5 Tips For Proofreading

proofreading day

A majority of our time in college is spent writing. We write essays, responses, critiques, and many other forms of writing throughout a given semester. With all of this writing, sometimes an important step can be left out: proofreading. So in the spirit of National Proofreading Day (March 8th), here are some tips for proofreading.

 

  1. Take A Break: After you have finished writing a draft of a paper, take a break. Leave the assignment, and if possible, give yourself around 24 hours to think about the topic you’re writing about. This method is most helpful for longer papers but requires you to get started early. If you have spent hours writing, you will lose some objectivity while looking over the paper. You will be too familiar with it and this will make finding mistakes more difficult. So get started early and allow yourself time to think about the paper before returning to proofread it.

  2. Read It Out Loud: Another great way of finding mistakes in your writing is to read it out loud. Sometimes when typing, we think something sounds correct in our heads. However, many times when we read our writing out loud we can see where an argument or sentence doesn’t make sense. This is a great way to see if your sentences are run-ons, if you repeat yourself too much, and if the paragraph or page flows well.

  3. Pay Attention To Wordiness: We all have word counts we need to meet with every paper, but many times better writing is concise writing. Sentences with too many words can be difficult to read, and you can lose your audience’s attention. Instead of adding extra words to try to finish the paper, take the time and energy to carefully choose your words. This will make your paper stronger and can lead to a better grade.

  4. Write Actively: Verbs drive language. When proofreading, look for how many times you use a “to be” verb, such as “is,” “are,” and “were.” These passive verbs make sentences weaker and can bring down an entire paper. Try to reorder the sentence so that you can remove the linking passive verbs and insert stronger, more powerful ones. To check, press “ctrl” and “f” on your keyboard and then search for those words. It may shock you to see how many times you use passive voice.

  5. Ask Someone Else To Read Your Paper: One of the best ways to proofread is to allow someone else to do it for you! Finding other students in a specific class and exchanging papers can be a great way to find mistakes in each other’s writing and make new friends! Have you ever lost something, spent minutes looking for it, and then someone else comes in the room and finds it almost immediately? As frustrating as that can be, writing is the same way. Sometimes one glance from someone who is not familiar with the writing can be all you need to improve your paper.

 

Writing is a challenge and after completing a difficult assignment, proofreading may seem like a useless check. However, if you dedicate yourself to editing and rereading your paper, you will see an improvement in your writing, and perhaps also in your grades.

*written by Brennan Kress

 

2019 In Review

Amount Of Blog Views In 2019: 4,306

The following posts had the most views and interactions of 2019:

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2019:

  1. How To Print In The Library With Paw Print
  2. Book Review: “To Shake the Sleeping Self” by Jedidiah Jenkins
  3. Library FAQs
  4. 5 Tips For Surviving Severe Weather
  5. Matthew’s Monday Movie: “Cinderella Man”
  6. Matthew’s Monday Movie: “King Kong”
  7. Matthew’s Monday Movie: “The Last Samurai”
  8. How To Print In The Library (For UU Students and Faculty)
  9. Top 5 Underrated Library Perks
  10. Top 5 Social Work Journals

 

Top 10 Book Reviews of 2019:

  1. To Shake the Sleeping Self
  2. Fangirl
  3. The Testaments
  4. Shoji Hamada: A Potter’s Way and Work
  5. Brief Answers To the Big Questions
  6. Norwegian Wood
  7. Serious Moonlight
  8. Gone Girl
  9. Ender’s Game
  10. Looking For Alaska

 

Top 10 Monday Movies of 2019:

  1. Cinderella Man
  2. King Kong
  3. The Last Samurai
  4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  5. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  6. I, Tonya
  7. Sully
  8. The Princess Bride
  9. Mean Girls
  10. The 13th Warrior

 

Blog Editor-In-Chief:

Olivia Chin

 

Blog Editor:

Amber Kelley

 

Featured Writers:

Matthew Beyer

Olivia Chin

Ruth Duncan

Callie Hauss

Brennan Kress

Donny Turner

Grant Wise

Featured Author: Octavia E. Butler

The path to success is to take massive, determined action. (2)

 

On June 22nd, 1947, Octavia E. Butler was born in Pasadena California. Butler grew from being a shy child who escaped in books to a successful science fiction writer. In fact, in 1995, she became the first science fiction author to win a MacArthur Fellowship.

Butler wrote about time travel, slavery, African culture, telepathy, dystopias, and much more. Her stories stood out in the white-dominated field of 1980s science fiction. Butler enjoyed the science fiction genre particularly because it allowed her the freedom to write about anything she could imagine.

You can check out Octavia E. Butler’s bestelling novel Kindred from the library- look for it in our literature section!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Featured Book: “Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles”

life inside

If you’ve ever dealt with (or are currently dealing with) OCD, ADHD, depression, Alzheimer’s, and other mental health disorders, you are not alone. That is the overarching message of Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles. This book includes essays from various writers about their experiences with personal conflicts. Each essay is from a different author, so the writing style varies, and one author even incorporates free verse to tell her story.

