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Cat in the Stax: Winter Break Reading Follow-up

By Ethan Shea

"Woman reading on park bench in winter"

It feels like I spend more time talking about books I intend to read than I actually spend reading, but during winter break, I surprised myself by following through with most of my reading plans! In spite of the chaos of the holidays and a hectic travel schedule, it was a refreshing change of pace to briefly turn off the English student part of my brain and fall into a habit of reading solely because I feel like it. Rather than dwelling on every adjective and metaphor or digging into deeper meanings behind each text’s symbolism, I just kicked back and let the words flow through me.

As you can see in this blog from December, curated by Falvey’s very own Kallie Stahl, I set out to read a few specific books during break, so in this blog, I’m going to let you know what I think of the books I read and whether or not I recommend them.

"'The Picture of Dorian Gray' Book Cover"The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

I had high expectations for this book… and Oscar Wilde exceeded all of them. As Wilde’s only novel, A Picture of Dorian Gray has earned a mythical status as a nearly perfect novel, and now I understand why.

Poetry is Wilde’s usual form of choice, but he mastered the novel on his first attempt. I found that Wilde’s prose almost reads as poetry. His passages flow like melted gold, showing just how meticulous he is about choosing each and every word.

Dorian Gray may also be the most quotable book I’ve ever read. The character Lord Henry is always armed with a pithy retort or epigram that will make you re-evaluate your philosophy of life. My only warning is that in the wrong hands, this book could turn its reader to a narcissist, but Wilde might say that’s nothing to be weary of. I’m not sure if this novel has any morals or if its value is simply found in its beauty, like Dorian himself. I’ll leave that for you to decide.

So, would I recommend this book..? Yes!

"'One Day in December' Book Cover"One Day in December – Josie Silver

The spontaneous formation of a book club put together by my extended family led me to read One Day in December. It isn’t something I would usually gravitate toward, but nonetheless, I decided to listen to my aunt’s recommendation and give romance a chance.

I want to begin by saying I have nothing against the romance genre. Indulging in a melodramatic love story from time to time can be a lot of fun, but fun is not how I would describe my experience reading One Day in December.

Perhaps if this story were condensed a bit it would have been a quick and entertaining read, but One Day in December is nearly 500 pages long and takes place over the course of ten long years. Replace the content of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with a drawn-out plot from the most lifeless Hallmark movie you can imagine, and you’ll have an idea of what it was like reading this book. I wish I could tell you the experience was forgettable, but unfortunately, the particulars of the protagonists’ personal lives are tattooed to the backs of my eyelids. And yes, receiving these tattoos was as painful as you’d imagine.

In spite of this novel’s tedious narrative, both Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling have shown interest in adapting the text to the big screen. I’ll be sure to follow up with a film review when pigs fly.

So, would I recommend this book…? No, but I had a good time tearing it apart with my family.

"'The Song of Achilles' Book Cover"The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

I’ve heard endless buzz about The Song of Achilles for years now, and during winter break, I finally took the plunge. This story about a romantic relationship between two men of royal descent, Patroclus and Achilles, is written beautifully, and considering the liberties Miller takes in adapting the ancient story, she remains fairly true to the era.

Miller does not whitewash the harsh realities of the Greek Heroic Age and successfully creates several vivid characters with distinct personalities. The protagonists are forced to grapple with the power of Fate while planning their time left together.

So, would I recommend this book..? Yes, and I’ve already purchased Miller’s second book, Circe.

Although I claimed I would read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart over break in Kallie’s blog, I chose not to because I wanted to experience it for the first time in Professor Chiji Akoma’s class “Chinua Achebe and the African Novel,” which I am excited to be taking this semester!

