Books for Your Zodiac

Finals are almost here!

The end of the semester is so close, and yet, it seems so far away. If you are like me, you are probably in dire need of some lighthearted content, and a book to ease your woes. I hope this post can help with both.

Thanks to Lin Manuel Miranda’s Netflix documentary Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, I have had the pleasure of connecting with a neglected part of my heritage: the legacy of the great Walter Mercado. Who is he, you ask? Walter Mercado was a visionary, a person who, by refusing to subscribe to gender normative labels, broke through the barriers of machismo to become one of the most famous celebrities in Latinx culture. When I was a kid, he had his own TV Show, where you could tune in to listen to your horoscope, delivered by Walter in a swoosh of bedazzled robes with as much flair and vivaciousness of an actor on stage. It didn’t matter if you believed in the signs or las estrellas, you couldn’t help but wait silently for him to read your horoscope. In many Latinx households, it was part of their daily routine.

Gif of man dancing


After watching the documentary, I decided to combine my love of books with this new found interest and bring to you recommendations based on your zodiac sign. I might not be Walter Mercado but I promise I will do my best. Alas I will be dressed in not quite so bedazzled robes but trust me I will be reading las estrellas with the same flair that he did.

Las estrellas:

Aries (March 21-April 20)
You are courageous, confident and enthusiastic. To complement your sense of adventure and curiosity, I recommend the Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda.

Image of a red gate with words Seven Deadly Shadows

What is it about? 
Seventeen-year-old Kira Fujikawa has never had it easy. She’s bullied by the popular girls in school. Her parents ignore her. And she’s also plagued with a secret: she can see yokai, the ghosts and demons that haunt the streets of Kyoto. But things accelerate from bad to worse when she learns that Shuten-doji, the demon king, will rise at the next blood moon to hunt down an ancient relic and bring the world to a catastrophic end.

 

Taurus (April 21-May 20)
You are practical and well-grounded. At times a bit stubborn, but loyal and responsible. You always rise to the challenge. I recommend They Could Have Named Her Anything by Stephanie Jimenez. 

Image of two women sleeping text says They Could Have Named Her Anything

What is it about? 
Racism, class, and betrayal collide in this poignant debut novel about restoring the broken bonds of family and friendship.

 

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You are curious and enjoy tasks that are mentally engaging. You can be a bit indecisive but are quick to learn and adapt to new circumstances. I recommend a suspenseful book to keep you engaged such as When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole.

Image of a blue house and text that says When No One is Watching

What is it about? 
Finding unexpected support from a new friend while collecting stories from her rapidly vanishing Brooklyn community, Sydney uncovers sinister truths about a regional gentrification project and why her neighbors are moving away.

 

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You are characterized by your tenacious and sympathetic nature. You can be a deeply intuitive and sentimental person, because of this I recommend a book that will pull on your heartstrings such as A House of Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi. 

Image with stylized words that says A House For Happy Mothers

What is it about? 
In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs; a loving husband, a career, and a home. But the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much. She and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads. But she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset, her womb, to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

 

Leo (July 23-August 22)
You have all the makings of a leader: self-confident, creative and dramatic. Just remember to be conscious of those around you. Listen and care for your people. For you I recommend Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

image of mixed paint with words Untamed Glennon Doyle

What is it about? 
In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us.

 

Virgo (August 23-September 22)
You are hardworking, practical and analytical. Usually people will characterize you as detailed oriented, often leaving nothing to chance and ensuring that you have a plan. Sometimes you can focus too much on work and you forget to take care of yourself. Rest, explore and have some fun! For this, I recommend the book Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

image of a woman with crossed arms text says Eleanor Oliphant is Completely fine

What is it about? 
A socially awkward, routine-oriented loner teams up with a bumbling IT guy from her office to assist an elderly accident victim, forging a friendship that saves all three from lives of isolation and secret unhappiness.

