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Curious Cat: Fall or Spring Semester

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Happy Thursday, Wildcats! This week, the Curious Cat team wanted to know which academic semester students preferred. We asked library patrons, “Do you like the fall or spring semester better?”

“Spring!”
-Peyton Walker ’26 CLAS

 

“Fall”
-Ella Heckman ’26 CON

 

“Spring”
-Molly O’Connell ’26 CLAS

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 

 

 

Julia Wagner ’26 CLAS is a second-year Economics major and student worker at Falvey Library.

 

 

 


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Cat in the Stax: Leap Year

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Happy Wednesday, Wildcats! March is almost here, which means spring break is right around the corner! I wish you all a safe, relaxing, and fun week off. Enjoy it, I know I will!

I don’t know how many of you noticed, but this year is a leap year! That means this year will last 366 days and the month of February is 29 days instead of the usual 28.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Ireland has an old tradition where women can propose to their boyfriends on Leap Day, Feb. 29? This day is known as either “Bachelor’s Day” or “Ladies Privilege.” Not only that, but according to Irish folklore, any man who rejects a proposal must compensate the woman with a gift—either a kiss, a silk gown, or gloves. This tradition is the premise for the 2010 movie Leap Year, starring Amy Adams, which you can get through Falvey’s Interlibrary Loan Program.

Image by wongmbatuloyo from iStock.com

 

But why do we have leap years? Basically, the purpose of a leap year is to keep our calendars aligned with Earth’s revolution around the Sun. We attribute one year to the amount of time it takes for the Earth to make a complete revolution. The Gregorian Calendar has 365 days in a single year, but in reality, it takes Earth approximately 365.242189 days to circle the Sun, which leaves an extra 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds unaccounted for in our calendar. That means we’re getting behind Earth’s orbit by almost 6 hours every year, so we add a day every few years to make up for this extra time.

 

People tend to think leap years occur every four years, but this is actually not true! Julius Caesar, the Roman General who first introduced the concept into western calendars, established the formula that a leap year should occur every four years. However, this led to too many leap years in the Julian Calendar which placed religious holidays out of sync with fixed dates such as equinoxes and solstices by several days. Pope Gregory XIII developed his own calendar, the Gregorian Calendar, in 1582 to fix this error. His new formula determines whether a leap year should occur based on three criteria:

  1. The year must be divisible by four
  2. If the year can be evenly divided by 100, then it is not a leap year; UNLESS
  3. The year is also evenly divisible by 400—then it is a leap year

So there you have it, the long and somewhat complex history and understanding of leap years boiled down into a few paragraphs. An occasional event that we all take for granted has some interesting history and a bunch of science behind its origin.


Rebecca Amrick

Rebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Curious Cat: Spring Break Plans

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Happy Thursday, Wildcats! Spring break is less than two weeks away, and the Curious Cat team wanted to know what students had planned for the week. We asked students at Falvey, “What are you doing over spring break?”

“Going to South Carolina with friends”
-Gianna Angelone ’27 CLAS

 

“Miami!”
-Madeline Cunningham ’26 COE

 

“Going home”
-Taylor Dillon ’26 CLAS

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 

 

 

Julia Wagner ’26 CLAS is a second-year Economics major and student worker at Falvey Library.

 

 

 


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Cat in the Stax: Author Spotlight: Zadie Smith

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Happy Wednesday, Wildcats, and welcome to a new segment I’m introducing into the Cat in a Stax Blog: Author Spotlight. I love to read, it’s probably one of my favorite pastimes. And as an English grad student, I’m constantly introduced to writers and texts I might not have otherwise have heard of, let alone read. I want to use this platform to expand your readership and hopefully help you discover some new interests in literature. Every month, one Cat in the Stax post will be dedicated to informing about and celebrating a  writer whose work is available at here at Falvey. Our very first featured author? Zadie Smith.

Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images

Zadie Smith is a British writer whose work includes novels, essays, and short stories. She was born in London, England on Oct. 27, 1975 to a Jamaican mother and an English father. She studied English Literature at Cambridge University and graduated with her B.A. in 1998. In 2010, she became a tenured professor of Creative Writing at New York University. For Smith, fiction is “a medium that must always allow itself . . . the possibility of expressing intimate and inconvenient truths.” She explores many of these truths in her work, which often ponder questions of race, religion, and cultural identity.

Her debut novel, White Teeth, was published in 2000. It explores a contemporary multicultural London through the lives of three different, but connected, families. The book was an immediate literary sensation and won many awards, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book). Her second book, titled The Autograph Man, examines loss, obsession, and the nature of fame. This book won the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction. It was also this same year that Granta magazine named Smith as one of 20 “Best of Young British Novelists” and published her short story Martha, Martha in their 2003 issue. On Beauty is Smith’s third novel (published in 2005), and tells the story of two families living in the fictional town of Wellington, Massachusetts. On Beauty won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction.

