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Peek at the Week: September 5

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

In Othello, Shakespeare wrote, “Our bodies are gardens, to which our wills are our gardeners.”

Happy Labor Day, Wildcats! By going to Villanova and furthering our education, we are all tending to our gardens. We have the immense potential to better ourselves in the process, but a garden that is over-watered or overworked will wilt.

Take a break this Labor Day. Do something that makes you happy. It might just make your garden bloom.


THIS WEEK AT FALVEY

Tuesday, September 6th to Thursday, September 8th

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4:00-9:00pm | Room 301 | Free

Friday, September 9th

Villanova Gaming Society Meeting | 2:30-4:30pm | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Public

Check back next week for more awesome Falvey Library events and exhibits!


HOLIDAYS THIS WEEK

Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

Today is Labor Day, as you likely know, but there also are some other fun holidays coming up this week.

Tomorrow, September 6th, you can cross off a book from your reading list by celebrating National Read a Book Day. Whether it’s one of your favorite re-reads, a recommendation from a friend, or a new novel you’ve been dying to start, this Tuesday is a perfect day to crack open a book and read (But we might be a little biased at Falvey).

If you’re more of a numbers person, this Friday, September 9th is International Sudoku Day. So, find a newspaper, grab a puzzle book, or open your app and play some Sudoku.

Friday is also International Box Wine Day. If you’re 21 or older, buy some Franzia to celebrate and (responsibly) enjoy the weekend.

 

 


Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.

 


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Because of Winn-Dixie: A Lovable (Not) Berger Picard

 

Because of Winn-Dixie

Note: this cover is not a Berger Picard. (Courtesy of Good Reads.)

By Shawn Proctor

Like a slippery dog after a bath, this book completely slipped by me for two decades.

When Because of WinnDixie, Kate DeCamillo’s Newberry Award winning debut novel, was published in 2000, I wasn’t reading books often (or at all.) And my then-childless self wouldn’t have wandered into the middle-grade fiction section of the library anyway. But like the dog for whom the book is named, Because of WinnDixie came at the right time–when I was finally ready for him.

A Berger Picard

A Berger Picard (for real!) from Public Domain (By Leanam (talk) (Uploads) – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85490418)

Ten-year-old Opal moves into a Florida town with her emotionally cloistered father, who she calls “The Preacher.” Her mom left seven years before, and Opal is very much alone. Then she meets a “big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor” in the back of a Winn-Dixie grocery store. Opal opens her heart to this dirty, friendly dog, and, in turn, Winn-Dixie opens the world to Opal, and she meets new friends, mends her relationship with The Preacher, and helps people along the way. It’s brief, funny, sad, and (like Winn-Dixie) very easy to love.

Now, Winn-Dixie is not a specific breed of dog in the story. Likely, he’s just a mixture of different stray dogs and grew up on the street, as evidenced by his strong fear of thunder.

In the movie, however, Winn-Dixie was cast as a group of Berger Picards (pronounced bare-ZHAY pee-CARR, according to the Bloomberg Businessweek article “Puppy Love.” There is zero chance one of these dogs ended up in a Florida store, as they are a rare breed of French herding dog that nearly became extinct after the two World Wars. Few print Library resources mention the Picardy Shepard (as they are also known), but online access to The Dog Encyclopedia indicates simply: “This breed can be stubborn.”

“Puppy Love” traces the growth in popularity of dog breeds from rarity to fad, using the Berger Picard as one example, as it was recognized by the American Kennel Club only in 2014. This arrival on the dog show scene is often met by interest in sourcing puppies and, sometimes, unscrupulous behavior from profiteering breeders. The owners in the article explained they sought out the Berger Picard especially because it is energetic and affectionate.

Energetic. Affectionate. Stubborn. That sure sounds like Winn-Dixie to me.

Resources:

  • Battan, Carrie. “PUPPY LOVE.” Bloomberg Businessweek, 4451, 2015, p. 62.
  • Merriam Garcia. The Dog Encyclopedia. Abdo Reference, 2021.

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Shawn Proctor is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Library.

 


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Big Dog, Big Heart: Everyone’s Favorite Vizsla

Concept art for a new version of Clifford the Big Red Dog. Credit: Scholastic.

Well known for being a book lover and writer, we had to celebrate Snoopy‘s birthday on Aug. 10! This week on the blog, we’re celebrating some of our favorite literary dogs. Are you a fan of Joe Cool? Or, is there another canine companion that has your heart?