Hopefully I keep this habit of personal reading throughout the semester, as it always seems to slip away when the coursework begins to pile up. At the very least, my family’s book club will hold me accountable for reading at least one book not related to my studies each month!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Another Resolutions Blog

By Ethan Shea

"Woman writing New Year"

Setting New Year’s resolutions is a tradition dating all the way back to the Ancient Babylonians. There’s something to be said about a custom that adapts to several millennia of changes, but I remain hesitant to write yet another blog about resolutions. It’s almost cliché at this point; as soon as January begins the gyms overflow and everyone’s lifestyle changes on a dime. But I’ll admit, the beginning of the year is especially apt for making new habits, so why not take advantage of this opportunity that only comes once a year?

Personally, I’ve never been too invested in New Year’s resolutions. I believe every day is a chance for a fresh start, but it feels obligatory to write something about resolutions during this time of year. Turning the subject into something original isn’t an easy task either, so rather than treating this ‘Cat in the Stax’ as a personal blog like I usually would, I’m going to talk about some resolutions I think everyone can add to their list.

Read more!

I know this goal isn’t very specific, and I’m breaking my own rules about setting “SMART” goals, but that’s sort of the point of this list. Besides, this resolution is very simple. It just means read more than you did last year! If you didn’t read any books last year (surely that’s not true), just try to read one book. One is a lot more than none! Contrarily, if you’re a bookworm who read 30 books in 2021, shoot for 32 this year.

Do something new!

I think it’s important to try new things, whether it’s food, travel destinations or board games, so make sure to keep 2022 fresh by getting out of your daily routine every once in a while. Can we really call the New Year “new” if we keep doing the same things every year? The best way to put the “new” into 2022 is to seek new experiences.

Make time for hobbies!

Having something fun to look forward to is essential to staying sane during a busy semester, so make sure you have a hobby or two to pass the time. These hobbies can often take a backseat in your life when work or school becomes overwhelming, but making sure they don’t slip away entirely is important for maintaining mental health. I know if I don’t make time for hobbies at least a couple times per week, everything in my life becomes more difficult, so I’m making sure to leave time for some fun in 2022.

At the risk of sounding like every other blog during this time of year, those are a few very broad resolutions I think everyone can make use of. You can adjust and specify these as you please to fit your personal goals by perhaps attempting to read twenty novels this year or aiming to try a new food once per month. Regardless of how you craft your resolutions, I hope your 2022 is off to a great start.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Semester Rewind

By Ethan Shea

"women rewind a cassette tape Vintage compact cassette on white background, Close up set of old audio tapes, Retro"

For my last “Cat in the Stax” of the semester, I thought it would be fun to write a semester recap and reflect on some of my favorite moments from fall 2021 while looking ahead toward what the new year holds!

To get the obvious out of the way, this was my first semester at Villanova University and first time publishing “Cat in the Stax” blogs. In my humble opinion, I think the transition to life as a wildcat has gone smoothly, and I couldn’t be happier to be part of the Villanova community.

"Cow Community" by Yunuen Cho

“Cow Community” by Yunuen Cho

As for my favorite “Cat in the Stax” blog, I have to say I’m particularly attached to my post for Hispanic Heritage Month, “Appreciating Hispanic Visual Artists.” I really enjoyed the research that went into that blog, and I loved having the opportunity to promote an upcoming artist.

Writing these blogs has had a substantial impact on my day-to-day life too. After writing about Fantastic Mr. Fox in the “Fall Films for the Faint of Heart” blog, I put the movie on repeat for the next month and started listening to the soundtrack while studying. A couple songs from the film even made it onto my Spotify Wrapped! Additionally, since writing the blog on “Hayao Miyazaki’s (Un)retirement” a few weeks ago, I’ve been watching Studio Ghibli movies whenever I get the chance. I won’t be surprised if some Ghibli scores make it onto my wrapped playlists in 2022.

And speaking of music, my “What are you listening to ?” blog from early in the semester was definitely a highlight for me. It forced me to narrow down some of my favorite musicians and choose a group of artists with diverse styles to present. I enjoyed the process of putting what I love about each album to words too. It helped me appreciate the music even more than I already did.

