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Five eBooks for Read an eBook Day

Read an eBook

Photo by Marcin Milewski, courtesy of

The library staff is unusually abuzz today. Usually exchanging the most scholarly journals and pointing each other to different parts of the stacks, our staff members are exchanging tablets and eReaders and pointing each other to various websites today. Why? You might ask. Well, of course, today is INTERNATIONAL READ AN eBOOK DAY! Because so many of us have had this date circled for months now, I asked the staff members which books they would recommend to our readers, while they’re waiting on the next ‘Cat in the Stacks and Peek at the Week; here’s the top five picks, for readers of all interests:

1. Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín


This recommendation comes from the Communications and Marketing Team’s (fearless) leader, Joanne Quinn. Brooklyn recently became an Academy Award nominated film. Concerning the story, tells us, “Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.” This one sounds like a good eBook to read with some comfort food and a nice throw blanket.

2. Loeb Classical Library, accessible through the Falvey Memorial Library

Theology & Humanities Librarian Darren Poley recommends this “very famous set of books” for those interested in pondering philosophical questions or looking for a clear understanding of the Classic world. The database’s introduction states, “Over a century ago, James Loeb announced the founding of the Loeb Classical Library and his intention to bring the written treasures of the ancient Greek and Roman world ‘within the reach of all who care for the finer things in life.’ Now it gives us great pleasure to welcome you – old friends and newcomers, scholars, students, and general readers alike – to the digital Loeb Classical Library, and to invite you to enjoy its Greek and Latin texts alongside English translations, in the familiar ways and in surprisingly new ones.” I’ve been on the site myself, and this database’s layout is perfect for your iPad or Kindle.

3. Lost Lake: A Novel by Sarah Addison Allen

Lost Lake

My fellow graduate assistant Hunter Houtzer recommends this book, which she calls, “a kind of uplifting and well written” piece. confirms, saying, “In this atmospheric and enchanting novel, Sarah Addison Allen illuminates the secret longings and the everyday magic that wait to be discovered in the unlikeliest of places.” If the early semester blues have got you down, this eBook might be worthwhile.

4. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

Sixth Extinction

Library Events and Program Coordinator Regina Duffy recommends this year’s One Book Villanova eBook for today’s festivities. I couldn’t agree with her more! With several events celebrating this Pulitzer Prize winner on the horizon here at Falvey Memorial Library, there’s no reason to miss out.

5. Me Before You After You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You

Ann Stango, Resource Sharing Specialist for Access Services, recommends this series for your eReader. Make some popcorn, cozy up and enjoy a story described as, “A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

(Photos courtesy of

Website photo 2 Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.


Dig Deeper: Ana Flores

Today, Sep. 8, Ana Flores, Executive Director of the Mexican Cultural Center of Philadelphia, will visit the Falvey Memorial Library to give a presentation titled “Building Bridges: Cultural Activities that Bring Communities Together.” Flores (photo below) will be discussing Mexico and the Mexican Community in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Hispanic Heritage 3

You can see her profile on the Latino Film Festival website. Her true role in the community, however, shines through in news articles published in the last couple of years concerning her work and contributions, including articles in:
Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods
Al Día News
Philly Voice
On the U.S. Embassies & Consulates in Mexico website.

For those of you interested in catching up on contemporary discourse in Latin American studies, the library maintains a number of resources that cover a wide array of Mexican and Latin American cultural movements. Look into the CIAO Database, which aggregates content regarding international affairs, or you can always search the PAIS, or Public Affairs International Service database, to find out contemporary geopolitical issues concerning Mexico and other Latin American nations. Some of this information may be particularly suited for discussing Ana’s work with the Mexican Consulate.

Hispanic Heritage 1

The Falvey Memorial Library also provides access to journals in the areas of Hispanic cultural studies and Hispanic research. These journals include The Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, The Hispanic Research Journal, and The Bulletin of Hispanic Studies.

