Good Things To Do During COVID-19

good

It’s currently a wild time in the world, to say the least. With COVID-19 ravaging our planet, staying at home and washing your hands has become first priority in our lives (read CDC guidelines here). Maybe you’re looking for something fun or helpful to do while we navigate uncertain territory? We’ve compiled a list of good things to do and use during this time:

 

Donate blood.

For Jackson residents, you can donate blood at Lifeline Blood Services at 183 Sterling Farm Drive.

 

Workout at home.

Campus Rec has been making creative at-home workout videos. Check them out on Instagram! You can also work on your yoga skills for free with Yoga With Adriene. And then, my personal favorite exercise: you can go for a run! It’s free and as long as you stay away from others, it’s safe to do so.

 

Put a dent in your reading list!

Staying at home = the perfect time to get reading! We have Reading Lists, Book Reviews, and eBook recommendations for you.

 

Take your children or younger siblings on a “bear hunt,” or put out a bear for children to view at your home or dorm.

Bear hunts have become a popular pastime for cooped-up kids, and they meet the requirement for social distancing.

 

Create side walk chalk art.

Chalk art is an easy way to brighten someone’s day without getting close to them!

 

Stream a free video with Films On Demand.

The library subscribes to an eVideo service called Films On Demand. Look it up on our website under the “Databases, E-Books, and Media” tab and watch something new!

 

Attend a virtual prayer group or church service.

Church teams have gotten extra creative during the pandemic with livestreams, apps, and video resources. If you haven’t found a local church yet, check out Union’s list of area churches.

 

Sew a face mask for a healthcare worker.

If you know how to sew, or if you’ve been wanting to learn, now is the time to get sewing! Here is a guide on how to sew a face mask.

 

Watch Sir Patrick Stewart read Shakespearean sonnets.

April is National Poetry month! What better time to listen to some classic poetry read by the Shakespearean actor Sir Patrick Stewart?

 

Use Zoom to schedule a Research Coach appointment or to connect with family/friends.

Zoom is a video conferencing tool that is essential for a time like this. Here’s how to schedule a Research Coach appointment with Zoom.

 

Take some time for self-care.

Check in on yourself and your friends. This is a difficult time for many in regards to mental health. Here are some self-care tips from Psychology Today. And here is a guide for diaphragmatic breathing, which can help with stress management.

 

Dive into spring cleaning.

When you’re stuck at home, it’s easy to find house-related projects to do. Maybe it’s time to clean out your closet or kitchen cabinets, or you can finally hang up those picture frames.

 

Watch “Some Good News With John Krasinski.”

Sometimes you just need to hear about the good things that are still happening in the world. Thankfully, beloved actor John Krasinski made a video to share good news on YouTube.

 

Find a new job.

Some places may need extra help during the pandemic. Check local listings to see where you can help out and get some extra cash!

 

Make a bucket list for when this is over.

Every time you think of something you want to do or go see, or a friend you miss, write it down on a piece of paper and put it into a jar. Then, when things are safe again, you can pull suggestions out of the jar and complete your bucket list!

 

Get into coloring.

Here is a website with free adult coloring pages!

 

 

What are your good ideas for spending your time during this pandemic? Let us know in the comments!

 

Matthew’s Monday Movie: “The Breakfast Club”

The 1980s were filled with a plethora of teen dramas and coming-of-age stories.  Those living through the 80s as teenagers or young adults were generally considered Gen X and are often associated with being cliquey, cynical slackers with a sense of rebellion and a lack of adult supervision. Acclaimed writer and director John Hughes would personify these social archetypes in his hit film The Breakfast Club.

The film takes place on a Saturday in a high school’s library, where five students have been sentenced to detention for the day. Each student represents a various clique in school. First we have Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald) as a typical upper-class popular girl who comes off as stuck up and cold. Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez) is a star athlete with a short temper. Next comes Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall) who, due to his scholastic successes and social awkwardness, has been labeled a nerd.  The next character is that of Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy); Allison is considered a social pariah due to her strange and nihilistic behavior. Lastly, we are introduced to the bad boy of the group, John Bender (Judd Nelson). John is angry at everyone and everything in the world. He lives a rash and anarchistic lifestyle and challenges every social taboo.

The antagonist to this group is the Vice Principal Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason). Principal Vernon is a cruel authoritarian who cannot or refuses to understand or sympathize with the current generations of kids he oversees at the school. He is determined to prove to those unwilling to follow the rules that they will never amount to anything.

As the day progresses, the group goes from being at each other’s throats to slowly coming to realize that each of their problems at school or at home aren’t so different. They leave seeing each other as individuals and wish the world would see them that way too.

The Breakfast Club is easily one of the most identifiable films of the 1980s. It holds its place in the nostalgia of anyone who grew up during that time period and continues to inspire countless teen dramas today. In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The Breakfast Club is available at the Union University Library. Please note: it is Rated R for language.

 

College Student Christmas Gift Guide

freestocks-org-PxM8aeJbzvk-unsplash.jpg
When it comes to Christmas gifts, finding a quality, unique gift can be a bit daunting, even if you’re shopping for the people you know best. That’s why we have compiled a list of 5 top-notch gifts to get any college student in your life.

  • Blobfish Plush: for the Stuffed Animal Enthusiast

Despite what some people may say, no one ever truly grows out of enjoying a good stuffed animal. Bonus points if the animal in question is a very quirky deep-sea fish. This stuffed blobfish is the perfect companion in a college student’s dorm whether they be a zoology major or simply a plushy enthusiast. With rave reviews, this less-than-perky pink pal is a fantastic addition to your Christmas repertoire.

 

 

  • Scratch-Off Map: for the Globetrotter

As a fan of travel myself, I can say with utmost certainty that you know someone with a serious case of wanderlust. For those of us with the need to scratch the travel itch, this scratch-off world map is a must-have. Not only is it stylishly designed, but it also serves as a wonderful personalized reminder of the places we’ve been. For those of us with cross-country ambitions in mind, there is a state scratch-off version too. Will Christmas wonders never cease?

 

 

  • 40cean Jellyfish Bracelet: for your Eco-Friendly Friend

With plastic pollution at an all-time high, it can be incredibly disheartening to think of how little we can do to help our planet, but there is a way to spread a little green Christmas cheer. The 40cean Jellyfish bracelet (as well as their other products) are sold to fund efforts to clean up our oceans. For every one of these adjustable, stylish, 100% recycled material composed bracelets purchased, 40cean removes one pound of plastic waste from the oceans and protects our marine life. Save the turtles (and time with your Christmas shopping too) and give this gift to a green guy or gal.

 

 

  • R2-D2 Sweater: for your Cozy Nerd

Sweaters are a timeless classic in the winter gift-giving season, but don’t just settle on your average sale rack staple this year. With the new Star Wars movie just around the corner, give your droid-loving friend this cozy R2-D2 sweater (provided by every nerds’ trusted resource, ThinkGeek) so the Force will be with them even when the warm weather isn’t.

 

 

  • Fujifilm Instax Mini Camera: for your Trendy Shutterbug

As polaroid style cameras become more popular, it’d be a shame not to include this wonderful little camera into the selection. The Fujifilm Instax Mini is a small, portable, and easy-to-use camera that is not only all of those things, but is also quite stylish. Coming in several adorable pastel colors, this camera is easy to use with several exposure settings and a sensor indicating which one is best for the lighting of any particular situation. It comes with an attachable close-up lens and easily fits into any backpack or tote. As someone who owns one of these cameras, I can only offer it glowing recommendations. Some of my favorite photos from my trips came from this camera, and the small film is very scrapbook-friendly and comes in a variety of styles. (I’m quite partial to this Gudetama one.) This camera is the perfect addition to any amateur photographer’s collection.

Book Review: “Serious Moonlight” by Jenn Bennett

serious

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.

Spotlight On Library Displays

hp display

Did you know that the library creates displays to showcase our collection? Each month, a new display theme goes up on the first-floor bookcase near the stairs. Monthly themes include:

  • Star Wars
  • Harry Potter
  • Summer Reading
  • STEM
  • Historical Fiction

and more!

 

display

 

We also have books on display in the Family Room. These include children’s books and young adult books. Pictured below is our “Universe of Stories” display!

universe display

 

All of the books, audiobooks, and DVDs on display are available for checkout. Just take the item you want to the Circulation Desk and they will check it out for you.

Book Review: “North of Beautiful” by Justina Chen

north-of-beautiful2

North of Beautiful is a well-written young adult book about a girl who learns to be brave. Terra Cooper was born with a port-wine stain on her face and has learned to hide it from others, in particular her verbally abusive dad. Together with her timid mom, Terra learns to stand up for herself and accept herself as she is. In the midst of Terra’s transformation, she meets a Goth romantic interest, goes to China, and creates map-based art.

 

What North of Beautiful gets right: The main characters experience a lot of growth throughout the book. None of them become perfect, but they each begin to make positive changes in their lives. North of Beautiful has a happier ending but not so optimistic that it’s unbelievable.

The traveling part of the book is fun but never overshadows the characters themselves. North of Beautiful is all about relationships and inner motivations. It’s encouraging to watch Terra repair her relationship with her mother and begin building a new one with Jacob.

What North of Beautiful does wrong: Terra’s insecurity can be hard to read about in the first part of the book. She seems to look down on others who don’t put as much effort into their appearance as she does. However, as the book goes on, we begin to understand why Terra feels that way, and we get to see her grow and change.

Who should read North of Beautiful: Anyone who has struggled with how they look, likes cartography, or enjoys a (mostly) innocent romance. Teenagers who need someone to relate to. Adults who will understand the relationships between Terra and her parents.

Who shouldn’t read North of Beautiful: People who aren’t interested in reading about teenagers or families. People who get bored by character development and need more action in their stories.

 

Check out North of Beautiful from the library’s Family Room.

Featured Author: Maurice Sendak

The path to success is to take massive, determined action.-1

 

Maurice Sendak was born on June 10th, 1928 in New York City. Sendak excelled at art as a child; he would often draw illustrations while sick at home. When Sendak grew older, he began to illustrate children’s books. In 1956, the first book that was both illustrated and written by Sendak was published: Kenny’s Window. 1968 would see one of Sendak’s most popular and renowned books: Where The Wild Things Are (a Caldecott medal winner).

Some of Sendak’s other well-known books include:

 

Sendak has also lent his illustrations to many children’s books, including The Moon Jumpers and Brundibar.

In 2012, Sendak died at age 83. However, his books and illustrations for children will continue to delight kids for generations.

Click here to see which Sendak books the library has to offer.

 

Harry Potter: Expectations and Isolation

harry potter

In this blog post, student assistant Donny Turner recounts his experience of reading the Harry Potter series for the very first time!

Warning: This Blog Post Contains Spoilers

When I was growing up, parents were skeptical about the Harry Potter fad. Like many Christian kids, I was not allowed to read the Harry Potter books until I was 13. As I grew up, the series became something of an urban myth to me- the taboo of something I felt like I was not supposed to have. In my head, the stories became something of a legend, and I kept building up how amazing the books were going to be once I turned 13. By the time I turned 13, my expectations towards the books became something that no book, no matter how good it may be, could match. So, when I ended up starting to read the first book, I was admittedly underwhelmed. The book was great, but when I found out that Harry Potter was an adventure story about a group of friends trying to save the world and it just happened to include magic, I was almost disappointed. I never even finished the first book, and for years I had no desire to read the other Harry Potter books. Throughout all of this I felt extremely out of touch and alone with a lot of my friends who had been obsessed with and read every single Harry Potter book.

Years later, in my sophomore year of high school, I stumbled upon the entire Harry Potter series in a used book store. I was able to purchase the collection for less than $50, and I was really excited about getting all of the books. I decided to attempt to read the series again, and for a while, it worked. I read through the first 3 books in less than a month, but then I stalled about 200 pages into the 4th book. For whatever reason, I just could not get past the Quidditch World Cup. I would read the first 200 pages, get busy and it would get set aside for a few months, and I would have to reread those pages again. Another few years would pass before I was able to get past those first 200 pages. Eventually, I began to read less in general; it just never took a precedence in my life.

When I first began college, I once again experienced a feeling of isolation again. I was at a new school full of new people that I had to meet. Often times I felt like an outsider at school; I had a very difficult time finding my niche. For the most part, I felt isolated and outside of the whole community. I remember thinking back to how I felt when my friends were talking about the Harry Potter books. Everyone had these shared ideas, and I couldn’t latch on to them. I felt detached from others. Eventually, I did find my groove, but those first few months of school were difficult.

harry potter

 

In my junior year of college, during the month of January, I found myself having to drive 4-10 hours a week and listening to music in the car was getting old; I needed something new. I realized I was able to check out the 4th Harry Potter book from the library (here), and I decided to listen to it on my long drives. While on the road, I was able to get about 400 pages into the book, and then I decided I had to start reading it in print. I flew through the last 400 pages in less than a month, and I immediately picked up the 5th book.

The 5th book is quite a bit darker than all the others. The tone is more somber and there is an edge to everything that is going on. Voldemort, the main antagonist, is on the rise, and it seems like something bad could happen at any moment. Throughout all of this Harry beings to feel more and more isolated. None of the awful things that are happening seem to be happening to anyone else. Harry begins to feel more depressed and more alone as time goes by. To top it all off there is a new professor at the school that is the literal worst. She specifically targets Harry, and she actively attempts to make Harry’s life worse. Harry feels utterly alone. The story focuses around this idea of loneliness and builds more and more that Harry has to learn to rely on his close friends. He must realize that he is not, nor was he ever, alone in any of what is happening to him. At the end of this book, the closest thing Harry has to a father figure, Sirius, dies. Once again, Harry experiences those feelings of expectations being destroyed and a great feeling of isolation. Once again I was able to relate very strongly to the character.

The 6th book of the story has some lighter tones, but ultimately ends on a very dark note. Harry is growing older, and Voldemort continues to gain more and more power. He is learning more about the history of who Voldemort is, and through these lessons, Harry learns of some of the humanity of Voldemort. The main antagonist is still extremely evil, but through multiple backstories, we are able to better understand Voldemort as a character. He is revealed to be more human, although definitely a very sociopathic human. Harry’s expectations of him change as a whole. He understands that he has love while Voldemort never will. Also, Harry’s expectations shift slightly towards the end of the story towards Draco Malfoy. Throughout the entirety of the series, Draco has been considered the antithesis of Harry Potter, and Harry absolutely suspects him of malicious intent at different times throughout the story. As the story is nearing its ending, Draco, ordered by Voldemort, matches up against a very weak Dumbledore and is poised to kill him. Yet, he cannot do it. There is a flicker of humanity in Draco, and he is unable to murder his headmaster. Harry, watching silently in the room notices this. Harry’s perception of Draco has changed in this moment, if only slightly. Where previously Harry had not seen any humanity there was some.

At this point, I was totally hooked on the books. Much of my free time was spent reading on and talking about the books. I can now say with certainty that the 6th book is my favorite, and I would tell anyone who would listen about it. Unfortunately for me, the fad of Harry Potter, while still quite prevalent, has definitely faded. I was dealing with isolation once again. Most people don’t want to listen to someone talk about how much they adore Harry Potter. Nevertheless, I persisted on towards the 7th book.

If you’ve ever read the 7th Harry Potter book, you know how different this book is compared to the rest of the series. The protagonists are no longer at Hogwarts, everything around them seems to be falling apart, and many of the main characters that you have grown to love end up being killed off. The book is gut-wrenching, and it seems like every chapter has a new main character dying. With each death, I felt more and more sadness and isolation. Throughout this book, the main characters become more and more removed from everyone as they are trying to find and destroy the horcuxes, the items that contain Voldemorts soul and ensure his survival.  At one point, Ron leaves Harry and Hermione, leaving them even more alone than they already were. Without Dumbledore, and with wicked stories of what Dumbledore has done, the main characters feel utterly alone.

As the story nears the end, however, the main characters learn of all the different people that are still on their side, supporting them. They are encouraged, and they are able to find and destroy almost every single horcrux. It is only when Harry returns to Hogwarts at the end of the story that he realizes he must sacrifice himself to save everyone. This singular moment, the moment he realizes that he must die in order for everyone to live, is a pivotal moment. This is when he reaches his most isolated, but he stays brave and dives deep into the darkness. He sacrifices himself, and through his sacrifice he is able to destroy the last bit of Voldemort that exists. Through his sacrifice, he is given the option to live again. In the moments proceeding his death, he is given a choice. He can decide to stay dead, and go on to the afterlife or whatever happens to witches and wizards after they die, or he can come back to a life that has caused him suffering and pain. He has to choose to make another sacrifice, and once again he makes the choice to come back and fight one last time to save his closest friends.

Despite his isolation and fear, Harry Potter is able to be strong and courageous when he needs to be. Sure, he absolutely makes a lot of really dumb decisions throughout the books that would have saved everyone a lot of time and pain, but I think that is what makes these books so special. Many of the characters are flawed, and even some of the main characters that seem downright evil throughout the entire series have redemption arcs. The Malfoys end up regretting their actions, and, most famously, we get to see and understand why Snape made the decisions that he did. We get to understand his love for Harry’s mother and how isolated and alone he has been throughout most of his life. Finally, the reader is able to understand why Snape acts how he does, and that he was actually acting out of love this entire time. He clings to one aspect of his life that will keep him from being completely isolated, and as a result, dies for an extremely heroic cause.

Every single Harry Potter book has some themes of isolation, and dealing with feeling misplaced or alone in the world. Reading these in the first years of college or whenever you are in a new place in your life can be especially helpful because often people feel out of place and alone at times of change. These books can help give one perspective about isolation, and they can show how one can emerge from that isolation and be a much stronger and better human being.

Plus, the books themselves are fantastic stories, with deep characters. These books are probably the most famous series of the 21st century. They personally have helped me get through a challenging time in my life. Harry Potter is absolutely incredible and 100% lives up to the hype, and if you have not read them yet, there is no time like the present.

 

*written by Donny Turner

Tell A Story Day (April 27th)

pex tell

 

“Tell A Story Day” is upon us. The purpose of this fun holiday is to offer a special day to read and tell stories of all kinds. Libraries across the country will have unique readings to children and famous authors will gather to share ideas. It is a day to remember one of the oldest practices humanity still continues to today. So, if you’re interested in ever writing a story, or just making your friends laugh, here are some tips on how to tell an effective story. (These tips apply to both written and spoken stories.)

 

1. Know Where You’re Going

Going on a trip is always fun. Most people plan out a trip by finding hotels, checking airline prices, finding tourist attractions, and planning for transportation. Rarely would you go on a trip without planning any of this, or without packing. When it comes to telling a story, planning is key. Determine the point or destination of your story. If your story does not have a point or end idea, then maybe save it, or reframe it. The worst feeling is to get to the end of your story and your audience not understand why you told it in the first place. Know where you’re going and lead your audience there- which brings me to my second point.

 

2. Lead Your Audience

Stories are about guidance. Think of yourself as a tour guide as you take your audience through the story. You know the twists and the turns. You know the places where suspense will be key, but remember that your audience does not know these things. You must bring them there. Do not give away too much at the beginning or save everything for the end. Remember how long you have to tell the story (page count or time limit) and pull the story along that time. Your words (written or spoken) are like a rope that the audience follows to the destination you have determined. As you tell your story, focus only on the details that matter along the road you are bringing them down. Do not allow them (or yourself) to become too distracted. You will lose them quickly if you don’t lead well.

 

3. Stay Focused

It is very easy (especially when talking) to begin to wander around in your storytelling. Perhaps you think of another story while telling one. Your brain has made the connection so you jump to the next thing, leaving your audience confused on where you’ve taken them. Be careful when following rabbit trails. Your audience may begin to believe that there is no destination and that you are just meandering with your words. Once they become directionless, your audience will stop caring about the story. If a tangent is important to the destination, help the audience to understand why it is important.

pex ladder

 

4. Don’t Laugh Before the Punchline

I often find myself, usually when telling jokes I find particularly funny, laughing before I’ve delivered the punchline. The problem is, I’ve not helped my audience appreciate the joke more, I’ve only aggravated them. I’ve done so simply by knowing something they don’t. I’m the one telling the joke, I shouldn’t laugh until everyone else does. In storytelling, this can happen as well. If you show emotions out of place with the current moment in the story, you will confuse your audience. If you know something about a character the audience doesn’t, don’t make comments about it until the time when the audience understands. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t foreshadow, but only that you don’t give everything away before the proper time.

 

5. Have a Moral (but not a moral-of-the-story)

We have all heard the line “the moral of the story is…” Since you have undoubtedly heard this before, you understand it is a cliche. Try to avoid cliches as much as possible, including this one. If you tell your story well, there is no need for this tagline at the end. Your audience will have grasped the moral without realizing it. That is the point of the path you are taking them on. By the end they hardly remember every step, but they can look back and see how far they’ve come along.