Some of the authors included are as follows:

  • Amber Benson (who portrayed the character Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Jessica Burkhart (author of Wild Hearts)
  • Scott Neumyer (a popular journalist)
  • Sara Zarr (author of Story of a Girl).

It can be comforting to read about others who have struggled, gotten help, and learned how to cope. However, some of the stories depicted could be hard to read about for someone who is currently experiencing a similar situation- so be aware of this book’s heavy nature.

Several of Life Inside My Mind‘s lessons can be summed up in this passage from Amber Benson:

As much as your friends love you and want to be there for you, it’s not their job to fix you. Ignoring the problem, or pretending “you’ve got it under control,” will only make things worse. A therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist knows that they’re doing (they went to school for a long time in order to do this), and they know how to help you get back on track . . .

Whether we like it or not, the stress of of being a human being can be overwhelming, and having a safe space to talk about our problems, assess whether our brains are working correctly, make sure there’s nothing chemically out of line . . . well, I think that’s super important. I know I need that safe space in my life if I’m going to be a productive member of society.

Getting help when you need it- whatever that looks like for you- is encouraged by all of the authors in this book. They’ve been there themselves, and many of them are still figuring it all out. Pick up Life Inside My Mind when you need to know that you’re not alone in your struggles.

 

 

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

How To Find Books By Union Authors

miller tower.jpg

Did you know that many Union faculty and staff members are also published authors? The library has a sizeable collection of books that were written or edited by Union authors. There are 4 major ways that you can see these books:

  1. We have a “Union Authors” list online! Just click the link to view the list. You can also find this list by using the drop down menu that says “Find Materials” on the library’s home page.
  2. If you know the author or the title of the book by name, you can search for them via our library website. The website will tell you the book’s location in the library and its availability status.
  3. If you just want to browse the collection, you can walk around the book stacks and find Union Authors by noticing books with “Union Authors” stickers. These stickers are red and attached to the spine of the books. Hint: a large amount of books by Union Authors are in our theology section.
  4. One final way to see books by Union Authors is by viewing the “Union Book Project” via www.uu.edu. You can search for specific authors or by year to see the books that were released in a particular time period. It’s a great resource!

 

Pick up a book by your favorite professor today! Chances are it’s on our shelves.

Featured Poet: Seamus Heaney

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

 

When Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, he had already been writing poems since the 1960s. Born in Northern Ireland in 1939, Heaney grew up in a politically divisive world as WWII was beginning. He excelled at school and became a teacher and poet, often spending time in the United States to educate pupils there. Heaney also wrote plays and spent time traveling as a professor; however, he is most remembered for his poetry.

Heaney’s poetry contains themes of nature, relationships, working life, and Irish culture. Take his poem “Blackberry Picking” as an example:

For Philip Hobsbaum
Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.
Heaney used language that invoked our senses: words like “fermented,” “sour,” and “sticky.” He brought his readers into his world and helped them connect with the earth.

Featured Book: “Everybody Writes”

everybody writes

Because the written word is so ubiquitous in the social media age, good writing is hard to find and yet more important than ever. It’s easy to lose someone’s attention in all of the noise- but you don’t want to do that when you’re writing for your job! In Everybody Writes, content creator and marketer Ann Handley advises readers on how to make their writing simpler and smarter. Generally, Handley focuses on shorter pieces- articles, Tweets, etc.- but her suggestions can also be applied to other kinds of writing. This book encourages you to approach writing as a work out, something you do each day to make you better at it overall.

pex writing

Handley starts out by defining what “content” means and how we can publish better content. She then goes on to provide general writing tips, ideas for better productivity, and how to make a great “lead” in to your story. While the book is divided into 6 parts, it’s short and direct with its message.

For Handley, “show, don’t tell” is a major part of good content:

Good content- and good writing- doesn’t preach or hard sell. Instead, it shows how your product or service lives in the world, explaining in human terms how it adds value to people’s lives, eases troubles, shoulders burdens, and meets needs.

By thinking about your audience and writing for their needs, you can create worthy content for your job, business, or blog.

Everybody Writes is available in the library. If you’d like to check out other books on writing, try these:

Featured Author: Ernest Hemingway

july 21 1899

On this day in 1899, author Ernest Hemingway was born. Hemingway grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, and served in WWI as an ambulance driver for the Italian army. After working in journalism, Hemingway soon became known as a novelist and short story author.

A bullfighting aficionado, Hemingway wrote a nonfiction book called Death in the Afternoon detailing all he knew about the sport. He also traveled the world, drawing from his big game hunting experiences, cultural development, and personal relationships to enrich his writing.

Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for his famous novella The Old Man and the Sea in 1951. Then, in 1954, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

In regards to writing advice, Hemingway stated in Death in the Afternoon:

If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.

Hemingway died in 1961, leaving behind a legacy of memorable and moving literature. The library has a Hemingway collection featuring most of his works, as well as several biographical books and professional criticism of his various books. Below are just a few of the titles you can find on our shelves related to Hemingway: