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Weekend Recs: Avatar: The Last Airbender

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. 

Photo by Viacom International Inc. on Wikimedia Commons

With the release of the live-action Netflix Original adaptation a few weeks ago, it’s safe to say that the Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) fandom is having a resurgence. Originally airing on Nickelodeon in 2005, ATLA has become a highly acclaimed cult classic (or, at this point, just a classic). Although its status as an anime is debatable—I’d personally say that it’s more of a gateway show to actual anime—the show has been credited as introducing a new audience of American children to anime. The series has also been praised for capturing intense emotional and political themes in a show made for children—though it’s definitely a show that is enjoyable at all ages.

If you have 10 minutes…and haven’t seen the Netflix Original yet, read this review. It’s largely received mixed reviews, though they do skew positive. In my opinion, while the casting is amazing (and it’s overall 10x better than the 2010 live action movie), the pacing and some of the characterizations were a bit off.

If you have 15 minutes…and like the original, read this New York Times essay about ATLA and its de-centering of whiteness.

Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon

If you have 25 minutes…and want read some academic work on ATLA, read “The Blending of Bending: How We Engage with the World of Avatar: The Last Airbender through Memes,” available online through Falvey. Inspired by ATLA memes during the pandemic, this article does a deep dive into ATLA, its fandom, and its memes.

If you have 1 hour and 32 minutes…and are a fan of Prince Zuko’s character arc, watch this deep dive video essay on his character’s psychology.

If you have 7 hours and 17 minutes…and haven’t already watched it, watch the first season of the live action series. It might not be perfect (or surpass the original), but it does have some bright spots—it’s visually stunning, the effects are great, including the bending, and Dallas James Liu really stands out as Prince Zuko.

Bonus: it almost goes without saying, but if you want to watch (or re-watch) arguably one of the best “children’s” shows of all time, watch the original animated series, also available on Netflix. If you don’t believe me, look at its glowing scores on Rotten Tomatoes.

If you have a free weekend…and want to explore more ATLA lore, read the books in the Avatar Kyoshi duology—The Rise of Kyoshi and The Shadow of Kyoshi—available online through Falvey.

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

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Peek at the Week: November 20


In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Happy Monday, Wildcats! With the semester flying by, Thanksgiving break will begin in just a few days. While everyone’s plans for Thanksgiving might not look the same, I hope everyone will be able to enjoy some time with your family, with your friends, and with anyone else that you care about. Life flies by us pretty quick, but it’s important to slow down and cherish the little things, the good moments that make us smile or laugh or take a breath of relief.

So, even if you’re working on projects, studying for an exam, or cooking for a large group of people, enjoy some down time and recharge your mental battery.


Monday, November 20

Mindfulness Monday | 1-1:30 p.m. | Multifaith Prayer Room, St. Rita’s Hall | Virtual Option | ACS-Approved | Free & Open to Villanova Students, Faculty, & Staff

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


As you likely know, two major holidays, Thanksgiving on Nov. 23 and Black Friday on Nov. 24, are coming up this week. Here are some other holidays to brighten up your week:

Photo by Jingxi Lau on Unsplash

Today, Nov. 20, is the beginning of National Book Week. With Thanksgiving Break coming up this week, it’s the perfect time to crack open a book and read (and don’t worry if you don’t have one, Falvey’s got plenty of options). After reading for class throughout the semester, sometimes it’s nice to remind ourselves what it’s like to read something actually enjoyable. After spending most of the semester reading for my thesis, I might re-read Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology to enjoy some leisure time.

Not a big reader? Tomorrow, Nov. 21, is World Television Day. Although it’s not quite break yet, this is still the perfect excuse to watch a couple episodes of your go-to comfort show or to start a new show currently on your watch list.

Thursday, Nov. 23 isn’t just Thanksgiving. It’s also fittingly Eat a Cranberry Day, and because of the holiday, you have plenty of choices. Enjoying some fresh cranberries is a nice way to celebrate, but cranberry sauce (or “relish”) and cranberry pie are both two delicious and festive options.

If you’re not pie-d out after Thanksgiving, Sunday, Nov. 26, is International Cake Day. If your sweet tooth hasn’t been satisfied, enjoy a slice of your favorite cake (with bonus points if it happens to be your birthday).

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

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Weekend Recs: Jeopardy!

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.

Photo from Kinu Panda on Wikimedia Commons

Running for 40 seasons (and counting) and boasting a theme song that is widely recognizable even by those who haven’t seen the show, Jeopardy! is the ultimate American trivia show. Whether it’s a nostalgic show you remember watching with a loved one or a show you tune into every night, Jeopardy!’s hold in the industry is pretty inarguable.

Coming from a recently converted fan, this weekend’s recs will center on Jeopardy! and even help you brush up on your general trivia knowledge (and who knows, it might be a less stressful way to keep your mind active in preparation for the coming weeks).

If you have 10 minutes…and are big on school spirit, read about how fellow Wildcat Mitch Macek was able to represent Villanova on Jeopardy! last year.

If you have 15 minutes…and are grateful for our amazing librarians, read this article about how libraries and Jeopardy! go hand-in-hand, available online through Falvey.

Bonus: check out this list of librarians on Jeopardy! 

If you have 25 minutes…and want to test out your Jeopardy! potential, take one of their practice tests. There are three practice tests for varying levels, including a test for adults, college students, and teenagers.

If you have 30 minutes…and are free tonight at 7 p.m., watch tonight’s episode of Jeopardy!.

Photo from RTL on Wikimedia Commons

Bonus: if you don’t have access to cable or live TV through a streaming service, you can still watch the first 35 seasons of Jeopardy! for free on PlutoTV or watch some episodes of the current season of Celebrity Jeopardy! online through ABC.

If you have 1 hour…and want to brush up on your trivia knowledge, check out Falvey’s collection of trivia books. From general topics like science and history to more specific topics like World War II, The Hunger Games series, and The World Cup.

Bonus: if you want a challenge, try answering trivia from The $25,000 Challenge: World’s Toughest Trivia Test, available through inter-library loan.

If you have 7 hours…and miss longtime host Alex Trebek, read his memoir The Answer is…: Reflections on My Life, available through inter-library loan.

Bonus: if you want to hear from a historic Jeopardy! champion, read Amy Schneider’s recently released memoir In the Form of a Question: The Joys and Rewards of a Curious Life, available through interlibrary loan.

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

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Weekend Recs: Thanksgiving Specials

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. 

Yesterday, families across the country celebrated Thanksgiving. For many, the holiday involved traditions like a roast turkey, cranberry sauce, baked mac and cheese, pie, and football. I’ll admit, Thanksgiving is by no means my favorite holiday, but one Thanksgiving tradition has my full support: Thanksgiving specials on television and in film. For this weekend’s recs, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best, or perhaps my favorite, Thanksgiving-themed specials (that aren’t the obligatory A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving) to wrap-up the November holiday season.

If you have 18 minutes and 36 seconds…and want to take part in a Thanksgiving musical tradition, listen to Arlo Guthrie’s song “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.” Although the song’s length makes it somewhat of a feat, it’s worth one listen around the Thanksgiving season. (Although if my mom had it her way, it would be on a continuous loop on Thanksgiving Thursday).

If you have 21 minutes…and are a Constance Wu admirer, watch Fresh Off the Boat’s first Thanksgiving episode, “Huangsgivng.” It accurately portrays some of the pre-Thanksgiving stress, and Randall Park and Constance Wu are, as always, great.

If you have 22 minutes…and love Friends, watch “The One with the Football.” As a sitcom, Friends has a host of Thanksgiving episodes, but this one shakes it up a bit by focusing on Thanksgiving’s football tradition.

If you have another 22 minutes…and are a fellow Bob’s Burgers fan, watch “Dawn of the Peck.” The Thanksgiving specials of Bob’s Burgers are always worth the watch, but “Dawn of the Peck” features some less standard Thanksgiving conventions, including a Thanksgiving race, vengeful (living) turkeys, and Donna Summer.

If you have 1 hour and 24 minutes…and want a sprinkle of romance in your Thanksgiving queue, watch Spike Lee’s first feature film, She’s Gotta Have It. It’s an offbeat comedy, quirky in that signature Spike Lee way. (Lee also made a Netflix series version of the film).

If you have 1 hour and 34 minutes…and want to watch a relatively anti-colonialist take on Thanksgiving (at least for the 90s), watch Addams Family Values. The privileged youth summer camp’s Thanksgiving play gets quite the Wednesday Addams reckoning. (Plus, Joan Cusack is an absolute treasure in this movie).

If you have 2 hours and 9 minutes…and want to watch something only tangentially related to Thanksgiving, watch The Blind Side (also available in Falvey’s DVD Collection, if you’re currently on campus). It only has one brief Thanksgiving dinner scene, but it’s brimming with family and football.

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


Cat in the Stax: Your Spring Break To-Do List

By Ethan Shea

Tackling your to-do list isn’t always the most enjoyable task. During most weeks, to-do lists consist of monotonous chores. Doing dishes, folding laundry, and going grocery shopping aren’t my favorite things to do either, but I think it’s important that we make time to de-stress during break, so make sure you include something fun on your to-do list this week!

Something other than chores that’s accessible and easy to do is catch up on some television. Luckily, a lot of binge-worthy shows have been released as of late, so we have our work cut out for us! On that note, here are a few shows everyone is talking about.