 

Storytelling is an amazing practice. So take these tips and write and tell away! Take your audience along for the ride, but pay attention: you never know what a story might teach you.

 

*written by Brennan Kress

Matthew’s Monday Movie: “Raiders Of The Lost Ark”

If I was to be asked, “What is one film that meets nearly every qualification you would need to earn the title of a perfect action adventure film?,” I could think of none better than Raiders of the Lost Ark.  When it was first written by George Lucas, the origin and character concept behind Indiana Jones was paying homage to the campy adventure serials of the 30’s and 40’s. Lucas sought out Steven Spielberg to direct the film, who would go on to direct the rest of the  franchise.

The film begins as we are introduced to our protagonist: Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford). Jones is an adventuring archeologist, professor, and explorer with a vast knowledge of history and various cultures. His iconic outfit of choice includes a leather jacket, a weathered fedora, a satchel, and a bullwhip. Jones is hunting a lost Peruvian treasure and must brave the dangers of booby traps and betrayal. Upon his apparent successes at acquiring the treasure, he is met by a rival archeologist: Rene Belloq (played by Paul Freeman). Belloq believes himself to be the superior to Jones in every way- constantly one step ahead, always ready to capitalize on Jones successes. Belloq acknowledges the nature of his character when he compares himself to Jones:

You and I are very much alike. Archeology is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the pure faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am but a shadowy reflection of you. It would take only a nudge to make you like me. To push you out of the light.

After escaping, Indiana Jones returns home to America only to be met by U.S military intelligence officers. They proceed to inform him that Nazis, at Hitler’s order, have been seeking out all manner of occultist and religious artifacts and are currently attempting to find Jones’s mentor Abner Ravenwood, who possesses an Egyptian artifact that may hold the key to finding the lost Ark of the Covenant. Jones comes to the conclusion that the Nazis want the Ark in hopes of making them invincible. He agrees to seek out his to find his old friend and keep the Nazis from obtaining the Ark.

Upon learning the location of his friend, Jones learns that Abner had died and the amulet he needs is in the possession of Abner’s daughter, Marion.  Marion Ravenwood is played by Karen Allen. Jones and Marion were once romantically involved, but he ended up abandoning her, which she resents. Marion demands that Jones leave her alone.

At this point we are introduced to a sinister Nazi officer, Arnold Toht (played by Ronald Lacey). Jones springs to help Marion escape Toht, and the two decide to travel together to search for the Ark. Upon reaching Cairo, Egypt, Jones reaches out to his friend Sallah, a well known digger who has information on where the Nazis are searching for the Ark. Sallah is played by John Rhys-Davies. The rest of the film is a back and forth struggle to locate the Ark and keep the Nazis at bay, leading to fantastic action sequences and one after another heart-pounding close calls.  The film’s dynamic conclusion will leave you satisfied and awed. Harrison Ford’s performance stands out with his ability to play a no-nonsense, “man’s man” character.  Jones’s character growth in the film is subtle but noticeable. He starts out as an overconfident skeptic but, as the story progresses, he rekindles his love for Marion and gains a new found reverence for holy relics.

This film began a beloved franchise that would include three more feature films. Raiders of the Lost Ark, in my opinion, is the gold standard of how to do an adventure film right. Adventure films should have a simple but pragmatic protagonist who is thrust into an ever increasing series of puzzles and dangers. Indiana Jones relies on his background knowledge and expertise in history and archeology to overcome many pitfalls both figuratively and quite literally at times. He is quite well-versed in old fashioned fisticuffs and is not above using a gun when needed. His use of brains, brawn, and no small amount of luck make him the iconic character that he is.

Raiders of the Lost Ark went on to be nominated for eight Academy Awards, including best picture. Its innovative practical effects as well as its set design and sound are superb. The film’s score is by John Williams and is unforgettable. Along with Star Wars, this franchise was always one of my favorites growing up.  This movie is rated PG, but please be warned: the rating system was different at the time and it’s closer to PG-13 for modern audiences (mostly due to some violence with in the film).  Raiders of the Lost Ark is available at the Union University Library.