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

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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: Reflection on the 2020-21 School Year

And with that the semester is officially overall papers submitted, all exams completed and all library books returned (hopefully!) As I sit here now writing my last Cat in the Stax for this academic year, I can’t help but reflect on the last year and all of the changes and growth that’s occurred. ""

Entering my first year of graduate school at a new school in the midst of a seemingly never-ending pandemic was definitely not the ideal scenario I imagined. That being said, I can’t help being grateful and confident that everything worked out the way it was supposed to. 

I’m grateful for the team at Falvey that I’m a part of and how they’ve encouraged my creativity at every point. I would say that by nature I am a reader and a writer, but that’s not something I’ve been able to fully tap into for the last handful of years. I was a little intimidated by the thought of rolling out a new and interesting Cat in the Stax each week, but here we are, and I think I did an okay job. Having and making the space for creativity is really all you need to tap into the inspiration ever around you. 

Falvey has become the center of my Villanova experience thus far. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that other than my tour and COVID testing, I’ve only been inside Falvey and Garey Hall. That being said, Falvey is not the worst place to be spending all my time. Watching people continuously move through the library, studying, talking, and grabbing coffee from Holy Grounds gave a (albeit slightly off) sense of normalcy. 

And the best part? I’m not going anywhere and get to spend both the summer and all next year with this incredible team in Falvey! 

Congratulations to all for completing a pretty rough year, grab your sunglasses and stack of summer reads and relax a little because we deserve it!


jenna newman headshotJenna 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: Children’s Book Week

This week marks the first of two Children’s Book Weeks in 2021. For the last three years, it has been celebrated twice a yearonce in the spring, in May, and again in the fall, in November. Starting in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest running national literacy initiative, bringing together authors, publishers, booksellers, libraries, and, most importantly, young readers. 

Cat in the Stax, Jenna Newman, got started on reading at a very young age

Reading has always been a huge part of my life and, especially, my childhood. Whether it was relating to the elementary school woes of Junie B. Jones or traveling around the world in a treehouse with Jack and Annie, curling up with a book has always been a favorite pastime. Beyond generating fond memories, the reading you did as a child is crucial in developing your values, enhancing your imagination, and helping you learn resilience at a young age. 

Our reading time may be made up of more research articles and textbooks than 100-page chapter books, but we can still jump in and celebrate Children’s Book Week this year and every year!

  • Take a break, read a throwback: Sometimes, especially during finals, you just need that sense of accomplishment of completing a task, but also final exams and papers keep you from starting a new side project. Try taking a break and picking up a favorite childhood book to read. It’ll rest your mind from academics and when you finish it in an hour, you’ll feel accomplished.
  • Share a book with a young reader: With the semester coming to a close, maybe you’re heading home to a younger sibling or have a babysitting job lined up for the summer. Do some research and share a book, whether a classic or something new, with a young reader. A kid is never too young to start to enjoy reading. 
  • Join in the celebrations: Check out Every Child’s a Reader’s website to see ways you can get involved in Children’s Book Week. The website also has Superpower Book Lists so you can help young readers in your life find the perfect new book when you get home for the summer.


Fun Fact: Falvey has The Boxcar Children, Books 1-13 available digitally for some perfect throwback reading!


jenna newman headshotJenna 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: National Parks Week

Not only is next week Earth Week, but it’s also National Parks Week, so get ready for a list of ways you can celebrate both the earth and our parks, whether it’s through picking up a new book to read or finding time to get outside and enjoy nature.

Activities to Celebrate 

Villanova is lucky enough to be situated only 15 minutes from one of Pennsylvania’s national parks—Valley Forge National Park. This week or weekend get together a group of your close friends, find someone with a car and make the drive over to Valley Forge to walk around and enjoy nature. Not only is this a great way to celebrate National Parks, but it also lets you get outside, clear your head and refocus for all of the end of semester studying and papers that lie ahead. 

Villanova has a wide variety of Earth Week events going on, some of them starting as early as this week, and all of them are worth attending; however, I wanted to highlight another event that gets you outside and looking at nature, even if it’s not at a National Park. Next Thursday, April 22, Villanova’s horticulturist, Hugh Weldon will be leading a tour of the trees around campus. More details and registration can be found here.