Smith is also the author of NW, a story focused on the friendship between two women in London that is tested by the trials and tribulations of adulthood, and Swing Time, which follows the lives of two aspiring dancers whose lives take drastically different turns. Smith’s most recent book, The Fraud, is set in Victorian London and based on the historical Tichborne Trial. The Fraud can be found on Falvey’s new Popular Reading Shelves.

Zadie Smith’s work includes essays and short stories as well. A collection of her short stories was published in 2019, titled Grand Union. She has three essay collections: Changing My MindFeel Free, and Intimations. Smith also wrote a play called The Wife of Willesden, a reimagining of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Tale from his Canterbury Tales.

If you’re looking to read something different that will make you think, definitely check out this incredible and prolific writer!


Rebecca Amrick

Rebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Curious Cat: Favorite Campus Food

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Happy Thursday, Wildcats! This week, the Curious Cat team wanted to know what campus foods students enjoyed. We asked library patrons, “What is your favorite food to eat on campus?”

“Cova Nachos”
-Kayleigh Wallis ’25 CLAS

 

“Spicy Breaded Chicken Conn Sammy”
-Kelsi Membrino ’25 CLAS

 

“Smoothies”
-Peyton Gibbs ’27 CLAS

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 

 

 

Julia Wagner ’26 CLAS is a second-year Economics major and student worker at Falvey Library.

 

 

 


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Cat in the Stax: Valentine’s Day and Chocolate

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Wildcats! Love is in the air and taking the form of flowers, stuffed animals, chocolates, and other sweets. Every nice restaurant in Philly will be packed with couples looking for a romantic dinner. It’s a day to celebrate your relationship with your partner and show how much you appreciate them.

Photo from HIS-USA.com

Fun Fact: Did you know that in Japan, it is traditional for women to give men chocolates on Valentine’s Day? And not just to romantic partners, but to all the men in their lives! Husbands and boyfriends receive a special type of chocolate known as honmei-choco, or “true feelings chocolate” while male family members, friends, and colleges are given a giri-choco, an “obligatory chocolate.” One month later, on Mar. 14, also known as White Day, men in Japan return the favor and gift gyaku-choco, “reverse chocolates,” to women they received chocolate from on Valentine’s Day.

 

How did chocolate come to be associated with love, gift-giving, and Valentine’s Day? Well, the connection between chocolate and romance has roots in Mesoamerican history. The Mayans used cocoa-brewed beverages in marriage ceremonies. Later, the Aztec leader Montezuma II allegedly drank cups of chocolate because he believed it to be an aphrodisiac.

Although Valentine’s Day is linked to various Christian martyrs named Valentine, its connection to romantic love first appears in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1382 poem “Parlement of Foules” where he writes, “every bird cometh to choose his mate” on “Seynt Valentynes day.”

Photo by Budgeron Bach on Pexels.com

Fast forward to the 19th century. Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday in Europe and North America, but chocolate has not yet entered the picture. Chocolate was still considered a luxury item, and people consumed it by drinking it. Then, in 1861, British chocolate manufacturer Richard Cadbury invented eating chocolates as a more palatable way of consuming chocolate. He packaged these chocolates in heart-shaped boxes adorned with Cupids and roses. The boxes were a huge hit and became a symbol of love and gift-giving.

Now we travel to America to chocolate and candy maker Milton Hershey. In 1907, Hershey created his famous tear-drop chocolate “kisses,” which were named as such because of the kissing noise the chocolate made when it was produced. The association between chocolate and love became even stronger less than 20 years later in 1923 when chocolatier Russell Stover began to sell Valentine’s Day chocolates in heart-shaped boxes. One of his biggest sellers was the “Secret Heart Lace,” a chocolate box covered in satin and black lace.

For all you chocolate lovers out there, Falvey has plenty of books and articles about this tasty treat, from stories focused on chocolate to articles discussing its production and history to chocolate cookbooks. Check out some of these texts if you’re interested:


Rebecca Amrick

Rebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Curious Cat: Popular Reading Books

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Happy Thursday, Wildcats! To celebrate the launch of the Library’s new Popular Reading pilot program, the Curious Cat team asked students, “What book would you like to see on Falvey’s new Popular Reading shelves?”

Tuesday’s with Morrie
-Mark Fusca ’27 COE

 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
-Lindsay Homolka ’26 CLAS

 

Crime and Punishment–Dostoevsky”
-Chris Koch ’25 CLAS

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 

 

 

Julia Wagner ’26 CLAS is a second-year Economics major and student worker at Falvey Library.

