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Book Review- Mr. Wuffles!

Warning- this post may contain spoilers.




Mr. Wuffles! is a Caldecott Honor winning children’s book by David Wiesner. On the cover, it looks as if it is going to be about a cat. This is true, in a sense. Mr. Wuffles is a cat who has little interest in his toys, at least until a tiny alien UFO lands among them. Fascinated by them, Mr. Wuffles follows them. The rest of the book is shown through the alien’s perspective as they try to escape the curious cat. I say “shown,” as the entire story is told without the use of words. The aliens have speech bubbles, but the language within them is gibberish, allowing the reader to imagine for himself what is being said. As a small child, I liked to make up what the characters were saying in books as I could not read it for myself. This book presents the perfect opportunity to do just that. As a whole, the book provides an explanation for cats’ seemingly inexplicable obsession with whatever is under the furniture, and also entertains cat lovers like me with a near perfect representation of a cat’s behavior and posture.

To see this book, and other Caldecott Honor books, browse the back wall of Juvenile awards in the Juvenile/Curriculum section of the library (Mezzanine level all the way in the back).

~Ryan Eshelman


Titles are often what catch people’s attention. So was my case with Fahrenheit 451. Why the strange title you may ask. The title of the book is the temperature at which books burn. It is set in a dystopian society where they have decided that books are a bad thing. They are useless collections of words that mess with people’s view of reality and toy with their emotions resulting in poor judgment.

Guy Montag is a fireman, not a firefighter whose job is to burn books. A task which he has found satisfying until a seventeen-year-old girl named Clarisse McClellan pops into his life, and starts asking him questions and pointing out things that he had never thought about before. This is where Montag’s journey really starts as he discovers the wonder of books for himself.

I really enjoyed this book and think it may be one of my new favorite in the category from dystopian literature. I would recommend it to people who read and enjoyed The Hunger Games series and were looking for something else with a world gone wrong and a desire for change. Also for those who liked 1984, there are some similarities. I would say even if you hated 1984 and wished it could have been a bit different I would recommend this book because I personally was not a fan of 1984, and the thought of going into another dystopian intimidated me a bit, but Ray Bradbury had me from the first page of the story all the way through.

I would also encourage you to read his two introductions. I started to read and fell in love with the author immediately because I connected with his love of books and how he came across his ideas. Even if that is not something you enjoy, seeing his thought process is rather interesting.

I will leave you with a quote from his character Farber in the book. “The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Happy reading!

Elisabeth Smith

The Example of Saint Patrick

During the month of March is an obscure holiday celebrated by the Irish and the Irish “at heart” with much enthusiasm. But what is the real reason for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Is it merely celebrating the Irish heritage of loud boisterous parties flowing with alcohol, parades in New York City and Dublin, Ireland, and wearing green? Or could it mean something more, especially to Christians both in the United States and Ireland? To find out the true meaning for the “wearing o’ the green”, I used the Masland Library databases to increase my understanding of St. Patrick.

St. Patrick was born to an aristocratic family in Britain in the fourth century. While he was a young man, Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland where he was enslaved for six years. Due to this enslavement, Patrick never learned to read and is known as having a poor rhetoric because he was never taught the rhetoric of Britain. Patrick, however, learned a different type of rhetoric that allowed him to return to Ireland as an evangelist.

Patrick’s story is inspiring to me as a Christian. First, instead of resenting God and walking away from him because he was enslaved, Patrick used his knowledge of how the Irish thought and learned as a means of bringing them Gospel. When Patrick was able to return to Britain after six years in slavery, he became a bishop for the Roman Catholic Church and was called by God back to Ireland. A second way that Patrick inspires me is that God was able to use him to evangelize an entire barbarian country without a formal education! Because of being enslaved at the age of 15, Patrick did not receive the formal education he would have due to his family’s status in society. We can know based on Patrick’s life that God is able to use anyone at any academic level to spread his Gospel to those who haven’t heard. Finally, Patrick inspires me because he answered God’s calling in his life to be an evangelist to Ireland. When his critics were asked why Patrick returned to Ireland, they replied “He was compelled by God and called by the need of Irish.” If Patrick had not listened to God’s call for his return to Ireland, many Anglo-Americans would have a different life than the one they have today.


Although St. Patrick lived 1600 years ago as a contemporary of St. Augustine, his life and works still have an impact on not only Irish culture but also on the entirety of Christianity. So when you pull out your green this year and watch the parades (or pinch people for not wearing green), remember this incredible story about a man who followed God to a barbarian land and evangelized an entire country. To find out more about St. Patrick, his life and writings, check out the articles “St. Patrick in Fact and Fiction” by A. Haire Forster and “’Ego Patricius, peccator rusticissimus’: The Rhetoric of St. Patrick of Ireland” by Paul Lynch. You can search for these articles on Ebscohost and also the various books in the Library about St. Patrick.

~Jenny Dunning
Works of Art
Currier, Nathaniel. St. Patrick. N.d. Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. ARTstor. Web. 7 Mar. 2014.
Etcheverry, Hubert-Denis. Saint Patrick Converting Two Noble Women. 1896. Musee Bonnat, Art Resource, NY. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. ARTstor. Web. 7 Mar. 2014.

Cheap Library Dates- The Sequel!

This video was inspired by a previous post "Cheap Library Dates". That blog can be read here. Please enjoy the following feature.


A Special thank you goes to the cast Daniel Wright, Rebecca Hardman and Daniel Hanselman.  The artist vision and videography is courtesy of Daniel Wright and Michael Rothermal. 



We are only a month or so into the school year, but the homework is starting to pile up. Readings are stacking up, papers need to be written, and projects need consideration. With papers, projects and readings looming overhead, I have developed a list of tips to help a student stay on top of the mounds of homework that further our education!

1. Time it. I have seen the excellent advice of pacing yourself; set a timer, generally 25-45 minutes.  During this time period you do some hardcore studying, not letting anything distract you. When the timer goes off, take a 5-15 minute break (setting the timer for that as well) to just do something leisurely. Then go at it again, setting a timer to get some firm studying done. 

2. Close Facebook. No, seriously. Close it. In fact, don’t touch the browser at all unless you are doing research. Don’t give yourself any excuses. If you absolutely MUST check your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, then do it during the 5-15 minute break mentioned above. Be SURE to have your timer though, because then you can’t get sucked in for endless hours; the timer will force you to stop and go back to work. 

3. Environment matters. Don’t lay on your bed, or lay on a couch. Your environment matters greatly when you study. If you study in a relaxing environment that you always associate with a feeling of rest, then your brain is going to switch to that resting mode it has for that environment. Choose study-specific environments, like the library, or the commuter lounge, or even just your desk in your room. If you don’t believe me that environment matters, ask Matt McAlack! He’ll prove it to you in all the brainy technical terms you’ll need. 
 
4. Prioritize. What’s due first? It’s best to get the things that are due first out of the way. People often try to get the easiest assignments done first, but that’s taking up valuable time that could be better spent on something that is due sooner. This way, you don’t stress out about something that’s due tomorrow because you were working on something that is due in three days. Prioritizing has been especially easy for me with the app ‘MyHomework’, which I got on my Kindle Fire HD. It’s absolutely free and it puts up the list for you of what’s due first. 

5. Study Alone. I hear often that people study better in groups, but guys, when we get down to it, we all know that the people we have around us are distracting. When you’re spending time with friends, even if you’re both supposed to be doing homework the temptation to goof off and have fun is overwhelming. It is often best to study alone, or study with one person who is quite studious themselves. It is easy to find a solitary space to study in with the study rooms at the library, to which the keys can be checked out right at the front desk. 

 
6. Use flash cards and notes. This method is especially helpful if you’re in a class that has important terms that must be remembered. Write the term down on one side of an index card, and then write the definition on the other side. Then quiz yourself, only looking on the definition side once you’ve tried to give your own. Also, during readings, it is highly profitable to take notes. If something stands out to you, or if there’s something that you personally disagree with, go ahead and write it down! The professor will absolutely love it when you bring it up with them or the class. 

7. Get a head start and don’t cram. This is incredibly important. The sooner you get to work on some of your homework, projects or papers, the sooner it will be done. Cramming is not healthy, mentally or emotionally, and you retain a lot less information when you cram than if you study at a more casual pace. So try to make a list as early in the semester as you can of homework, big and small, and their due dates. This way, when you get something done before it’s due, you’ll have some time to just relax and do something fun instead of cram for that particular piece of homework.

8. Reward yourself. I saw a fantastic idea on Pinterest where a person put gummi bears every so often on the pages of the book they were reading; when you get to the gummi bear, you eat it! This can also be used with M&Ms, Skittles, etc. It motivates you when you get a reward. I would highly suggest this method; a mini candy bar always tastes better when you’ve worked hard to earn it! It gives a much more positive attitude towards homework when you know you’ll get something good out of it.

9. If you don’t understand something, ask! Every single teacher I’ve had here at Cairn has always responded graciously to any emails I sent with a question. Teachers love it when you ask questions because that shows you’re doing the work and thinking about it, and that you want to do the work well. If there’s a prompt for a homework assignment that is confusing for you, or if the guidelines for your paper or presentation could mean a couple different things, just send the professor an email and ask them. They will be more than happy to get back to you and elaborate on what they mean and what they are looking for. Just remember; it never hurts to ask!

