Top 5 Suspenseful Movies For Halloween

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If you enjoy a little Halloween fun but don’t want to watch a movie that’s too scary, then a suspenseful film may be the right choice for you. The library has several suspenseful and older horror movies that, while entertaining, will probably not shock a modern audience. Check out our list below for some great choices!

Note: there are a lot of fantastic thrillers in the world of cinema, so this list is limited to the ones that we have available in the library.



A young bride is brought by her new husband to his manor house in England. There she finds that the memory of her husband’s first wife haunts her, and she tries to discover the secret of that mysterious woman’s death. Rebecca the book is also a classic suspense novel.



Take it all the way back to 1922 with this thrilling, silent film about Dracula (called Nosferatu in this version). While the effects may not be as scary to a modern viewer, they are dazzling for the time period. Nosferatu is one of the most influential films of the modern horror genre.



Alfred Hitchcock was certainly one director who knew how to tell suspenseful stories. Vertigo is the story of San Francisco police detective Scottie Ferguson, who is forced to retire when a freak accident gives him a severe case of acrophobia. Ferguson is hired by a rich shipbuilder to follow his wife, who is behaving suspiciously and might be planning suicide.


The Sixth Sense

If you don’t know the twist to The Sixth Sense, watch it before you find out! This is a great movie to watch at least twice- once before you know the twist, and once after. Bruce Willis gives an empathetic performance as a child psychologist who tries to help a boy with visions of dead people.


Donnie Darko

This was my favorite movie for many years. Donnie Darko has everything that a good suspense/science fiction movie needs: a giant bunny rabbit, a countdown to the end of the world (starting on October 2nd and ending on Halloween), and a classic 80’s New Wave soundtrack. I love Donnie Darko because it’s a movie that could fit in so many genres- and it will keep you guessing until the very end- but ultimately it’s about a troubled teenage boy trying to figure out how the world works, and what’s more relatable than that?


Bonus movie:


The first summer blockbuster was also a terrifying experience for moviegoers in 1975. Jaws is notable especially for its soundtrack, which inspires a creeping sense of dread as the giant shark approaches. Jaws will not be as scary to current horror fans due to limited (but still impressive) effects, which makes it a great movie for those who prefer suspense. You can read Matthew’s review of Jaws here.



Book Review: “Serious Moonlight” by Jenn Bennett


After I finished reading The Exorcist, I wanted to pick up something lighter- much lighter- to read. So I chose Jen Bennett’s Serious Moonlight, one of the library’s newer Young Adult novels. It has a very cozy cover, so it seemed like it would be a good read for a fall or winter afternoon. Literally, a patron that I helped at the Circulation Desk saw the book and commented: “That cover just looks like Christmas.”

Here’s a spoiler-free description of Serious Moonlight from the publisher: “Eighteen-year-old, mystery-loving Birdie’s new job at a historic Seattle hotel leads her and her co-worker, Daniel, to a real mystery about a reclusive writer who resides there.” I would say this book is more about restarting and repairing the relationship between Birdie and Daniel, though.

Mild spoilers ahead.

What Serious Moonlight does right: It’s cute. Birdie’s love interest, Daniel, is a sweetheart who loves David Bowie- which is a big qualification for a good literary romance. And even though Birdie pushes him away due to her fear of relationships, he still sticks around (which is okay rather than intrusive in this book, since they’re both nice and safe people). It’s a classic trope, but it’s one that works in this story.

Birdie and Daniel quote old noir/detective movies to each other. It’s weird and I don’t know of any teenagers who would do this, but again, it’s part of the book’s charm, just like the setting- Serious Moonlight makes Seattle seem smaller and more local than it really is.

Still, not everything is easy between Birdie and Daniel. Birdie worries that Daniel’s not telling her something (he’s not), and there’s a fair amount of natural miscommunications and missed signals between them. I appreciated these moments of realism (even as I wanted them to figure things out and end up together).

One last thing- if you’re into the Enneagram, this is a relationship between a 6 and a 7. It’s pretty entertaining how the two characters interact.


What Serious Moonlight gets wrong: Right off the bat I found out this was not going to be the completely innocent book I thought it would be. Let’s just say that Birdie has a surprise encounter in chapter one that I did not see coming based on her description of herself as “shy” and “sometimes cowardly.”  Later she has some more “encounters”-this book does earn the “Young Adult” sticker that we gave it.

