Five Tips for Surviving Finals Week

It’s that time of year, folks. With finals upon us, here are five basic tips to keep in mind for hanging in there during finals week.


1) Know Your Schedule

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If you’re taking exams, make sure to have them marked on your calendar. Also be sure to note down all of your deadlines so you don’t miss any.


2) Have a Plan
Having a study plan is essential for making time to prepare yourself for finals, especially if you have multiple deadlines to juggle. Scheduling out designated blocks of time for each class can help ensure you aren’t forgetting to prepare for any of your finals. However, it’s a good idea to prioritize which exams or essays are the most important so that you can ensure extra time to prepare.


3) Get 8 Hours of Sleep

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Hear me out on this one. While we’ve all had to pull an all-nighter at least once, remember to be still getting roughly eight hours of sleep per night. Being sleep-deprived not only is bad for your health but makes it much more difficult to focus on your materials.


4) Eat Right and Drink Lots of Water
Even though it can be tempting to have Starbucks for every meal during finals week, a healthy diet and staying hydrated will give you the fuel you need to rock those exams. High protein foods, fruits, and vegetables are great sources for energy that’ll make you feel better in the long run than ten cups of coffee.


5) Don’t Forget Self-Care

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Always remember to take care of yourself and take the occasional break, especially if you’re feeling burnt out from hours of studying. Taking an hour to watch your favorite show, knit, or decorate your Animal Crossing village can give you a much-needed break and help grant you mental energy to focus on your work afterwards. Don’t forget to get some sunlight outside and take advantage of the lovely spring weather.


Good luck with finals, and remember the Undergraduate Library has study spaces available if you need a space to prepare for exams.


Written by: Will
Posted by: Maurissa

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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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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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Not-To-Miss Book-To-Screen

Welcome to Fall 2020! Chilly weather is setting in. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and you can’t go ANYWHERE because of the pandemic! But fear not, (or perhaps fear is what you’re after?) there are a bunch of new book to screen adaptations that can get you through the spooky nights. Read a book, watch a movie, and compare! Here’s a list of some fantastic stories that started as books that can soon grace your screen. 

 

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

A classic Agatha Christie whodunit set on a cruise ship on the Nile river. Inspector Poirot follows the clues to try to find a killer.

Book cover with palm branches and the title Death on the Nile    Movie poster with a river boat on the water and a dark red sunset, reads Death on the Nile   

The film version is scheduled to be released in theaters on December 18th, starring A-listers like Gal Godot, Annette Benning, Letitia Wright, and Russel Brand. 

You can request a copy of the book or audiobook through the UIUC Libraries or the Champaign Public Library (or, for remote students, your local public library). You can also purchase from your favorite bookseller.

 

Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier

A brooding thriller about a young woman who marries a rich widow and goes to his large manor as his new bride. But once there she can’t help but feel like his deceased wife hasn’t really left.

 Book cover of stairs, a stylized "R" and the title Rebecca    Film post of a man and woman, title Rebecca

The 1940 Alfred Hitchcock version is ICONIC, but Netflix is now streaming a new version starring Armie Hammer, Lily James, and Kristen Scott Thomas. 

A copy of the e-book is available through Hathi Trust via the UIUC Libraries or you can get a copy at the Champaign Public Library (or, for remote students, your local public library). You can also purchase from your favorite bookseller.

 

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Who says only kids can read a kid’s book? The Witches is a fabulously fun and sometimes freaky story about a boy and his grandmother staying in a hotel during a witch’s convention. And these witches HATE children. From the same mind that brought us James and the Giant Peach and Matilda.

Book cover with an illustration of a woman in a green dress standing arms outstretched over a small boy. Title The Witches.     Movie poster, image of a woman with her arms outstretched standing on a red carpet while others look over her shoulders. Title The Witches.

HBOMax released a film adaptation on October 22nd. Starring Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, and directed by Robert Zemeckis. This book to film adaptation is another case where there’s a classic movie version (1990’s The Witches starring Angelica Houston) which is tough competition. The Witches (1990) is currently streaming on Netflix providing the possibility of a read-watch-watch and compare!

You can request a copy of the book through the UIUC Libraries or the Champaign Public Library (or, for remote students, your local public library). You can also purchase from your favorite bookseller.

 

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw is actually a novella, so it’s one of the shorter ones on the list. First published in 1898, the language is definitely that of its time. If you’re looking for shocking, graphic horror, this might feel underwhelming, but the brooding atmosphere is perfect for a spooky season read. It is written as a manuscript from a young woman who accepts a position as a governess in the English countryside for two young children. Isolated, she puts all her energy into protecting the children. But who is protecting her?

Book cover of a painting of two silhouettes in a boat in front of a large house. Title The Turn of the Screw.   

There have been many adaptations of The Turn of the Screw, including a film version from earlier this year called The Turning (2020). The newest is from the creators of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix (also a book to screen adaptation!) and it’s called The Haunting of Bly Manor. Like Hill House, this adaptation isn’t an exact replica of the book plot, but rather a base for the story. You’ll love seeing how the writers wove in details from the book!

Available online as audiobook through the UIUC libraries, or a book can be requested  through the Champaign Public Library (or, for remote students, your local public library). You can also purchase from your favorite bookseller.

 

Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune is one of the most beloved science fiction novels of all time. A man, Paul Atreides, leads nomadic tribes in a battle to control the desert planet Arrakis. There’s political intrigue, a resource vital for interstellar travel, and giant worms. The book is lengthy, but you won’t regret delving into this universe.

Book cover with orange and yellow waves and figure of a man walking into the distance. Title Dune  Movie poster, multiple figures in front of a night sky, planets visible. Title Dune.

The movie adaptation starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya was slated for December 2020 but has been pushed back until December 2021. Though a bummer, it will give you time to get through this hefty book and also perhaps check out some of the sequels. There is also a classic movie version from 1984 directed by David Lynch that’s worth a watch and might just hold you over for the newest version.

Available as an e-book and audiobook through the UIUC libraries and through the Champaign Public Library (or, for remote students, your local public library). You can also purchase from your favorite bookseller.

You’d be surprised how many movies are adaptations of books. Reading a book and watching its movie counterpart is a great way to fill the long, chilly nights. Suggest a mini book-club to your friends, or bring your thoughts to our monthly Bring Your Own Book Club meetings! Though we can’t all pile onto a couch for a movie night, you can always have a great, socially-distant conversation about what you did or didn’t like about the books, the movies, the shows, all of it! Let us know in the comments if you’ve checked any of these out, or if there’s another upcoming adaptation that you’re excited for!

Written by Maurissa Myers O’Connor

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Bring Your Own Book Club+

The Undergraduate and the Residence Halls Libraries are putting together a book club this semester!

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Work Before

Gif of a child in sunglasses dancing with text "Workin' from home"

Now…

With the inability to hang out in-person because of the current environment, we wanted to provide an opportunity for members of the University of Illinois to connect via books and other forms of media such as movies and video games. We hope to provide this program throughout the semester. There will be prizes for individuals who can attend (or participate by writing a blurb, if they cannot make the scheduled meeting).

You might be asking yourself, why a book club?  

Book clubs are great because they provide an opportunity for socialization! Additionally, a book club is a chance to explore and discover new things, particularly while we are limited in our ability to travel and socialize like usual. For instance, campus book clubs held this summer were a great way to get to meet new people over Zoom while everything was shut down. It was also a wonderful way to build reading lists as each attendee shared some great new recommendations. Additionally, these groups provided suggestions of shows and movies, like Great Teacher Onizuka 

Most importantly, reading books, watching television, or playing games is fun! And by extension, so are book clubs. Perhaps the strongest reason to join this book club is that you will meet fellow media and book enthusiasts who are as invested in learning about your likes as we are about you. Maybe we can bond over a show like Lovecraft Country? 

Our first meeting is Wednesday, September 23rd at 6 p.m. RSVP at this sign-up form.  We can’t wait to see you there!

Gif of Aladdin and Jasmine with text "A whole new world"

Written by: Simone

Edited by: Maurissa & Nicole

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