Books to Read 

The Falvey collection has a wide range of National Parks Travel Guides that you can reserve and pick up. The collection has guides for everything you need to know for parks from Shenandoah National Park to Glacier National Park. With only a month left of the semester, now is the perfect time to grab some guide books and start planning a summer road trip to a National Park near or far!

Fun Fact: Did you know each day of National Parks Week has its own theme?

The National Park Service website has a list with themes for each day of National Park week as well as other ideas for you to celebrate. Below are the themes for each day.

April 17 – Park Rx Day

April 18 – VIP (Volunteers In Parks) Sunday

April 19 – Military Monday

April 20 – Transformation Tuesday

April 21 – Wayback Wednesday

April 22 – Earth Day

April 23 – Friendship Friday

April 24 – Junior Ranger Day

April 25 – BARK Ranger Day

Let us know how you plan on celebrating both Earth Week and National Parks Week next week!


jenna newman headshotJenna 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: National Library Week

We’re officially halfway through National Library Week! There’s something about libraries that sticks with you throughout life, whether it’s memories of getting your first ever library card or late nights spent writing papers and studying for exams. For this week’s Cat in the Stax I’m going to reminisce on some of my favorite library memories and factors that make a great library.

My first library card was from the Mercer County Library, and I remember practicing writing my name over and over again because my mom said once I could write my own name, I could get my library card. Despite having not been there in over 10 years, I can still distinctly remember where everything is located. Every summer they would always have different events for elementary students that promoted reading and learning. One factor that makes a great library is the variety of programming and events that they have available, whether in-person or virtual!

During my undergraduate years, I spent quite a bit of time at the University of Delaware’s Morris Library. My four years there included many late night study sessions and trying to snag the best study spots between classes. Another mark of a quality library is definitely study spots and study rooms. My roommate and I would always meet up in our pre-booked study room after classes to study before heading back to our apartment!

Maybe I’m a little biased, but my favorite library right now is definitely Falvey! Beyond the extensive programming and study spots, Falvey also has an amazing group of staff and librarians that are always willing to help with papers and research projects. Plus, having Holy Grounds there to get a mid-study caffeine fix has become a deal-breaker for me as far as study spots go. Make sure to head over to Falvey sometime this week to celebrate National Library Week and let us know what you think makes a great library on social media or in the comments!


jenna newman headshotJenna 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: St. Patrick’s Day

By Jenna Newman

I hope you’re rocking your green today because it’s St. Patrick’s Day! This week I wanted to dive deeper into the history of St. Patrick’s Day and answer some FAQs about St. Patrick’s Day and typical ways of celebrating.

Who was St. Patrick? Saint Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. He was brought to Ireland as a slave when he was 16, but later escaped. Later, he returned to Ireland and is thought to have brought Christianity to Ireland.

When did people start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Since the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been celebrating the feast day of St. Patrick on March 17; however, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in the United States! Records show that in 1601 there was a parade in the Spanish colony that is now St. Augustine, Florida. In 1772, homesick Irish soldiers in the English militia marched in New York City to honor the saint – celebrations have only grown from there!

What’s the significance of shamrocks? One of the most told legends regarding St. Patrick is that he used a three-leaf Irish clover (a shamrock!) to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people when he brought Christianity to the country. 

What do leprechauns have to do with St. Patrick’s Day? Legends of leprechauns and their pots of gold at the end of rainbows go back centuries, although it was more recently that they became tied to St. Patrick’s Day. One theory has to do with a movie Walt Disney released in 1959 called Darby O’Gill and the Little People, which was about an old Irish man and his experiences with magical leprechauns. This movie became increasingly popular in the United States right around the time that celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day also were becoming more popular. Since St. Patrick’s Day is about celebrating Irish culture and leprechauns are a large part of Irish folklore, the connection is fitting. 

Why do you wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? It all has to do with the leprechauns! Leprechauns are known for their trickery and supposedly pinch everyone they come across. But, leprechauns also cannot see the color green, so we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to avoid being pinched! Green is also one of the prominent colors in the Irish flag.

As part of your celebrations, I encourage you to take a deeper look into one of Falvey’s digital exhibits, Rambles, Sketches, Tours: Travellers & Tourism in Ireland. This exhibit highlights Irish travel narratives and related materials, primarily from the Joseph McGarrity Collection, in Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections.


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: Writing Resources

Next week marks the second working break of the semester and a great opportunity to stop procrastinating and sit down to write those papers. Below, I’ve compiled a handful of resources that have been lifesavers for me over the years. 