There are also a few typos. This will bother some readers. And the plot’s kind of thin- this book is more focused on character growth than action.


Who should read Serious Moonlight: Readers who want a cute romance and a little bit of mystery. This would be a great book for an older teen or a young adult reader.


Who shouldn’t read Serious Moonlight: Readers who aren’t interested in romance/drama or would prefer a more chaste romance to read about.


Serious Moonlight is available in the library’s Family room.

*Content note: several suggestive scenes, language.

Moments In History: October 30th, 1961


Matthew Beyer has begun a “Moments In History” series to raise awareness of important historical events. Each post will also have book recommendations about the moment in history, using our extensive history collection in the library.


October 30th, 1961

The “Tsar Bomba”

At 11:32 in the morning on frozen island of Novya Zemlya, the world’s largest explosive device ever tested was detonated by the Soviet Union. It was dubbed the “Tsar Bomba.” The goal was to create a bomb that would help tip the tide in the nuclear arms race with the United States. The bomb itself was truly gargantuan, weighing in at 27 metric tons and 26 feet long. It was too large to be on a missile, and any plane attempting to carry it would have to be heavily modified.

The estimates on the yield of the blast was anywhere from 50 to 150 megatons. The blast itself would eventually be measured at 57 megatons; the equivalent of the blast would be 57million tons of TNT. That makes this bomb 1500 times more powerful than the bombs used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The crew for this fateful mission were told to expect only a 50% chance of survival, as they needed to release the bomb and then fly 28 miles to get away safely from the blast radius.

The bomb exploded about 4000m near the targeted zone, and the resulting fireball was an astounding 5 miles in diameter and could be seen up to 600 miles away. The characteristic mushroom cloud rose 47 miles into the air. The results were truly terrifying; everything within 34 miles of ground zero was completely annihilated. The destructive heat from the blast could have caused third degree burns for up to 62 miles away. Windows were recorded shattering in one village nearly 560 miles away from the test site. The pilots of the bomber made it safely away but were still rocked by the tremendous shock wave that caused them to temporarily lose control of their aircraft. The shock wave was recorded by seismologists on its third consecutive pass around the earth.

The only positive result of this bomb’s nightmarish scale was the fact that only two were ever built, with this one being used for testing. The U.S and the Soviet Union realized the futility of ever carrying out such nuclear strikes on each other: it would ensure the destruction of both countries, if not the world as a whole.

Would you like to learn more about the Cold War and the proliferation of nuclear weapons and how each country sought to compete in the nuclear arms race? The Union University Library has excellent books and media on the subject in the links below:



Top 5 Marketing Journals

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The world of marketing is constantly moving. Keep up with the latest practices and find sources for your papers and projects with these 5 marketing journals. You can find these journals online via our library website- just click on the “Journals” link under “Quick Links.”


Advances In Consumer Research

This journal provides research on retail trends, buyer preferences, and patronage behavior.


American Salesman

Trying to sell something? American Salesman is full of advice for selling in a fast-paced environment, working on your people skills, and understanding risk management.


International Journal of Consumer Studies

When you need to research global trends in marketing, International Journal of Consumer Studies is your best bet. Here you will learn about differing consumer trends in Brazil, Finland, Canada, China, and many other countries.


Journal For Advancement In Marketing Education

How do students best learn about marketing? How can you teach someone on-the-job? Use the Journal For Advancement In Marketing Education for articles about marketing in the classroom.


Journal of Marketing and Management

If you plan to be a leader in the marketing industry, you may also work as a manager or trainer of other workers. This journal combines the best of both worlds with plenty of PDF full-text articles complete with graphics and statistics.



Moments In History: October 25th, 1415


*painting by Enguerrand de Monstrelet

Matthew Beyer has begun a “Moments In History” series to raise awareness of important historical events. Each post will also have book recommendations about the moment in history, using our extensive history collection in the library.


October 25th, 1415

The Battle of Agincourt


The conflict that would come to be known as the Hundred Years’ War had been raging for seventy-eight years up to this fateful day in late October. It began as a dynastic dispute of who would inherit the kingdom of France when its king Charles IV died leaving no male heirs. While the last three French kings had six daughters, the French nobility ruled out allowing women to inherit their husband’s title and lands. The King of England, Edward III, was the son of Isabella of France and grandson of the former French King Philip IV. The French aristocracy did not want an English monarch to sit on the throne of France, so they chose a distant cousin further down the line and elected Philip VI as King. Things were for the moment settled; however, there were still proxy wars and the seizure of English-held Duchy of Aquitaine in 1337.

Fast forward nearly eight decades later and the war began to reach its fever pitch, with the only pauses due to the horrific nature of the Black Death having ravaged France and England in the middle of this struggle. A new, vibrant English King Henry V had invaded France with the hopes of either wining the crown or restoring previously held Aquitaine. After landing in France and taking the port town of Harfleur, the English army found itself racked by sickness during the siege (predominately dysentery). Losing several thousand men prompted Henry to attempt to return to the English held port of Calais; however, the French had gotten ahead of him, cutting off his escape path to the channel.

On October 24th both armies made preparations for battle. For the English, the situation was grim weeks of marching nearly 300 miles. Disease had taken its toll on the army, leaving barely 8,000 men to fight. The overwhelming majority of the men left were English longbow men with a small contingent of dismounted knights and men-at-arms and no cavalry. Arrayed against them was the flower of French Nobility: anywhere from 15-20 thousand men many of whom were knights on horseback. The French were confident that they would simply ride down and smash the English in one thunderous charge. The site of the battle was chosen by King Henry, as it provided a narrow gap of pastureland surrounded by thick forest and marshes that would prevent the French from bringing their full numbers to bear and outflank the smaller English force. The English pounded large sharp wooden stakes in front of their archers to act as a hedgehog of spears to counter the French heavy cavalry.

This next moment would become immortalized a century later by William Shakespeare in his play Henry V. The English King gave an arousing speech and sought to inspire his men, raising their morale for the daunting task that awaited them:

From this day to the ending of the world,
we in it shall be remembered
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother.

The French nobles, confident of victory and fearing the battle would be over before they got a chance to claim their share of spoils, foolishly began a general advance and charged at the front of their men across the muddy fields. The English then began to shower thousands of arrows down upon the advancing French cavalry. The hail of arrows pierced the horses and any gap or opening in the knights’ armor. Those few French knights that made it to the English line ran straight into the prepared stakes and spikes as well as waiting English Infantry armed with pikes and polearms, all the while longbow men shot arrows at near point-blank range. Nevertheless, the French infantry, unaware of their comrades’ plight, advanced headlong down the field attempting to break the English line. They were hampered by the sodden ground already torn up by the rush of the French cavalry, which slowed their charge to a trot. Hemmed in by the narrow muddy terrain and unable to retreat or properly advance under the constant rain of arrows. The French found themselves stuck among their wounded countrymen and the corpses of the dead and dying horses. After close to three hours of intense and brutal combat in which Henry V was nearly killed in the fighting, the French army collapsed and fell back towards their camp.

The English were seemingly victorious; still, it looked as though the French were regrouping for another assault. As a result of this, the English had a terrible decision to make. They had taken thousands of French knights and men-at-arms prisoner in the hours of fighting. The code of chivalry demanded that men of aristocratic birth be awarded the privilege of ransom back to their families. Henry soon discovered that the number of prisoners taken nearly exceeded his own men.  In a panic Henry made the decision to execute all but the most valuable prisoners, an act that would taint and haunt his reign for all his days to come. At the end of the day, close to 8,000 French lay dead or were subsequently executed for the cost of a few hundred Englishmen. This proved to be one of the most disproportionate victories in all medieval warfare. As much as 40% of the French Nobility were killed off in a single battle. Many agree this was the turning point in which the age of chivalry began to die.

If this topic interests you, and you would like to learn more on this fascinating event in history, the Union University Library is happy to provide you with the resources to do just that with links down below:



Book Review: “Manson: The Life And Times Of Charles Manson” by Jeff Guinn

manson book


My obsession with two crimes that were committed in 1969- 24 years before I was even born- began with a Christmas present.

This past Christmas, my husband gifted me one of the most famous true crime books of all time: Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi. Helter Skelter tells the story of two major crimes- the Tate murders and the LaBianca murders- that were committed by Charles Manson, a criminal cult leader, and his followers (known as the Manson Family) in 1969. Bugliosi was the prosecutor for these cases, and he goes into great detail about the evidence he found and how justice was served.