Academic sources can sometimes prove challenging to read, especially if the source comes from outside of one’s area of study. For journalistic pieces on Mexico and Latin America, it is also worthwhile to use the ProQuest Newsstand.

Do not be put off by Hispanic/Mexican studies due to your own monolingualism; most of the sources here have articles in both English and Spanish. These resources were brought to my attention by resource librarians Sue Ottignon and Merrill Stein, and I would encourage anyone looking for more information to reach out to them for their expertise as well.

Flores’ visit to the library is part of Hispanic Heritage Month, an important part of your Villanova experience, brought to you by the Romance Languages Department and the Latin American Studies Program.

Ana Flores-Falvey 8.31.16


Website photo 2 Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.


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Hispanic Heritage Month: Your Own Hispanic Heritage

It’s September 1565, and you’ve just stepped off of a Spanish boat that recently skirmished with French sailors, who hoped to reap the benefits of Spanish treasure ships in the area. (Or maybe they were seeking the mythological Cibola, or perhaps the Fountain of Youth. Maybe that’s why you’ve braved the journey yourself.) You spotted this piece of land a few days ago, on August 28, and so your captain, Pedro Ménendez, has decided to name the spot after the Saint whose feast day occurs on that date – St. Augustine.

Chances are, you were not really there on that late summer day that witnessed the establishment of St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest continuously occupied settlement of the continental United States. You may, however, very well be a Villanova student, faculty member, or staff member, and, if not, you’re certainly on a Villanova web page. You might not know, however, that by virtue of your patronizing an Augustinian institution, you have been adopted by a rich Hispanic Tradition that includes the foundation of the first New World mission and perhaps the first Catholic mass celebrated in North America.

Founding of Augustine pt 1Founding of Augustine pt 2

This first mass occurred on September 8, 1565. It took place just south of the settlement that it meant to consecrate. Evidence of this fact comes from the Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections itself, from John Gilmary Shea’s History of the Catholic Church within the Limits of the United States (pictured here). The women, men and children who founded St. Augustine were not, in fact, members of the Augustinian order, but their dedication to our patron saint is an important part of understanding what in means to be Villanovan, to be a Wildcat.

To find the true roots of the Order of Augustine in the New World, we must rewind the clock roughly 30 years before that first mass to the year 1533. On March 3 of that year, seven Augustinian friars arrived at Veracruz en route to Ocuituco, Mexico (photo below). St. Thomas of Villanova himself may have dispatched this particular mission, as he was provincial-prior of Castile at the time.

First Augustinian New World Foundation

(First Augustinian foundation in the Americas – Ocuituco, Mexico – founded 1533. From Lowery, Bettero & Walsh, citation below)

From there, it didn’t take long for the Mexican mission to start producing the type of humanistic scholarship for which the Augustinians are renowned. Most famously, the philosopher Alonso de la Vera Cruz took his profession to join the order in June of 1537 (photo below). It reads, “I Brother Alonso de la Vera Cruz, son of Francis Gutiérrez and Leonor Gutiérrez, make my profession and promise obedience to God and Blessed Mary and to you… [and I promise] to live without personal goods and in chastity according to the rule of our Blessed Father Augustine until death. Given on Wednesday, 20 June 1537.”

Alonso de La Vera Cruz profession

The Augustinian friars associated with the establishment of the order in the Philadelphia area did not arrive in North America until the late 18th century. They mostly came from Ireland and not up the coast of the continent itself, but the efforts of the earlier Augustinians and settlers in Florida certainly made the new, northern mission possible. The successes of St. Augustine, now the oldest parish in the United States, and the outstanding scholarship produced by the South American brothers, such as Vera Cruz, inspired the founders of such schools as Monseigneur Bonner and Villanova University and showed that the order could find success in the New World.

In the coming weeks at the Falvey Library and across campus, you have the chance to find inspiration in your own adopted Hispanic Heritage. Check out a full list of scheduled events, available here.


Dig Deeper:

In addition to exciting events and intriguing speakers, the library itself maintains materials in our collection for further exploration of our Augustinian and Hispanic Heritage. Check out these books, which were used for writing this article!

The augustinians, (1244-1994) : Our history in pictures (1995). In Lowery B., Bettero M. and Walsh M. (Eds.), Rome: Pubblicazioni Agostiniane. (Photo: Page 37).

Ennis, A. J., 1922-. (1986). Augustinian religious professions in sixteenth century mexico : A study of the earliest records of Augustinian friars professed in the new world. Villanova, Pa.: Augustinian Historical Institute, Villanova University. (Photo: Page 11).

Shea, J. G., 1824-1892. (1886). A history of the Catholic Church within the limits of the United States: From the first attempted colonization to the present time: With portraits, views, maps and facsimiles. New York: John G. Shea. (Photo Pages 136-138).


Website photo 2 Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.


Some "Light" Summer Reading – Not. A Baker’s Dozen Plus of Longest Novels

What better way to spend summer’s longest day (June 20 this year) than with a really long book? Since it is summer reading, let’s look at fiction (written in English).

How do you find a really long book? You could peruse the shelves at a library or a book store. Or you could let your fingers do the walking—go online and search. That search brings up interesting choices: whose list do you believe—Wikipedia’s, Amazon’s, Mental Floss’s, ListVerse’s or someone else’s? They share some selections, but not others. How are the book lengths determined—by the number of pages, characters or  words? All three are used, but counting the number of words seems to be the most accurate.

The longest novel written in English is The Blah Story (2007-2008), a twenty-three volume work by Nigel Tomm, which contains 11,338,105 words in 17,868 pages. Merriam Webster defines novel as “an invented prose narrative that is usually long and complex and deals especially with human experience through a usually connected sequence of events.” Elements of fiction include character, plot and theme. Broadly defined, The Blah Story includes these elements, but Tomm’s work isn’t something that most of us would choose to read for pleasure. “Overwhelmingly creative, Nigel Tomm demolishes the barrier of words and meaning, giving vitality and expressive strength to the pattern of his most exclusive novel—The Blah Story. It is a new way of conceiving text that frees the imagination, allowing you to personalize each and every word by your own creativity.” This is the description provided by (emphasis added by this writer—nice sales pitch, Amazon!) for the first volume of the novel and, although there are now twenty-three volumes, The Blah Story is considered a single novel. Creative Tomm may be, but do you really want to read even the first volume’s seven hundred twenty eight pages, in which the bulk of the text consists of the word “blah” interspersed with nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs, leaving it up to the reader to substitute words for the “blahs” in order to create logical sentences?

Let’s look at somewhat more traditional long novels and, for this blog, consider only works originally written in English. Very long books written in another language and then translated into English, such as Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (approximately three million words), Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers (no word count given on Amazon’s list) and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables (560,391words), therefore, aren’t on my list but are mentioned here just in case one of these huge books appeals to you.

Marienbad My Love, “the world’s longest ‘open source’ novel” can be downloaded as the original 2008 edition. A later edition is available in print and for a Kindle. Marienbad My Love by Mark Leach consists of seventeen volumes and 17.8 million words. This book appeared on only one list.


Mission: Impossible to read in one sitting

Not quite as long, L. Ron Hubbard’s Mission Earth (1985-1987) has only ten volumes containing 1.2 million words. Sometimes seen as a series of novels, Hubbard intended Mission Earthto be a single novel, published in ten volumes.”

A Dance to the Music of Time (1951-1975) by Anthony Powell follows Mission Earth with fewer than one million words in twelve volumes. It is “sometimes regarded as a novel sequence” which begs the question: is Dance a single novel, as Hubbard’s Mission Earth claims to be?

Traditional in format and first published in 1794 , Clarissa; or, the History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson, is merely 984,870 words in one thick volume.