Vizsla dog breed. Credit: Dog’s Best Life.

Kallie Stahl, Communication and Marketing Specialist, chose everyone’s favorite red dog: “While Scooby-Doo is one of my all-time favorites, I have to choose Clifford because he was one of the characters that inspired my love of reading when I was young.”

Written and illustrated by Norman Bridwell, Clifford the Big Red Dog was first published in 1963. The books follow the adventures of two-year-old Clifford and his owner eight-year-old Emily Elizabeth. Originally the runt of his litter, Clifford grew to be an impossibly large, red dog after being cared for by Emily Elizabeth. Clifford’s size was ambiguous in the books. Jordan Kerner, Director of Clifford the Big Red Dog (2021 film) stated, “The dog ranged from eight feet tall to 35 feet, depending upon the book you were reading.” Clifford’s breed was never attributed, though many people state he has the characteristics of a giant Vizsla. Originating in Hungary, the Vizsla is a hunting dog. “Because they were bred to be both a pointer and a retriever, they were also bred to attach and stick very close to their master, making them excellent family dogs. Just like Clifford would do anything for Emily Elizabeth, Vizslas are very loyal,” according to Dr. Jennifer Shepherd.

Since 1963, Scholastic reports “Clifford has appeared in more than 80 books (with more than 133 million copies in print in 16 languages), an Emmy Award–winning television series, and a feature film.” Describing the lasting legacy of Clifford, Scholastic chairman, CEO, and president Dick Robinson reflected on Bridwell’s loveable creation: “The magic of the character and stories Norman created with Clifford is that children can see themselves in this big dog who tries very hard to be good, but is somewhat clumsy and always bumping into things and making mistakes. What comforts the reader is that Clifford is always forgiven by Emily Elizabeth, who loves him unconditionally.”

“Young kids could relate to the stories because they focused on real-life situations,” said Stahl. “Clifford routinely made mistakes, but he learned from them and always treated everyone with kindness.”


References:

Ask Dr. Jenn: What Kind of Breed is Clifford the Big Red Dog? (n.d.). Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://www.petassure.com/maxscorner/ask-dr-jenn-clifford-the-big-red-dog-breed/

Judy Newman at Scholastic. (n.d.). Judy Newman at Scholastic. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from http://www.judynewmanatscholastic.com/content/judyblog/en/blog/2020/01/legacy-story-clifford.html

Nast, C. (2021, June 29). Clifford the Big Red Dog Is Simply Too Big for New York City. Vanity Fair. https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/06/clifford-is-simply-too-big-for-new-york-city

 


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Weekend Recs: SCOTUS

By Jenna Renaud

Happy Friday, Wildcats! After a year off, Falvey Memorial Library is bringing back Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Jenna, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

If you’ve read any news the past three days, you may have seen the rumors that SCOTUS justice Stephen Breyer may be retiring, leading to the fourth new appointment in the last five years and Biden’s first. It can be difficult to keep up with everything in the political sphere, so this week I’ll be providing a range of podcasts, articles, videos, movies, and books to help you get a better understanding of the Supreme Court and what’s currently going on in the news, whether you have 4 minutes or 12 hours! 

If you have 4 minutes… read the latest on Justice Stephen Breyer’s alleged retirement and how Biden could make history with his new appointment, if it reaches that stage. 

If you have 4 minutes and 30 seconds… watch this video breaking down how U.S. Supreme Court justices get appointed to get a better understanding of the process the U.S. government may be going through real soon.

If you have 39 minutes… listen to the most recent episode of the SCOTUS 101 podcast, a podcast breaking down the latest news from the Supreme Court.  

If you have 1 hour and 28 minutes… watch RBG on Netflix. The 2018 documentary on the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and work on woman’s human rights. 

If you have 12 hours and 30 minutes… read The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin. Although published in 2008, this book still offers an inside look at the inner workings of the Super Court and how justices make decisions.  


jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a Graduate Assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a Graduate Student in the Communication Department.


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Paying Tribute to bell hooks

By Jenna Renaud

bell hooks photo

Photo courtesy of the New York Times.

“The transformative power of love is the foundation of all meaningful social change. Without love our lives are without meaning. Love is the heart of the matter. When all else has fallen away, love sustains.” -bell hooks, Salvation: Black People and Love, 2001 

bell hooks died from end-stage renal failure at her home in Berea, Ky., on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. She was 69. hooks’ writings had an enormous impact thinking and scholarship about race and feminism, specifically amplifying Black and marginalized voices, changing what feminism meant both in the US and internationally.  

Born Gloria Jean Watkins, hooks penned the majority of her works under the name bell hooks both in tribute to her grandmother and to bring emphasis to her words, rather than herself. To hear her speak, view this video of her at the Othering & Belonging Conference in 2015 or this clip of her on the show Speaking Freely. Her works are assigned regularly in classes across many disciplines at Villanova. hooks’ legacy lives on in the people she influenced and thrives both on campus and in Falvey’s collection.  

bell hooks was a giant, and her loss will be felt in big and small ways by all that were touched by her work and all who have yet to discover it. To quote one of the innumerable posts of grief, gratitude, and love that flooded social media in the wake of her passing: If you’re just learning of bell hooks, there’s no shame. You can always read her words and meet her on the page.” 

Check out bell hooks’ books at Falvey by clicking on any of the links below: 

To view Falvey’s full collection of bell hooks books, click here. 

Explore additional resources:


jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a Graduate Assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a Graduate Student in the Communication Department.


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Falvey Library Staff Shares Reading Recommendations for Winter Break

Happy Holidays, Wildcats! Looking for some reading recommendations for the semester recess? The Falvey Memorial Library staff shares a few suggestions below.

Roberta Pierce, Access & Collections Coordinator:

Image of the book cover of "The Invited."

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Darren Poley, Associate Director of Research Services:

Image of the book cover of "The Tiger's Wife."

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Image of the book cover "No One Is Talking About This."

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Michael Foight, Director of  Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement:

Image of the book cover of "The Library."

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Meg Schwoerer-Leister, Access and Collections Coordinator:

Image of the book cover of "Notes From A Young Black Chef."

Sarah Wingo, Librarian for English Literature, Theatre, & Romance Languages:

  • My recommendation is for Harry Potter fans, who love the world but maybe wish there was better more inclusive representation in the Harry Potter world. The Simon Snow book series (currently three books Wayward Son, Carry On, and Any Way the Wind Blows), by Rainbow Rowell are pretty literally Harry Potter fan fiction. Characters have different names and not everything is the same, but it’s not that these books are like Harry Potter, they are directly commenting on and engaging with Harry Potter. Rowell is herself a prolific award-winning author, and I’ve really enjoyed this series. The audiobooks are excellent if that is more your speed. Link to series: https://bit.ly/3pw3LPI
Image of the book cover of "Carry On."

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Deborah Bishov, Social Sciences & Instructional Design Librarian:

  •  My reading recommendation is The Hidden Palace (2021), long awaited sequel to The Golem and the Jinni (2013), both by Helene Wecker. They’re magical realist fantasy that immerse you completely in a richly detailed world where mystical beings end up in turn of last century New York City and face otherworldly obstacles and human dilemmas.
Image of the book cover of "The Hidden Place."

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Shawn Proctor, Communication & Marketing Program Manager:

  • Aristole and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. This is a unique and memorable novel about friendship and self-discovery. A book that both reads quickly and lingers in your memory for a long time. Bonus: the sequel book just came out.
  • Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer. A tightly written mystery by a master puzzle maker and author. It feels a part of the time in which it is set and refreshingly modern, using Sherlock Holmes as inspiration and foil to Enola’s ingenuity and pluck. If you’ve been wanting to see what the Netflix movie’s buzz is about, this is the best place to start.
Image of the book cover of "Enola Holmes."

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Ethan Shea, Communication & Marketing Graduate Assistant:

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I’ve heard endless praise about The Picture of Dorian Gray, so this winter, I’m finally taking the plunge and checking this novel off my to-read list. The story follows a young and beautiful Dorian Gray as he sells his soul to ensure he will never age or lose his beauty. Gray continues to live a worry-free but sinful life while the consequences of his actions become visible in his portrait.
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I hope to read Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles over winter break, a fresh take on the story of the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. A couple of my friends have recommended Miller’s books to me, and this particular text aligns with my interest in Greco-Roman mythology. 
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. In anticipation of a class on the African novel I’ll be taking next semester, I’m excited to read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.  I’ve heard Achebe’s depiction of colonialism and masterful use of language is incredibly moving to say the least, so I can’t wait to read this classic novel.
Image of the book cover of "Things Fall Apart."

