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Cat in the Stax: Going Out With A Bang

By Ethan Shea


November is going out with a bang! On Sunday night, the world’s largest active volcano erupted for the first time in 38 years, but don’t worry, this isn’t a sign of the apocalypse.

According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, Mauna Loa, the volcano making headlines, poses no immediate threat to local communities. However, there is a risk that volcanic ash and other harmful substances could spread through the air with windy conditions.

"Mauna Loa Eruption 2022"

Mauna Loa Eruption; Photo courtesy of United States Geological Survey

Volcanic eruptions aren’t as rare as you think. In fact, according to the United States Geological Survey, there are 50-60 volcanic eruptions on Earth every year. A total of 12 American states have active volcanoes, but the vast majority are in Alaska, which is home to 141 active volcanoes. The state with the second most active volcanoes, California, only has 18.

Three of America’s active volcanoes are supervolcanoes. This means they’re extremely large and that their explosions would have devastating global consequences.

Luckily, none of the world’s supervolcanoes will erupt any time soon. Scientists believe the next supervolcanic eruption will not be for at least another 600,000 years, when Indonesia’s Lake Toba supervolcano is scheduled to explode.

In reality, volcanic eruptions are not always the explosive, cataclysmic events seen in movies. Because lava usually flows slowly, people tend to have sufficient time to evacuate.

Regardless, from Hollywood blockbusters to 17th century music, volcanic eruptions have had major impacts on popular culture. For example, scientists believe Stradivarius violins had incredible build quality during the 17th and 18th centuries because of the Little Ice Age caused by the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Samalas. Trees grew slower in some regions due to colder temperatures, so wood became increasingly dense, and dense wood is perfect for crafting violins.

If you’d like to read more about the recent eruption of Mauna Loa or volcanoes in general, Falvey has your back. To begin, check out this article about the recent Mauna Loa eruption with your complimentary access to the New York Times. You can also find an informative video on supervolcanoes here on Falvey’s website.

Here are a few more resources on volcanoes you can find in Falvey’s Stacks:

Volcanoes: Global Perspectives – John P. Lockwood

Volcanoes: Encounters Through the Ages – D. M. Pyle

Volcanoes: Crucibles of Change – Richard V. Fisher

Volcanoes – Robert & Barbara Decker

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.




Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced Along with Booker Prize Finalists

By Ethan Shea


2021 Pulitzer Prize

On June 11, 2021, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced the winners of prizes in Journalism, Books, Drama, and Music. This recent recognition of excellence in the aforementioned fields is an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of truth and art in our everyday lives.

Pulitzer Prizes are traditionally awarded annually in April, but like most events over the past year and a half, the ceremony was delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. The reason this prestigious prize is trending once again is because last month, on Aug. 27, a special citation and grant of $100,000 was awarded to journalists in Afghanistan to commend their efforts to give ordinary people access to truth amid dangerous circumstances.

Villanova University is committed to giving students access to reputable sources of information. In fact, all Villanova students, staff, and faculty members have complimentary access to both The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. It is important to take advantage of these resources, especially during the current age of mass information.

Additionally, Falvey Memorial Library’s database tool makes research on any of the following topics possible. Innumerable databases that contain a wide array of scholarly articles are available here. Students are encouraged to be critical consumers of information and use these resources to do their own research on whichever prevailing topics may interest them.

To return to the subject of Pulitzer recipients, here are some notable winners from this year’s award selection:

The New York Times

The New York Times was awarded the prize for public service in recognition of their coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The organization’s reporting has directly helped individuals protect themselves and others against a virus that continues to challenge the global health care community.

Megha Rajagopalan, Alison Killing, and Christo Buschek

These reporters for BuzzFeed News were awarded the international reporting prize for bringing the systematic mass incarceration of Uighur Muslims in China to light. At least 268 internment camps or prisons were discovered as a result of their work, and recent reporting continues to reveal atrocities taking place at these locations.

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

This collection of poetry is described by The New York Times as “one of the most important poetry releases in years”. Diaz’s work focuses on the experiences of queer women of color and makes use of beautiful imagery that calls upon her own life as a Native American growing up in Fort Mojave in Needles, California.

Darnella Frazier

On May 25, 2020, Ms. Frazier used her cellphone to document the murder of George Floyd on video. Her recording fueled protests against police brutality across the globe and ultimately led to the conviction of Floyd’s killer. This profoundly impactful act of journalism was awarded with a special citation by the Pulitzer Prize Board.

A complete list of winners is available here.


2021 Booker Prize


Even more recently, the final shortlist of nominees for the Booker Prize was announced. The Booker Prize is a prestigious award given to the best novel written in English and published in either Britain or Ireland. In 2014, rules regarding the prize changed to allow any English-language novel to qualify. Rather than only allowing writers from Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe, and the Commonwealth into the competition, the Booker Prize committee started to welcome writers of all nationalities.

This change was met with criticism in 2018 after prominent writers such as Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, and Zadie Smith voiced concern over Americans winning the award in two consecutive years. The group argued that in an attempt to diversify the prize’s pool of nominees, the Booker Prize actually became more homogenized. The proposed solution to this issue was to bar Americans from the competition.

This year, three of the six finalists are American, so some are worried the aforementioned concerns will be renewed. Critics of the suggested American ban assert that it is critical for literary circles to broaden their horizons and push for inclusivity. Therefore, calls to narrow the scope of Booker Prize applicants seem counter-intuitive.

Nonetheless, this year’s shortlist is comprised of several spectacular nominees. The list includes A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam, The Promise by Damon Galgut, No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, The Fortunate Men by Nadifa Mohamed, Bewilderment by Richard Powers, and Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead.

You can find more information on this year’s Booker Prize nominees here.

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



Villanovans, Gain Complimentary Access to the New York Times, Courtesy of Villanova

How good is the sequel novel to The Handmaid’s Tale?* What writing routines does your favorite writer practice?** Discover all of this and more with complimentary access to The New York Times, courtesy of Villanova University.

Connect to the people, places, and topics that matter most with unlimited news, videos, and multimedia; anytime, anywhere.

To activate access:

  1. Visit
  2. Create a account using your school email address.
  3. Download your free NYT mobile app. Visit

* Based on early reviews, very good. In fact, The Testaments has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is poised to shake up the bestseller lists. A book three decades in the writing appears to have been worth the wait.

** Colson Whitehead, author of The Nickel Boys, sets a goal of writing about eight pages a week. But he says that he doesn’t accomplish it by writing every day.

Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library, finally read The Handmaid’s Tale two years ago, only weeks before the Hulu Original show premiered. 

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Last Modified: September 9, 2019

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