Poor Fellow My Country (1980) by the Australian author Xavier Herbert is another lengthy work—852,000 words! Slightly less wordy is Women and Men (1987) by Joseph McElroy at 850,000 or 700,000 words (both are estimates). If you want to sample McElroy’s work in a shorter format, Falvey owns his Lookout Cartridge (531 pages, no word count available).

A close contender to Women and Men in number of words is Madison Cooper’s Sironia, Texas (1952) with 840,000 words. Miss MacIntosh, My Darling (1965) by Marguerite Young has either 750,000 or 576,000 words – that’s quite a variation, but I’m not planning on counting the words myself to verify either total!

Varney the Vampire, originally published as a series of “penny dreadfuls” from 1845 to 1847 and then as a book in 1847 has 667,000 words. The author is either James Malcolm Rymer or Thomas Preskett Prest. Varney is still in print although not in Falvey’s collections. (Ed. note: We noticed that Varney is currently being offered free for Kindle devices at this link. Read at your own risk!).

With only some 22,000 fewer words, Atlas Shrugged (1957) by Ayn Rand is almost as long as Varney the Vampire although Atlas Shrugged was first published just over one hundred years later.

Published in 1994, A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth has only 593,674 words—a veritable light weight book! David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (2006) comes in at either 543,709 (Wikipedia) or 484,001 (Amazon) words—that’s quite a difference in the word count! Remembrance Rock (1948), written by Carl Sandberg follows with 532,000 words. And James Clavell’s Jai-Jin, not on all lists, is even shorter at 487,700 words—who counted these?

How do these novels compare in size with such well known ones such as War and Peace (1869) written by Leo Tolstoy in Russian and later translated into English? War and Peace contains about 560,000 words; that puts it near the bottom of this list. And where does Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind (1936) rank? At over 400,000 words, it is at the bottom of this list.

If nothing on this list appeals to you, there is always “The New York Times” list of best sellers. Books are divided into categories such as print (hardcover and paperback), e-book, fiction, non-fiction and more. They are ranked by popularity—if you are looking for a super long book, you are on your own.

imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. Graphics by Joanne Quinn. 


The Curious ‘Cat: What brings you to the Library on this beautiful summer day? Do you have a favorite place to study?

Curious 'Cat - image

Jonathan Fabriziani resizeJonathan Fabriziani:  To study for the  OAT [Optometry Admission Test], organic chemistry. … All over, this is one of my favorites [second floor lounge].








Kristian Richardson:  To print out pictures for my bulletin board.  … Speakers’ Corner – the chairs are very comfortable.

Luke LaBarge resizeLuke LaBarge:  Homework. … Usually third floor. Today I didn’t feel like going upstairs.








Caitlin Beggs resizeCaitlin Beggs:  I’m a PhD nursing student in the middle of a summer intensive and working on papers. … Speakers’ Corner.









Serah Nthenge resizeSerah Nthenge:  It’s nice, it’s quiet, I can concentrate.









Chase Young resizeChase Young:  I’m doing my calculus homework; that’s why I’m here.










Photographs by Alice Bampton, Communication and  Service Promotion team.


Memorial Day – Then and Now


A brief history of the Memorial Day holiday

Memorial Day or, more accurately, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer. Memorial Day itself is now celebrated on the last Monday of May. However, this was not always true, so below is a bit of the history of this holiday.

A number of locations claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, Boalsburg, Pa., among them. Often called Decoration Day, it was established as a day to decorate with flowers the graves of those who lost their lives in the Civil War. Approximately 620,000 men lost their lives in the war so most families, North and South, had some personal relationship with the dead or injured.

On May 5, 1868, Major General John Alexander Logan (1826-1886) and an organization of Union veterans, declared that May 30 should be the day on which the graves of the war dead should be decorated with flowers. That year a large ceremony, presided over by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and various Washington, D.C., officials, was held at Arlington National Cemetery. Congressman James Garfield of Ohio was one of the speakers. At the conclusion of the speeches, members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and children from a nearby orphanage for children of Union veterans placed flowers on the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers while singing hymns and reciting prayers.

