2018 In Review


The library blog gained several new, dedicated writers in 2018. We wrote about everything from new books to wrestling and all that falls between. Let’s take a look back at the best of the blog from this year!


Amount of Blog Views: 2,055

Top 10 Posts Of 2018:

  1. Top 5 Underrated Library Perks
  2. Donny’s Deductions: The History of Professional Bowling
  3. How To Reserve A Study Room
  4. How To Use The Library As A Guest
  5. How To Print In The Library (For UU Students & Faculty/Staff)
  6. New In Our Archives: “The Private Papers of John Jeter Hurt”
  7. Myth-Shattering Fun Facts
  8. Top 5 Education Databases
  9. How To Download eBooks To Read Offline
  10. A Brief History of Union University


*these had the most views and interaction for this year


Top 10 Blog Post Quotes From 2018 (In No Particular Order):

1. Bowling two-handed makes it easier to hook the ball, thus scoring higher games with less experience. This makes the sport more accessible and many more middle and high school bowlers are using this technique. Jason Belmonte has helped grow the sport more than just about any other professional bowler. – Donny Turner, “Donny’s Deductions: The History of Professional Bowling”


2. A wrestling match can tell a story unlike any sporting event can, and sometimes it can do this better than television shows. A good wrestling match, if done well, can be up to half an hour long. This is longer than many TV shows and in that time, with few words and technically one scene, two wrestlers can tell a story unlike any other. – Brennan Kress, “Book Reviews: ‘Headlocks and Dropkicks’ by Ted Kluck”


3. 1975: it can be argued that this is the year that the first true “summer movie” was born, Jaws. – Matthew Beyer, “Matthew’s Monday Movie: ‘Jaws'”


4. Human beings pride themselves on their extensive and diverse knowledge of the world, but sometimes information gets confused along the way. Misunderstandings, urban legends, and flat out lies can infiltrate what we believe is common knowledge. – Ruth Duncan, “Myth-Shattering Fun Facts”

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

5. Some afternoons you sit on the first floor of the library, bent over your Chemistry textbook, and hold up your eyelids because they stubbornly decide to close on you. “I can’t spend five dollars on a coffee this week. I’m broke!” you tell yourself. If you notice an acquaintance who’s in this situation, escort them into Modero and tell them to pick out a warm and caffeinated beverage – it’s on you. – Danielle Chalker, “Random Acts of Kindness Day”


6. Akage no An (Red Haired Anne) was introduced to Japan during the educational reforms of 1952. The series and its authorized prequel have both been adapted into anime, and two schools in Japan (the Anne Academy in Fukuoma and the School of Green Gables in Okayama) teach their students how to speak and behave as the admired character would. – Jordan Sellers, “Fun Facts You Might Not Know About Anne of Green Gables”


7. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve turned to nonfiction when I want to read something. Maybe I’m looking for advice, or maybe I just want to know how other people live, and think, and figure things out. To Shake the Sleeping Self is the perfect book to get inside someone else’s mind and feelings. Jenkins writes in a genuine, self-aware tone. He’s easy to relate to because he wonders about things we all do- who he is and who he will be in the future. – Olivia Chin, “Book Review: ‘To Shake the Sleeping Self'”


8. Are you an Anglophile? It’s okay, you can admit it. If you drink Earl Grey every morning, have the Union Jack hanging on your dorm room wall, or dream of going to grad school at Cambridge, you probably are. – Danielle Chalker, “Featured eBook: ‘The Cambridge Art Book'”


9. Reading can help increase empathy. By reading, especially fiction-reading, you increase your ability to empathize with others. If you can understand a character in a novel, you can better understand the people around you. – Brennan Kress, “On The Importance of Reading”


10. In the history of philosophy, it is important to learn about each philosopher’s predecessor, since many philosophers build off of what their mentor taught (or, interestingly, completely reject it). – Olivia Chin, “Featured Book: ‘A Short History of Modern Philosophy'”


Featured Writers:

Matthew Beyer

Danielle Chalker

Olivia Chin

Ruth Duncan

Brennan Kress

Jenny Manasco

Anna Poore

Jordan Sellers

Donny Turner


Celebrate “Defy Superstition Day” (September 13th)

black cat

Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. We have missed Friday the 13th by one day, and we won’t be having another until September of next year (14 months away). We have been spared from bad luck and can now rest soundly, under ladders with all our umbrellas open indoors.

Are you superstitious? While you may scoff at superstition in the abstract, you might find yourself saying “jinx!” when two people speak in unison or cringing when an important day falls on Friday the 13th. September 13, not surprisingly, has been established as Defy Superstition Day by some brave soul desiring to free us from our irrational fears. In America we have plenty of superstitions, from avoiding black cats to only picking pennies off the ground if they are on heads. But America is far from the only country with strange and bizarre superstitions.


