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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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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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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Digital Book Display: Black Lives Matter

There are countless lists of books addressing issues of systemic racism, internal bias, police brutality, and the prison-industrial complex, but the books themselves might not be as easy to find. Many of these books are on backorder or have overwhelmingly long waitlists, as bookstores and libraries around the country are facing a demand larger than their supply. Having an abundance of people wanting to educate themselves is an excellent problem to have! Following is a list of books (in no particular order) that are available online for free, so you don’t have to wait to start exploring these important topics.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Written as a letter to his teenage son, Coates explores his own experiences confronting American history and ideals. Intensely personal, this book focuses on lived experience and finding one’s place in a world while carrying generations of pain. This book is temporarily available in our library catalog through HathiTrust, requiring your NetID and password.

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color edited by Cherríe L. Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa

This collection is a feminist anthology on the intersectionality of gender, race, sexuality, immigration status, and other identities. A mix of personal essays, poetry, interviews, and stories, this book brings to focus the importance of a feminism that liberates all. This book is temporarily available in our library catalog through HathiTrust, requiring your NetID and password. 

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis

Looking at the history and evolution of our prison system, Davis breaks down complex issues in an easy-to-understand way. She examines the interactions of politics, economics, race, gender, and incarceration, and offers new ways to think about crime and punishment. This book is temporarily available in our library catalog through HathiTrust, requiring your NetID and password.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (audiobook)

This critique of the criminal justice system challenges the belief of a post-racial society. Well-researched and thoughtful, Alexander discusses many issues faced by Black Americans and examines the intention behind our systems. This audiobook is available in our catalog through RB Digital, requiring you to create an account.

Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly about Racism in America by George Yancy

After writing an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Dear White America,” Yancy faced backlash beyond his expectations. This book asks white Americans to face the ways they have benefited from racism, and it looks to understand why his article was met with so much controversy. This book is available in our catalog through ProQuest Ebook Central and can be read online, or downloaded using a third-party software.

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States Edited by Joe Macaré, Maya Schenwar, and Alana Yu-lan Price

From specific stories to policies and research, this book looks at how the recent police killings of Black individuals fit into a larger context of policing. It has contributions from many writers and offers solutions to the institutional treatment of Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, mental illness, pregnancy, queerness, and more. This book is temporarily available for free through the publisher.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (audiobook)

Covering the long history of racist ideas in America, this book displays how racism was purposefully created for power and economic gain. Kendi offers an understanding of how we got here, and gives us tools for how we can move forward. This audiobook is temporarily available for free on Spotify. 

Let us know what you think!

 

Written and edited by Nicole

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Men’s Health Week: COVID-19 Edition

June is home to National Men’s Health Week. This was created to remind us that men’s health is extremely important. As former congressmanformer New Mexico governor, and co-sponsor of Men’s Health Week, Bill Richardson said, “Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.” 1 This is even more pressing in these days of COVID-19. Men are more likely to die from COVID. The CDC recommends quitting smoking, getting 2 ½ hours of physical activity weekly, and minimizing stress and seeking help to maintain mental health as ways to stay healthy 

Here are some recommendations to have a healthy Men’s Health Week: 

1) For dads who are anglophones and fans of history, Absolute History and Timeline provides informative videos on English history, ranging from the Middle Ages to the 1950s. I recommend Tony Robinsons’ Worst Jobs in History. Tony tries jobs ranging from tanner to water barrel deliveryman. However, if that is not your cup of tea, there are videos on how and why individuals died early prior to this century like The Hidden Killers of a Tudor Home by Susannah Lipscomb.  

2) Cardio helps with minimizing stress. I recommend Les Mill’s Body Combat, but it requires a monthly subscription. For those who do not want to spend money, PopSugar on YouTube has some great boxing workouts

A man dances like nobody is watching.