The back story for this: an anonymous writer had sent a letter to the GAR adjutant general, a letter in which the author told the adjutant general that in his native Germany it was a custom to place flowers on graves in the spring. The adjutant general, Norton P. Chipman, sent this information to Logan. Logan then expanded upon the idea and sent an order to all GAR posts to observe May 30 as a day to honor the Civil War dead. This date, May 30, became the first nationally observed commemoration held in more than 200 locations, mostly in the North.

There are other claimants for the establishment of Memorial Day. In Richmond, Virginia, women formed the Hollywood Memorial Association of the Ladies of Richmond and they helped to establish the Oakwood Memorial Association; the purpose of these two groups was to decorate the graves, both those of Union and Confederate soldiers, in the Hollywood and Oakwood Cemeteries. The same year, 1865, Confederate veterans organized, but the decoration of graves remained women’s work.

From the 1870s on some observed the holiday as commemoration and others chose to enjoy themselves. By the 1890s May 30 had become more a popular holiday, less a memorial to the Civil War dead who had been forgotten by many. Congress declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1889.

Recent history

President Lyndon Johnson and Congress declared in 1966 that Waterloo, N.Y., was the birthplace of Memorial Day, based upon a ceremony held there on May 5, 1866, honoring area veterans of the Civil War. Other claimants are Boalsburg, Pa.; Macon and Columbus, Ga.; Carbondale, Ill; Columbus, Miss.; and others.In 1968 Congress changed the date of Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday of May. This change was strongly encouraged by the travel and resort industries; a three day weekend was an invitation to travel for many.

Since the late 1960s Memorial Day has become a major commercial activity. Originally many businesses closed, but this is no longer true. Now there are numerous Memorial Day sales – my email is filled with advertisements for these as are newspapers.

Congress passed a law, signed by the president, in December 2000 to honor the fallen of all wars: “The National Moment of Remembrance Act.” There are also Confederate Memorial Days still observed in many Southern States: Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Each of these states set its own date to honor its Confederate dead.

Picnics and memories

On a personal level, I grew up hearing Memorial Day referred to as Decoration Day, perhaps a regional or generational custom. I lived in western Maryland, south of the Mason Dixon Line, but an area more Northern than Southern in its history. I remember going with my family – grandparents, parents and younger sister – to visit a small, very rural hilltop cemetery where the adults spent the day clearing weeds and other debris from the graves and, when lunch time came, we had a picnic right there (Mom’s homemade meatloaf, kept warm by wrapping it in multiple layers of newspaper, and potato salad). Flowers, cut from my grandmother’s flowerbed, were placed in front of the tombstones. I knew an older widow who cut peonies from her garden to take to the cemetery to place on her husband’s grave. None of the graves in that old family cemetery belonged to Civil War soldiers, nor was the widow’s husband a Civil War veteran. Even today I know family members who visit cemeteries to leave flowers on Memorial Day. Is this a local custom?

Many communities do have Memorial Day events with speeches honoring those who fell serving the United States, parades, picnics and other activities. How will you spend your Memorial Day?

Dig Deeper: Falvey resources

The National Memorial Day: A Record of Ceremonies Over the Graves of the Union Soldiers, May 29 and 30, 1869. 1870. E. F. M. Faehtz.
Memorial Lessons: A Sermon Preached at King’s Chapel, Boston, on Sunday, May 29, 1870, with a List of the Sons of the Church Who Entered the Service of the Country. 1870. Henry Wilder Foote.
Memorial Day, May 30, 1870, Oration by Gen. I. F. Shepard (Adjutant General of Missouri) at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Mo. 1870. I. F. Shepard.
 A History of Memorial Day: Unity, Discord and the Pursuit of Happiness. 2002. Richard P. Harmond.
Honoring the Civil War Dead: Commemoration and the Problem of Reconciliation. 2005. John R. Neff.
Celebrating America’s Freedoms. (Online) 2009. United States Dept of Veterans Affairs.

