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‘Cat in the Stax: Behind the Lines of The Other Wes Moore

In wrapping up November’s Read with the (other) Jenna book club pick, today I wanted to look a little more at the life of Wes Moore. Specifically looking at his involvement with us in the Villanova community and his involvement daily with communities nationwide.

Wes Moore at Villanova University

Alumni may remember reading The Other Wes Moore: One Name Two Fates when it was Villanova’s One Book selection in 2014, the 10th anniversary of the program at Villanova. Wes Moore came to visit Villanova’s campus on Sept. 25 of that year and kicked off his visit with a dinner featuring foods inspired by the memoir, followed by a headshot of author Wes Moorepresentation to the entire Villanova community. Moore’s presentation also coincided with the opening of the University’s annual St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration. 

In 2014, the book was selected because it talked about important and relevant topics including education, poverty, and the importance of determination and mentors in a young person’s life. Today, I selected this book to read as the November book club read for all of the same reasons. The themes discussed in The Other Wes Moore: One Name Two Fates are timeless. 

To see a full list of all past One Book selections click here

Wes Moore in the News Today
The timelessness and impact of Moore’s story can also be seen in the news even now. Below, I briefly touch on three of the news stories this past month that include Wes Moore.

Wes Moore — With a Little Help From His Friends — Sees a Historic Moment

In the days leading up to the election, Wes Moore sat down as part of a five-person panel to discuss the upcoming election and its implications. When asked why he votes, Moore answered that he votes for those who cannot vote. The themes of fighting to give equal opportunity and create a more supportive future for all are brought out in his book are echoed in many of his presentations to this day.

Robin Hood’s ‘Heroes of New York’ special celebrates resiliency and generosity amid pandemic

Wes Moore serves as Chief Executive Officer for Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization. Yesterday, Dec. 1, they partnered with iHeart Radio to air “Heroes of New York,” showcasing efforts of New Yorkers to bring light back to their city in the midst of the pandemic. In Moore’s life, he has not only overcome poverty himself, but now works to help others in New York to do the same.

CCM to hold forum on racial equity with national speakers in December

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is holding a forum to discuss racial equity on Dec. 3 and Wes Moore is set to be a speaker. Issues surrounding race and diversity are not just a trend, but something that should be an ongoing discussion. Moore has emerged as a key voice to be listening to and learning from as we continue navigating these discussions and advocating for change.

Who are your mentors that inspire you to fight for more every day and what can you do today to inspire someone else?

And remember, be on the lookout in late January for the Read with the (other) Jenna Spring line-up of books!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Creating my book list for 2021.


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‘Cat in the Stax: Get Organized, Crush Finals

Thanksgiving may be a little more stressful this year given that finals are upon us, but like I’ve said before, balance is important, especially during finals season. Today, I want to break down a couple of different ways to structure your to-do lists and study times. Everyone studies differently, and it’s important to find the way that works best for you. This list is definitely not all-encompassing, but if you’re looking for a new study plan, this might be a good place to start looking for inspiration.

Keep your to-do list to no more than 10 things. Or five things, or three things, or whatever works best for you. When I have a list of everything that I need to accomplish and it’s over 10 items, I find myself getting overwhelmed. That’s why I keep a list of the 10 most important things that need to be done and that’s my to-do list that I tackle for the day. I have a master list of to-dos somewhere separate and then when I do my prep-work for the day, I pull that out to pick out the top 10. 

Put self-care items on your to-do list. Every day I add items like free-reading for 30 minutes, workout, and do my daily devotion to my to-do list. That helps me make self-care a priority and forces me to take a break from homework each day, while still feeling like I’m accomplishing something by crossing an item off of my to-do list. That being said, make sure everything on your to-do list isn’t self-care related because unfortunately your assignments and exams won’t complete themselves. Find the right balance for you. 

Prioritize your top three to-do items. At the top of your to-do list write down three nonnegotiables: three things that absolutely need to get done before you go to sleep at the end of the day. This helps prioritize what is the most important and helps you not procrastinate by doing other tasks, but not the paper that’s due at 11:59 p.m. When at the end of the day you’ve crossed off those three things, you know you’ve accomplished a lot and made good progress to your overall goals. 

Grow a tree to stay focused. If you haven’t heard of the app Flora before, it may be something worth checking out. Flora is a study app where you grow trees and other plants if you stay focused for a certain amount of time. If you stay focused for a certain amount of hours, or want to pay for an in-app purchase, a real tree will be planted because of your study time. If you pick up your phone and exit the app during your study time, the tree will die. This app only really works if the thought of killing even a hypothetical tree makes you upset, but I have found it to be helpful. You can also set up group focus times with your friends through the app.

Change up the scenery. I know changing the scenery can be hard when everyone is pretty much just stuck inside their houses all day everyday. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and find different places to get work. Sort out your tasks based on things that you need to do sitting at your desk versus things that can be done curled up on the couch. Then, when you feel yourself starting to become unproductive, change scenery and try working someplace else. Sitting in a different place or having more natural light might be all you need to be productive.

Rotate tasks you’re working on. As much as I wish I had the focus to sit down and study for five hours for one exam, that’s just not the case. When my brain is scattered and cannot focus on one task for very long, I set a 20-minute timer and then just rotate down my to-do list. If I haven’t finished my top three to-dos for the day yet, I’ll rotate between the three of those things for 20 minutes each until I get one done. Usually, I’ll throw in five-minute breaks either between 20-minute sessions or when I finish a task as an added bonus. It helps me make progress on lots of my to-dos and cuts down the time I’ll need to spend on them when I go to finish them up later. 