Here are 13 superstitions from around the world!


  1. Have you ever mistaken someone’s birthday, so you end up saying, “happy early birthday!” In America this is fine and understandable, but in Russia, wishing someone a happy birthday before their actual birthday is bad luck.
  2. Looking through two mirrors facing each other may seem like a cool optical trick, but in Mexico, it opens a doorway for the devil to come through. Suddenly looking through two mirrors seems less interesting.
  3. As kids we probably all joked around and gave cheers will all kinds of drinks. But in Germany if you cheers with water, you are wishing death upon the people you are drinking with. Yikes!
  4. We have all tried to cram another person at our table at lunch, but for that poor soul who gets stuck on the corner, bad things will happen. According to Hungarian myth, sitting at the corner of a table means you will never get married.
  5. We all know we should put our best foot forward, which in Spain means your right foot, since entering or leaving a room left foot first is considered bad luck.
  6. But in France, if you are unfortunate enough to step in dog poop you better hope it’s your left foot, since that is for some reason good luck, but if you step in it with your right foot, well that’s bad. Perhaps it’s best to just try to avoid all dog poop in general. There will be less to clean up.
  7. In Bulgaria people believe that getting pooped on by a bird is actually good luck, contrary to reason. But again, don’t look up with your mouth open.
  8. Playing leap frog as a kid is always fun, except in Turkey where jumping over a child can curse them to be short…forever.
  9. In Korea, it is believed that sleeping with a fan of any kind on in the room will bring your imminent demise due to…hypothermia. This is why these things are superstitions and not facts.
  10. In areas of the north eastern United States certain houses were built with windows slanted at 45 degrees since it was believed that witches could not fly through slanted windows. Flying on a broom is one thing, but apparently flying through a window that’s a little tilted is just too much.
  11. In China, the number 4 is seen as very bad luck (like 13 in the US), so many hotels won’t have a 4th floor. This goes to Japan as well, where putting chopsticks straight up in food (which makes a symbol like their number 4) is seen as very bad luck.
  12. We know not to run with scissors, but in Egypt opening scissors without using them, and leaving them open, is considered very bad luck. The idea is that the scissors, left open, are cutting spirits in the air, who in turn, will curse you.
  13. Lastly, in America we watch for Friday the 13th, but in Italy it is Friday the 17th that we should be worried about. In Spain, they aren’t concerned with Friday, it’s Tuesday the 13th where bad things happen.

    So enjoy this year without Friday the 13th and go defy some superstitions; but it might be smart to knock on wood first, just in case.



*written by Brennan Kress & Danielle Chalker


A Week of Kids’ Reads

Looking for a fun book to share with your child or little sibling? Well, don’t stop at one – get one for every day of the week so you can have a daily reading time! Whether you’ve got the midweek blues or feel like celebrating the weekend, we’ve got a book for you (and your family)!


  • Monday
    If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff
    Sure, Monday is the dreaded start of the school week – but look on the bright side and enjoy this story of the hilarious escapades of a mouse in the schoolhouse.


  • Tuesday
    Tuesday by David Wiesner
    A zany wordless tale of a very unusual day involving a flying frog invasion!


  • Wednesday
    The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting
    On Wednesday nights when Grandma stays with Anna everyone thinks she is teaching Anna to read. But the two have a different surprise up their sleeve for Dad’s birthday. A beautiful story about a loving family and the joy of literacy.


  • Thursday
    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
    While Wednesday is often hailed as the awfullest day of the work week, everyone knows that Thursday really takes the cake. It’s near enough to the end of the week for you to be exhausted, but not quite near enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel (see Friday). Commiserate with Alexander’s unfortunate day by reading this book to your overtired kids.

family fun

  • Friday

Friday means it’s time to have fun! School has let out for the weekend. Check out Family Fun Nights: 140 Activities the Whole Family Will Enjoy for tons of games and ideas for a great night with your children.


  • Saturday
    Saturday Market by Patricia Grossman
    Join Ana and Estela as they sell their handmade goods at a Saturday market in Mexico. Enjoy the colorful illustrations and learn a few Spanish words along the way.


  • Sunday
    The Lord’s Prayer illustrated by Tim Ladwig
    The text of the Lord’s prayer is presented along with beautiful oil-painting illustrations about a father and daughter. May the words of this treasured prayer stay with your family as you head into a new week!

It’s Limerick Day!