Cemetery photos and story by Alice Bampton. Waterloo, NY photo credit: Joseph Sohm/Visions of America/Corbis.


Bill Greene talks Triceratops, Sci Fi, and 40+ Years at Falvey

Today is a special day at  Falvey Memorial Library as we celebrate the retirement of staff member Bill Greene. Bill’s varied spectrum of interests and skills makes him one awesomely multifaceted person! We are rerunning a ‘Monday Mood Board’ blog post from 2015 to commemorate the day. Read on to learn more about Bill, dinosaurs, science fiction, and to follow some links to great books and resources.


Hi, Bill! So I saw on Facebook that you had a major work anniversary recently. How many years have you been here now?

40. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?

What is your earliest Falvey memory?

Actually, it wasn’t much of a memory, but it was my first day here. I was a student. Way back—I can tell you the date! I was a student. I knew it was gonna be a life-changing thing, y’know. The date was May 7, 1968. It was a Wednesday, and I was working in acquisitions. I was working with books in print. I was checking the orders to make sure they were correct. The whole first day was really strange, because the previous day, I had known nothing about working in a library. But then my mother said to me “[one of our neighbors] called, and she wanted to know if you’d like to work at Villanova’s library. “ So I said, “Yeah, why not?” I just could’ve said, you know, “Nah, forget it, I don’t wanna do that” and that would’ve totally changed my life. But I said yes. Next day, I was in there, that quick. It just grew from there, it wasn’t planned.

And forty years later, look at you!

Yeah, still here!

What are the first three words that come to mind when you think of Falvey Memorial Library?

Fun. Novel.* People.

*”I was considering, I still am, writing a novel with this place as the background. With so many experiences, I have plenty to pick from.”

Read any periodicals, magazines, journals?

I read Discover Magazine, because mainly, it’s science, which I am interested in. It’s science, but they write it so I can understand it. Once in a while I read Scientific American… and I wonder, why did I bother reading this? I didn’t get anything out of it. They’re too technical, I think, in some cases. Discover is a good magazine, especially if you find an article on something you care about.

What’s your favorite dinosaur?

My favorite dinosaur is Triceratops. Do you have any idea what Triceratops looks like?

 I do!

Very good! I figured you would. He’s one of the more common ones, the three horn face, that’s what it stands for in Latin, I guess. I couldn’t tell you why I like him. My favorite dinosaur is not Tyrannosaurus Rex because that’s who everybody’s favorite dinosaur is. [Triceratops] is always defending himself against Tyrannosaurus Rex, supposedly.

I can’t even pronounce my favorite.

Yeah, what is it?

 I think it’s… Parasaurolophus?

Parasaurolophus, you like him? He’s cool! Thinking about this question [of my favorite dinosaur], he came up. Parasaurolophus is the one with the horn. He’s the one they’re thinking, recently, in the past five years or so, they’re figuring, the reason for the horn? All of the duck-billed dinosaurs, which she is one of, went around making noises and the different noises they made could tell each one what individual was from his group, what species it was from. The air went through the horn, and made all kinds of honking noises.

That would be so neat to hear!

Wouldn’t it? A herd of ‘em?

Current favorite poet? Any poet you’ve read, new or old, that makes you think “yeah, them!”

One that pops to mind is Coleridge. “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Kubla Khan.” When I was reading him, he hit me right away.

What is your information routine? How do you get news and info?

Most of my news I probably get from TV. I don’t get any papers, because they all come to the library. I don’t have time from it, for one thing. Yeah, the news. Channel 6 is what I usually have on.

Do you visit any websites on a regular basis?

Amazon. Goodreads.

What are you going to do after this interview?

Probably going to continue work. A lot of the things I do, I have to wait for someone to bring it to me, like the mail, and the stuff from UPS, and the stuff that’s over in Garey waiting to come over to be scanned. But chances are pretty good that I’ll probably go down and start scanning stuff. Lot of books to scan, articles.

