Sound of Knowledge Choir

William Congreve once said, “Music has charms to soothe a savage beast.” Not sure about savage beasts, but music definitely brings the library to life. For the last 19 years, Bellevue University Library has upheld a tradition of providing live music at the library’s Holiday Party and National Library Week Open House. Music has always been a way for many different communities and cultures to build a connection and break down walls. The library has consistently welcomed people from around the world through its doors. In 2004, the library set out to try and create something that would bring the university community together, to make people feel welcome, and to build bonds between many different parts of our community. With this in mind, the library decided to start a band, led by Librarian John Carlotto, and made up of library staff members who were gifted with amazing instrumental talents. The “Sounds of Knowledge Band” brought the members’ joy and love of music to the library’s yearly events. For the next 17 years, the library’s band continued to share their love of instrumental music with Bellevue University and the community. Over the years, the members of the band changed but their love of music still existed.

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Remembering Pearl Harbor

Image of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

December 7, 1941 is forever remembered as the day that, as declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, would “live in infamy”. On this fateful morning, the United States of America was thrust into World War II as the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. As we observe Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, it is important to reflect on the events of that day, honor the sacrifices made, and draw lessons that resonate through the pages of history.

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Cthulhu’s creator, H.P. Lovecraft, was an author of various fantasy-horror short novels and stories. His most well-known creation, Cthulhu, was born in 1928 in a story created by Lovecraft, “Call of Cthulhu,” published in the magazine Weird Tales. While Lovecraft created many other works of fiction, his works involving Cthulhu come to mind first when you think of Lovecraft’s works. While Lovecraft didn’t have the opportunity to see his stories gain popularity during his lifetime, the Cthulhu Mythos lived on and was written about by other famous authors such as Stephen King, Alan Moore, and Neil Gaiman.

In the Cthulhu Mythos, Cthulhu was the leader of the Old Ones, who were extraterrestrial beings who came to Earth from the stars before humanity was born. The Old Ones lay dormant beneath the Earth’s crust and under the Pacific Ocean and communicated with humans through telepathic means. Groups of uncivilized people would worship Cthulhu in hidden corners of the world and erect statues made of materials not found on Earth. They would chant the phrase “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn,” which means “In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.” Cthulhu’s cult will help awaken the being they worship when the time is right, and Cthulhu will once again rule the world.

Cthulhu’s physical description is very unique with its usage of the octopus. Cthulhu has an octopus-like face, a scaly body, frightening claws on the front and back feet, and long, narrow wings behind. Anyone who sees Cthulhu’s form is driven to insanity just by looking at it.

H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu went on to inspire countless movies, games, books, and music. While the man who created Cthulhu has passed on, his legacy lives on through the eldritch being he created. You can find a couple of his works in the Bellevue University Library’s online catalog. The Dunwich Horror and The Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories are both available to anyone who wants to read or listen to them.


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Image Creator: Jahwa


Image Description: sea creature with wings, arms, head with several tentacles for a nose, and scaly arms. A small person is in a boat in the water below the sea creature.

King of Broken Things

               Omaha in the years of World War I represents a microcosm of the nation at large. In 1919 a race riot broke out in the midst of a meatpacking strike and largely flamed by the city’s criminal establishment, led by mob boss, Tom Dennison. It is in this legacy of local and global violence that Ted Wheeler’s novel, Kings of Broken Things, takes place.

               The novel follows three central characters. One is a European immigrant, Karel, a young boy who becomes infatuated with the game of baseball. Another, Jake, has a checkered past and finds himself drawn into the criminal world, led by Dennison. The third is Evie, a servant who passes for white in a hostile time, who seeks to escape her dreary life.

               Wheeler writes about the events that caused the riot, including tensions brought about by labor reform, soldiers returning from the war, and the melting pot of the city that becomes a tinderbox fueled by corrupt politicians and underhanded criminals. Each character becomes involved with Omaha’s underworld, getting drawn in even as they actively seek to extricate themselves.

               In the manner of historical fiction, Wheeler not only writes about the real events of the times, but injects his characters of differing backgrounds in order to reveal the emotions and feelings involved in the tumultuous times.

               Kings of Broken Things is available at Bellevue University Library, located in the general collection. All books can be borrowed for 21 days with the option of renewal.

Theodore Wheeler, Nebraska Author

Omaha native and novelist Theodore Wheeler has written four books spanning centuries and countries. From the early 20th century Omaha to modern day San Salvador, Wheeler’s stories focus on the elements of humanity that unite us all despite background or current situation. Often set against important historical events, Wheeler chooses to emphasize the wide range of feeling that occurs during moments of turmoil.

His first novel was published in 2015 and takes place during the Omaha Race Riot of 1919. The story follows an immigrant boy and explores the racial and historical dynamite barrel that was the first few decades of the 20th century. This novella would be adapted into his novel Kings of Broken Things, a braided narrative that follows Karel, the immigrant boy, as well as a young man drawn into the criminal underworld of Omaha and a young woman of mixed race who lives passing as white to stay safe in a volatile time.

His 2016 book of short stories, Bad Faith, tells of various downtrodden characters and their fractured families. His 2020 effort, In Our Other Lives, is a more modern novel set directly after 9/11 and focuses on a veteran who was until recently missing in Pakistan, his sister, and an FBI agent sent to Nebraska to investigate his disappearance and reappearance. His newest novel The War Begins in Paris was published this month. It is a noir set in WWII Paris and follows two women as they contemplate the war and their role in the conflict.

Wheeler is currently an English professor at Creighton University and director of the Omaha Lit Fest. He is also runs Dundee Book Company with his wife.

Several of Agee’s works are available at Bellevue University Library, located in the general collection. All books can be borrowed for 21 days with the option of renewal.

Photo description: Man with dark hair, black shirt and jacket sitting with several books in the background.

Breadcrumb Trail: Travel

The power of art is its magical ability to transport us to new, exotic locations. We can see sights we never could in person, and travel vast distances in an instant. While a foreign destination my be the impetus for a voyage, sometimes the trip itself can be a better story that the arrival itself.

Welcome back to The Breadcrumb Trail, the Freeman/Lozier Library’s Media Advisory Blog. This month as many of us set off to visit family for the holidays, we will be taking our own trip through books and movies.

Some people live to travel, others become flustered at the thought of traveling across town. In John Hughes’ holiday classic Planes, Trains and Automobiles, we follow two mismatched travel companions as they try to get back home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. One is an uptight advertising executive, Neal, played by Steve Martin, who is continually foiled in his efforts to get back home, beginning with his failure to get a cab in New York rush hour. He becomes involuntarily paired up with a jovial, talkative salesman, Del, played by John Candy, the very man who stole the cab from under Neal’s nose in New York. Through a continuing series of unfortunate events, the two become travel mates as weather and travel accidents keep delaying them on their way home.

The comedy plays off the two characters opposite natures, as unlucky and unhappy Neal is stuck with happy-go-lucky Del who looks at the bright side of every situation and is just happy to have someone to talk to. As with many of John Hughes films, humor turns to sincerity as the two men become close despite their frustrations along the way. In the end Neal and Del spend the holiday together, discovering that being forced to travel together is a good way to get to know someone, and even make new friends.

Traveling is usually done to get somewhere, but often it can be done to get away from something. In Alexander Payne’s dramedy Sideways, two friends set off on a trip through California’s wine country. Although the trip is meant to be a bachelor party for Jack, played by Thomas Haden Church, it is also to get his friend Miles, played by Paul Giamatti, out of the slump he finds himself in as he tries to get over his recent divorce and the stress of trying to get his 900 page novel published. Again, the two friends opposing demeanors play off each other, as wild former actor Jack seeks to have one last blow-out before marriage, and curmudgeonly Miles always finds a way to find the worst in his situation.

The real reason for the trip is to visit California’s extensive wine country, with Miles the aficionado attempting to teach the classless Jack about the wonders of wine. Even though Miles revels in the complexities and intricacies of the drink, he ends up using it to cope with his depression, only making it worse to the chagrin of Jack. The two friends meet a couple women to join them as they visit the various wineries, enjoying the beautiful countryside vineyards and each other’s company. In a similar manner to Planes, Trains and Automobiles, their journey becomes increasingly upsetting as Jack falls for his new friend and Miles learns his novel is rejected by the last publisher considering it. But in a similar fashion, both stories end with silver linings, as both men come to learn to love the things they have rather than focusing on what they’ve lost.

Sometimes traveling can be an experience in and of itself and America offers a wide range of vistas along the way. In Jack Kerouac’s timeless travelogue On the Road, we follow the narrator Sal Paradise as he sets off to see the legendary American West, the land of open spaces and freedom from obligation. Sal is very similar to Miles, a college student working on a novel after a divorce, when he gets an invite from his exuberant friend Dean to visit the Western side of the nation. As Sal crisscrosses the nation, hitching rides, hopping trains, or taking the bus, he comes to find that the most enjoyable parts of the trip are the times spent on the road, even if it is huddled under a tarp in the back of a pickup flying down the highway with frozen ears. Each destination he has in mind never lives up to his hopes as he ends up doing the same old things he would have were he back home – namely aimless talk and vapid partying.

Set in the late Forties, the novel explores the burgeoning Beat movement with characters who are thin veils of real figures such as Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Neal Cassady. The narrative follows the Beat tradition of stream-of-consciousness tale-telling filled with interesting packets of words, telling the tale of telling a tale, even if nothing of real importance occurs. A mix of dissatisfaction with the edifices of modern life and the love of the simple things finds its place in Sal who seems to enjoy the going more than the arriving. An ideal novel for those suffering from wanderlust, On the Road exemplifies the freedom of the road and the interesting turns life takes along the way.

For some travelers no destination is ever good enough, even idyllic Hawaii, the dream location for many voyagers. We meet this specific wanderer in Jack Handey’s The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure. The novel spoofs travelogues in a hilarious fashion as we follow the narrator as he reluctantly sets out for Hawaii and finds issues with the whole trip. Never grounded in reality, the Honolulu of Handey’s novel is a humorously distorted vision of the real thing, and his deadpan observations of the culture and surroundings mark him as the ultimate tourist who seems to find fault with everything he encounters.

Originally known for his Deep Thoughts on Saturday Night Live, Jack Handey is a unique writer whose one-liner observations on life are so stupid and nonsensical they come off as interesting and hilarious pontifications. He brings this pithy voice to bear on the magical land of Honolulu with short chapters filled with moronic Eureka moments and slapstick comedy. The Stench of Honolulu is the perfect book for those who don’t like to travel and seeking justification for their homebody ways.

During the holiday breaks this year, be sure to take a trip, if not in the real world then at least in a good book or movie. While it can be exciting to escape to a new land and become immersed in something different, it can be equally interesting to enjoy traveling for the simple joy of not being in one place, but constantly on the move. Even if there are pratfalls and gloomy times along the way, a humorous outlook can redeem any excursion.

Photo description: steering wheel of a car with the books and movies mentioned in this blog, behind the wheel.

Celebrating National Game and Puzzle Week: Unleashing the Power of Play

An image of the board game and puzzle display shelf in the Library.

In a world that often seems to move at breakneck speed, National Game and Puzzle Week serves as a reminder to slow down, connect with loved ones, and engage in the timeless joy of play. This year, National Game and Puzzle Week is celebrated the week of Thanksgiving. The annual event encourages individuals and families to rediscover the simple pleasure of games and puzzles. From board games that spark friendly competition to mind-bending puzzles that challenge our cognitive abilities, this week invites us to explore the diverse world of games and puzzles that entertain, educate, and bring people together.

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The History of Pumpkin Pie

With every Thanksgiving season, pumpkin pie has traditionally been served as part of the Thanksgiving feast for hundreds of years. Northeastern Native American tribes grew squash and pumpkins and taught the first settlers the many uses for pumpkin which, 50 years after the first Thanksgiving in America, pumpkin pie was developed. 

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All About Apps Fall 2023

We all enjoy apps that help us in our everyday life. We found a handful that you might be interested in adding to your collection. Be sure to check these out!

Deepstash: If you are someone who loves learning, but find news sites and google results overstimulating, this app is for you. Designed to expose users to new ideas in bite sized formats, this app gives you access to books, podcasts and articles that fit your interests. The goal is to encourage adults to always be curious, even if you only have five minutes to spare. So, if you want to check out something new you can find it on App Store or Google Play.

Study Bunny: Want a fun new way to focus while studying? This app allows you to time yourself as you study with a virtual pet bunny. With tools to help you, like motivational quotes, flashcards and a custom study tracker, this app makes it easy to focus while you work. You can also create virtual bunny study groups with friends in real life and earn rewards to customize your furry friend. Available in the App Store and Google Play.

Rootd: This app is designed to help relieve and prevent panic attacks with the help of a little blue monster in your pocket. With certified privacy, this app allows users to use proven methods and tools to help alleviate and manage anxiety and panic disorders. Some of these methods are customized CBT lessons, breathing exercises, and a journal to help track and identify triggers. A helpful tool for Finals week or everyday anxiety. Available in the App Store and Google Play.

Citymapper: If you are someone who likes to travel this app is an excellent resource to plan your transit in metropolitan areas around the US, Europe and Latin America. All you have to do is put in your starting location and your destination and the website will take care of the rest. Unlike other map tools, this service allows you to plan your trip using multiple types of transportation, such as ferries, trains, buses, and even by foot. You can also track your route from your lock screen in real time and you can sync your calendar so that you do not miss a single stop along your way. This app is available online, in the App Store or on Google Play .

Rakuten Viki: This app gives you free access to current, upcoming media content from Thailand, Taiwan, China, and Korea. Available on Roku, Android TV, Apple TV, Fire TV, the App Store and Google Play, this app gives you unprecedented access to content not available on US streaming platforms. Including award winning shows such as Crash Landing on You, Boys over Flowers, and several variety shows starring popular K-pop idols. Additionally, all content is subtitled in multiple languages, so that viewers from around the world can enjoy.

Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than BooksV. 26 No. 4, Fall 2023.

Abnormal Psychology LibGuide

The field of psychology is large and diverse, with many different perspectives, theories, and branches. One particularly interesting branch is abnormal psychology, which deals with psychological disorders and other abnormal patterns of thoughts and behaviors. If you are looking for more information on this subject, the library’s new Abnormal Psychology LibGuide is a great place to start.

This new LibGuide provides plenty of resources for various psychological disorders, including sections on Depressive and Bipolar Disorders, Dissociative Disorders, Eating Disorders, Personality Disorders, Schizophrenia, and more. You can navigate these sections by clicking on the tabs on the top of the page. Each section has a box located on the left side of the screen which gives a brief description of the disorders located in that section. The LibGuide includes general collection books (physical books you can check out from the library), eBooks, journal articles, videos, and websites relevant to the disorders listed on each page.

If you are unable to find what you are looking for in any of the main categories of the LibGuide, other disorders and mental health issues may be found in the Other section. If you are not sure where to begin, or if you are looking at abnormal psychology more broadly, you can find general resources for psychological disorders and the subject of abnormal psychology in the General Texts section. One helpful resource listed on this page is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), a physical copy of which can be checked out from the library. Published by the American Psychiatric Association, this manual includes the descriptions and diagnostic criteria for each psychological disorder, and is a very useful tool both for research and for professionals in the field.

This LibGuide also provides the links to relevant databases you can search for more sources for abnormal psychology, located under the Databases tab. There is also a tab for resources to help with Citations (remember that psychology uses APA style). If you would like any additional assistance conducting your research or navigating the LibGuide, you can find our 24/7 chat, where you can chat live with a librarian, on every page.

All LibGuides can be accessed by going to the library homepage and selecting LibGuides from the drop-down menu under “Find.”

Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than BooksV. 26 No. 4, Fall 2023.