Most importantly, listen to yourself and do what works best for you in the moment. I’ve used all of these different study tactics and organization methods depending on the semester, month, week or even hour! Just because something doesn’t work for you at one time, doesn’t mean it’s something that will never work. Be patient with yourself and find a routine that helps you crush your study goals!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Checking writing this post off my to-do list.

 

 

 

 


 


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‘Cat in the Stax: Thankfulness in a Chaotic World

By Jenna Newman

 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Although it may look different this year, Thanksgiving is still a time to reflect on everything for which we are thankful. That might feel more difficult: what’s there to be thankful for in the middle of a global pandemic, right? But upon reflection, I discovered a cornucopia of things for which I am grateful. 

Extra Family Time
After I was sent home during my senior year of undergrad last semester, all I could think about was the time I missed with friends before we all moved on to what was next. I was also dreading being at home for the longest time since high school. But the last 10 months gave me an opportunity to spend extra time with my little brother before he went away to college, live with my future in-laws, play tons of games, and binge practically every movie on Netflix with my family. It’s easy to focus on what we missed out on this past year, but try to refocus on the time with loved ones that you may not have had otherwise. 

Flexibility with Courses
I wasn’t sure how courses were going to go this fall, especially with all the technical difficulties that marked last spring. But ultimately what last spring did was help provide professors and students more tools to connect virtually and allow the school to give more options with courses. Students are able to make the best decisions for them and their health and find a balance between in-person and online courses. Adjusting to a new semester’s worth of courses can be overwhelming even without additional problems, so added flexibility is definitely something to be grateful for this year. 

Health
My family has experienced
COVID first-hand and seen how quickly the virus can take a life, but through all of that, I’ve tried to remember that it could always be worse and focus on the positives. I’ve been able to stay healthy throughout this time, and I’m grateful for that. It’s easy to look at the negatives. In reality, feeling comfortable to come to campus is a privilege many people don’t have. I know some people reading this probably have it worse than me, while others have it better, but keeping your health in perspective is important.

Books
Ever since middle school, I’ve complained about not having enough time to read. And whenever I did have time, I would binge read as much as possible. With social activities slowing down and spending more evenings at home, that’s allowed for more time to read. Plus, with Falvey being open for contactless pick-up, I’ve been able to check out all the books that have been on my reading list for ages. With the news and social media becoming overwhelming, books offer a way to escape into the lives of other people, real or fiction, for a couple hours.

(Shameless plug! I am running a book club that is currently reading the past One Book Villanova selection The Other Wes Moore. Learn how to join in on the fun here.)

Villanova
The last thing that I am so grateful for this semester, is that Villanova’s campus has been open throughout the entirety of the fall semester. The fact that we have to wear masks is a small price to pay for the social interaction that comes with being able to go into work twice a week and not have to attempt to do virtual presentations. My study habits would be considerably worse off if it weren’t for Falvey’s research librarians and having Holy Grounds as a go-to study space. 

Hopefully this list inspires you to take some time, and a break from studying, to reflect on the things you have, even in this crazy, chaotic year that is 2020. Share with me below what you’re grateful for this year!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Thankful for all the good food I’m going to eat next week.

 

 

 


 


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New Year’s “Readsolutions”

By Daniella Snyder

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

My favorite part of a new year is asking people about their resolutions. You can learn a lot about a person through their goals: what their passions are, what they’re afraid of, or the kind of person they want to become over the next 365 days.

This year, I made some resolutions I’ve never made before. Since I love to cook and try new things, I promised myself to try one new food every week. My mom and I are happiest when we travel together, and this year I hope to travel to four new states with her. Finally, in an attempt to be a “mature adult,” I will start investing my money this year.

However, each year, I always make a “readsolution:” a resolutionfor books! In 2020, I am committed to reading 50 books. While I do not make a strict list of what those 50 books will be, I always like to begin the new year by researching the best books of the last year as well as the most anticipated books in the year to come, and you’ll find some of those books below.

Do you have any “readsolutions?” Tell us! Message us at @villanovalibrary on Instagram or @falveylibrary on Twitter for a chance to be featured!

 

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner is not only one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2019, the novel also made the list of “Top 10 Books of 2019” on the list published by The New York Times and The Washington Post. Lerner writes a tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: “a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right” (Amazon.com).

little women book cover

 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott isn’t a new book, but there’s been a buzz surrounding the classic book because of the brand new and (already critically acclaimed) movie starring Laura Dern, Timothee Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Florence Pugh. If you haven’t read this book since middle school (like me), maybe the book deserves a fresh read.

 

 

 

Literary genius Zora Neale Hurston passed away in 1960, but Genevieve West edited and compiled 21 found short stories of Hurston’s to create the new Hitting A Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance. The book is “an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture that enriches our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions” (Google Books). To read an excerpt from the book, check out the New York Times article here.

 

 

Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems is the debut collection of poetry by Robin Coste Lewis. The Collection won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2015, the first debut collection to win the award since 1974. Coste Lewis will be visiting campus on April 21 as part of Villanova University’s 22nd annual Literary Festival. She will speak at 7 p.m. in Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner, and the event will be followed by a reception and book signing. To learn more about the other authors coming to Lit Fest, click here.

(Images sourced from Amazon.com.)

 


Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder, Graduate Assistant in the Communication & Marketing department at Falvey, read 47 books in 2019. Some of her favorite 2019 reads were Educated by Tara Westover, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Three Women by Lisa Taddeo.

 


 


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Last Modified: January 15, 2020