""

Scene from “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

"Album cover of the album 'Mood Valiant" by Hiatus Kaiyote"

“Mood Valiant” by Hiatus Kaiyote

“Cat in the Stax” blogs also taught me lots of fun facts. For example, who knew the Department of Transportation oversees timezones in the United States? I certainly didn’t until I wrote “Why Daylight Saving Time Scares Me.” Moreover, discovering that late-night study sessions can actually be productive by writing the “Answering All Your Study Questions” blog has made me feel a lot better about my nocturnal habits.

And we can’t forget the memorable events tied to “Cat in the Stax” blogs this semester. My personal favorite was Wildcat Thrifting. Not only was this the first student-run Wildcat Thrift ever, I also discovered some more places to thrift near campus while writing the blog for it.

"Photo from Wildcat Thrift Event"

Photo from Wildcat Thrift

As for next semester, there are plenty of occasions I’m looking forward to. For one, Lit Fest 2022 is sure to be a hit, and I’m excited to learn about all the amazing writers that will be there!

There are plenty more “Cat in the Stax” blogs to come next year, and I truly appreciate everyone who reads these posts!

To wrap things up, I hope everyone enjoys winter break and finds time to read a good book. Happy holidays!

 


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Holiday Traditions

By Ethan Shea

"elf on the shelf"

The holiday season is fast approaching, and I’m prepared to partake in some annual traditions or perhaps even make some new ones. Traditions may be religious, personal to your family, or just something goofy you do every year, but regardless of their origins, traditions make the holiday season worth looking forward to.

The Christmas Pickle"Christmas pickle"

One tradition that’s always exciting is the hunt for the Christmas pickle. Since most of my family celebrates Christmas, during our annual holiday party, we make a competition out of finding a hidden ornament resembling a pickle in the Christmas tree. The color of the pickle blends into the pine needles, so finding the faux finger food is never an easy task. Usually there are several rounds of find-the-pickle, and the winner of each round receives a small gift. I’ve read that this tradition has German origins, but there doesn’t seem to be any consensus on how the mythical Christmas pickle came to be.

Cutting Down the Christmas Tree

My family also makes a tradition out of cutting down our Christmas tree together, and we always make sure to bring our dogs. The pups never fail to be as loud as possible, but I wouldn’t have our annual arboreal expedition any other way. When we were younger, each of my siblings used to take turns cutting down the tree, but since we’re all either torpid teenagers or lazy twenty-somethings now, my step-dad is usually forced to play lumberjack.

Wrapping Paper Fights"Wrapping paper"

Each year during our family Christmas party, while presents are being opened, everyone takes part in what is essentially a massive snowball fight with wads of wrapping paper. When you least expect it, you may receive a crumpled lump of Scotch-tape-infused paper to the face, so you can never let your guard down during this part of the gathering. We always make sure to pepper any new attendees, usually significant others, with extra wrapping paper as a sort of initiation into the family. Things get wild when my younger cousins silently stockpile wrapping paper ammunition and unleash a synchronized frenzy of paper balls upon their older relatives. Needless to say, wrapping paper warfare isn’t for the faint of heart.

Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf is my youngest sister’s favorite holiday tradition. Every year, usually in mid-November, Santa sends an elf to our house. This elf tirelessly watches my family and documents our conduct for Santa before he makes the final edits to the “Naughty or Nice List”. To be honest, I’m skeptical about this tradition. It feels wrong to condition my siblings to uncritically obey an omniscient authority figure…but hey, maybe that’s what Christmas is all about!

And don’t worry, I’m not the only one in the library with traditions. Here are a few more holiday customs overheard at Falvey!

Jenna Renaud, Graduate Assistant

“As we open presents on Christmas morning, we always make sure to have the oldest person open presents first, and we work our way down to the youngest. I’m not exactly sure where this tradition came from, but I think it’s just a way to keep the children from getting distracted by their new toys.”