Can I mention something you haven’t asked me? I’m a big science fiction person.

Great! When did you discover you love science fiction?

I was around 12, give or take a year. I think the first book I read was R is for Rocket by Ray Bradbury, short story collection. And I read the whole book, and I kept thinking – this is just my state of mind at the time, you know, I’m 11 or 12 – I’m thinking, “gee, these are good stories, he writes them so well and they’re good, but they all end badly! I don’t like that, they all end badly!” And now I’m coming from a different perspective, being as old as I am; they do end badly, but you know, they’re really cool stories. I wish I had written them. It doesn’t bother me quite as much, and I can see why he did it the way he did it. ‘Cause it would’ve been a stupid story if it didn’t have a bad ending.

What is your favorite Bradbury work?

Fahrenheit 451, of course.

Any other favorite science fiction authors besides Bradbury?

Alfred BesterTheodore Sturgeon. Any of the best [science fiction] novels are written back in the fifties, I think, because now science fiction just can be anything. How do you define science fiction anymore? There is a definition for it, but a lot of the science fiction today is really on the edge. There’s no science in it! So what if it takes place on Mars? There’s no science in it.

I just read a book called The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. The thing that makes it different is it’s a combination of science fiction and romance, and I’m thinking, I can’t think of any books, good books, like that. I would highly recommend it.

Thanks for chatting with me, Bill!

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.

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The Highlighter: A Christmas present – Christmases Past


Photos from Falvey Christmas parties featuring staff we remember fondly:

For “How to” videos about the Library, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.

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Farewell to Librarian Kristyna Carroll

Falvey held a reception on Dec. 2 to say farewell to Kristyna Carroll, a research support librarian. Jutta Seibert, team leader for Academic Integration, thanked Carroll for her five years of service to Falvey Memorial Library. Carroll, a 2007 graduate of Villanova, came to Falvey as a librarian in 2010 after graduating from Drexel University with a master’s degree in library and information science. She is leaving to spend more time with her family.

Kristyna Carroll's cake

Kristyna Carroll’s cake

Kristyna Carroll cutting her cake

Kristyna Carroll cutting her cake


Librarians and staff enjoying the reception

Librarians and staff enjoying the reception



‘Cat in the Stacks: Have a Mindful Christmas


I’m Michelle Callaghan, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.

I have been on a mindfulness kick – that I’m hoping is more than just a kick – and I’m going to try to bring the practice into the Christmas season. Here’s why I think you should, too!

Let me preface this by saying I’m not by nature a mindful person – that is, I don’t always keep my brain and heart where my feet are. My mind is usually on a hundred different things, especially now that I’ve been in grad school for a few semesters, and I’m very rarely “in the moment,” as they say. But what if I try? Even for just a couple of minutes a day, what if I make the effort – even if it’s the last thing I want to be doing in my brief windows of spare time?

Only good things would happen, of course.

Let me also admit that doing mindfulness practices – noticing the weather, noticing colors, actually listening, enjoying food – has been pretty challenging for me and, no, I’m not always (rarely) successful, but I do think the effort is worth it for the few times that I am! And on that note, I read an article about mindfulness during Christmastime and how that lack of “Christmas magic” you feel as an adult is probably because you don’t even really notice or remember it’s Christmastime. Life is busy! Hours and days go by fast! Then, poof, just like that, the holiday season has passed and then it’s just cold without the pretty lights.

If you’re religious or spiritual then it might be useful to rely on that as a way of staying in the moment and staying centered in the vibe of the season. But staying centered can be as simple as appreciating the effort your neighbors put into the decorating this year. It can be tasting, really tasting your friend’s homemade cookies. It can be really wanting to give a gift to a loved one for no other reason but to see them happy. It can be as simple as slowing down, if only for five minutes, as a gift to yourself.

It can be reading a really good book this winter break.

Have a fantastic holiday season, Villanova. Warmth and light!

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


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Last Modified: December 17, 2015

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