On this twelfth day of May, it is imperative that you take a moment to celebrate one of the highest literary forms in the English language…the limerick.

Limericks are a comic verse form usually involving outlandish rhymes, often using place names. They were most likely named after County Limerick in Ireland. Today is the birthday of Edward Lear, the talented poet who arguably perfected the art of the limerick (while managing to grow a downright impressive beard).


Here’s a sampling of ridiculous limericks by Lear:

There was an Old Man of Kilkenny,
Who never had more than a penny;
He spent all that money,
In onions and honey,
That wayward Old Man of Kilkenny.

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared! —
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard.”     [autobiographical?]

There was an Old Man in a boat,
Who said, ‘I’m afloat, I’m afloat!’
When they said, ‘No! you ain’t!’
He was ready to faint,
That unhappy Old Man in a boat.

Here’s an original limerick dedicated to the suffering students of Union – may they pass all their exams!

There was a young lady at college,
Who attempted to gather much knowledge.
She’d study at night
In finals-week fright.
Thus she learned to like coffee at college.



Featured Book: “Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books” by Tony Reinke


“A book about reading books? That seems like overthinking things to me.”

But if you’ve ever questioned whether reading fiction is a waste of time, debated the merits of books written by secular authors, or felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of books you wish you had time to read, you might want to check out this book.

“Reading books is hard work,” the author acknowledges. But it is also deeply rewarding. Tony Reinke pictures books like stars, a vast array of “lesser lights” that can’t compare to the brilliance of God’s Word but can still show us good and important things.

“The motto of the reading Christian is a dazzling doxology: ‘in your light do we see light’ (Psalm 36:9). Christian readers can now see and treasure the truth, goodness, and beauty that flicker in the pages of books. The whole thing is like reading books under high voltage stadium lights. We see by the illuminating grace of God.”

Tony Reinke’s thoughtful, accessible, and systematic guide will help you determine what to read and why. Beginning with “A Theology of Books and Reading” Lit! moves to a section of “Some Practical Advice on Book Reading.” Lit! covers these great topics and more:

  • the benefits (and risks) of reading non-Christian books
  • the power of spiritual imagination
  • how to create a list of reading priorities
  • helpful tips for reading fiction and nonfiction
  • how to carve out time for reading from your busy schedule
  • the effects of Internet reading on book reading
  • why you should mark up your copies with notes and highlights
  • ideas for building Christian community around shared books

Want to check out Lit! from the UU Library? Find it here in our catalog.


Light Reading for Spring Break

The library’s Recreational Reading collection (upstairs on the left) is your destination for refreshingly un-assigned spring break reading.

Whether you’re the sort who can’t wait to curl up with a long book and a huge cup of tea or you’re just looking for something to do on the plane ride home, we’ve collected a wide selection of popular fiction and nonfiction for you to enjoy in your spare time. Stop by the library before you leave campus and pick out a book!

Here are a few of our newer fiction titles:

Celebrate Spring with Picture Books!

Today is officially the start of spring! Sunny days have returned at last (at least, some of the time), and new life is blossoming from the trees. If you have little ones who are feeling the urge to get outside, bring reading time outdoors too! We have a great selection of spring-themed children’s literature in the Family Reading Room. Take a look at these fun titles:

The World is Awake by Linsey Davis


This lively book takes readers on a romp through God’s creation, showing how everything he’s made, from zoo animals to fresh produce, praises Him. The vibrant illustrations recall the brightness of spring, which is the perfect time of year to teach kids thankfulness for the blessings of nature.

Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert


Bold collage illustrations and simple text make this a great first book about gardening. It follows the process from seeds planted to soup cooked, a joyful celebration of home-grown food.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey


Does a parade of quacking ducklings make you think of spring? Try this classic Caldecott Medal winner about a family of ducks seeking a home in busy, traffic-filled Boston. Author-illustrator Robert McCloskey’s sepia charcoal drawings may not be in spring colors, but they are alive with action and character.

We Are Growing by Laurie Keller


Beginning readers will enjoy this exciting story about…grass growing. No, really. As several blades of grass get taller, they discuss the things that make them unique–until one discovers there’s nothing unique about him. Or is there? Written in Mo Willems’ cartoon style, this book even features beloved characters Elephant & Piggie!

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson


Glowing full-page canvas paintings of leaping rabbits and staring birds fill this simple, low-text story about sowing and reaping. Starting with the growth of a literal seed, Nelson then visually displays how seeds of selfishness and seeds of kindness grow. The veggies on the last page look so juicy, this book might inspire a trip to the farmer’s market!