Writing Guides

These two writing guides have been recommended to me by a variety of different professors, mentors, and other students. They’ve also come in handy in a pinch while writing a paper. Rather than comb through resources online, having a writing guide next to me helps me find an easy answer. And the best part is that both are available in either Falvey’s collection or through an inter-library loan.

Style Guides

The worst feeling in the world is when you finally finish a research paper and then need to spend the next hour going back through, adding citations, and ensuring that it’s in the correct style. Below are links to style guides to the three most popular citation styles used in academic writing. 

The Library’s website also has additional citation resources that you can find here.

Resources at Falvey

Falvey has a wide range of research services that are available to all students. Below are links to a couple of highlighted resources.

  • Utilizing subject guides are a great way to find sources
  • The Villanova Writing Center is housed within Falvey and get help with any part of the process from brainstorming to outlining to editing and walking through your final draft.

Finally, remember that Falvey is always open with quiet study and writing spaces that you can utilize to write!


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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Cat in the Stax: Connecting Virtually

College is all about meeting and connecting with new people from all over the country that normally you wouldn’t get an opportunity to interact with if you stayed in your small town. Unfortunately, the last year has made it really difficult to form and maintain those relationships. Below are some ways to stay safe, mask up, but still connect with friends, new and old.

Virtual Study Sessions
This was one idea my undergraduate roommate had as a way for us to spend time together despite the fact we were both super busy in grad school and hundreds of miles apart. We pick a time that works well for both of us, find our own, safe study space, then hop in a Zoom room to study at the same time. Our fields couldn’t be more different, but the important part is being able to spend time together, like we used to when we had study sessions back at Delaware. 

Attending NEW Events
Walking into a room full of people you don’t know to hear a speaker on a topic you’re unfamiliar with can be super intimidating. However, with Zoom events, you can feel free to leave your camera off and no one will even know you’re there! And who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new topic you enjoy learning more about or see the name of someone you have a class with also at the event and make a new connection!

To view a list of upcoming events hosted by Falvey click here. To check out the latest Villanova Theatre production, Songs for a New World, click here

Fresh Air
Going for walks, masked up, around Villanova’s beautiful campus is another way to connect with new and old friends while still staying safe. Swing by the library to pick-up some books, grab some food, loop around campus, and then go your separate ways back to your building or house. Being outdoors is a safer way to connect and is a great way to take a break from studying (if you don’t believe me, read any of my stress reliever blogs from last semester). 

What new ways have you been able to connect with people this past year that you’ve never thought of before?

 


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: Resolutions Reimagined

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes things happen and absolutely nothing goes according to plan. This lesson is something that we need to internalize and remember going into 2021 and beyond. Take a minute, stop reading, and think about all of the New Year’s resolutions you made last year that you completely forgot about when March hit. For my first Cat in the Stax of the year, I want to change the way that we think about “New Year’s resolutions,” especially with many of your resolutions potentially pertaining to the new semester that’s right around the corner.

According to Google, a resolution is, “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” In my opinion, humans just aren’t good at that, we’re wishy-washy and that’s totally okay. So let’s stop setting ourselves up for failure. If I make my New Year’s resolution to workout 5 times per week, the first time that I don’t do that, I’ve technically failed. Instead, let’s think of this new year as a time to reassess our goals.

By changing our mindset and making goals instead of declaring resolutions, we offer ourselves more grace and can celebrate the progress made. In 2020, I set my reading goal on Goodreads to 25 books, as of December 13 I had read 9. Instead of thinking of that as, “Wow, I failed!” I can focus on the fact that had I not set that goal, maybe I would have only read 3 or 4 and missed out on reading fantastic books.

Goals partially completed at the end of each year can be seen as progress markers. I now know that I read 9 books in 2020, and I wish that I had made reading more of a priority. In 2021, maybe my next goal is to read 15 books. It’s not that lofty 2020 goal of 25, but I took the progress I had made and can now work to beat that.

To encourage you all in crushing your goals for 2021, here are some of my goals for the Spring 2021 semester:

  • Get to know two Falvey librarians better
  • Engage Cat in the Stax reader’s by replying to every comment
  • Read 5 books off of the Falvey shelves
  • Take my own photos for 50% of my Cat in the Stax 

What goals do you have for 2021 and how can Falvey help you crush them?


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Figuring out how to crush my goals (& 2021)!


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Last Modified: January 20, 2021