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication & Marketing:

  • At Christmas time, not only do I like to eat cookies, I like to read about them, too. That’s why I’m excited to see several delicious looking new cookie cookbooks on the horizon, including one by legendary baker Rose Levy Beranbaum. When Rose titles a book with a food item and then the word Bible after it, you know The Cookie Bible will be a must-read. The pandemic has affected its delivery date, but you can pre-order it on Amazon.
  • Also on my cookie-cooking radar is Sweet Talk Cookies, by Hayley Callaway. This one teaches you all the tools to ice/stencil and uber-customize cookies to feature any art that you wish–including an amazing turkey from a peace sign cookie cutter–which of course, every Villanovan should own.
  • And finally, It’s Not Just Cookies, by Tiffany and John Chen tells the story of two college sweethearts and entrepreneurs who began a multi-million dollar cookie business, Tiff’s Treats, in an off-campus apartment at the University of Texas, Austin. Sound like they’re two smart cookies, for sure.
Image of the book cover of "Sweet Talk Cookies."

Image courtesy of Amazon.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. While you won’t be able to read it during the semester recess, Stahl recommends Dolly Parton and James Patterson’s book Run, Rose, Run (available March 7, 2022.) Parton is also releasing a new album of the same name in conjunction with the novel. Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics is available to read over the holidays.



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Weekend Recs: Space

Happy Friday, Wildcats! After a year off, Falvey Memorial Library is bringing back Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Jenna, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

We earthlings have always been fascinated by space, whether it’s looking at what we can see through a telescope, watching movies and TV shows about space, or dreaming of one day traveling to space. This past September, a new Space Race concluded with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket being the first privately funded, non-government trip to orbit. This weekend, take some time to indulge your love of space by checking out these recs.  

If you have 4 minutes… read about the winners of the Space Race 2.0. 

If you have 11 minutes… read this article about the Discovery Channel’s new show, Who Wants to be an Astronaut, and make sure to watch the embedded video about the commercialization of space. 

If you have 33 minutes… listen to The Skimm’s pop culture podcast episode entitled “Why We’re Still Obsessed with Space.”  

If you have 7 hours… borrow Apollo to the Moon: A History in 50 Objects by Teasel E. Muir-Harmony through InterLibrary Loan. The book uses 50 key artifacts from the Smithsonian archives to tell the story of the space exploration program. 

If you have all weekend… Binge-watch this list of Star Wars content in order to prepare for Disney+’s newest Star Wars show The Book of Boba Fett. 


jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.


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Dig Deeper: Samuel Beckett

“We are all born mad. Some remain so.” 

– Samuel Beckett 

Beckett Bites: A Villanova Theatre Production 

Villanova Theatre’s newest production, Beckett Bites, is here. Beckett Bites is a collection of four short plays by Samuel Beckett, directed by Edward Sobel, and running Nov. 414 in the Court Theatre at the brand-new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. There are four plays comprising Beckett Bites: “Play,” “Footfalls,” “Rockaby,” and “Come and Go.”

The play is described by Villanova Theatre as follows: “As we reemerge from a world defined by screen interactions to rejoin each other in shared space, we return with Beckett Bites, four short plays by the modern theatre’s greatest existential clown. Samuel Beckett’s plays exquisitely capture the powerful longing for connection, the inexorable nature of time, and the sheer absurdity of being human. In this deftly curated collection of four short works, audiences will imaginatively progress from isolation to the communal experience of live performance, alternately laughing at the ridiculous and glimpsing the sublime. “

Dig Deeper into Beckett Bites

Theatre of the Absurd 

The theatre of the absurd describes the post-WW2 designation of plays that focus on absurdist fiction. Late 1950s European playwrights such as Samuel Beckett, as well Harold Pinter, Eugène Ionesco, Jean Genet, and Arthur Adamov, amongst others, alluded to the question of “why are we all here?” The four main features of the Theatre of the Absurd are anti-character, anti-language, anti-drama, and anti-plot. In addition, read below for more characteristics and themes of the Theatre of the Absurd.  