"Euphoria cover"Euphoria

One of the most popular shows out right now is Euphoria. The finale of its second season just recently aired on Feb. 27, and because there are only eight episodes in each season, catching up on this series is not a monumental task. Although Euphoria is technically a teen drama, it is only for mature audiences. There are some very explicit, intense, and potentially triggering scenes, but if you are comfortable with the content, the experience is unique and unforgettable. Euphoria is available to watch on HBO Max.



"The Book of Boba Fett Poster"The Book of Boba Fett

This series is a spin-off of The Mandalorian series. Taking place after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, this show focuses on Boba Fett and Fennec Shand’s new status as leaders on the planet Tatooine, as they had recently dethroned Jabba the Hutt. Its first season is only seven episodes long, and the finale was released on Feb. 7. Watching The Mandalorian before you tackle this show is not necessarily required, but it’s definitely recommended. (The same goes for just about every film in the Star Wars franchise.) If you decide to brush up on your Star Wars lore, the films are available at Falvey library. The season finale of The Book of Boba Fett was the most watched of any Disney+ series, and it is available to watch exclusively on Disney+.


"Peacemaker Poster"Peacemaker

The eighth episode and season finale of the first season of Peacemaker was released on Feb. 17, so it is still a very new series. This show takes place after the events of the most recent Suicide Squad film and unsurprisingly focuses on the DC Comics character, Peacemaker. John Cena plays the title role, which arguably makes the show worth checking out on its own. Having the lead character of the show be a disreputable guy to say the least sets the series apart from more traditional superhero shows. Peacemaker is also available to watch on HBO Max.


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


Thanksgiving Break Recs

Happy Thanksgiving break, Wildcats! After a year off, Falvey Memorial Library is bringing back Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Jenna, 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. 

We have officially made it to a much-needed Thanksgiving break. Take some time this long weekend to relax, enjoy time with family, and maybe catch up on a little bit of work so you can come back and crush the end of the semester. For your downtime, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations, from delicious recipes to train-ride books to TV recs. 

If you have 25 minutes… stream A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Apple TV+ because no holiday’s complete without a Charlie Brown special! 

If you have 1 hour… start your virtual Christmas shopping in The Skimm’s virtual Holiday Village. It makes you feel like you’re going from store to store, but you can stay in your stretchy pants and comfy sweatshirts! 

If you have 47 minutes… watch the first episode of Marvel’s newest Disney+ show Hawkeye. Yes, so maybe this isn’t technically a Thanksgiving rec, but the series drops Nov. 24 and it’s going to be good! 

If you have 2 hours… sift through Taste of Home’s “30 Unbelievably Easy Thanksgiving Desserts” blog post and then put your baking skills to the test with one of the recipes. 

If you have 3 hours… Tune into the 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Watch the countdown and learn more about who’s in the parade this year on the official parade website. 

If you have 5 hours… read Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin. Part cookbook, part biography, Colwin’s book is the perfect read to complement the smells of Thanksgiving dinner coming from the kitchen.  

jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


Peek at the Week: November 8


Word of the Week: Hygge  

One of Oxford Dictionaries’ 2016 word of the year finalists was the Danish word Hygge. The word is defined as a “quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” There is no direct English translation, although the word cozy seems to come the closest to describing hygge. It derives from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” or “to console,” which is related to the English word “hug.” The word can be used as a noun, adjective, verb, or compound noun, giving it essentially endless applications.  

As the temperature drops, we are entering into the most hygge time of the year. In between classes, essays, labs, and never-ending readings, take some time to embrace your inner hygge by lighting a candle and curling up under a comfy blanket with a good book.  

Altman, A., Anthes, E., & Heller, N. (2016, December 18). The year of Hygge, the Danish obsession with getting Cozy. The New Yorker. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from 

 This Week at Falvey  

Monday, Nov. 8

Mindfulness Mondays / 1–1:30 p.m. / ZOOM / 

Wednesday, Nov. 10

Fall 2021 Falvey Forum Workshop Series: Mapping Demographic Data with Social Explorer / 12:30–1:30 p.m. / ZOOM / Register Here 

Friday, Nov. 12

The 2021 Grade Studies CLAS Research Symposium / 1–4 p.m. / Connelly Center Cinema / Free & Open to the Public 

Villanova Gaming Society Meeting / 2:30–4:30 p.m. / Speakers’ Corner / Free & Open to the Public 

Scholarship@Villanova Talk Featuring Bess Rowen, PhD, on “Impossible Things Happening Every Day: The Possibilities of Impossible Stage Directions” / 3–4:30 p.m. / Room 205 

This Week in History 

Nov. 10, 1969–Sesame Street Debuts 

On Nov. 10, 1969, Sesame Street made its broadcast debut before going on to teach many generations of kids about the alphabet and how to count (with Count von Count, of course!) Sesame Street ultimately became the most viewed children’s television program in the world, airing in more than 120 countries.  