Come to the Meadow by Anna Grossnickle Hines


A little girl invites each of her family members to follow her to the meadow, which she knows is brimming with signs of spring. Each one is busy with some spring-related task and can’t come with her, until she asks Grandma, who suggests a spontaneous picnic to celebrate the season. Beautiful two-tone illustrations in yellow and green complement the text.

If you want to encourage your children to delight in God’s creation, pay attention to nature, or even be inspired with a love of gardening, check out these fun read-alouds available in the Logos Family Reading Room!





Read Before You Watch: A Wrinkle in Time

If you’re excited about the new Ava DuVernay film A Wrinkle in Time, take the “time” to read the original young adult classic by Madeleine L’Engle, which is available at the Library! This science fiction novel stars an awkward middle school girl and her genius little brother, who struggle against incomprehensible forces of cosmic evil and discover the triumph of love. Mrs. Who, Mrs. What, and Mrs. Which are more than happy to take you along on the mind-bending journey from the Murry family’s vegetable garden to the outer reaches of space.

If you’ve already read the novel, here are some other great titles to check out:

  • an excellent graphic novel adaptation by Hope Larson


  • Becoming Madeleine, a new biography of L’Engle for young readers, written by her granddaughters!


  • Walking on Water, Madeleine’s own reflections on faith and art


  • A Wind in the Door & A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the next two volumes in the Wrinkle in Time Quintet


Random Acts of Kindness Day – College Edition

Are you feeling a little discouraged by the winter weather? Has a mountain of homework got you down in the dumps? Take heart! February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day. We all know that doing something kind for another can uplift our own spirits. Why not consider brightening someone’s day right here on campus with one of the ideas from the list below?

  1. Swipe for the person behind you in line at Cobo. Chances are you’ve done this before –  we all have that one roommate who always forgets her ID or that senior friend who’s perpetually stressed and out of meal swipes. This time, try doing it for a total stranger!
  2. Send a note of encouragement to a friend or acquaintance’s UU mailbox. A Scripture verse, a humorous poem, or a letter reminding the person of something they’re excelling at – all would be wonderful to find in your box on a wintry February day. This is easy (and free!) to do – campus mail doesn’t have to be stamped. Simply place it in the drop in the SUB hallway.pexels-photo-279415.jpeg
  3. Do the dishes for your roommate. That one roommate who’s struggling through the busiest semester of her college career – she might appreciate it if her sink full of dirty plates and mugs disappeared mysteriously. She never even has to know…
  4. Offer someone free tutoring help. You don’t have to be perfect at a subject to lend a hand with homework. Know of a classmate who’s struggling through Statistics or blundering in Biology? Maybe that’s your strong suit, and maybe this is your chance to practice a random act of kindness. Just make sure your help is welcomed first!
  5. Buy a coffee for a friend who’s studying in the Logos. Some afternoons you sit on the first floor of the library, bent over your Chemistry textbook, and hold up your eyelids because they stubbornly decide to close on you. “I can’t spend five dollars on a coffee this week. I’m broke!” you tell yourself. If you notice an acquaintance who’s in this situation, escort them into Modero and tell them to pick out a warm and caffeinated beverage –  it’s on you.pexels-photo-414630.jpeg
  6. Bake cookies and leave them on each doorstep in your building. Note: since some people may view unidentified cookies with suspicion, you might want to include a note explaining that you are one of their building neighbors and encouraging them to share the cookies with a friend, creating a ripple of kind acts.wood-light-brown-dessert
  7. Help someone tote their belongings across campus. For some students, their parking space seems a mile away from their dorm. If you notice someone struggling with suitcases or groceries, see if they’d like an extra pair of hands.
  8. Give a car-less individual a ride to Walmart. Not all Union students have vehicles, and north Jackson is not exactly designed to be pedestrian-friendly. If you know a stranded freshman desperate for groceries, why not kindly offer to be their chauffeur?
  9. Appreciate a professor. Even scholars with doctorates need acts of kindness! A simple card or email to a favorite prof could mean more than you’d imagine. Tell them why you appreciate them, what you love about their class, or simply one way they’ve helped you in your walk with God.education-a-good-idea-an-array-of-school-40382.jpeg
  10. Pray for a friend or classmate who’s struggling. A Cobo swipe or a chocolate chunk cookie can go a long way toward making someone’s day better, but for those dealing with stress, chronic illness, or even mental health problems, random acts of kindness are like putting a Band-Aid on a deep wound. Remember, prayer is an act of kindness, too. Even if the person never knows you’re lifting them up to the Lord, your intercession could be the kindest thing you can do.

Which random act of kindness will you perform this month? You might find that being extra kind brings you so much joy you try to do it all year long!


*post written by Danielle Chalker