 

Libra (September 23-October 22)
Of all the signs, Libras tend to be diplomatic, fair, and peaceful. You tend to value partnership deeply therefore you invest a lot in your relationships.  Remember not to shy away from confrontation, communicating openly with those around you can be very beneficial. For you, I recommend Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney.

image of two faces, one wears sunglasses text reads conversations with friends a novel

What is it about?
Devoting herself to an intellectual life and the self-possessed lover with whom she performs spoken-word poetry readings, a college student is drawn into the lives of a sophisticated journalist and her husband before the increasingly intimate relationship tests the boundaries of her resolve

 

Scorpio (October 23-November 22)
Scorpios are characterized by their resourcefulness and bravery. When you have a question or are curious about a topic, you will research until you find a satisfactory answer. For this reason, I recommend the thriller The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse.

image of a mansion in front of a mountain, text reads The Sanatorium

What is it about?
Accompanying family members to an isolated Swiss Alps hotel to recuperate from a traumatizing case, a woman detective uncovers the fates of long-ago tuberculosis patients who went missing from the property years earlier when it operated as a sanatorium.

 

Sagittarius (November 23-December 21)
You are known for being generous, curious, and energetic. You approach life with an open mind and would gladly engage in a philosophical conversation on the meaning of life. For your sense of adventure and philosophical nature, I recommend The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

image of portals with many items coming out text reads The Midnight Library

What is it about?
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

 

Capricorn (December 22- January 19)
This sign is characterized by its responsible and disciplined nature. Your ability to learn from your mistakes, and revise your plans, makes you an asset to any team. Use your expertise to uplift others, and to lend them a hand. I recommend The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms.

image of woman walking down city street with books overlaid text reads The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

What is it about?
Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

 

Aquarius (January 20- February 19) 
You are known for being an intellectual person, you can be independent but you love helping others. You enjoy your space and your alone time. It helps to recharge your battery. For your me-time, I recommend The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab.

stylized text reads The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

What is it about?
Making a Faustian bargain to live forever but never be remembered, a woman from early 18th-century France endures unacknowledged centuries before meeting a man who remembers her name.

 

Pisces (February 20-March 20)
You are friendly, and have no trouble connecting with different people. You are generous, compassionate and caring. All of these characteristics make you a very intuitive person. Trust your intuition when meeting new people, it will lead the way. Because connecting with people is your jam, I recommend Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela. 

stylized text reads Bird summons

What is it about?
Three active members of a Muslim Women’s group take a road trip together to the Scottish Highlands, where each confronts the contrast between their hearts and their realities.

Enjoy the books for your star sign, as well as others on this list! Many thanks to the wonderful Nicole, whose passion for all things astrological guided this blogpost. 

I hope that you finish the semester strong and in the words of Walter Mercado: “Que reciban de mi siempre paz, mucha paz pero sobre todo mucho, mucho, mucho amor”*

*Translation: I hope that you have peace and that you receive a lot of love in your life

image of a man blowing a kiss

Written by: Sylvia

Posted by: Maurissa

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National Poetry Month

Happy National Poetry Month!

Maybe you’ve been spending more time writing this spring. If you’re running out of ideas, I highly recommend this list of journal ideas from Bernadette Mayer.

Recently I’ve been watching videos from Chax’s “Enclave” series on Youtube. This series started in March 2020, and if I had to make a bet, it would be the first Zoom reading in the surprisingly long history of video poetry (see Jubliat and Ubuweb for more). What I like about these videos is they add to the experience of reading, and give my eyes a break from words on a page.

Here are some things I’ve been requesting from the library this month:

Alive by Elizabeth Willis.Elizabeth Willis very well may be my favorite poet.  Alive is one of the best books I’ve read. She’s inquisitive and dry, sometimes a word-tangle. Videos of her reading are especially great.

Great exodus, great wall, great party  by Chessie Normile.

This is this poet’s first book. It reminds me of time travel. When I read it I had lucid dreams. It was a quick read, but stayed with me for longer than a lot of the poetry I’ve read.

Insomnia and the aunt by Tan Lin.

I read this book every chance I get. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently as the country responded to the anti-Asian racism this spring.  It’s a touching, and surreal look at family. Deeply funny, bizarre. My most recommended book ever.

Keep reading!

 

 

 

Written: Tath
Posted: Ryan

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Calling All Gamers!

Do you love social and board games? Are you looking for a distraction from final papers and exams? Are you free THIS Thursday at 7 PM?? If your answer to any of these questions is yes (or even if it isn’t), join us Thursday, April 29th, for an evening of fun and games!

We will be meeting on the UGL Board Games Discord server and heading over to Backyard for a few quick rounds of games like Codenames, Pictionary, and Camp Werewolf. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to play– we’ll be learning together!

For updates on this event and future UGL gaming sessions, please follow our Discord server. We’re open to your feedback and welcome suggestions for future game nights!

See you there!

Hand rolling dice, text "They see me rollin'"

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Mindfulness: Mental De-Cluttering for Spring

Ah, springtime in Urbana-Champaign… the ice is melting, we’re pulling our cutest summer outfits out of storage, and some of us may be participating in the time-honored tradition of spring cleaning. Here at the UGL, we’ve been working hard to keep our study spaces clean for you!

Snow White sweeps a dusty house with help from many small animals

We love a good, old-fashioned spring cleaning, but this year we’re approaching it a little differently. As you’re purging the fridge of long-expired condiments or tackling that pile of laundry you’ve been putting off for way too long now, why not take a moment to turn that energy inward? Just like old takeout containers or mismatched socks, anxieties and negative thoughts have a tendency to accumulate. Mindfulness can help us take stock of what’s going on in our brains so we can decide what we want to hold onto and what can be tossed out.

"I'm so excited because I love mess", by Marie Kondo

According to the Mayo Clinic, mindfulness is “a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment,” and clinical studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety. While taking care of mental health should always be a priority, it’s even more important than ever as we mark one year of living in a global pandemic. Reported rates of anxiety and depression have risen dramatically in the past year, and a recent study found that these issues particularly affect college students.

When someone asks you how your night went..... "Didn't get much sleep, but I did get a few hours of anxiety in."

With midterms coming up, we know that finding time for mindfulness might seem impossible. Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your schedule doesn’t have to be stressful, though! 

Schitts Creek reference, "Who has time amidst all this chaos?

 

Here’s a brief introduction to some of the (many) resources out there that can help you start the mental de-cluttering process at your own pace.

  • Apps: Smartphone apps can be an excellent way to learn more about mindfulness or to make it a daily practice! You can find guided meditations that range from just a few minutes to longer sessions, and some—like UCLA Mindful or Smiling Mind—are completely free. Other options, like Headspace or Insight Timer, offer some free content but require a subscription for full access. Liberate is a meditation app designed by people of color for people of color.
  • Books: The library has access to hundreds of books focused on mindfulness. Some helpful introductions to the topic include Wherever You Go, There You Are and The Miracle of Mindfulness.
  • Podcasts: If you’re more of an auditory learner or are sick of staring at screens, a podcast may be the way to go! When you’re looking for a quick break. Meditation Minis and The Daily Meditation Podcast offer episodes around 10 minutes each. More in-depth podcasts include the Mindfulness Meditation Podcast and The Rubin Mindfulness Meditation, which approaches mindfulness through discussions of visual artwork.
  • Counseling Center: This semester, the UIUC Counseling Center is providing some amazing virtual services for self-care. Try checking out the Daily Mindfulness Drop-Ins or the Recognition, Openness, and Insight Series!

Looking for even more resources? Head over to our Tech Wellness Guide to find more suggestions for prioritizing mental health while learning online.

Now it’s time to take a deep breath, drink a glass of water, and get started on that spring cleaning! Best of luck from all of us at the UGL.

Deep breathing

Written by: Hannah
Edited by: Ryan

 

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March Mania

Yay for spring! As February turns into March, we are excited about the warming of the weather, and also about March Madness. Whether or not you’re a sports watcher, it can be fun to make a bracket (even if it’s wiped out by the quarterfinals).GIF of orange text:

It will be different this year as we all know because of the pandemic, but we can still keep up the tradition. But for those of us who are not sport fans, your sports brackets can become book brackets. One way of doing a battle of the books is through March Book Madness, which was created by two teachers in Ohio. The tournament is broken into young adult and younger novels.

But March is also Women’s Month!

Five women dressed as Rosie the Riveter, flexing their arms

Below is a book battle that will help you read more female writers this month. These items are available at Champaign Public and Urbana Free Libraries and through the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library system. These items have been published in the last two to three years, although Ark Angels is a series of books, beginning in 2005, but the most recent addition to the series was published within the last two years (we included the first book in this list, rather than starting at the most recent.). This book battle has many options, spanning multiple genres, including romance, science fiction, memoirs, and LGBTQ+ topics.

Cartoon woman drinking coffee and reading at a cafe


Book cover of Hood Feminism

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues.

 

Book cover for Before She Disappeared

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten.

 

 

Book cover for Blink of an EyeBlink of an Eye by Iris Johansen

Delilah Winter is one of the hottest pop stars on the planet, so how in the world was she kidnapped right in the middle of a show at the famous Hollywood Bowl? If anyone can figure it out, it’s Dr. Kendra Michaels, who works with local and federal authorities on only the most impossible cases.

 

 

Book cover for The Burning GirlsThe Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

Welcome to Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake. Thirty years ago, two girls disappeared without a trace. Two months ago, the local vicar killed himself. Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a 14-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village for a fresh start and some peace. Instead, Jack finds a town mired in secrecy and a strange welcome package: an old exorcism kit and a note quoting scripture.

Book cover for Start HereStart Here by Trish Doller

Willa and Taylor were supposed to spend the summer after high school sailing from Ohio to Key West with their best friend, Finley. But Finley died before graduation, leaving them a 25-foot sailboat, a list of clues leading them to destinations along the way, and a friendship that’s hanging by a thread. Now, Willa and Taylor have two months and 2000 miles to discover how life works without Finley, and to decide if their own friendship is worth saving.

 

Book cover for Ark Angels

Ark Angels Graphic Novel Series by Sang-Sun Park

Three young girls. The three girls, Shem, Ham and Japheth, are sisters from another world. Equipped with their magical powers, they are charged with saving all the creatures of Earth from becoming extinct.

 

 

Book cover for AlienationAlienation by Ines Estrada

This book is about Elizabeth, an exotic dancer in cyberspace, and Carlos, who was just fired from the last human-staffed oil rig, attempting to keep their romance alive.

 

 

 

Book cover for Upright Women WantedUpright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her–a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

 

Book cover for Broken Places and Outer SpacesBroken Places and Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity by Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor was never supposed to be paralyzed. A college track star and budding entomologist, Nnedi’s lifelong battle with scoliosis was just a bump in her plan–something a simple operation would easily correct. But when Nnedi wakes from the surgery to find she can’t move her legs, her entire sense of self begins to waver.

 

Book cover for A Long Petal of the SeaA Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life irreversibly intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love.

 

Happy March Madness!

GIF of Belle from Beauty and the Beast in the library

Written by: Simone
Edited by: Nicole

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All About Yes

College is a time of self-discovery, and for many of you it will be a time and a place where you explore your sexuality. But a truly important part of that journey is understanding consent.

GIF of Moira Rose, from TV show Schitt's Creek, saying

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has an Affirmative Consent Policy, which means they define what consent is, and, very importantly, what consent is NOT. In short, consent is a freely given and ENTHUSIASTIC YES to EVERY STEP of sexual contact. 

Things to remember about consent:

  • Consent can be taken back at ANY time.
  • A “yes” to some things doesn’t automatically mean a yes to everything.
  • Consent can only be given by someone who fully understands their actions. Someone under the influence of drugs, alcohol, someone under the legal age, or someone unconscious or asleep can’t give consent.
  • It is not consent if the person feels threatened or afraid of saying “no.”
  • It is not consent if the person said “no” many times, but was asked until they were worn down or guilted and eventually said “yes.”
  • Just because someone doesn’t say “no,” does not mean they mean “yes.”

GIF of Keenan Thompson enthusiastically saying

When taking part in any sexual activity you need clear consent. If your partner seems quiet or not into it, just stop and talk to them. Proceeding with sexual activity without consent is called sexual assault. 

And consent is sexy! Consent is the best way to know that everyone is comfortable and having a good time. Consent is the key to exploring your sexuality in a safe, respectful manner. How better to get to know your own preferences than to explore in a culture of consent? 

GIF of Thor yelling

Much like other campuses around the country, we are still growing a clear culture of consent on our campus. Studies show that sexual assault does happen on campuses, and it happens at higher rates to women and transgender or gender non-confomring individuals. But that does not mean it doesn’t happen to men either! Sexual assault is defined by the Univeristy of Illinois as “any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.” Assault can happen to anyone by anyone. This is why understanding exactly what consent is and what it is not is so important. 

Don’t think it’s just sexual contact that’s wrong. Included in the Sexual Misconduct policy at Illinois is Sexual Harassment. Anything that falls under the Sexual Misconduct policy is subject to discipline by the university.  

Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. If you have been affected by assault, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has resources available to help. We Care can connect you with the right people to report an incident, who to talk to about what happened, and they also provide prevention training. They’ll listen, respect, and believe you. They also have resources for friends and family of assault survivors with simple steps to help you be there for your loved one. 

If you want to build a culture of consent on campus, the first place to start is with your friends and partners. Establish clear communication and consent for any touching, even hugs! Be there for the people around you, respecting them and listening if they have something to tell you. And always remember there are people here at Illinois who are available to help. A culture of consent isn’t something that will happen on its own. Each of us must do our part to make our campus a safe, supportive place to learn and grow.

GIF of Rihanna saying

Resources:

AAU Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct (2015). Association of American Universities (AAU). (2015, September 3). https://www.aau.edu/key-issues/aau-climate-survey-sexual-assault-and-sexual-misconduct-2015. 

Add Consent to Your Teen’s College Checklist. National Sexual Violence Resource Center. https://www.nsvrc.org/blogs/add-consent-your-teens-college-checklist. 

At illinois we care. https://wecare.illinois.edu/help/support/. 

Her Campus (2018, April 30). Creating a Culture of Consent on Your Campus. womenshealth.gov. https://www.womenshealth.gov/blog/campus-culture-consent. 

Human Resources. Sexual Misconduct – Campus Administrative Manual. https://cam.illinois.edu/policies/hr-79r/.

 

Written by: Maurissa

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Black History Month

As Black History Month dawns, as a woman of color, I lament the shortness of this month. However, February was chosen for specific reasons, in spite of its shortness. February was chosen by Carter G. Woodson to honor the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, and one of the most famous Abolitionist and a former America’s Most Photographed, Frederick Douglass to honor the birthdays of both men.

Despite the shortness of the month, Black History is everywhere. In lightbulbs, fun summer toys, Washington, D.C., music, fashion, language, and more. In fact, this is one of my favorite times of the year as I get to learn something new about the contribution of Black people to the fabric of the American experiment.

As Former President Barack Obama stated:

… From our earliest days, black history has been American history. We’re the slaves who quarried the stone to build this White House; the soldiers who fought for our nation’s independence, who fought to hold this union together, who fought for freedom of others around the world. We’re the scientists and inventors who helped unleash American innovation. We stand on the shoulders not only of the giants in this room, but also countless, nameless heroes who marched for equality and justice for all of us. It’s about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America.

“Shared and lived experiences,” forged on paper to challenge societal viewpoints, are present in all media forms. Literature reflects the current environment of our nation. Many books now feature individuals of color as main characters or are written by authors of color, a major change from decades past. And this inspires many children to become published and speak about what is important to them and why Their Black is Beautiful. For example, an eleven-year-old Black student, Aiden Taylor, has become a published author in the pandemic. His book, Me and My Afro, discusses the importance of his hair to his identity.

Hair is a large part of many people’s identity. For many people of color, particularly Black people, it can often become a fight against societal oppression. It is only in the last five years that individuals of color in the military could wear their hair in braids or dreads without reprimand. However, this is still a pervasive problem that many students face in schools, competitions, and beyond.

Shared experiences have shaped this campus. Illinois has a rich history of Black cultural experience and activism on this campus. William Walter Smith was the first Black student to graduate from UIUC in 1900 with a B.A. in Literature and Arts (he also received a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1907).  Maudelle Tanner Brown Bausfield was the first woman in 1906 with Hilda Lawson following in her footsteps with a PhD in 1939.

Kappa Alpha Psi’s second chapter, Beta, was founded at the University of Illinois on February 8th, 1913. This makes Kappa Alpha Psi the oldest Black fraternity on campus. In the 1960s, students lobbied the university to admit and enroll more students of color, which ended with over two hundred students being arrested. In 2015, Being Black at Illinois lobbied the university to re-instate the Project 500, the 1960s diversity initiative. Former students

Black History is everyone’s history. As Kamala Harris, the first woman of color to become the Vice-President of the United States of America said in her election night victory speech, “I may be the first, but won’t be the last.”  William Walter Smith, Maudelle Tanner Brown Bausfield, and Hilda Lawson may have been the pioneers, but they were not the last. Their legacies have allowed many Black students to attend and enrich Illinois and their home communities as evident by independent artists and educators, Mother Nature, whose experiences on campus led them to use hip hop to organize communities. The contributions made by many Black students have shaped Illinois into the future, lifting every voice.

If you want to know more about Black history at University of Illinois and beyond, please check out these sites and cities (this is not a comprehensive list):

The DuSable Museum of African American History– Chicago

National Civil Rights Museum – Memphis

African American Museum– Washington D.C.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum– Atlanta

National Black Music Museum– Nashville

University of Illinois, Archives – Urbana-Champaign

 

 

Written By: Simone Stone

References Cited

Atrl.net. (2016, October 18). Black Soul Train GIF. Giphy. http://gph.is/2esq9V3

Books by and/or about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color 2018- (2020, October 27). Cooperative Children’s Book Center. University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Education. https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/literature-resources/ccbc-diversity-statistics/books-by-about-poc-fnn/

Harris, K.(2020, November 7). Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris Addresses the Nation [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsrzIcTwtMo

Into Action (2021, January 25). Black Lives Matter BLM GIF. Giphy. https://gph.is/g/4oW8jyJ

Into Action (2021, January 25). Black Lives Matter BLM GIF. Giphy. https://gph.is/g/aXVN0YR

Jean-Philippe, M. (2021, Jan 7). The Reason Black History Month is in February. Oprah Magazine. Retrieved from MSN 2021/2/1.https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/the-reason-black-history-month-is-in-february/ar-BB1cyJ9P?li=BBnb7Kz

Johnson, P.K. (2016, December 27). Frederick Douglass was the Most Photographed American of the 19th Century. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/frederick-douglass-always-ready-his-close-n517391

Kappa Alpha Psi Celebrates its History as Illinois’ Oldest Black Fraternity. (2012, February 8). The Daily Illini. Retrieved 2021, February 1. https://dailyillini.com/uncategorized/2012/02/08/kappa-alpha-psi-celebrates-its-history-as-illinoisae-oldest-black-fraternity/

Kindy, D. (2019, June 21). The Accidental Invention of the Super Soaker. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/accidental-invention-super-soaker-180972428/

Keene, L. (n.d.). Benjamin Banneker: the Black Tobacco Farmer who the Presidents Couldn’t Ignore. The White House Historical Association. https://www.whitehousehistory.org/benjamin-banneker

Mirza, F. (2015, February 4). #BeingBlackatIllinois discusses solutions to African-American student decline. The Daily Illini. https://dailyillini.com/news/2015/02/04/beingblackatillinois-discusses-solutions-to-african-american-student-decline/

National Museum of African American History and Culture. (2021). A People’s Journey, A Nation’s Story.  https://nmaahc.si.edu/

National Center for Civil Rights at the Lorraine Motel (2021). Education and Interpretation. https://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/learn

National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum. (2021). About the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. https://www.civilandhumanrights.org/about-the-center/

National Museum of African-American Music. (2020). History. https://nmaam.org/

Peters, A.M. (2020, August 21). One Proposal for Improving Army Inclusivity for Women of Color: Update Hair Regulations. Military.com. https://www.military.com/daily-news/opinions/2020/08/21/one-proposal-improving-army-inclusivity-women-of-color-update-hair-regulations.html

Scholastic. (n.d.) Latimer, L. Culture and Change: Black History in America. Famous African-American Inventors. http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/bhistory/inventors/latimer.htm

Smith, M. (2021, February 1). 11-Year-Old Boy Writes Book Me and My Afro to Help Kids’ ‘Love the Way They Are.’ People. https://people.com/human-interest/boy-11-writes-book-me-and-my-afro-about-self-love/

Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture (2017, September 28). YouTube Faces GIF. Giphy. http://gph.is/2fThUTW

Straw, J., Swain, E., Prom, C. (2003, June). Guide to African-American Research Resources. University Archives at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. https://archives.library.illinois.edu/guides/afamer.php#bkmark1

Stubbs, R. (2019, April 17). A wrestler was forced to cut his dreadlocks before a match. His town is still looking for answers. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/04/17/wrestler-was-forced-cut-his-dreadlocks-before-match-his-town-is-still-looking-answers/

Student Life and Cultural Archival Program (2010). Project 500 and the Struggle for Campus Diversity at the University of Illinois. Oral History Projects at the Student Life and Cultural Archival Program. https://archives.library.illinois.edu/slcold/researchguides/oralhistory/project500/

“The Talk”: The Conversation That Sparked a Movement. (2019, January 1). My Black is Beautiful. https://www.mbib.com/en-us/redefining-black/the-talk-conversation-that-sparked-a-movement

Tse, K. (2021, January 29). Independent Media Center catches up with Mother Nature. The Daily Illini. https://dailyillini.com/features/2021/01/29/independent-media-center-catches-up-with-mother-nature/

The White House Office of the Press Secretary (2016, February 18). Remarks by the President at Black History Month Reception. Obama White House Archives. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/18/remarks-president-black-history-month-reception

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Pet De-Stress Event

Finals season is upon us once again, and this year– somehow– it’s more stressful than ever. But never fear, the UGL is here to help! No, we can’t take your final exams for you (although we do have study spaces available for all your last-minute cramming needs). What we can do is provide something just as wonderful as that feeling of turning in your last assignment: puppies! For one afternoon, library employees and some of our campus partners are (virtually) opening their homes and sharing their adorable puppies with the world. Word on the street is there will also be at least one horse in attendance. We’re not saying it’s Lil’ Sebastian, but we’re not saying it’s NOT Lil’ Sebastian… Here are just a few of our featured guests:

          (Phoebe)                         (Rue and Indy)                            (Elmo and Viago)

“When and how can I see these marvelous creatures?!” you may be asking yourself. Like every other event this semester, our de-stress fest will take place via Zoom. It will run from 1-4 PM on December 10th, the first day of reading period. In addition to live footage of pets performing tricks and goofing around, there will be short presentations from campus figures such as Professor Jane Desmond (with canine companion Shanti) discussing the relationship between pets and stress levels and UIPD Chief Alice Cary with therapy dog Archie. 

If you’d like to see the line-up of events, or just peruse more puppy pics, check out the event guide! You can register here if you’d like to stop by, or even stay for the whole afternoon. See you there!

 

Written by: Hannah

Edited by: Ryan

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Books That Will Almost Make You Want to Stop Watching TikTok…

As the year comes to a close and it somehow still feels like March, we thought you might need some books that fill you with joy and keep you entertained. It’s quite the understatement to say that 2020 has been a strange year, and we’ve probably all spent a record-breaking number of hours staring at screens for work, school, and entertainment. You know when you scroll through TikTok for 15 minutes but somehow two hours passed? Here are some books that will make you feel the same way!

Click on each book title for links to access through the University Library, or check out your local public library.

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

The Wang family is super wealthy. At least, they were. When they lose their fortune, the Wangs pack their few remaining possessions into an old car and drive from California to New York. Filled with humor, charm, and a healthy dose of awkward reality, this book will also fill the void of Schitt’s Creek being over.

 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Hahn

Whether or not you’ve seen the Netflix film adaptation, this book is worth the read. Lara Jean Song has written a letter to every boy she’s ever loved, and they’re all tucked away in a secret box. Somehow, her letters get mailed and now she’s being confronted by all her past crushes that she may or may not really be over.

 

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
(not available through UIUC, link goes to Champaign Public Library)

While everyone in her small town is completely obsessed with prom, Liz Lighty just wants to escape to college. But winning prom queen comes with scholarship money, so even though she thinks she’s too poor, too Black, and too awkward for her classmates, Liz decides to do whatever it takes to win that prize. She doesn’t like the spotlight, but she does like spending time with the new girl who is also running for prom queen…

 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

If you love dramatic reality shows, this book has that same addictive, guilty-pleasure feeling. Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick, but he fails to mention that his family is outrageously wealthy and their home is more like a palace. Since Nick is one of the island’s most eligible bachelors, Rachel finds herself with a target on her back in this world of gloriously insane wealth. After you read the book, there’s also a film adaptation!

 

When We Were Vikings by Andrew MacDonald

Zelda is a 21-year-old Viking enthusiast born with fetal alcohol syndrome. She lives with her older brother, Gert, and traverses life’s difficulties by adhering to some simple rules and ideals. After finding out that Gert has some questionable methods of making money, Zelda embarks on a heartwarming quest and discovers what makes a hero.

 

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

For a non-stop joyride, look no further than this novel about the son of America’s first female president. Alex Claremont-Diaz is charming and popular, in fact, he gets along with everyone – except for England’s Prince Henry. The two long-time nemeses make international news after causing a commotion at a royal wedding, and now they have to stage a fake friendship to do some damage control. The two have more in common than they realized, and their fake friendship evolves in a way that could have serious consequences for them and their nations.

