When homework continually piles up throughout the semester, it is hard to think of doing any independent study for one’s own benefit. But sometimes, some independent study is actually more refreshing than draining.
During this semester, I have had the opportunity to begin studying Islam. For one of the fastest growing religions in the world, it is upsetting how little I knew about it. Once I decided that I desired to know more, I began perusing a few different sections within our library that contained literature on the subject. I found many decent resources, but I must say that my favorite book that I stumbled upon is Unveiling Islam by Ergun Mehmet Caner and Emir Fethi Caner. Although I am currently only 54 pages in, this book has taught me a substantial amount about this belief system.
The authors of Unveiling Islam, Ergun and Emir, are brothers who were raised as Sunni Muslims. Now, highly respected theology professors, Ergun and Emir wrote this book together in order to present the practices, ethics, and beliefs of Islam. Ergun and Emir helpfully present the Islamic beliefs by directly contrasting them to Christianity.
Some other books that were also helpful to me were Islam: A Short Guide to the Faith by Roger Allen and Shawkat M. Toorawa, and A New Anthropology of Islam by John Bowen.
As college students, there is so much to balance, and the idea of adding one more thing onto our plate doesn’t exactly sound like the most appetizing option, but amidst all of the stress of homework and extracurricular activities, it can be nice to set aside some time to invest in an area that is unrelated to your studies that interests you. Balancing time is key, but I encourage you to take a book, fiction or non-fiction, and set aside time during your semester to read for fun. With always reading for classes, the joy of reading tends to disappear. I challenge you to remember that reading can actually be quite an enjoyable endeavor.
Warning- this post may contain spoilers.
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
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.
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.
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: