Read What You Love, Recommend What You Love

“Where is the classic American literature?” asks the young man who approaches my desk, baseball hat on backwards and pants sagging low. His friend stares down at his phone, seemingly uninterested in the exchange.

“Well, that might depend. Are you looking for a particular book or author?”

“No… Well… Maybe I should ask you this: What’s something you’ve read lately that you loved?”

Taken slightly aback – I’m almost never asked for reader’s advisory while working the reference desk at Wells – I pause before saying, “Well, I’m not sure… What do you like to read?”

“I just want something that’s fun to read but still has substance and meaning, you know?”

Now I’m truly at a loss for words. No one ever asks me for something with meaning – and, honestly, I can’t blame them. After an entire semester filled with school work, the last thing I want to do is think. But here is an undergrad completely defying the expectations I’ve set for my day-to-day work at the library. Substance and meaning, he says. But what to recommend?

While I had a list of recommendations available in my head, and was able to send these two students away satisfied – yes, two; the friend who seemed disinterested immediately engaged in conversation once we began discussing book titles – I had to wonder: What recommendations would my fellow public service assistants have made? Would Tessa’s recommendation, for instance, have been better-suited to these students? Or maybe Tim would have provided them with the book that became their new favorite as well.

And so the following list was born. I hope you’ll not only find something for yourself on here, a book that speaks to you personally and perhaps brings you out of the “I can’t possibly think any more today” mentality to which I’m sure you, too, occasionally fall victim. But I also hope you think of this list the next time a student (or professor, custodian, circulation supervisor, etc.) asks, “What’s something you’ve read lately that you loved?”

(The fantastic thing for those of you here at IU-Bloomington is that, at the time of this posting, most of the following books are currently available in the Wells Core Collection. And those that aren’t here yet should be arriving soon!)


Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

“I like reality reading. Grad school killed me, and I like the escape of listening to other people’s problems and how they’ve overcome them.” – Kate Otto, Learning Commons Librarian

Learn more here.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

“A fascinating book about falconry, humanity, and grief.” – Carin Graves, public service assistant

Learn more here.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakeur

“I am an avid fiction reader with a deep fear of non-fiction, but in an effort to get over my fear I read Into Thin Air. The book very much reads like fiction as a journalistic narrative of true events. Gripping and intriguing!” – Catherine Fonseca, public service assistant

Learn more here.

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

“The story of Teddy Roosevelt and his son Kermit’s exploration of an unmapped section of the Amazon. This story is packed with suspense, adventure, murder, and more. It’s a page-turner if there ever was one.” – Brian Plank, public service assistant

Learn more here.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

“It’s a very moving and incredibly well-written story following the lives of a young girl living in France and a young boy living in Germany, during World War Two.” – Sarah Klimek, public service assistant

Learn more here.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Tells the story, spanning years, of Ifemelu and Obinze. Starting in corrupt Nigeria, the novel follows their separate paths in the UK and USA. Themes include: race, love, identity.” – Kelsey Hayes, public service assistant

Learn more here.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

“Hard sci-fi space opera meets feminism with clear investments in gender justice.” – Nicholae Cline, Digital Research Librarian

Learn more here.

The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson

“A fascinating and disquieting look into the mind of a woman falling apart – or perhaps finally being put back together.” – Kaitlin Bonifant, public service assistant

Learn more here.

The Helios Disaster by Linda Boström Knausgaard

“A coming of age story that ties together myth and other things that make it pretty cool.” – Tim Berge, public service assistant

Learn more here.

The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry

“It’s a great coming of age story about a bored boy in a small town – lots of nostalgia.” – Ryan Frick, public service assistant

Learn more here.

Lumberjanes Vol. 1 & 2 by Noelle Stevenson

Lumberjanes has it all: camping, friendship, dinosaurs from another dimension, and hardcore lady types.” – Kristin McWilliams, public service assistant

Learn more here.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

“A beautiful commentary on the act, and art, of creating. Honestly, everyone should read this book at least once.” – Kaitlin Bonifant, public service assistant

Learn more here.

The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross

“Ross combines the best of music criticism with an entertaining and informative journey through music in the 20th century.” – Bret McCandless, public service assistant

Learn more here.

Syzygy, Beauty: An Essay by T Fleischmann

“Fleischmann blends prose poetry, memoir, and art criticism into a beautiful essay on non-binary experience, art, and desire.” – Tessa Withorn, public service assistant

Learn more here.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

“Chinua Achebe was a master storyteller and ‘the father of African Literature.’ Things Fall Apart is his most famous book.” – Carin Graves, public service assistant

Learn more here.

-Kaitlin Bonifant

Love is (Not) in the Air: Help with Anti-Valentine’s Research

Did Valentine’s Day leave you with a case of the blues over mass-marketed appropriation of romance and any patriarchal implications resulting from February’s beloved holiday? Well, guess what–Wells Library is here to help you get out of that funk. We have enough resources on feminism, sexism, the patriarchy, etc. for even the most anti-Valentine’s Day humans out there.

First things first: to find library books and media on particular subjects like feminism, you can use IUCAT (, the library catalog. Use the search box to search for any keyword you’re interested in (good keywords on this subject include: gender, feminism, women’s rights, social change, social justice, gender equality, patriarchy, sexism), then click on the “Subject” tab on the left sidebar of the results page. This tab will open up to show subjects that correspond with your keyword, and you can choose any of these subjects to help narrow your search and make it more specific.


The following 5 library items should help get you started on your way to beating that case of the Valentine’s blues:

modernmisModern Misogyny: Anti-Feminism in a Post-Feminist Era, by Kristin Anderson
“Modern Misogyny examines contemporary antifeminism in a “postfeminist” era. It considers the widespread idea that the feminist movement has ended, it achieved what it set out to achieve and is irrelevant to contemporary women’s lives. Modern Misogyny argues that equality has not been achieved and that sexism and discrimination are now packaged in a more palatable but stealthy form.”

feminismFeminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements, by Dorothy Sue Cobble
“In this bold, revisionist history, three leading scholars of women’s history provide the first concise history of American women’s movements over the nearly hundred years since women gained the right to vote. They eschew the popular–though incomplete–narrative focusing on the 1960s and 1970s, and trace the world-changing social movement to the 1920s. This broader canvas allows for the struggles of all women, including working-class women, to come to the foreground.”

genmGeneration M: Misogyny in Media and Culture (streaming video), written, produced, & directed by Thomas Keith
“For all of the achievements of the womens movement over the past four decades, misogyny remains a persistent force in American culture. In this important new documentary, Thomas Keith, Professor of Philosophy at California State University-Long Beach, looks specifically at misogyny and sexism in mainstream American media, exploring how negative definitions of femininity and hateful attitudes toward women get constructed and perpetuated at the very heart of our popular culture.”

justiceFeminism and Global Justice, by Kerry Carrington
“Feminist work within criminology has done much to enhance understanding of the link between sex, gender and crime, yet struggles to maintain relevance in a world where concerns about gender inequality are marginalized. The book argues that for feminism to enhance its conceptual and political relevance in 21st century requires new bold directions in feminist thinking about gender, crime and global justice.”

killinKilling Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women (streaming video), by Jean Kilborne
“In this new, highly anticipated update of her pioneering Killing Us Softly series, the first in more than a decade, Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity. The film marshals a range of new print and television advertisements to lay bare a stunning pattern of damaging gender stereotypes – images and messages that too often reinforce unrealistic, and unhealthy, perceptions of beauty, perfection, and sexuality.”

-Faith Bradham

Dragons in the Library!

Appreciate a Dragon Day was January 16th. Even if you missed this most joyous of holidays, it’s probably okay to appreciate a dragon at any time of the year. Fortunately, the Wells Library has some books featuring dragons to help you get in the spirit of the holiday.

One of the most famous dragons in Western literature is Smaug, the gold-hoarding dragon from The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Painting of Smaug on a pile of gold
By J. R. R. Tolkien. From

Smaug has recently become more popular with the release of The Hobbit movie trilogy, in which he is played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The Hobbit is the prequel to The Lord of the Rings. It features some of the same characters and sets in motion key plot points. If The Lord of the Rings seems too long or dense to deal with in the midst of a busy semester, don’t worry–the book version of The Hobbit is a much lighter and easier read.