 

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

This graphic novel is filled with fall vibes, friendship, and fun. Deja and Josiah have worked together every fall at the world’s best pumpkin patch, and this is their last shift together before they head to separate colleges. They decide to turn it into an epic night, eat all the best snacks, and finally talk to the girl Josiah has been mooning over for the past three years. Finding the girl isn’t as simple as they expect, but Deja and Josiah find lots of adventure along the way.

 

We hope you enjoy these books, let us know what you think!

 

Written and edited by: Nicole

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Dystopian Novels That Don’t Feel Like Fiction…

Escapism is great. Many of us have been watching a lot of Great British Baking Show and playing Animal Crossing through the pandemic. But sometimes, in the face of crises, it can feel satisfying to watch or read something that reflects what’s happening around us. Often, we are drawn to fiction that vocalizes something we have experienced but have never been able to fully understand or explain. Maybe that’s why these books feel so comforting and exciting right now. The following novels are all fictional, of course, but their apocalyptic and dystopian plots resonant a little bit more than usual. If you’re looking to pick up novels exploring what it’s like to live through pandemics, climate change, and political turmoil, check out some of these titles.

Click on each book title for links to access through the University Library, or check out your local public library.

Black Wave by Michelle Tea (2015)

This apocalypse novel takes place in California in 1999, but in a version of 1999 where the world is officially ending in a year because the environment is too messed up. Michelle, the main character, leaves the San Francisco Queer scene for L.A., trying to escape drug problems and failed relationships. But with only a year left, people begin dreaming collectively, and the lines of reality are increasingly blurred. Somehow, this book will quell your existential dread about climate change, at least temporarily.

 

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (1993)

Written by science fiction icon Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower takes place in a dystopian version of California in the 2020s. The state is plagued by fires, water shortages, drugs, lack of jobs, and violence. Meanwhile, teenager Lauren Olamina struggles to survive and to protect the people she loves while living with hyperempathy, a condition causing her to feel the pain of others. Meanwhile, she develops a new religion she hopes can save humanity. Needless to say, there is a whole lot going on in this book, and its iconic for a reason.

 

The Last Man by Mary Shelley (1826)

Frankenstein author Mary Shelley’s dystopian apocalypse novel is set in the late 21st century after a plague has destroyed humanity. The plague first hits warmer regions of the world, sending refugees north to England. But eventually it spreads and kills almost everyone, along with other climate disasters like floods and extreme weather. Eventually, the narrator is the only human left on Earth, and the book is ultimately about isolation, something many of us have become more familiar with lately.

 

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (2018)

In this near-future dystopian novel, abortion and in-vitro fertilization have become illegal in the United States with the Personhood Amendment, which grants rights to fetuses. The book follows five women living through the consequences of this legislation. If you liked The Handmaids Tale, this one’s for you.

 

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (2015)

Another one about climate change. This sci-fi novel takes place on a planet with one supercontinent and a fifth season that hits every few centuries, bringing devastating climate change along with it. Other planetary woes include a complex and oppressive caste system and a collapsing empire. Meanwhile, a woman tries to rescue her daughter as the world falls apart around her.

 

Zone One by Colson Whitehead (2011)

Written by Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad, Zone One is another novel about a pandemic. In this one, the virus is finally receding, but the zombies it created are still roaming Manhattan. Civilians team up to try to rid the island of zombies and resettle the city.

 

Severance by Ling Ma (2018)

Candance Chen is a millennial and a first-generation American living in New York City during a pandemic of Shen Fever, a fungal infection originating in China. Her boring office job is replaced with a cross-country trek for survival. It’s a science fiction satire of capitalism, with some eerie similarities to the pandemic we are all living through.

 

A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker (2019)

In this science fiction novel, the government has made large public gatherings illegal due to virus outbreaks and terror attacks. Luce Cannon was a successful musician until concerts were banned, but she still plays illegally. Rosemary Laws, on the other hand is used to doing things virtually, until she goes out scouting musicians for her new job. This one isn’t exactly dystopian, but music lovers missing live shows will appreciate this story about sharing art and connecting in difficult times.

 

If you need a break from reality after reading these almost-real-life novels, check back next week for books that are easy to escape into!

 

Written by: Izzy

Edited by: Nicole

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