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Weekend Recs: Puzzles and Mysteries

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.

As we embark deeper into the semester, workloads and, consequently, stress levels are bound to increase. Sometimes, it is helpful during this time to find activities that allow you to “turn off” your brain, such as talking a walk or watching something “mindless.” Yet, other times, it’s helpful to take time to do an activity that is both fun and stimulating, something cathartic and relieving to get a dopamine boost. Puzzles, riddles, and mysteries are all great examples of this.

A great opportunity for a study break, this weekend’s recs share some ways to take a break from the stress while still engaging your brain. Of course, if you have an actual jigsaw puzzle or a Rubik’s Cube, now’s the time to use them, but here are some recs that require no supplies.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

If you have 5 minutes…and haven’t already solved it, try to solve today’s Wordle.

Bonus: if you’re into puzzles of all sorts, try out some of the other New York Times games, including Letter Boxed, The Mini (Crossword), Spelling Bee, Sudoku, Tiles, and Vertex.

If you have 10 minutes…and good with numbers, try out Killer Sudoku, a slightly more math-oriented version of Sudoku. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s (arguably) easier than regular Sudoku, as long as you’re half-decent at mental math.

If you have 15 minutes…and are looking for a light study-break activity, check out this book of riddles, available online through Falvey. It’ll keep your brain engaged without the stress and pressure that comes along with homework, papers, and exams.

Bonus: check out some of Falvey’s other puzzling holdings, including this book of puzzles for art-lovers, this book of grammar-centric crossword puzzles, these DCDE puzzle poems (featured in Meg Piorko’s Weekly Pic), and this sports trivia book.

If you have 1 hour and 52 minutes…and want to watch a classic mystery thriller, watch Rear Window, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection. The film follows Jeff, a recovering news photographer stuck in his house using a wheelchair after an accident, as he unravels a (potential) murder he believes he witnessed through his window.

Bonus: for more puzzling movie recommendations, check out this list.

Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash

If you have 4 hours and 14 minutes…and want to solve a less anxiety-inducing mystery, watch Enola Holmes and Enola Holmes 2. Featuring stars like Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill, this series follows younger sister of famed detective Sherlock Holmes as she solves the disappearance of her mother and embarks on her own sleuthing journey.

If you have 5 hours…and want to read a book from famed mystery novel titan Agatha Christie, read And Then There Were None, available through interlibrary loan. Based on a nursery rhyme and set on a mysterious private island where 10 strangers are invited, this standalone novel from Christie is both a good introduction to her work (requiring no prior knowledge of her recurring characters) and a riveting ride of murder and mystery.

Bonus: if you’re interested in reading (and solving) even more Agatha Christie mysteries, check out this collection of novels from her Hercule Poirot series, including the two recent adapted-for-the-screen books, Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, available at Falvey.

If you have 6 hours…and want to read a puzzling mystery novel, read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, available through inter-library loan. This relatively recent release will have you solving the mysteries of a puzzling bookstore alongside Clay, the main character.

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


Peek at the Week: January 23


In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ron Weasley, speculating what Hermione Granger would do, said, “When in doubt, go to the library.”

Happy Monday, Wildcats! The beginning of the semester is typically one of the lightest and least stressful times in the lives of college students, aside from, of course, the breaks. This low-stress point is the perfect opportunity to develop some helpful habits, whether it be for self-care, studying, social interaction, or anything else that helps you thrive.

We, at Falvey, would like to throw our hat in the ring. Not sure how the library can help you? Check out this guide to our services and resources. Whether you need help finding sources for or fleshing out a paper (reach out to one of our amazing subject librarians), getting materials you need for class (check out this Affordable Materials Project guide to saving money), or even just a good place to study, getting in the habit of using Falvey’s resources is a habit that will help you thrive. So, this semester, when you’re in doubt, come to the library. It might just save you a whole lot of time and stress.


Monday, January 23

Mindfulness Monday | 1-1:30 p.m. | Virtual | Free & Open to Villanova Students, Faculty, and Staff

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Tuesday, January 24

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Wednesday, January 25

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Thursday, January 26

“From Having a Dream to Becoming a NASA Leader” | 4-6 p.m. | Connelly Center Cinema | Free & Open to Villanova Community

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Friday, January 27

De-carbonizing Villanova: A Townhall on Fossil Fuel Divestment | 1-2:30 p.m. | Connelly Center Cinema | Zoom Option Available | Free & Open to Villanova Students, Faculty, and Staff

Sunday, January 29

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 3-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free


Tomorrow, Jan. 24, is Belly Laugh Day. Whether its prompted by a funny TikTok, a friend, or even yourself, bring some laughter into your day. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

National Compliment Day is also tomorrow. If you’re feeling up to it, spread some positivity and compliment some of the people in your life. It could be a heartfelt compliment to someone you love or simply telling a stranger you think their shoes are cool. You never know what the simplest things could mean to someone.

Saturday, Jan. 28, is National Lego Day. If you’re feeling creative and need a hands-on activity to do, even while binge-watching a show or listening to a podcast, find yourself a fun Lego set to build. Don’t have any Lego? You can still celebrate this (admittedly consumerist) holiday by watching a film in the Lego Cinematic Universe. (The Lego Batman Movie is always a great choice).

This Sunday, Jan. 29 is National Puzzle Day. Give your brain a fun challenge and solve a puzzle, whether it’s an actual puzzle, a Rubik’s Cube, or even a game of Sudoku. As a novice puzzle enjoyer myself, I will be breaking out one of the puzzles I got for Christmas and, as always, playing Killer Sudoku on my phone.

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



Last Modified: January 23, 2023

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