Tell A Story Day (April 27th)

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“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.

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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

Library Staff Picks For Valentine’s Day

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Looking for a romantic movie to watch on Valentine’s Day? Or maybe you don’t like Valentine’s Day too much and would rather watch something completely different. Either way, the library has plenty of entertainment for this holiday! Here are a few of our recommendations.

 

Olivia Chin recommends:

  • Romantic Movie Pick: La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle; starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Music, dancing, LA, and romance- what’s not to love? I’ve watched this about 10 times since it came out, and it never gets old to me.
  • Non-Romantic Movie Pick: BlacKkKlansman, directed by Spike Lee; starring John David Washington and Adam Driver. This true story is both horrific and hilarious as a black police detective infiltrates the KKK. There’s a small romantic sublot, but it’s definitely not the main part of the movie; plus, this is a great movie for Black History Month.
  • Romantic Book Pick: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen. If you enjoy young adult novels with travel, realistic families and problems, and teenage romance, then North of Beautiful is the perfect read for you. It’s well-written with noticeable and validating character development; you’ll want to stick with these characters to the end (and will probably want to know more about them afterward).
  • Non-Romantic Book Pick: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. The true crime genre often gets about as far away from romantic as you can get. Before her untimely death, author Michelle McNamara chronicled her research journey as she tried to figure out the identity of the Golden State Killer. This book dives deep into the crimes he committed, the people who were affected, and the investigations that occurred.

Of course, I also have to plug our Blind Date with a Book program. It’s super easy: just walk up to the Circulation Desk, pick a mystery book from our cart, and go on a “blind date” with it!

Blind Date With A Book(2)

 

 

Rachel Bloomingburg recommends:

  • Romantic Book Pick: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. This charming YA novel about a teenage girl whose love letters cause high school chaos (and spark romance) has also recently been made into a popular Netflix movie!
  • Non-Romantic Book Pick: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Another YA novel, this book dives into the culture of World War II espionage.

 

Hannah Shea recommends:

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  • Romantic Movie Pick: Killers directed by Robert Luketic; starring Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher. Watch what happens when a former hitman, who is trying to keep this a secret from his wife, has to go on the run! This movie is available via Prime Video.

 

Cara Stevenson recommends:

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  • Romantic Movie Pick: The Big Sick, directed by Michael Showalter; starring Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan. Loosely based on the real life romance of starring actor (and writer) Nanjiani and his wife, this story follows an inter-ethnic couple who faces cultural challenges. This movie is also available via Prime.

 

Lakreasha Scharcklet recommends:

Romantic Movie Pick: A Walk To Remember, directed by Adam Shankman; starring Mandy Moore and Shane West. This is a true tear-jerker and a classic romance story!

Non-Romantic Movie Pick: Same Kind Of Different As Me, directed by Michael Carney; starring Greg Kinnear, Renée Zellweger, and Djimon Hounsou. Same Kind Of Different As Me is about unlikely friendship and overcoming racial barriers. You can read the book here.

How to Celebrate International Frugal Fun Day in Jackson

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Did you know that the first Saturday in October has been declared International Frugal Fun Day? Well, what are you waiting for? Take a study break and go have some fun on a college student’s budget! Of course, we all have different ideas of what “fun” is. Here are a variety of suggestions from across the spectrum:

  • Goodwill shopping trip. This holiday must have been designed with the Jackson Goodwill in mind, because the store offers 50% off of everything every first Saturday. It’s the perfect day to grab some cozy sweaters for this, um, autumnal weather we’ve been having.
  • UT Gardens Jackson at the West Tennessee Ag Research Center. For fans of plants or fun recycled sculpture art, the Ag Research Center (on the way to downtown Jackson) has a botanical garden with a wide array of specimens (including carnivorous plants!), a gazebo, and, last time I checked, a huge sculpture made of flattened glass bottles. Learn about gardening and local plant life, or just bring a picnic! Visitors are welcome during the daytime.
  • Cookout. This one’s self-explanatory. In the world of fast food, Cookout is the college student’s friend. They make this abundantly clear by having pictures of Union’s campus on their wall. Seriously. Go get a lot of food for $5. Split it with a friend if you’re feeling especially frugal.
  • Spend time at an art gallery. For this one, you don’t even need to leave campus. If you’ve never stopped in to the gallery next to the wellness center in the PAC, give it a try. There’s a new exhibit by a talented illustrator. Go in, stroll around in silence. Give yourself time to be present and attentive. It might not be your idea of “fun,” but how do you know if you’ve never done it? Besides, it’s absolutely free.
  • Take a hike in the Union Woods. All you have to do is cross the street. Bring some friends, an eno, and a good book. Wait, that’s not a hike, that’s a nap. Well, we all have our own way of enjoying nature.
  • Visit Third Eye Curiosities. Go downtown to Jackson’s only record store for discount vinyl and other fun thrift finds.
  • Walk through the Farmer’s Market. Amish donuts are only $3 at the Farmer’s Market, and other homegrown foods are also pretty inexpensive. If you don’t want to buy anything, you can just walk around and enjoy seeing everyone!
  • Play frisbee at Liberty Gardens. It’s close to campus and completely free to visit. You can walk on the freshly repaved walking track or play frisbee in the large grassy area.

 

Whatever you find to do this weekend, have fun- and save some money!

 

*written by Danielle Chalker & Olivia Chin

Celebrate “Defy Superstition Day” (September 13th)

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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

 

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).

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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.

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Easter

Happy Easter!

Spring Break & Easter Hours

spring break hours

Pi Day

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Today is Pi Day! To celebrate the math (and the food), we’ve compiled a collage of library books and media that tell us about pi(e). Click the links below the covers to see if they’re available!

pi in the sky

Pi In The Sky: Counting, Thinking, And Being

Nonfiction

 

the sweetness at the bottom

The Sweetness At The Bottom of the Pie

Fiction

 

how to make

How To Make An Apple Pie And See The World

Children’s Fiction

 

the joy of mathematics

The Joy Of Mathematics

DVD

 

 

how to bake

How to Bake Pi

Nonfiction

 

National Dr. Seuss Day

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Did you know that March 2nd is not only the National Day of Unplugging, it is also National Dr. Seuss Day! Today is a great day to find a classic Dr. Seuss book and take a nostalgic trip into your childhood.

The Union University library has…

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Fox in Socks

The Lorax

Green Eggs and Ham

…along with many others!

 

The library also has a fantastic Biography on Theodor Geisel, the creative genius behind Dr. Seuss.

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All of these Dr. Seuss books and more are found in the Family room on the first floor and the Biography about Dr. Seuss is in the Main Stacks on the second floor.

Enjoy this fun read-aloud, courtesy of Reading Pioneers on YouTube:

 

*Post written by Donny Turner

 

 

 

Merry Christmas from the Library Team!

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