Looking for a good holiday read?

Holiday Reading PenguinsLooking for a good (non-academic) book for the holiday break? Check out one of these recommended books.

Promise LandPromise Land: My Journey Through America’s Self-Help Culture by Jessica Lamb-Shapiro (Recommended by Amanda Makula, available in 2nd floor Leisure Collection)

Jessica Lamb-Shapiro takes readers on a fascinating — and often funny — foray into the world of the self-help genre. She attends a dating workshop led by the author of The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right, reports on a seminar led by Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul, crafts a vision board, walks on hot coals, and takes a class for those with severe flight phobia (she suffers from the condition herself). But she also confronts real sadness and pain when she visits a grief camp for kids and finally begins to talk with her father about her mother’s suicide.

Another reason to read this book over break: Jessica is visiting Augustana on Tuesday, Jan. 27. Students will have a chance to meet her and hear her read from her work at 7 PM in the Wilson Center.

nph choose autobioNeil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris (Recommended by Anne Earel, available in 2nd floor Leisure Collection)

Neil Patrick Harris (“NPH”) hasn’t written a “typical” autobiography; rather than use a traditional linear, chronological approach, he’s adopted the style of some favorite books of his youth: the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, in which readers make decisions and choose the narrative arc of the story.  Though he’s only 41 years old, NPH has already led a full and nuanced life; the book chronicles his early life in New Mexico with his family, his varied experiences in the entertainment industry from television to film to the Broadway stage, and his personal journey in recognizing his sexuality and starting a family with his long-term partner (now husband).

NPH’s writing style is very approachable, making the reader feel like he’s just sitting across from you telling you his life story; despite all that he’s accomplished, his humility and self-deprecating humor make him seem very “real,” like I’d want to set up a playdate for his twins and my son so our families could just hang out.  (At his house. He has a pool.)  However, I’m not sure I’m fully on board with the “Choose Your Own Adventure” conceit.  I appreciated the novelty and the humor of it – and the inclusions of personal letters from key players in his life, magic tricks, recipes, and other random fun elements – but there came a point, after completing the story via a few different paths, where I wished the book had come with a map that would help me ensure that I hadn’t missed any “true” portions (NPH does include a few clearly fictional sidetracks, some of which end his fiery or otherwise calamitous death).  But maybe that’s just an indication of how much I liked it – I wanted to make sure I read every bit!

everything i never told youEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (Recommended by Christine Aden, available in 2nd floor Leisure Collection)

From the very first sentence, this book is going to shift your perceptions. At the beginning of the book, a teenage girl has died, but her family thinks she is just upstairs sleeping. As the family goes through the stages of discovering that she is missing, and then dead, and then grieves for their loss, you see the fragile nature of the relationships between the family members. The secrets that once bound them together begin to tear them apart as they seek answers–or avoid them– about Lydia’s death.

All images come from Goodreads. Reviews are written by librarians at the Augustana Tredway Library.

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Week 5 hours

Christmas week 5 hours

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“Activities Participation Inventory” offers glimpse into 1970s student life

The transition from high school to college is an exciting time for many students. Most first-years find themselves in a strange new place, surrounded by a sea of unknown faces and unfamiliar traditions. To ease this transition, it may help to be able to continue with one’s favorite hobbies and pastimes, encouraging creative expression while allowing new students to meet other people who share similar interests.

Enter the 1978 Activities Participation Inventory. This survey was issued by Augustana College to the incoming class of 1982 (and repeated the following year) in order to gauge student interest in various topics or activities. It appears the ultimate goal was to create campus interest groups for the most popular activities, thereby providing both new and returning students with an outlet for fellowship, self-expression, and fun. Students were encouraged to select up to four activities for consideration.

If you think compiling a list of possible student interest groups is an easy task, think again! The Office of Student Services identified over 150 proposed topics, ranging from the scholarly to the ridiculous.

MSS 199 Augustana College Office of Student Services records, box 24.

MSS 199 Augustana College Office of Student Services records, box 24.


MSS 199 Augustana College Office of Student Services records, box 24.

In this survey, traditional and more serious topics like Religious Discussion, Career Planning, Inter-racial Relations, and Political Awareness are featured alongside lighthearted options like Butterfly Hunting, Soul Food Cooking, and Foosball. It’s refreshing to see that Augie students’ enthusiasm for Bingo continues unabated into the 21st century, but many of these activities, popular among young people in the 1970s, are likely all but unheard of by today’s average 18-year-old. For instance, Ham Radio and Citizen’s Band (C.B.) Radio were wildly popular in the 1970s, but interest in this technology declined with the advent of the cellular phone. Retro games like Risk, Pinochle, and Bridge would be unlikely to attract much attention today, and the art of collecting and assembling the ideal Stereo setup is all but dead.

Been to any good Lapidaries lately? This refers to the art of carving rough gems into the shiny stones featured in jewelry. When’s the last time you practiced your Orienteering, or navigating the wilderness with a map and compass?

It may be surprising that the College proposed some of these groups. After all, it’s hard to imagine College-sanctioned clubs centered on Beer Can Collection, Pipe Smoking and Collection, and Wine Making. In fact, most students on Augustana’s campus could legally drink when this survey was circulated. After the passage of the 26th Amendment in 1971, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, many states lowered their drinking ages as well. Illinois allowed 19-year-olds to legally drink beer and wine from 1973 until 1980, when the age limit was raised again. Smoking was still relatively popular among young people in the 1970s as well.

And then there are some categories that just seem, well, strange. One can only speculate how students would expect to hone their skills in Flying, Magic, and E.S.P. Tropical Fish seems innocuous enough, but at around 1000 miles from the nearest ocean, it hardly seems like Rock Island would be the best gathering place to observe them.

So, which categories were the favorites? The results below showed that Music came out on top, closely followed by Snow Skiing. Most categories in the top 10 are still fairly common interests among today’s students.


MSS 199 Augustana College Office of Student Services records, box 24.

However, the next year’s survey was swept by a dark horse candidate…


MSS 199 Augustana College Office of Student Services records, box 24.

That’s right, Tie Dying!

So what might the Activities Participation Inventory of 2015 look like? Would it include Quidditch, Hashtagging, Gluten-Free Foods, or Selfies? Cast your vote in the comments!

To find out more about student life in the 1970s, check out the Augustana College Office of Student Services records, MSS 199, in Special Collections.

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READ all about it


A new batch of READ posters has arrived. Check around campus to see if you know the people featured in this year’s posters.

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Library hours during Thanksgiving week

Thanksgiving week hours 201415

The Thomas Tredway Library will operate with reduced hours during the Thanksgiving week so that staff and students may celebrate the holiday with their families and friends.

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Read with us! Big Little Lies discussion on Thursday

The meeting to discuss  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty will be held on Thursday, November 20 at 7 pm in the PBK room on the 2nd floor of the library. This is the first week of  winter term. Come to discuss with other students!  Contact Kelsey West or Katrina Friedrich for more information.


Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:   Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?). Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.   New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
image and summary from goodreads.com
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Winter term display arrives

Life of the Book final web

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