I also recommend Undersun Fitness on YouTube for people who like to lift weights and get stronger muscles by working them to failure. This channel provides simple exercises with resistance bands, but these exercises can be done with no equipment, only bodyweight. This workout brings results (my thighs were sore for several days and I do squats regularly.).  

A man cooks the perfect steak.

3) As for food, because physical health is often derived by what we eat, my favorite food personality is Alton Brown. During the pandemic, he has been posting videos of simple, healthy snacks like Chocolate Date(fruit) Shake, which has protein and fiber and is lightly sweetened with the chocolate and the fruit. If you have Hulu, I also recommend his Good Eats Reloaded, where he updates older recipes to include healthier aspects like substituting flour for gluten free options, for instance. 

4) Additionally, I also want to take the opportunity to highlight that the UGL will be offering a book club starting in the fall. Like cardio, reading is a great stress reliever and book clubs are an opportunity to connect with others, which, as we have found out during the pandemic, is something that societally, we take for granted.2 Furthermore, many companies have instituted company-wide book clubs as this have been proven to strengthen team-member engagement and minimize burn-out on the job. The UGL book club will be available online as a blog with discussion posts, but will include monthly Zoom meetings. This is designed to make it easier for people to commit at a level that works for their schedule. We hope to have you join us in the fall.  

But most importantly, I hope wherever you are that you and yours have a safe and healthy Father’s Day in these trying and stressful times as we attempt to return to some type of normalcy. 

References 

Brown, A (2020, May 16). Pantry Raid: Date Shake Edition. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEE4oq_NAck 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019, June 10). National Men’s Health Week. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Features. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthymen/index.html 

Grage, J – Undersun Fitness (2019, August 26). Build a Big Chest Without the Gym. YouTube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J1EN5oVIFQ 

Hulu (2016, September 14). Sexy, The Mindy Project GifGiphyhttps://media.giphy.com/media/l3vQWT60zQb2DDwnS/giphy.gif 

Jin, JM et al (2020, April 29). Gender Differences in Patients with COVID-19: Focus on Severity and Mortality. Frontiers in Public Health, 8 (152). doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.00152  

Lerner, M. (2020, May 26). Keep Turning the Pages with Your Book Club. The Hartford Extra Mile. https://extramile.thehartford.com/lifestyle/hobbies/book-club/ 

Public Health Maps (2020). Men’s Health Week 2020. PublicHealthMaps.org. https://publichealthmaps.org/calendar/2020/6/15/mens-health-week  

South Park (2016, August). Alton Brown Cooking GifGiphyhttps://media.giphy.com/media/3o6Ztdb3Pv8Dn3Paqk/giphy.gif 

Timeline-World History Documentaries (2018, April). Hidden Killers of the Tudor Home. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgbEVDi8Zdc 

Timeline- World History Documentaries (2018, February 17). The Worst Jobs in History-Dark Ages. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jgu7EJ9A8A&list=PL72jhKwankOjHQKPOlD3VP-raNOPMmAbD&index=1 

Bio:

Simone is a returning graduate assistant for the Undergraduate library. She enjoys reading vociferously and getting dragged down the YouTube rabbit hole. 

Written by: Simone
Edited by: Ryan

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Quarantine Diary 8: Memes in the time of quarantine

Hey everyone! My name is Amy and I’m writing to you from my parents’ house in southeast Michigan (AKA “the Metro-Detroit area”)! After briefly considering moving back to my apartment in Urbana post-spring-break, I decided that even as an introvert I would likely go a bit nuts if living by myself with no human contact for longer than a week.Due to recent events, morning screaming hours have been extended indefinitely [photo of baby opossum]
So here we are: 6 weeks later, re-wearing the same 5 pairs of leggings I brought home while completely ignoring the “hard pants” (more commonly known as “jeans”) I brought with me, and trying to juggle my new work-from-home, school-from-home, job-hunting-during-hiring-freezes, and Anxiety™ schedule.

"Has anyone come up with a good answer to 'how are you?' I have not." "Oh, you know, same panic different disco."

When every conversation now starts with a slightly-more-sincere-than-usual “how are you?” you have to start getting creative!

But that’s not fun to talk about, so instead I’m going to be sharing some of my (questionable) coping methods (spoiler alert: this includes memes) along with strategies actually backed by doctors and therapists!

Small Joys I’ve been indulging in:

  • Snuggling my kitty, Lucy – but also lots of playtime to counteract the excessive treats my parents give her.

    Photo of cat

    Lucy, my 6 year old rescue cat

  • Virtual happy hours, coffee hours, and game nights with friends and family! Zoom calls can be exhausting, but it is so nice to hear about the antics of my friend’s new puppy and have my 8-month-old niece hang up our video call because she wants to grab my face through the phone screen.
  • Shamelessly binge-watching TV shows/movies:
    • Brooklyn 99: This show has been on my watch list for literally years, with at least 70% of people who know me at all recommending it, but I have only started watching it recently due to who I am as a person. If you’re looking for some fun, light-hearted, and wholesome comedy, this show is a fantastic distraction full of quirky characters and ridiculous shenanigans. Bonus points: there’s a corgi!
    • Wynonna Earp: Canadian sci-fi featuring quips, demons, true love, cowboys, a fantastic portrayal of sister relationships, and a magic gun.
    • Bob’s Burgers: I stan Louise Belcher.
      Louise from Bob's Burgers saying "Let's be clear. I did absolutely nothing wrong."
    • Jane Austen adaptations: more timely than you’d think!
      Jane Austen movies invented social distancing [four stills from Jane Austen movies with characters standing far apart]

      See also: “I went outside and caught a cold. Now I am ill and must be on bed rest for two weeks without seeing any of my family!”

  • Memes: THE MEMES. I would like to thank God and also Jesus for the high quality quarantine memes that have been helping a lot of us to laugh and find amusement in our current predicament. Some favorites:

"crap this virus is turning all the people into pigeons #coronavirus" [images of a plaza: 'before" photo shows large crowd of people, 'after' photo shows only pigeons]

“Nature is healing.”

Photo of a sign from Toronto, Canada that reads "Do your part. Stay apart. Keep a distance of 6 ftt (2 m) (the length of three geese) from others."

6 ft is also an appropriate amount of distance to keep between yourself and a goose.

[image of a tweet] No.. one... cleans like Gaston, quarantines like Gaston, no one stops spreading COVID-19 like Gaston

Image of Gru from "Despicable Me" movie with a blank poster and a speech bubble saying "we can't see the slides"

First two weeks of classes after moving to Zoom, Spring 2020 (colorized)

Photo of a decorative sign that says 'gather', with comment: "Take it down, Karen. It's illegal."

Karen, I want to speak to your manager…

When someone in your house comes back from getting groceries: [image from Lord of the Rings movie with Frodo: "What news of the ouside world? Tell me everything."]

“Was there any toilet paper this week?!”

And now, some actual advice on staying mentally healthy during “these unprecedented times.” The UIUC Psychology Department put together a COVID-19 Mental Health Resources list with tips for self-care, connecting with others, getting help, staying productive, ideas for how to unwind, and more. Here are a few of my favorites I’ve been trying:

  • Keep track of time by planning a schedule for your day with time blocking and other strategies to increase focus and finish out the semester strong.
  • Find natural light! Warmer weather means we no longer have the excuse of “too cold” when deciding whether to stay in bed or go for a walk.
  • Healthy sleep habits can make a huge difference. I’ve been completely thrown off my old schedule and have already forgotten what “mid-day” is supposed to mean (pretty sure it isn’t supposed to be 8 pm), but I’m working on limiting my screentime and caffeine intake before bed to help me sleep during the actual nighttime.

We’re almost done with this semester – hang in there, and keep an eye out for some stress relief activities on the UGL’s social media later this week!

written and edited by Amy

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