Then, in July, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was released. I won’t spoil this film for you, but just know that a fictionalized version of the Manson Family features prominently in the plot. I would go so far as to say that you won’t fully enjoy this film unless you have some background knowledge on the Family, Sharon Tate, and the crimes that were committed in real life. It was fascinating to see Tarantino’s revisionist history version of the events.

These two gripping accounts led me to request a highly rated, bestselling Manson biography through Interlibrary Loan. Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn is a nonfiction account of Manson’s life, focusing largely on his time with the Family.

What Manson gets right: There it is, black ink on white paper: the story of the notorious criminal and cultish leader Charles Manson. You’re not going to fully understand Manson and his actions after reading this book- who really can?- but you will learn about his upbringing, the people he recruited as his followers, how he used psychology to brainwash them, their crimes, and his eventual prison sentence for life. Manson is a factual, mostly objective account of a complicated, dangerous person and what happened because of him.

What Manson does wrong: It’s a little drawn-out in areas, but with a historical account, that’s to be expected. Jeff Guinn wants his readers to have all of the facts, and he provides a list of his research in the back of the book for more information.

Who should read Manson: Anyone who is interested in criminal psychology, 1960s-70s American history, and true crime. There’s also a fair amount of biographical information on Beach Boys’ drummer Dennis Wilson, who was a friend of Manson’s prior to the infamous crimes, so be sure to pick up this book if you’re a Wilson fan.

Who shouldn’t read Manson: This book is not for the faint of heart or easily squeamish. The crimes that Manson and his followers committed are described in detail. Reader discretion is advised.


*Content note: Language, violence, etc. This is a factual book about one of the world’s most notorious criminals, so reader discretion is advised.

Top 5 Books About Writing

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At some point in your life, you’re going to have to write something important- an article, an academic essay, or website content for your company. Thankfully there are books that can help you improve on your writing (as well as great professors and the Writing Center here at Union). Listed below are some of the library’s best books on writing.


Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott

Lamott has written novels (Blue Shoe, Hard Laughter, etc.) as well as nonfiction, so she’s had a lot of writing experience. Bird By Bird teaches you not only how to write better, but how to use your own personal strengths and weaknesses as a writer. It’s about your personal growth through the context of writing.


Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

A solid manual to writing better copy, social media posts, emails, and first drafts. See a more in-depth review here.


On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Zinsser takes a more critical approach to writing as he warns against common mistakes and grammatical errors. On Writing Well is extremely practical and will teach you about the difference between good and bad writing.


Storycraft by Jack Hart

Storycraft is a how-to guide with helpful examples from classic essays and books. This book is specifically about nonfiction writing, but fiction writers can pick up some tips, too.


Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway

What? Isn’t this a book about bullfighting? Well, yes, but it’s just as much about writing (you’ll see). Countless people have tried to write like Hemingway since The Sun Also Rises, so it’s safe to say that taking writing advice from the man himself might be helpful.



Matthew’s Monday Movie: “Ghostbusters”

In the mid 80’s, writers Dan Aykroyd and Harrold Ramis, with the help of director Ivan Reitman, managed to catch lightning in a bottle with their iconic hit film Ghostbusters. The film was a bold and risky endeavor as it would blend the horror and comedy genres. Aykroyd and Ramis used clever writing and excellent special effects to make Ghostbusters an instant classic.

The zany plot revolves around three scientists: Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz, (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harrold Ramis). They work together in the field of paranormal investigations and are making head way in documenting and studying ghosts when their funding is cut, and they subsequently fired by the college that employs them. Rather than giving up, they decide to go in to business for themselves as professional Ghostbusters who eliminate unwanted spirits haunting the people of New York. The business begins to grow and prosper as ghosts and ghost sightings seem to be plaguing the city, alluding to an evil entity that is attempting to cross over into our world. While they become icons and popular celebrities across the city, Venkman begins to fall for his first client Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), who happens to be haunted by a particularly nasty spirit. Soon the Ghostbusters are targeted by an unscrupulous bureaucrat who unknowingly hastens the arrival of an apocalyptic force. It falls to the Ghostbusters to save Dana and the people of New York from an ancient evil.

