tale

Looking for a way to relieve your stress and show off your wit? Do what Offred does, and play a game of Scrabble. This game is made up of 225 squares, and the objective is to accumulate the most points with your vocabulary (you can also reach for goals like longest word or most triple letter words). If you find yourself in need of some intellectually stimulating entertainment, come check this game out. You can also do one better than Offred, and play the game with someone who isn’t keeping you prisoner. Praise be! You can find Scrabble at the UGL Circulation Desk, and you can stream The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. In the mean time, read up and build that vocabulary!

Offred reading gif

Are you a Parks and Recreation fan? Honor Ben Wyatt and play Settlers of Catan.

The Settlers of Catan game board

Settlers of Catan

Have you ever wanted to play Ben Wyatt’s original table top game, The Cones of Dunshire? Well, it isn’t actually a real game yet (still hoping for the Kickstarter). Instead, you can play one of Ben’s personal favorites: Setters of Catan. The goal of this game is to create a civilization that surpasses all the other players’ settlements on the fictional island, Catan. If you do check this out, be sure to find a good group of friends (like Ben’s) to play with you. Also, if you want to enjoy some Parks and Recreation while you play, you can pick up seasons 1-7 in the UGL’s media collections here.

Ben Wyatt celebrating

If you’re missing Stranger Things, you might find solace in a Pathfinder session.

Stranger Things Season 1 cover image

Stranger Things

Do you find yourself in need of some adventuring? Do what Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will do: play a fantasy role-playing game. At the UGL, we have Pathfinder. You can check out the Core Rulebook or a Beginner’s Box to help you start designing an adventure for you and your friends. You can even stream Stranger Things on Netflix to help you get prepared. In addition to that, you can come to the UGL for short sessions run by our Graduate Assistants! Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to find out when these sessions will take place. Either way, come ready to fight dragons, goblins, and trolls—and if the lights start to flicker, you might want to grab a baseball bat and run.

The boys from stranger things slay the demogorgon

One last piece of good news: these games are just the beginning! Check out our full list of table top games at the UGL! Have an idea of something we should add?  Reach out to us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages, and give us your suggestions!

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Binge on This: Books That Inspired the Latest Shows

Summer is the perfect time to unwind and catch up on your reading and binge-watching. Many books are brought to life as films and television programs, so if you need suggestions on what to read next, check out these books which have spawned television shows just this year! (And don’t forget: the libraries at the University of Illinois often have items available in audiobook or e-book format!)

Read Before You Watch

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods on HBO

American Gods on HBO

For the three years Shadow spent in prison, all he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place. On the plane ride home to the funeral, Shadow meets a man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday, a self-declared grifter, who offers Shadow a job. Shadow, a man with nothing to lose, accepts. But he soon learns that his role in Wednesday’s schemes will be far more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Find the book on our shelves, and the show on Starz.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies on HBO

Big Little Lies on HBO

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yoga new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Find the book on our shelves and the show on HBO.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray for the Commander to make her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules. Find the book on our shelves and the show on Hulu.

Coming Soon! Check out these books before their small-screen counterparts premiere later this year.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man. Find the book on our shelves and the show, known as Strike, on HBO later this year.

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Cover of Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Young Pip Tyler doesn’t know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she’s saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she’s squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother — her only family — is hazardous. But she doesn’t have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she’ll ever have a normal life. Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world–including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn’t understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong. Find the book on our shelves and the miniseries on Showtime.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Cover of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory. As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims — a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming. Find the book on our shelves and the show on HBO.

Whether you’re a binge reader or a binge watcher, we’ve got you covered. Let us know what your favorite show to binge watch is on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

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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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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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