Kallie Stahl, Communication & Marketing Specialist

“After attending church on Christmas Eve, my entire family meets at my grandpa’s house to play card games (yes, card games…I grew up in the Midwest). We have multiple tables setup with a different game at each table—Euchre, Pinochle, Rummy, Dominos, etc. Rotating tables (to ensure we get to chat with everyone), we all bring our favorite appetizers to share with our table.”

Shawn Proctor, Communication & Marketing Program Manager

“Every year we research the best Christmas lights in the area and drive out to visit some of the houses. It’s fun to see how creative some displays can be, including radio stations with music and synchronized lights.”

Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication & Marketing

“Each year we participate in Wreaths Across America because both my father-in-law and mother-in-law are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Capt. Jack Q. Quinn, USN was a fighter pilot and founding director of the Naval Staff College for international officers at the Naval War College, Newport, RI. Betty Quinn had what many consider the toughest job in the Navy – Navy wife.”


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Hayao Miyazaki’s (Un)retirement

By Ethan Shea

"No-Face"

For this week’s “Cat in the Stax” I want to take a brief break from the holiday season and discuss some other big news, Hayao Miyazaki’s (un)retirement.

It was recently announced that Hayao Miyazaki, internationally acclaimed film animator and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, will be coming out of retirement to create one last film. This is not the first time Miyazaki has gone back to work. In fact, he mentioned retiring from filmmaking as long ago as 1997 but did not formally “retire” until 2013.  In 2017, Miyazaki ended his retirement to create one last film, and now in 2021, he’s doing it again.

If you’re expecting to see Miyazaki’s new film sometime soon, you’re out of luck. Studio Ghibli animates its films with very little help from computer-generated imagery (CGI), so 12 minutes of film usually takes about a year to make.  Luckily, as of 2021, this new film, How Do You Live?, has already been in the works for a few years, so it has a tentative  release date of 2023.

The New York Times recently scored an interview with Miyazaki, his first interview with an English-language outlet since 2014, so if you’d like to read more about the man himself, I recommend checking it out here. As a Villanova student, staff, or faculty member, you have free access to the New York Times, so make use of it!

"Book Cover of 'Miyazaki World: A Life in Art' by Susan Napier"

“Miyazaki World: A Life in Art” by Susan Napier

I have to admit that I haven’t seen every Studio Ghibli film, but I hope to watch all of them during the upcoming winter break. The ongoing Studio Ghibli Fest at AMC theaters, which screens past Ghibli films on a monthly basis, has helped me watch some of these films. AMC will be screening My Neighbor Totoro this month, so if you haven’t already seen it, or even if you have, I’d recommend seeing it in theaters soon!

My personal favorite Miyazaki film is Laputa: Castle in the Sky.  This was one of Studio Ghibli’s very first productions, and I was lucky enough to experience it for the first time in theaters recently. I’ll stop myself from spoiling any of the plot, but everything about this film, from the score (which I love to listen to while studying) to the emphasis on the essentiality of nature through intimate visuals of greenery, is beautiful.

You can watch some Studio Ghibli films with the help of Falvey Library. Grave of the Fireflies is currently on the shelves of our stacks, and several other films, such as Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo, are available through interlibrary loan.

We even have several texts on the life and career of Miyazaki living in our stacks. For example, you could check out Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art or Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli to learn more about the famous storyteller.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: What are you thankful for?

By Ethan Shea

"Green beans with bacon for Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving dinner"

A year ago, in spite of the chaos of November 2020, Jenna, last year’s “Cat in the Stax,” wrote about what she’s thankful for in this Thanksgiving blog. To continue this tradition of revisiting reasons to be thankful annually, this holiday edition of “Cat in the Stax” describes a few of the many people, places, and things I’m grateful for.