Despite its strange and risky premise, Ghostbusters became an enormous pop culture phenomenon. Its use of sharp and witty comedy with bizarre and stylish horror aspects were a hit with audiences. The characteristic logo and equipment became a mass marketing success in a similar way to Star Wars merchandise. Ghostbusters would go on to start a whole new sub-genre of films that attempt to make audiences laugh and shriek. The film has consistently made it among various publications’ Top 100 Films Of All Time lists. The popular movie review website Rotten Tomatoes still holds it at a 97% fresh rating.  Ghostbusters would go on to start its own franchise and the film itself racked in nearly 300 million dollars. I grew up watching this film, and my family and I can quote nearly every bit of dialogue in this memorable movie.

Ghostbusters was rated PG at the time, but today it would be in the PG-13 category for some use of language, innuendos, and some frightening scenes. Ghostbusters is available at the Union University Library.

Book Review: “Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver

before i fall

Have you seen the movie Groundhog Day? Even if you haven’t, you’re probably familiar with the basic thematic concept of living the same day over and over again- it’s been done in many movies and books. Sometimes this kind of storyline can get boring and repetitive. However, when it’s done right, it can be effective and even entertaining, and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is a great example of this.

Before I Fall  examines the life of a popular “mean girl,” Samantha Kingston, and what happens when she dies and then has to relive her last day multiple times.


What Before I Fall does right: Samantha (Sam) goes through the stages of grief when she realizes that she has died, has to relive her last day, and isn’t sure why or how to get out of it. One day shows her taking a nihilistic view- if she’s really dead, then nothing she does matters, right? On a different day, she’s so grateful to see her parents, friends, and town again that she practically beams the whole day. I find this take on the popular “Groundhog Day” theme to be pretty realistic.

The characters in Before I Fall dance off the page as if they were real. Hardly anyone is two dimensional, even though they may seem that way at first. Sam learns more and more about the people around her and how her actions have affected them for better or for worse. She seeks to make things right with those she has wronged- in particular, she wants to help a bullied girl named Juliet when Sam realizes that Juliet committed suicide on the same original day that Sam died.

Sam herself undergoes a fair amount of character development, but it doesn’t seem rushed, forced, or overly moralistic. She changes slowly, with plenty of frustration about her situation and toward her friends when they don’t understand why she seems different with each relived day. It’s a believable amount of growth, but Before I Fall still leaves you with that glowing sense of redemption.


What Before I Fall gets wrong: There are parts of the book that seem a little long, and there are times when Sam makes choices that seem cringey or obviously wrong- doesn’t she know better by now? But all of this is leading to her ultimate redemption, and it’s worth it to keep reading.


Who should read Before I Fall: Older teenagers, college students, and adults alike may enjoy this realistic depiction of teenage life (played out through an unrealistic Groundhog Day theme). Before I Fall can be very sad at times, but the ultimate messages are of love, friendship, family, and redemption.


Who shouldn’t read Before I Fall: With its mature themes and language, Before I Fall is not marketed towards younger readers. However, older readers will probably enjoy and relate to this book. Please be warned, however, that this book contains heavy themes and intense depictions of teen and adult problems (think Thirteen Reasons Why and read the content note below).


Content note: language, suggestive content, heavy themes (including eating disorders, suicide, and inappropriate relationships).


Before I Fall is available in the library’s Family Room.

How To Make Time For Reading As A Busy College Student

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I’ve worked in the library for several years, and one thing I hear a lot from students is “I wish I could read that book, but I don’t have time!”

Now, I’m not here to give you a lecture on time management, or to tell you to stop doing homework so that you can read for fun! That’s definitely not what you should be doing as a student. However, I do think many students would like to find the time to read in their busy lives, so here are a few tips on how to squeeze in some reading time.


Read on-the-go.

Did you know that you can download eBooks from our library website? Once they’re downloaded on your Kindle, phone, or laptop, you can read the eBook even if you’re online. This is a great option for time spent waiting in line at Barefoots or sitting at the doctor’s office- those few extra minutes could be reading time!


Read on breaks.

From Christmas break to summer break, there’s usually a few hours to spare for leisurely reading. When I look at my Goodreads statistics, I can see that I typically read the most during J-Term, when I have a few days off of work and a less hectic schedule.


Read during meals.

Meal breaks are a great time to read a quick chapter or a few poems, especially if you find yourself in Cobo at a time when none of your friends are available for lunch.


Read before bed.

If you tend to reach for your phone before you turn out the lights, maybe you could reach for your book instead! If it’s a physical book, then its pages won’t emit sleep-disrupting light like screens do.



But what to read?