Another short and light book featuring dragons is The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. The first half of the books shows Aerin, the main character, training herself to slay dragons. Her kingdom contains small dragons the size of dogs, which, while they sound adorable, are actually quite destructive and dangerous. Aerin practices on these pint-sized dragons to prepare herself to face a much larger version named Maur. Her battle with Maur is fast-paced and incredibly suspenseful. The dragon battles alone make the book worth the read.

One of the most classic dragons in Western Literature is the dragon from Beowulf. Many years after defeating the demon Grendel and Grendel’s mother, Beowulf must defend his kingdom’s people from a very angry dragon.

Painting of Beowulf fighting a dragon.
By J. R. Skelton. From

Beowulf is the oldest known epic poem in the Old English language. Unfortunately, Old English is a much different language than modern English, so you will likely need to read the poem in translation. The IU Libraries have several translations (like the ones here or here). If that still doesn’t sound like fun, Beowulf has been adapted into not one, but two graphic novels that are kept in the Education Library at IU. In addition to creatively telling Beowulf’s epic story in comic form, they have some gorgeous artwork.

If you are just looking for some general knowledge on dragons instead of a book featuring them as characters, Bloomington’s libraries can get you that information. There are several non-fiction books about dragons in IU’s collections. Dragons, Their History and Symbolism and Dragons and Dragon Lore both give a fairly short overview of how stories about dragons were created and evolved in human myths. Perhaps the most intriguing book about dragons that IU has is Dragons and Unicorns: A Natural History. This book in the folklore collection reads like a serious zoological textbook. You may choose to believe that this is evidence of dragons’ existence.

Dragon skull on a beach.
More unequivocal and definitely real evidence of the existence of dragons. From

Finally, Game of Thrones, the first book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, is currently the most high-profile book featuring dragons. Dragons play a major role in the events of the series– fifth book is even called A Dance with Dragons. Additionally, dragons figure heavily in the turbulent history of the Game of Thrones world that characters frequently refer to. Dragons were often used in battles and to hold power over entire kingdoms.

These are just some of the books in IU’s collections that can help you to fully appreciate a dragon, even if you did miss the “official” holiday. If you would like more books featuring dragons, you can look at this list of dragons in literature, or you can ask for assistance from any of the librarians in Wells Library in person or over chat.

– Michayla Sullivan

Surviving Finals Week

With finals week fast approaching, if you’re at all like most of us, you’re probably wondering how you are going to survive the crippling stress of finals. Well, to reassure you that you can and will survive finals week, here are 5 tales of survival for you to take comfort in. Spoiler alert! The individuals from these stories all survived despite horrible conditions, which means you can surely survive finals week.

1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
16101128 After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, in this must-read science fiction novel, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The aliens can take human bodies and they can look, speak and act exactly like humans – how can the human race win in this situation? How can they form alliances when anyone could be the enemy? With the Earth’s last survivors scattered, Cassie believes the only way to stay alive is to stay alone. Cassie is forced to choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

2. 127 Hours
127hours2dIn April 2003 Aron Ralston, a 27-year-old hiker, fell and was trapped in a narrow crevasse, his right arm wedged against the rock wall by a boulder. Mr. Ralston’s ordeal was a struggle for survival and a profound existential crisis. He had gone to Bluejohn Canyon, Utah, for a rock-climbing weekend alone. Not telling anyone where he is going is part of the point: real freedom means getting a clean break from civilization and the burdens of family, friends, and other responsibilities. Finding himself stuck, he knows he can’t expect anyone to come to his rescue, which forces him to ruminate about his family, his ex-girlfriend, and the hereafter. As a trained engineer and a skilled–albeit somewhat careless–outdoorsman, he understands his predicament as a practical challenge, a technical problem. After struggling for more than five days, he makes an imminently logical decision about its solution. The movie is pretty extreme; it may be too disturbing to watch for some people, and you may need to turn away during parts of the film. So basically, it’s a must see.

3. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
1898Into Thin Air–a highly recommended story–is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer’s book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author’s own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.

4. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
content An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong…and science proves a dangerous toy.
Now, you might have seen the movie–it did go on to become one of the most popular movies of all time, grossing over a billon dollars, and changed the way we looked at special effects forever–but I highly encourage reading the novel. There are hundreds of pages of action that were not included in the motion picture, additional plot twists, new dinosaurs and other surprises to prove to all that Crichton’s original was sheer genius.

5. The Descent
MV5BMjA5NzQ1NTgwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjUxMzUzMw@@._V1_SX214_AL_ In this British horror-thriller, six women meet in a remote part of the Appalcahians to go on a caving expedition in an unmapped cave system, which in hindsight might not have been the smartest move. Their adventure soon goes horribly wrong when a collapse traps them deep underground, and they find themselves hunted by troglofaunal flesh-eating humanoid monsters! They are literally fighting for their lives.

So besides the comfort of knowing others–even if some of them are fictional–have survived worse than IU finals week, what can we take away from these five titles that apply to your own survival?

  • Sleep is important. Don’t stay up all night.
  • Eat well. You need brain food (i.e. not Ramen on-the-go).
  • Drink plenty of water. It’s vital for staying healthy.
  • Maps are useful. You don’t want to be late to your final (or eaten by flesh-eating monsters).
  • Take regular, scheduled breaks. (Okay, most of the survivors in the stories couldn’t actually do this, so you should be even more comforted that you can.) Every 3 hours or so, take a break from studying and recharge. Your studying will be more beneficial if you take some time to do something invigorating or relaxing like exercising or reading/watching one of these 5 super fantastic survival titles!
  • Relax. You are going to make it through; the apocalypse hasn’t hit yet.

  • And one last tip from the most important survival book you will ever read, Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead:

    “Remember; no matter how desperate the situation seems, time spent thinking clearly is never time wasted.”

    -Krista K. Mullinnix

    The Burroughs Century in Bloomington, February 5-9

    William S. Burroughs, also known by his pen name, William Lee, rose to prominence during the era of The Beats in the 1950s. He wrote novels, essays, short- stories, and was also known for his spoken word performances. Like many of his famous friends – such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg – he was extremely influential and still is to this day.

    In honor of Burroughs’ 100th birthday, the city of Bloomington is holding The Burroughs Century, a festival starting Wednesday, February 5 (Burroughs’ birthday), and lasting through Sunday, February 9. Join in on the fun and celebrate the life and works of a literary master!

    Here are some samples of some of Burroughs’ work held right here on the Bloomington campus:

    Herman B Wells Library Holdings:
    Everything lost: the Latin American notebook of William S. Burroughs
    PS3552.U75 E63 2008

    Naked lunch [videorecording]
    PN1997 .N32453 2003

    Rub out the words : the letters of William S. Burroughs 1959-1974
    PS3552.U75 Z49 2012

    Fine Arts Library Holdings:
    Naked lunch [book]
    PS3552.U75 N3 1990

    Lilly Library Holdings:
    And the hippos were boiled in their tanks
    PS3503.U78 A8 2008

    For more literature by or about Burroughs, visit IUCAT.


    Summertime in Bloomington!

    You might be in the midst of finals right now but have no fear, summer is near! If you’re one of the many students who stay in Bloomington during the semester break consider yourself lucky. Bloomington has a ton of offerings for students looking to enjoy the weather and relax after a hard year of studies. The Herman B Wells Library also has some great stuff for you to enjoy in these warm months ahead. Here is just a sampling of your Bloomington summertime options.

    For delicious food and community connection visit The Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market, open every Saturday from April through November. Located next to City Hall at 401 N. Morton Street the market is open 8 a.m. through 1 p.m. Local vendors offer a large variety of produce, flowers, baked goods, and crafts. Live music happens frequently too. This is truly a community event and a must visit for all Bloomington residents.

    Looking for a cheap place to cool off this summer? Check out the swimming, boating and fishing options at Lake Monroe. This local reservoir is just 20 minutes south of downtown and offers three beaches, boat rentals, picnic spots and more.

    The Monroe County Fair runs from July 27th through August 3rd, 2013. Fried food, ferris wheels, cute animals, and a demolition derby are all awesome reasons to visit this yearly event. For even more events, festivals, and outdoor fun suggestions visit the Bloomington events calendar!

    If you’re not in the mood to venture off of campus for summer fun look no further than the Wells Library. Be sure to browse the movie collection down in Media and Reserve Services. They have TV shows, classic films, and foreign flicks to keep you entertained all summer long.

    And don’t forget about books! Here a few enjoyable titles found in the Wells Browsing Collection, located on the first floor of the West Tower.

    fey For a peak into the life of a hilarious and one of a kind comedian check out Bossypants by Tina Fey. This memoir describes Fey’s early years as a self-proclaimed nerd and how she found her voice in comedy and acting. Insider tidbits about Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock display the authors honest and witty style. Look in the browsing collection under F for this great read.

    blue For a more serious tone check out The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, a coming of age tale about an eleven year old African American girl in 1940’s small town Ohio. Pecola Breedlove discovers difficult realities about race, gender and life. Written in thoughtful lyrical prose this classic novel can be found under M in the browsing collection.

    ghost Finally, for a quick and visually pleasant read there are a number of graphic novels in the browsing collection to check out. Among the titles include Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brogsol a story of a teenage girl who befriends a ghost but gets more than she bargains for in this uncommon relationship. Search under B in the browsing collection for this coming of age comic with stark images and a moving story.


    Spring Break (Gone Bad)

    For those of us who were not able to (or did not wish to) escape to Florida for a Spring Break filled with sun, sand and debauchery, here is a book list to remind us why the beach is not always paradise:

    Spring Break by Kayla Perrin (2010)
    PerrinSmallWhen Chantelle, Erica, and Ashley planned to spend their college Spring Break at an all-inclusive resort in an island paradise their intention was to fill their days with sunshine and partying; however, their plans change after Ashley breaks up with her boyfriend, meets a stranger in the bar and mysteriously disappears. Island life is no paradise in this tale of nail-biting suspense and potential murder.

    Gator a-go-go by Tim Dorsey (2010)
    DorseySmallTo the hordes of college students on their Florida Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Serge A. Storms and his sidekick, Coleman, seem like fun-loving party gurus protecting them from corrupt drug dealers and meddling federal agents. What the gang of party followers does not know is that, behind the wacky antics, Serge is a vigilante serial killer leaving another trail of dead bodies in this 12th installment of the darkly humorous Serge Storms series.

    Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow (2003)
    DoctorowSmallEveryone thinks of the delightful fantasy of Disney World when they think of a Florida vacation – even in the futuristic Bitchun society where all of today’s commonplace problems (money, illness, death) have been solved. In this clever work of science fiction dystopia even the Hall of Presidents is not safe from a virtual reality all-sensory assault and the clueless protagonist, Jules, must work to defend the tourist attraction.

    Rites of Spring (Break) (An Ivy League Novel) by Diana Peterfreund (2008)
    PeterfreundSmallWhether you are attending a Big Ten or Ivy League school, earning a college education is hard work. More than ready for a break from her stressful routine, Amy Haskell, a member of an ultra-elite secret society at her University, is expecting a relaxing Spring Break visit to the society’s private island in the Florida Keys. Though she does manage to find a bit of romance, a string of bad luck leads to chaos and may even prove to be fatal in this third installment of Peterfreund’s Secret Society Girl series.

    Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters by Jessica Valenti (2007)
    ValentiSmallFor many, Spring Break is about “Girls Gone Wild.” Valenti invites the newest generation to embrace feminist activism by addressing many of the real-life challenges facing today’s young women including pop culture, birth control, sexual harassment, beauty, relationships, and more, in a style that they can relate to and understand.

    Dying to Drink: Confronting Binge Drinking on College Campuses by Henry Wechsler, PhD and Bernice Wuethrich (2002)
    WechlserSmallSpring Break partying is the quintessential example of the binge drinking “culture” which has overtaken American college campuses. This accessibly written account by the director of the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Studies gives firsthand student testimonies collected from 50,000 students at 140 four-year colleges, discusses the issue with concerned health care professionals, and shares tragic news stories related to the problem.

    American Beach: a Saga of Race, Wealth, and Memory by Russ Rymer (1998)
    RymerSmallFlorida’s beaches are not all about Spring Break parties and debauchery. This work of narrative non-fiction focuses on the founder of the American Beach resort and Florida’s first black millionaire, A. L. Lewis, to illustrate the history and struggle of race relations in Florida.

    The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera: An Insider’s History to the Florida-Alabama Coast by Harvey H. Jackson (2012)
    JacksonSmallThis Florida native and Jacksonville State University historian explores the development of the Florida-Alabama coast from sparsely populated fishing villages in the late 1920’s to the emergence of high-rise resort hotels and the Spring Break “season.” He explains why life on this stretch of coastline is not always paradise, including the political, economic, financial, environmental and cultural impacts of disasters such as devastating hurricanes and the BP oil spill of 2010.

    (Somewhat related) Bonus Book:
    **The Guy Next Door: Three All-New Steamy Spring Break Tales by Lori Foster, Susan Donovan and Victoria Dahl (2011)
    FosterSmallFor those readers who really just want to relax with a story of steamy spring-fling romance, this book includes novellas by three different authors including one entitled “Gail’s Gone Wild” about a professor who indulges in romance when she takes her teenage daughter to Key West for a spring vacation.


    Hearts and Crafts

    A day devoted to all things red, sickly sweet, and having to do with the heart might sound like it has its roots in a Stephenie Meyer book, but Valentine’s Day comes from a tradition about 700 years in the making. It turns out that our beloved Beloved’s Day has always centered around the same idea–love–but ways to express that frightening and fun feeling have changed. Today’s simple accidents, like pulling on your stockings or socks inside out, were events from the past that could aid in the prediction of marriage, according to the “Valentine’s Day” entry from Oxford Reference Online. The first person the sock-wearer saw would supposedly be that person’s spouse. Those interested in legal marriage documentation need not apply.

    Check out the resources below to see other ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

    Have a look at The Vogue Archive to see what those classy ladies from the 1890s thought were the most appropriate flowers to give and receive on Valentine’s Day. Spoiler alert: It’s not roses! Simply search the entire collection of issues of Vogue by keyword, or physically browse through each issue (back from 1982!) by clicking on “Browse Issues” at the top.

    Interested in serials but want something a little more about boy bands from the early 1990s? Head over to The Lilly Library to read a comic book featuring The New Kids on the Block and their love interest, shown above.

    Impress your significant other with extensive knowledge about poetry–or at least knowledge about where to find poetry–by using JSTOR’s archive of Poetry magazine. You can search through issues ranging in date from 1912 to 2009; there are some poems that specifically have something to do with Valentine’s Day, and many, many more that deal with love.

    Learn why you should always, always give every classmate a Valentine by borrowing the movie Valentine (if you live in the dorms–sorry, folk, this one’s for the on-campus students. Resident hollers!). The scariest thing about this movie is that David Boreanaz turns 44 this May. Celebrate crushes from the past and aging with grace by revisiting the beloved first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    Speaking of blasts from the past, did you know that Ken and Barbie are getting married? There’s nothing old-fashioned about the way they reconnected: on! Listen to the story about it on NPR’s All Things Considered.

    And finally, no matter what your feelings on this day, there’s always Baked! cookies on Third Street or Scholar’s Inn Gourmet Cafe and Wine Bar to reawaken your appreciation for it. Just don’t forget your inside-out socks!


    Sources of images:
    New Kids on the Block Valentine Girl. ComicVine, 6 Feb. 2012. Web. 9 Feb. 2013. .
    Valentine. Ctrl Alt Cinema, 10 Apr. 2010. Web. 9 Feb. 2013. .
    Welsh Corgi Valentines Day Card. Zazzle, Inc. Web. 9 Feb. 2013. .

    Lessening Grammatical Dread

    Learning grammar conjures memories of correcting sentences on the board and worrying about the placement of commas. At the college level, grammar anxiety can still affect your writing. Reading novels can provide some relief.

    In the 1930s, Ernest Hemingway influenced writers interested in experimenting with new methods of prose construction. He became known for short, efficient sentences that were shaped by his experience as a journalist. Writers prior to this shift were known for lengthy sentences and high levels of description. Students can look closely at these complex sentences and learn grammatical rules by reading novels written before Hemingway’s style became more mainstream. Some possible examples for comparison include:

    A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. The book is located in the Undergraduate Core Services Collection of the West Tower in Wells. The call number is PS3515.E53 F2 1995.
    Originally published in 1929

    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (See the movie with Keira Knightley this winter, but read the book first. Books are always better than the movie). The book is located in the Undergraduate Core Services Collection of the West Tower in Wells. The call number is PG3366 .A6 2002.
    Originally published in 1877
    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Who could resist Miss Havisham in all of her spooky glory?) The book is located in the East Tower Research Collection of Wells. The call number is PR4560.A2 P76 2010.
    Originally published in 1861

    Villette by Charlotte Bronte. (She wrote more than Jane Eyre). The book is located in the East Tower Research Collection of Wells. The call number is PR4167 .V5 2006.
    Originally published in 1853

    All of these books can be located via IUCAT.

    An example of this approach can be demonstrated by taking a couple of sentences from Great Expectations: “She was dressed in rich materials-satins, and lace, and silks-all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil dependent from her hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair, but her hair was white.” From this passage, students can see how commas are used in a list, how dashes are applied, and understand how a variety of sentence lengths can communicate an idea.

    Learning grammar through reading novels lessens grammatical dread and provides a way for students to connect rules to complex writing.


    The History Behind Occupy Wall Street: Resources

    Occupy Bloomington in Peoples ParkOccupy Wall Street (OWS) and its satellite movements have been making the news for months, and they continue to be an influence even as the cold weather drives protesters inside. Bloomington has its own Occupy movement, quartered in Peoples Park on the corner of Kirkwood and Dunn. These protests may feel like a revolutionary breakout of feeling and action, but in fact they have their roots in similar movements in our country’s history. Check out the resources below to find out more about similar non-violent protests, the history of protest movements in general, the goals that were fought for, and more. Knowing where the protests came from can help clarify how effective they might be, what impact on society they might have, and what motivated them in the first place.

    From the Reference collection (1st floor of the East Tower in Wells):

    Encyclopedia of American social movements
    This four volume set is arranged by topic and is interspersed with photographs, speeches, mini-biographies of relevant figures, and other interesting tidbits. Check out the extensive section on the Civil Rights movement in volume one to read about sit-ins and other occupations with tactics similar to OWS.
    HN57 .E594 2004

    The international encyclopedia of revolution and protest : 1500 to the present
    For a more global perspective (after all, the OWS movement spawned protests across the world), this encyclopedia’s concise entries are a great introduction. It “examines how different revolutions, uprisings, and protest movements have influenced one another,” with illuminating results.
    JC491 .I58 2009 v.1

    Protest, power, and change : an encyclopedia of nonviolent action from ACT-UP to women’s suffrage

    From the abolitionist movement to the fight for women’s suffrage, this encyclopedia offers an accessible entry into a host of famous and lesser-known non-violent protests. These movements are the direct antecedents for the methods of OWS, and it’s fascinating to see how they turned out.
    HM278 .P76 1997

    Rebels and renegades : a chronology of social and political dissent in the United States
    Tracking protest movements all the way back to the colonial period, this volume makes it obvious how the ideology and methodology of American protests build upon the past. An appendix of primary documents showcases the rhetoric and literature of these movements.
    HN90.R3 H354 2002

    For more in-depth looks at the topic, try searching IUCAT for relevant movements (‘Civil rights,’ or ‘women’s suffrage’) or for combinations of keywords like ‘social movement’, ‘protest’, ‘civil disobedience,’ or ‘sit-in’. These books are scattered throughout the collection depending on what particular movement they deal with, but the call number area HM 881 has a good concentration of books about social change.

    Finally, check out the IU Archives’ series of blog posts related to an exhibit about protests right here at IU, and go see the material itself if you get inspired.