In-Person Classes

Considering the entirety of my senior year as an undergraduate was online, I’m very thankful to be back on a college campus. Although my experience at Zoom University was as good as it could have been, I definitely connect more with the material and my classmates in a face-to-face setting. Campus life remains imperfect. Still, "Open book"our ability to adapt to the tumultuous world and gather once again is something I will no longer take for granted.

Books

Any library’s blog about thankfulness would be incomplete without mentioning books! Thanks to Falvey’s vast selection of material, I’ve discovered a new passion for aimlessly wandering the fourth floor stacks until I find a book I can use for my research. Not only have the stacks been there to help me with academics, but, of course, I’m looking forward to indulging in some leisurely reading during the upcoming winter break, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do so.

Family & Friends

It goes without saying that I would not be able to function without my support system. From friends who are willing to let me crash at their apartments on the weekends to family eager to drive four hours to visit me, I’m thankful for everyone in my life who keeps me in good spirits. The comfort of knowing I have people who will help me get back on my feet if I’m struggling is something I couldn’t live without, which is why I’m especially grateful for friends and family this year.

Professors"lecturer in university - students listening to teacher"

Before this semester began, I was apprehensive about conducting research at the graduate level, but, luckily, all my professors have made my first semester at Villanova a memorable one. By taking the time to discuss my ideas and giving guidance where it’s needed, my professors have made the collaborative process of work in the classroom enjoyable. I couldn’t have asked for better courses to kickstart my graduate career.

Wawa

As someone who has only lived in Pennsylvania since August, these past few months have been an eye-opening experience with regard to gas station cuisine. Back home in Connecticut, we swear by Dunkin’ Donuts, but I have to say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Wawa. I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of meals I’ve bought from Wawa this semester, but the breadth of options there really made me understand the hype. I guess this means I’m officially a Pennsylvanian now?

…maybe not, but regardless, I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 


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Cat in the Stax: Why Daylight Saving Time Scares Me

By Ethan Shea

"Closeup shot of a broken clock"

Less than two weeks ago, on Nov. 7, daylight saving time (DST) came to an end as our clocks fell back an hour. Although our mornings are brighter, unfortunately, the sun will set at 4:43 p.m. on the day this blog is published.

As you know from the title of this blog, the business of messing with our clocks just doesn’t sit right with me, so for this week’s “Cat in the Stax,” I’m taking a closer look at the reason I’ll be walking home from class in the dark tonight.

To begin, we need to understand why we started “springing forward” and “falling back” in the first place. It may feel like the way we handle time has always been the same, but surprisingly, the United States did not officially begin practicing DST until 1918. The measure was enacted as a means of preserving energy during World War I. More natural light at night meant less coal being burned to illuminate the nation.

"Observance of daylight saving time by state"

Observance of daylight saving time by state

Stranger still, not every state uses DST. Both Hawaii (HI) and most of Arizona (AZ), aside from the Navajo Nation, have decided to opt out of DST, so they remain in their respective standard time zones throughout the entirety of the year. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), which oversees time zones in the United States, states are allowed to remove themselves from DST but are not allowed to remain in DST.

There have been several bills put forth by politicians in recent years, each with different ideas of how to manipulate timezones so we can enjoy more daylight without messing up our clocks twice a year. In spite of their efforts, none have come close to being enacted.

To answer the title of this blog, DST is unnerving because it reminds me just how unstable our world is. If something as seemingly immutable as time can shift abruptly, what do we have, if anything, that is stable?

Altogether, the moral of this post is that time isn’t real, so go ahead, show up late to that interview, be tardy for that dentist appointment, or leave your date waiting! Don’t submit to the tyrannical Timekeepers at the DOT!

Jokes aside, I don’t recommend fighting an un-winnable battle against time. Unless you’re one of my dogs, who don’t seem to be phased by DST, we all need some sort of order to our days.

Regardless of how time flows elsewhere, students, staff, and faculty have access to Falvey Memorial Library 24/7 this semester! You can check out more detailed stacks and service desk hours here.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Defining Meta

By Ethan Shea

"Inception spinning top"

 

On Thursday, Oct. 28, Mark Zuckerberg made a big announcement. As part of a massive rebranding project, his multibillion dollar company, Facebook, has replaced its ubiquitous name with a new corporate title, Meta. As significant as this may seem, to be honest, I’m not very concerned about the odd names billionaires like Zuckerberg come up with (I’m looking at you too Mr. Musk).

Rather, for this week’s “Cat in the Stax,” I’m going to talk about something just as meta but, in my humble opinion, much more interesting. Today I want to define what it means to be meta by exploring some markedly meta books and movies.

With regard to storytelling, in most cases, audiences are meant to be immersed in the book, movie, or song they’re enjoying. But when something is meta, audiences become aware of the fact that they’re watching or listening to something, and the world of the page or screen reveals itself to be separate from the audience’s world. In summation, art that’s meta is self-referential and examines its own meaning as a work of art.

"The Lost Children Archive"Lost Children Archive

I’m actually in the middle of reading this novel by Valeria Luiselli right now, and I can’t help but notice the metafiction present throughout the text. The story describes the life of a family traveling from New York City to Arizona to conduct research in the midst of injustices continuously being carried out against child refugees at the southern border of the United States. Throughout the journey, each family member receives a box, their own personal archive, and fills it with items gathered during the voyage or deemed important beforehand.

This is where things get meta. The book itself is separated not only into chapters but boxes. Instead of turning to chapter two as one may do in a more traditional text, readers of Lost Children Archive will encounter “Box 2.” This formative archival work leads readers to contemplate how they and the book itself construct their own archives as well as the implications of going through someone else’s belongings. Although the contents of the archives can technically be watered down to a list of items, the parallels between chapters and boxes prove there’s a lot more to be written about them than a few words.

Inception"Inception Movie Poster"

Christopher Nolan’s film Inception (2010) is a remarkably meta movie. The very premise of its story alludes to its meta status, as much of the film’s plot subtly calls attention to the fact that it’s taking place within a film. Throughout the movie, the goal of the protagonists is to complete “inception,” which is the act of planting an idea into someone’s mind through complex layers of dreams. In order to do this, a group of dream-building-experts enter the mind of their target and get to work.

The construction of the dream, the setting, actors, and events, must all be perfect so the victim doesn’t realize they’re in a dream, just as movies must be crafted so audiences forget what they’re watching isn’t real. This is why Inception is one of the most meta films in recent memory.

"We Are in a Book!"Elephant & Piggie: We Are in a Book!

For something to be meta, it doesn’t have to be as complex as Inception. In fact, the children’s story Elephant & Piggie: We Are In A Book is extremely meta because the story’s characters, Elephant and Piggie, become conscious of their existence within a book. At first Elephant doesn’t understand how they’re being “read,” but before long, the pair becomes excited about life between the pages. To entertain themselves, Elephant and Piggie make the reader say a funny word… “banana.” Before the inevitable ending of the book, Elephant starts to worry about how their story will conclude, so in a last-ditch effort to extend the time they’re being read, Piggy asks the reader to read the book again.

This children’s story is meta because its entire premise is made possible by calling attention to its form. Here, in a fun and simple way, young readers can begin to understand what it means to be meta and how stories continue to live in the present through the act of reading.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

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Cat in the Stax: Sci-Fi at Falvey

By Ethan Shea

""

To celebrate the recent release of the long-awaited cinematic adaption of Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel, Dune, for this week’s installment of “Cat in the Stax”, I’m going to talk about some sci-fi books you can pick up at Falvey. Sci-fi is one of my favorite genres to both read and watch on the big screen, so with that in mind, here are a few classic books I think you should check out!

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" book coverThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

This lighthearted story of space travel by Douglas Adams was one of the first science fiction novels I read, and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the genre. Just before Earth is destroyed to make room for a hyperspace expressway, Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect hitch a ride on the nearest spaceship to escape their doomed planet.

Whether you’re looking to meet the President of the Galaxy or searching for the answer to the “Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe, and Everything”, this book has something for you. This particular text is the first installment to a six-part series, so if you enjoy reading it, there’s plenty more fun to be had.

The War of the Worlds"'The War of the World' Book Cover"

H.G. Wells, a pioneer of the science fiction genre, first serialized this story in 1897. This means the text was released in parts, which was common for the time, and each section would often end on a cliffhanger. A year later, after the entire story had been released gradually, The War of the Worlds was published in its entirety and has been available as a cohesive text ever since.

You just can’t get any more quintessential than this story of mysterious invaders from space attacking Earth! I’d also recommend checking out some other renowned stories by Wells such as The Time Machine and The Invisible Man.

"'A Wrinkle in Time' Book Cover"A Wrinkle in Time

Madeleine L’Engle’s novel, A Wrinkle in Time, is an example of a writer being rewarded for persistence. Her story was rejected about 30 times before a publisher finally decided to accept it. Although this book definitely can appeal to kids, you don’t have to be a teen to enjoy reading it.

If you’re strapped for time, this story was recently adapted to the screen in 2018 and features stars such as Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. Anyone with a Disney+ subscription can stream the movie now. Also, to learn a bit more about Madeleine L’Engle, give this blog a read!

 


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Wildcat Thrifting

By Ethan Shea

"Photo from Wildcat Thrift Event"

Vendor Station at Wildcat Thrift Event

Last Friday, Villanova hosted the first-ever Wildcat Thrift Shop. As someone who loves to thrift, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to write about another interest of mine while hopefully learning something in the process.

The recent thrifting event seemed to be very popular, and I’m not surprised. There are plenty of reasons to thrift.

For one, new clothes are ridiculously expensive. As cute as that jacket at Urban Outfitters is, I can’t bring myself to spend $90 on it, so if you’re looking to save a few bucks, thrifting is the way to go.

"Students waiting to enter a busy Wildcat Thrift event"

Students wait to enter a busy Wildcat Thrift event

Thrifting is also sustainable! By re-using or repurposing an article of clothing, you’re preventing it from ending up in a landfill. You’re also distancing yourself from the waste that comes with packaging new products. I can confirm from working in retail for a couple years that A LOT of waste is created in the process of shipping new clothing to stores.

Just as thrifting invites shoppers to make a positive environmental impact, Falvey Library is keen on sustainability initiatives. The JSTOR Sustainability database is accessible through Falvey and will keep you updated on all things eco-friendly. If you’d like to read more on this topic, check out this blog from earlier this year.

Although Villanova’s recent event was all about finding new outfits, thrifting is not only about clothes. You can find all sorts of strange and entertaining items at thrift stores. One of my favorite purchases was a Coca-Cola themed toaster designed to toast hotdogs and hotdog buns. Did I ever use this toaster? No, but it was only $5 and a great conversation starter, so I have no regrets.

And don’t forget about used books! Most thrift shops sell books for only a few dollars, and you can usually find some classics on their shelves. The amount of second-hand books I’ve bought rivals the number of books I’ve checked out from the library, which goes to show that reading can find its way into just about any activity.

Finally, furniture is another great item to thrift. My aunt and uncle are experts at taking used furniture and “flipping,” or refurbishing and altering, the old pieces to make them into something that is both stylish and seemingly brand new. They were actually featured in an episode (Season 14 Episode 4) of Flea Market Flip on HGTV!

A few places near campus to thrift are the Bryn Mawr Hospital Thrift Shop, the Goodwill in East Norriton (my local Goodwill), and the Junior League Thrift Shop.

Altogether, for the sake of your pockets, your style, and our environment, be sure to visit your local thrift shop as soon as possible!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Last Modified: October 27, 2021