10. WANT IT. This is the most important tip I could possibly give. You have to WANT to get your homework done, or else none of these tips will work anyways. You have to be willing to sit down and work hard for this education that you are paying to have. College is a gift that plenty of American students take for granted. We’re here to experience and learn, and to learn we have to do some things that aren’t always pleasant. Even if it’s not pleasant, you can want to get it done. And who knows? Maybe you’ll learn a few things by the time you finish that annoying homework assignment or tough paper. 

~Rachel Krodel

Silly Snow Days



 So, it’s threatening to become a common situation: a major snow storm has you stuck on campus on a snow day - without electricity, without WiFi … without NETFLIX. What are you supposed to spend your day doing now?! Believe it or not, there was a time when people curled up with a good book when the weather
kept them indoors (shocking, I know). While you may think the library is made up entirely of the BIB REF section, there are a lot of resources here that will help you replicate that TV watching experience as best as possible. With a little imagination you’ll forget you’re not watching the real deal. Here’s some suggestions for stocking up before the next storm:

If you watch NEW GIRL: Jess Day is probably the best teacher, ever. Submerse yourself in the kind of whimsicality that she would enjoy by visiting the children’s section on the library mezzanine floor. For the best picture books, try Caldecott award winners, which have their own section. For a heavier read, try Harry Potter (how have you all gone without them for so long?!)

If you watch THE OFFICE: Remember when Michael Scott started his own paper company? Oh, what fun… Some of the library’s books on entrepreneurship and marketing are really entertaining (okay, they lean more towards educational, but can’t earning money be fun, too?) 

If you watch PARKS AND REC, or situation comedy/parody: The library has a great little section of parody fiction, humorous quotes, and joke books. Try browsing call numbers PN 1647 - PN 6261.

If you watch ANIME: Right under that comedy section are a few books on comics and manga art. 

If you watch GOSSIP GIRL, UGLY BETTY, or CARRIE DIARIES:  If New York socialites are your thing, try “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton or “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Bonus - “The Great Gatsby” is really, really short.

If you watch SUPERHEROES: Try “God on the Streets of Gotham” by Paul Asay, or any of the books based on movies in that section.

If you watch THE MINDY PROJECT: One of Mindy’s trademarks is her love of pop culture, but remember Mindy’s pastor fiancĂ©, Casey? Explore how pop culture meets the church in books such as “Pop Culture Wars” by William D. Romanowski, or “Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns” by T. David Gordon. Or… you could always mosey over to the BIB REF section? Hey, I guess it’s not that bad after all.

~Christine Fitzpatrick

Perseverance


 
Are human actions actually free, are they determined by God to do what he wants, or is the answer somewhere in the middle? This question of freedom came to me during a difficult final I was taking. As I sat there in that final I felt that all of my studying was for not and I was most likely going to receive a low mark anyway so why keep trying. I considered just closing up the final, handing it in, and hoping that I would just pass the class. Be assured however that I did not do this I pressed on and finished that final. However it did make me think about freedom and why God chose to give us this freedom. I think that because I wrestled with the aforementioned dilemma it is obvious that we do have freedom in some form. 

With the freedom that we have what should we do? There is both good and bad that can come from having freedom. Most of the time there is many options that we choose on a daily basis but all of the options usually boil down to two main conclusion, good or bad. In my final the good outcome was to continue, and the bad decision was to give up. The majority of the time the good outcome will be a harder outcome to go after in decisions that are important. This is where perseverance comes in. Perseverance is defined as steadfastness in completing a task despite any difficulty or length of time in achieving success. To me this embodies the college life experience, because it is a great length of time and a very hard task to complete. As Christians we need to persevere also and not be lackadaisical in life. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” As men and women of Christ perseverance is a must because we are not ourselves but we are Christ. 

In closing, since we are free as Christians we must choose the life of perseverance daily not just a once in a while when it counts kind of thing, but a lifestyle of decisions that are hard and for the benefit of God. In college there is plenty of options to pick with good and bad consequences such as; to skip class just because I have skips to use, to not complete an assignment or not do it on time, to not study, to give up, to drop out, and many more that will lead to destruction of your college career. What you should do is when hard decisions come face them and pull through. Create a schedule to study and do homework so you don’t find yourself awake at four in the morning finishing a paper due at eight. Use your personal discernment and don’t bite off more than you can chew. All in all, use the freedom that God has placed upon you to do everything in a way which glorifies him, is beneficial to you, and causes something great in return.

~Jeff Simpson~

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