Winter Chill

feet with cozy socks, books, and cup of coffeeIt is generally true that winter is a pretty chilly time of the year in the Pacific Northwest so it is the perfect time for all of us to work on our ability to chill out! Campus life is hectic with teaching, learning, working on papers and projects, studying, participating in sports, clubs, music groups, internships and so much more. Then you add into the mix all the events going on in the world and our minds are whirling! We all need a reprieve from the hustle and bustle surrounding us and as the semester rushes to a close, maybe we should spend part of winter break in the pursuit of, well, nothing!  Or at the very least, let’s all just spend some time taking it easy, playing, goofing off, relaxing, and rejuvenating!  Winter break provides the ideal opportunity for all of us to explore the lost art of leisure. So check out one of the leisure-related books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide, fix yourself a soothing cup of tea, put your feet up, and chill!

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

totem poleNovember is National Native American Heritage Month (also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month) and as such, it is the perfect time to reflect on the rich and varied traditions, languages, and contributions of the indigenous peoples of North America. As of 2020, over seven million Native Americans and Native Alaskans live in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes, representing hundreds of different cultures. Native peoples many achievements in the areas of art, literature, music, dance, sports, cuisine, farming, and more are impressive but it is also important to recognize and acknowledge the struggles and hardships experienced by Native Americans both in the past and the present. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, check out a selection of the Hatfield Library’s recent materials by or about Native Americans (including books by Joy Harjo, the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate) on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

For more information, see American Indian and Alaska Native Data Links:


Fa-boo-lous October

Tree with jack o'lanterns, owls, and batsIt’s that spooky, creepy, scary, time of the year filled with bats, black cats, ghouls, pumpkins, and all sorts of autumnal fun!  Yes, it’s time to carve jack-o’-lanterns, roast pumpkin seeds, and stock up on Halloween candy.  The weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter, so grab your coziest sweater, your favorite hot beverage, and settle down in your comfiest chair with a good Halloween-related read!  Have a look at a great selection of titles available from the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Fun fact:  According to, the top Halloween candy in the U.S. is Reese’s Cups.  In Oregon, the top candy is M&M’s!

The Campus Novel

aerial photo of campus buildings in the fallAs we head into a new academic year, what better way to get prepared than by reading a campus novel?  A campus novel or academic novel is a genre of fiction where the main action occurs on or around a college campus or in an academic setting.  One of the earliest examples of this is The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy, which offers a satiric look at the faculty and administration at a small, liberal arts college.  A subgenre is the campus murder mystery such as Donna Tartt’s fascinating novel, The Secret History.  Exploring the wonderful world of college through fictional accounts written by talented novelists is a pleasure not to be missed, so grab one of the books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide, and get ready to be entertained, intrigued, annoyed, frightened and much more!

Beauty and the Beach

The ocean, rocks, waves, sky, cloudsSummer is here and for many of us summer brings to mind sand, sun, water—the beach!  Oh, the beach with the seagulls crying, the waves crashing, the sun sparkling on the water, the scent of the salty air, the feel of the sand beneath our feet…  Walking along the beach has a way of soothing us and at the same time, making us feel more alive.  After a wonderful walk on the beach, finding a comfortable seat on a driftwood log, pulling a book from your backpack, and settling down to read is a moment of pure joy!  So, head to the shore, enjoy the magic of the ocean, walk barefoot in the waves, then find that perfect spot, and check out one of the following beach-related books (both print and electronic) available through the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul. — Robert Wyland

If there’s heaven for me, I’m sure it has a beach attached to it. — Jimmy Buffett

Powerful Pollinators

Close up of a bee on a flower surrounded by a cloud of pollenAccording to the U.S. Forest Service, pollination “is an essential survival function.” Pollinators help plants reproduce by drinking nectar or feeding off of pollen from flowers and then transporting pollen grains as they move from one area to another. We can thank pollinators for approximately one out of every three bites of food! It is well known that insects such as bees, butterflies, and moths are common pollinators, but birds and mammals (including hummingbirds, fruit bats, and opossums), serve as pollinators as well. June has been designated National Pollinators Month to draw attention to these important creatures and the role they have in sustaining life on this planet. Now is the time to honor the precious pollinators of the world; learn more by reading some of the pollinator-related books (both print and electronic) available through the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

For additional information on pollinators, check out these sites:

U.S. Forest Service–Pollinators

Pollinator Partnership

Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it! – John Muir


Flower Power

Springtime in Oregon is breathtakingly beautiful.  Traveling around our neighborhoods and parks, the walker cannot help but marvel at the many shades of green on the newly leafed out trees and rejoice in the multihued swathes of flowers around every corner.  Whether hiking among native plants like trillium, camas, and rhododendrons or admiring local gardens displaying tulips, lilacs, roses, and much more, Oregonians can enjoy a dazzling array of diverse blossoms throughout the spring.  And, we cannot forget the springtime air filled with wondrous scents from many of these flowers…  These bright spots of colors, these often fragrant morsels of beauty, bring joy and hope to the wanderer.  Join us in celebrating the power of flowers by getting outdoors to admire the blooms.  While you’re at it, why not check out one of these flower-related books available in the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide?:

Poetry and Trees

tree on hill with skyTrees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.–Kahlil Gibran

The recent ice storm took a serious toll on many of the beautiful trees across the Willamette Valley and beyond.  Despite all the damage, tree leaves are unfurling and blossoms are blooming to welcome the arrival of spring.  Looking at the trees around us in all their glory might just inspire those with a creative writing talent to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and compose a poem.  Happily, April is the perfect time to contemplate trees and poetry because it is both Arbor Month and National Poetry Month!  Join us in celebrating poetry, trees, and nature by sampling some of the many wonderful books (both print and electronic) available through the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.


Honoring Women

Women protestingRecognizing, remembering, and celebrating the role women have played in American history is important.  By official presidential proclamation, March has been designated Women’s History Month and now is the ideal time to reflect on the many extraordinary contributions of women through the years.  The National Women’s History Alliance chooses an annual theme and this year’s theme is a continuation of last year’s theme–“Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.”  2020 was the women’s suffrage centennial but the pandemic overshadowed this milestone so the celebration is continuing into 2021.  Recognizing early suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone is important but it also crucial to pay tribute to civil rights activists like Ida B. Wells, Ella Baker, and Shirley Chisholm, who championed voting rights for women and African Americans.  And we can bring the celebration into the 21st century by acknowledging the important contributions of women like Stacey Abrams whose organizing skills helped register thousands of new voters in the state of Georgia, making it a key battleground state during the 2020 election. On our WU Reads Reading Guide, you will find a selection of books about the Nineteenth Amendment and women through the years who were involved in supporting voting rights.

Celebrating Black History Month

decorative rendering of black history monthMost of us have heard of Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate, who read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the recent inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden.  Amanda’s inspirational poem reminds us all of the beauty and power of words.  Salman Rushdie expressed this exquisitely when he wrote:

A poet’s work … to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it from going to sleep.

In honor of Black History/African American History Month and Amanda Gorman, it seems fitting to highlight African American poets and their important contributions to American culture and society. Check out a sampling of some of the many wonderful books of poetry (both print and electronic) available through the Hatfield Library and listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Visit the following websites for more information on Black History Month and Black poets and poetry: