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Weekend Recs: Romance Fiction

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

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, making it prime time for all things love and romance. Although I believe this is also a time to celebrate platonic and self love, romance typically takes the spotlight. In the spirit of the holiday, here are some romance recs to get you feeling festive.

If you have 5 minutes…and want your faith in humanity restored, read the latest “Tiny Love Stories” from New York Times.

If you have 15 minutes…and want some ideas for Galentine’s Day (or to learn more about Galentine’s), read this article. Galentine’s Day, observed Feb. 13, is all about platonic love and celebrating your friends (and despite the name, it’s not just for female friendships).

Bonus: if you have a Peacock subscription, you can watch the Parks and Recreation episode that popularized this holiday.

If you have 1 hour and 42 minutes…and love the classics, watch Casablanca, available to stream online through Falvey.

Bonus: if you want to watch a newer classic, watch Clueless, available to stream online through Falvey.

If you have 7 hours…and want to support Black romance authors during Black History Month, read You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi, available in our new Popular Reading Collection. While this romance novel (obviously) involves somewhat steamy romance, it also focuses on healing from the trauma of loss.

If you have 9 hours…and haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon, read Red, White & Royal Blue, also available in our new Popular Reading Collection.

Bonus: Yes, obviously if you’ve read the book, you should watch the film adaption of Red, White & Royal Blue, starring Nicholas Galitzine and Taylor Zakhar Perez. But if you want to watch another queer romance rife with similar angst (just the right amount), watch The Wedding Banquet, available in our DVD Collection.

If you need a date night idea for Valentine’s Day (or the rest of the week), check out Villanova Theatre’s latest production Crazy for You, a romantic musical set in the 1930s directed by Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD. Tickets are available here

Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.

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Weekend Recs: Love Languages

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

What makes you feel loved? Maybe it’s when your partner gives you their devoted attention. Maybe it’s when your best friend sends you a considerate text. Maybe it’s when your parent fills your gas tank up when it’s running low. The things that make you feel the most loved might point to your love language, a concept introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman that has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon akin to MBTI types and astrology. The five love languages are: acts of service, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts, and words of affirmation.

Love languages were originally theorized (and not empirically validated) in order to help couple’s better understand the needs of their partner, but they can apply to any type of relationship in your life. So, coming off the heels of a love-themed week, this weekend’s recs will focus on love languages.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

If you have 3 minutes…and haven’t heard of the potential 6th love language, watch this TikTok. It’s definitely an interesting contender.

If you have 7 minutes…and aren’t familiar with the 5 love languages and what they entail, read this Forbes Health article. This will give an explanation of each love language and some other key info.

If you have 10 minutes…and want more information on the love languages, including some criticisms, read this New York Times article.

If you have 20 minutes…and want to figure out what your love language is, take the quiz. The quiz will also rank your love languages, so you can gauge which might be most and least important to you. (For example, quality time is the most important to me, and receiving gifts the least important).

If you have 30 minutes…and enjoy some healthy skepticism in your life, watch this video essay on Youtube breaking down some of the biggest flaws in Dr. Chapman’s work (and manages to tie Shakespeare into it).

If you have 1 hour and 37 minutes…and want to watch something only tangentially related to love languages, watch 10 Things I Hate About You, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection. It is one of the only romance films that arguably manages to pull off the bet/dare trope (and also one of my favorite rom-coms of all time).

If you have 7 hours…and want to take a deeper dive into love languages, read Dr. Chapman’s book, also available through Inter-Library Loan.

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


Valentine’s Day in the Animal Kingdom

By Ethan Shea

"Magnificent Riflebird"

Image courtesy of National Geographic

It’s that time of year when everyone searches for creative ways to express their feelings for each other. You may choose to buy chocolates, write a poem, or send flowers, but maybe you could learn a thing or two about romance from the animal kingdom.

As humans, we’re inclined to believe our methods of courtship are more sophisticated than our avian and marine cohabitants, but I think our mating rituals are outshined pretty often. If you don’t agree, check out how the following animals express their love for one another and think about the last time someone put that much effort into an attempt to win your affection.

To kick things off, the Magnificent Riflebird certainly lives up to its name. This feathered fellow is known for its dancing skills in the animal world. The male Riflebird will reveal his sparkling blue throat feathers then proceed to rapidly shake his head from side to side to impress a potential mate. You can check out an example of such a performance here. Personally, I think the Riflebird’s mating ritual is a much better idea than putting on a flashy outfit then hitting the dance floor. I’ve heard one has a markedly higher success rate than the other.

"White-Spotted Pufferfish Courtship Display"

Image courtesy of PBS

The male White-Spotted Pufferfish has an equally elaborate strategy to attract mates. This hardworking fish works tirelessly, 24 hours a day for an entire week, to create a form of undersea crop circle. He uses his flippers to create patterns in the sand and even adorns his creation with shells. You can watch the artist himself at work here. If you’ve ever painted or sketched something for a potential partner, just know the White-Spotted Pufferfish has forever raised the bar for all of us romantic artists.

Remaining in the underwater world for the moment, certain species of Anglerfish have a courtship routine we should treat as an example of what not to do. When it’s time to mate, the male Anglerfish will attach himself to the female and cling to her like a parasite. Eventually his body withers away and he survives only from nutrients he receives from her blood. Talk about a toxic relationship with a clingy boyfriend! To see what such a couple looks like, click here.

If you love learning about the natural world as much as I do, you’re in luck because several episodes of Planet Earth are available to stream on Falvey Library’s website. Here, you can learn about everything from wildlife to the formation of the planet itself.

I hope these mating rituals inspire you to put some extra effort into your Valentine’s Day plans this year! Just remember, you shouldn’t be too clingy, but don’t be afraid to learn an extravagant dance routine to impress your crush!

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


Love is in the stacks!

By Daniella Snyder

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

Happy Valentine’s Day, Wildcats! Whether you’re celebrating with your sweetheart, your gal pals, or your dog…the day is meant to be filled with love, happiness, and appreciation for those you love the most.

This week, I pulled some books out of the stack that attempt to demystify the mysterious and elusive feeling of love: why we feel it, how it affects us, and why it matters at all. There’s a book for every person’s unique interests, including computer science, economics, mathematics, chemistry, history, sociology, and psychology. This week, curl up with a good book to learn what love is all about.

cover image for "love, a history"


Love: A History by Simon May

May covers over 2,500 years of human history in his book, offering an in-depth and critical historical look at love. May turns to cultural studies, philosophy, literature and more, dissecting love and all its forms.

cover image of "the art of loving"


The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

Social psychologist Erich Fromm gives a sociological overview of the cultural forces influencing the way we think about “true love.” Then, he shares how we can best carry out the “pragmatic art” of loving others, which involves discipline, patience, courage, and other daily practices.

cover image of "consuming the romantic utopia"



Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love & the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism by Eva Illouz

Illouz, a sociologist, believes that feelings of love are subconsciously influenced by social trends, and in particular, capitalism and consumer culture. In Consuming the Romantic Utopia, Illouz explores the ways in which modern capitalist societies have endorsed “grand ideals of love” upon us, in books, magazines, television, movies, and music.

cover image for "the mathematics of love"


The Mathematics of Love: Patterns, Proofs, and the Search for the Ultimate Equation by Hannah Fry

Fry writes a “compulsively readable examination” behind the statistics of love, from dating to divorce, and everything in between. Fry uses mathematical patterns to predict the unpredictable: love.

Cover image for "the chemistry been us"


Chemistry Between Us by Larry Young, Ph.D and Brian Alexander

Young and Alexander explore the theory of love that we often ignore: the chemicals in our brains that drive attraction, sexual orientation, and desire.

cover image for "data, a love story"


Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match by Amy Webb

Webb writes about her own experiences with the modern online dating work, and how she found true and lasting love. This book is a perfect read for anyone trying to find love in our current technological world.

Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder’s favorite book about love? all about love by bell hooks.

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Foto Friday: We Love A Good Book

We love a good book! To celebrate National Read A Book Day, pick up a copy of this year’s One Book Villanova selection, I Will Always Write Back. See which books Villanovans have frequented in our Holy Grounds display on the first floor…and be sure to grab a free Falvey sticker.

Kallie Stahl, MA ’17 is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. 




Last Modified: September 6, 2019

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