Miss your childhood days of watching Sesame Street? Watch this fun clip to reminisce and find out what the letter of the day is: Sesame Street | Letter of the Day: S | PBS KIDS 

Want to learn more about the psychology behind Sesame Street? Read the chapter on Sesame Street in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point 

“Sesame Street” Debuts. (2009, November 24). Retrieved from

jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.

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TBT: Progress on TV

By Kelly McMahon

This week, I was struck by this 1990 Black History Month article from The Villanovan. In the article, then entertainment editor Stephen Powers offers us a brief history of black television, from the “golden years” of the 1950s, to the radical changes in the 1980s with the creation of The Cosby Show and Family Matters.

While he writes that progress has been made since the 1950s when it comes to diverse representation on major sitcoms and soap operas, Powers concludes his article by acknowledging that despite these advances, “there is still some progress to be made,” citing what was then top television shows with casts that were illogically all white, like Cheers and Murphy Brown. He also critiques Saturday Night Live, which in 1990 featured an entirely white cast.

In the 1990 article, Powers writes that he believes progress will be made in the next decade. Now, three decades later, progress has indeed been made. Major sitcoms like Blackish, Mixed-Ish, Good Trouble, and Grownish prioritize diversity of all kinds, from race to sexuality, gender identity, and ability. Since 1990, Saturday Night Live has grown to be incredibly diverse, too.

However, now, just like 1990 when Powers was writing, more progress can still be made. Despite the presence of diverse television shows, sitcoms with (almost) all white casts like The Office and Friends still gather large followings and huge viewerships. The 2017 reboot of Dynasty (a show Powers mentions) is almost as white as it was in earlier iterations. Large cable programs like The Bachelor and Bachelorette rarely (and sometimes never) feature people of color.

Villanovan article: "Blacks progress on TV"


Would Powers be satisfied with the progress that has been made? Does this article feel strangely topical despite being thirty years old? Let us know your thoughts via Instagram (@villanovalibrary) or Twitter (@FalveyLibrary).

Kelly McMahon CLAS ’22 is a student assistant in the Communication and Marketing office at Falvey Memorial Library.


What are you watching during spring break?

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!

Hey Wildcats! Happy midterms!

Okay, I know midterms isn’t a happy time. In reality, it’s only stressful..long nights in Falvey, countless cups of coffee, and little sleep…I know how it goes.

Usually, I offer advice during this week. I tell you ways to reduce stress, how to increase productivity, where to study, etc.

However, I’m getting through midterms by thinking ahead: spring break is right around the corner! Instead of sinking into the stress, I’m leaning into the upcoming excitement that comes with a week off! What am I going to read for fun? What am I going to binge watch? I’ve been making a list, and I’m looking forward to resting, relaxing, and recharging for the final half of the semester.

So, that’s my advice this week! Make a list of the things you’re looking forward to! Here’s a list of some of the shows on my “To Watch Over Break” list.

Emma. advertisement image


First on my watch list is Emma., which just hit theaters this past week. Autumn de Wilde directed the newest adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic 1815 novel of the same title. According to TIME Magazine, Emma. “feels both modern and authentic in the best way.”

“Rendered in sugar-almond tones of blush pink, daffodil yellow and ice blue by cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt, production designer Kave Quinn, and costume designer Alexandra Byrne, Emma. is as confident and gorgeous to look at as a tower of exquisitely rendered petit fours” (TIME).

If you’re interested in learning how the new movie departs from the novel, check out this article from Slate. If you want to check out a copy of the book to take home, check out our collection.

the good lord bird teaser image

The Good Lord Bird

Based on the 2013 novel by James McBride, The Good Lord Bird can be streamed on Showtime starting this week. McBride’s novel won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2013.

The novel follows the found memoirs of slave Henry Shackleford writing about his union with abolitionist John Brown. Brown, mistaking Shackleford for a woman, gives him a dress to wear, and the two join together. Shackleford narrates his encounters with Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, as well as Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.

High Fidelity

The new Hulu television show starring Zoë Kravitz is based off the 1995 novel of the same title by Nick Hornby. This isn’t the first adaptation of the novel, however; the novel was adapted into a feature film in 2000 and a Broadway musical in 2006.

The novel follows Rob Fleming, a London record store owner whose girlfriend Laura has just left him. After recalling his five most memorable breakups, Rob gets in touch with those former girlfriends. In the new (and in my opinion, more interesting) Hulu adaptation, we follow Kravitz, who plays the heartbroken record shop owner Rob, as she tracks down her exes, both men and women.


What are you looking forward to reading and/or watching during spring break? Tell us on Instagram (@villanovalibrary) or Twitter (@FalveyLibrary)!

Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder is a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing office at Falvey, and a graduate student in the English department.



Last Modified: February 26, 2020

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