CHARACTERISTICS OF THEATRE OF THE ABSURD 

  • Situations and characters’ emotional states may be represented through poetic metaphor (dreamlike, fantastical, or nightmarish images). 
  • The notion of realism is rejected: situations and characters are not “realistic” and characters are often placed in unreal situations. 
  • Set and costumes may not reflect an outward reality. 
  • Dialogue is often nonsensical, clichéd, or gibberish. 
  • Communication is fractured. 
  • There is usually an emphasis on “theatricality” as opposed to realism. 
  • Absurdist playwrights often use dark comedy for satiric effect. 
  • Characters exist in a bubble without the possibility of communication. 
  • Characters may be one-dimensional, with no clear motivation or purpose. 
  • Characters may be symbolic of universal situations. 
  • Behavior and situations may not follow the rules of logic. 
  • Structure may be circular, without a precise resolution. 
  • Action may be minimal. 
  • Setting of the play may be in one locale. 
  • Often characters perceive a threat from the “outside,” leading to a sense of powerlessness. 

THEMES OF THEATRE OF THE ABSURD 

  • Isolation of human existence in a world without God 
  • Lack of communication between individuals 
  • Dehumanization in a commercial world 
  • Social disparity 
  • Life without purpose or examination 
  • Class difference/the haves and have nots 
  • Loneliness 
  • Fear of the disenfranchised 

(Beckett Bites Education Guide, 2021) 

Dig Deeper into the Theatre of the Absurd 

Still want to learn more about the Theatre of the Absurd? Check out the following Falvey offerings: 

About Samuel Beckett 

Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, theatre director, poet, and literary translator. Beckett wrote in both English and French, being born in Ireland, but spending the majority of his adult life in France. He is a playwright known outside of the field of theatre, primarily for his most famous work Waiting for Godot. As a member of the Theatre of the Absurd, Beckett often explored themes such as the passage of time and utilized repetition and silence to emphasize key ideas. 

Dig Deeper into Samuel Beckett 

Still want to learn more about Samuel Beckett or read some of his works? Check out the following Falvey offerings: 


jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Classics To Read for Christmas in July

""

By Jenna Newman

We’re celebrating Christmas in July, so the feeling of cheer never needs to disappear. Light a candle, snuggle up with one of these books, which are great all year round! 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This novel is the epitome of a Christmas classic, which is why it’s taken the coveted spot of first on my book list this week. Dickens’ classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge has been adapted for every audience and medium. My personal favorite adaptation is the Mickey Mouse Disney take starring Mickey and Scrooge McDuck. However, if you haven’t read the classic in a while (or ever!) it’s definitely worth the read this holiday season. 

The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford

If you’ve read, and loved, A Christmas Carol then the next book for you to read is The Man Who Invented Christmas. Standiford tells the story behind the story, including how Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in a last attempt to save his career. If you like to see stories on a big screen, The Man Who Invented Christmas became a film in 2017, although it hasn’t picked up as much momentum as one may have expected. 

The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien

Whether you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or not, The Father Christmas Letters is worth pulling off the shelf this holiday season. The novel is a compilation of letters that Tolkien wrote to his children each year at Christmastime. Each letter was written either from Father Christmas or a polar bear. Tolkien creates a world for his children, aiding in their belief of Santa Claus and all things having to do with the North Pole, which creates for a magical read for all.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Once again, I’ve found a way to throw my favorite book Little Women onto a book list. If you haven’t picked up the book yet, Christmas is a perfect time to read it for the first time. Little Women was originally two separate stories, Little Women and Good Wives. The first original novel and first half of what we know today as Little Women is book-ended by the March girl’s Christmas day celebrations. Greta Gerwig’s movie adaptation was also released Christmas Day 2019!

 


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.

 

 

 


 


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Cat in the Stax: Books & Board Games – Seven Perfect Pairings

Some people pair peanut butter and jelly, others pair wine and cheese, but in my opinion the perfect pairing is books and board games. Taking some time curled up with a good book and then meeting up with close friends and family in the evening to play a tabletop game constitutes a perfectly relaxing day. Below, I paired books and games together for a variety of different interests!

If you like pirates… you should read Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates by Eric Jay Dolin and you should play Pirate’s Cove.

If you like zombies… you should read Zone One by Colson Whitehead and you should play Dead of Winter.

If you like spies and espionage… you should read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré and you should play Code Names.

If you like vampires… you should read My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due and play Fury of Dracula.

If you like the woods… you should read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and you should play Parks.

If you like classic adventure… you should read On The Road by Jack Kerouac and you should play Ticket to Ride.

If you like horror… you should read The Shining by Stephen King and you should play Betrayal at the House on the Hill.

Can you think of any other book and board game pairings I missed?


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


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Last Modified: March 3, 2021