 

 

 


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Cat in the Stax: Black History Month

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Happy Wednesday, Wildcats! Last Thursday marked the start of Black History Month, a time to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans and recognize their role in U.S. history. Black History Month begins on Feb. 1 and ends on Mar. 1. Started by Harvard historian Carter G. Woodson in 1915, the observance was originally known as “Negro History Week.” President Gerald Ford officially established Black History Month in 1976 as a way to acknowledge and honor the contributions and achievements of African Americans. In honor of this annual event, I’ve compiled a list of contemporary Black writers whose work is available at Falvey. Be sure to check out some of these texts!

Alice Walker (Photo by Noah Berger)

Alice Walker

A prolific writer, Alice Walker is an internationally celebrated author, poet, and activist. She has written seven novels, four short story collections, four children’s books, and several volumes of essays and poems. Her work has been translated in over two dozen languages, and her books have sold more than 15 million copies. Her most well-known bestseller is The Color Purplewhich was made into a film in 1985 and again this past October. Alice Walker also wrote Everyday Use, and Now is the Time to Open Your Heart. Some of her poetry collections include Hard Times Require Furious DancingHorses Make a Landscape Look Beautiful, and Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth

Colson Whitehead (Photo by Chris Close)

 

 

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead is a graduate of Harvard college who began his writing career by writing reviews for the Village Voice. He published his first novel in 2000 and now has 10 books under his belt. A few of his books are historical fiction novels that look at the past and offer a commentary on the current state of race in America. His novel The Underground Railroad won him a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He won a second Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for his book The Nickel BoysColson Whitehead is also the author of Harlem ShuffleZone One, and Sag Harbor.

 

Jacqueline Woodson (Photo by Ini Tomeu)

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson is an incredibly prolific writer who writes books for adults, children, and adolescents. She is best known for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming which won her a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2014. She also wrote Another Brooklyn and Red at the BoneHer stories often address themes like friendship, race, and coming of age. From 2015-2017, Jacqueline Woodson was the Young People’s Poet Laureate, and a year later, she was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature at the Library of Congress for 2018–2019.

Jericho Brown (Photo by Darnell Wilburn)

Jericho Brown (Photo by Darnell Wilburn)

 

Jericho Brown

A professor at Emory University and director of their Creative Writing Program, Jericho Brown is a poet whose poems have appeared in The Bennington ReviewBuzzfeedFencejubilatThe New RepublicThe New York TimesThe New Yorker, The Paris ReviewTIME magazine, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for his poetry collection The Tradition, which explores how we’ve become accustomed to terror in our society. He has also published the poetry collections Please and The New Testament.

 

In honor of Black History Month, Villanova has organized several events throughout the month of February. Click this link to see the various events the University will be hosting in the upcoming weeks.

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Curious Cat: Spring Semester Classes

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Happy Thursday, Wildcats! This week, the Curious Cat team wanted to know about the different classes students are taking this semester. We asked library patrons, “What class are you most looking forward to this semester?”

“Programming and application in C”
-Datamis Ghorbanian ’27 COE

 

“I am looking forward to Evolution of Invertebrates”
-Julia Dentner ’26 CLAS

 

“Anatomy”
-Ben Cikota CON

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 

 

 

Julia Wagner ’26 CLAS is a second-year Economics major and student worker at Falvey Library.

 

 

 


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Cat in the Stax: Logic Puzzles

  • Posted by: Rebecca Amrick
  • Posted Date: January 31, 2024
  • Filed Under: Library News

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

What do you do when you’re bored? Do you watch a movie or show, read a book, or simply scroll through Instagram? Let’s say you only have a free 20 minutes, not a lot of time to do anything substantial. A puzzle or brain teaser is a good way to pass the time while putting your mind to work in a fun activity. Logic puzzles are a great thing to do on a rainy day or when you have a tiny bit (or even a lot) of free time.

My favorite type of logic puzzle is the Logic Grid Puzzle. In this puzzle, you’re given a situation, a series of categories, and an equal number of options in each category. Based on the clues provided, you have to match up the correct options within each category. Here’s an example: Maria is organizing her school notebooks. She has five notebooks and each one is a different color and used for a different class. Because Maria is reusing old notebooks, each one has a different number of pages as well. Based on a list of clues, you would then try and figure out which colored notebook is used for which class and how many pages it has. You’re given a grid to cross out pairs that don’t work and check off ones you know are connected. Sound interesting? Check out these online logic grid puzzles and try some out for yourself!

Photo by Bozhin Karaivanov from Unsplash.com

Falvey has an interesting book on the history and roots of logic puzzles if that is something you’d like to learn more about. The Library also has books containing different types of logic puzzles for you to try out! They have some simple brain teasers that (allegedly) take less than one minute to solve. You can check also out this book of Sudoku puzzles or even try out some crossword puzzles available at Falvey.

I also recommend this super cool book of Whodunnit Puzzles where you get to use your wits and logic to solve various mysteries. Who doesn’t like playing detective every once in a while? If you like puzzles or love mystery–or both–this is definitely an activity to try out.


Rebecca Amrick

Rebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Last Modified: January 31, 2024

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