ENWL in our Midnights Era

Taylor’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department, has officially dropped and we are in our Midnights era because we stayed up till midnight to get our first listen.

In Midnights (2022) Taylor returns to her pop roots featuring upbeat songs with sharp, honest lyrics. You and your friends can party all night long with the top songs from this album including “Bejeweled,” “Lavender Haze,” and “Karma.” This album captures sleepless nights and the wish to just have some fun.

You may be in your Midnights ENWL era to if you:

  • Are a bit of an insomniac
  • Are a dedicated journal-keeper who loves keeping track of the little things
  • Gets tested but always bounces back
  • Will “go to sleep” but posts on socials until 2 AM
  • Are a member of Her Campus
  • Are looking forward to taking ENGL 221 – Intro to Linguistics next semester


Faculty and staff in their Midnights era:

Graduate Assistant Becca Betty is in their Midnights era because they “laid the groundwork and then just like clockwork” all the amazing ENWL events came to be! Becca is a “mastermind” at organizing at creating events and content for all to enjoy, and we celebrate them for all of their hard work.

Dr. Kim McCollum-Clark is in her Midnights era because you best believe she is still “bejeweled!” Her knowledge in various fields and disciplines shines through all of her work, making the department “shimmer” with various potential pathways for ENWL majors.

ENWL Connections in Midnights

One of the biggest connections Taylor makes is to Jane Eyre in her song “Dear Reader.” Jane Eyre is a novel by English author and poet Charlotte Brontë. It is a work of fiction that follows the childhood and early adulthood of the namesake of the novel, Jane Eyre.

The full line in the novel that Taylor references is “Dear reader, I married him.” This sentence breaks the fourth wall and directly addresses the audience, drawing them into the protagonist’s decision to marry the man at the center of Jane’s whirlwind romance. Swift’s use of the phrase has a similar effect as she encourages her audience to be cautious in risk-taking but to take a chance anyways at one point saying, “Dear reader// When you aim at the devil make sure you don’t miss.”

Thank you for joining us on our Taylor Swift journey—we will have one more week of bonus content because we can’t resist talking about the new album:)

Research Corner: Time Invested vs Goal Payoff

One of the important aspects to consider when setting up a research project is finding the delicate balance of time invested versus goal payoff. Setting achievable goals for content creation that will have the best expected payoffs, whether it’s a certain level of interaction on a post or connecting students with valuable information, can be difficult. One way to mitigate these challenges is to have a discussion at the outset of the project to be reasonable about what your team can achieve and what will meet the needs of your intended audience to the best of your ability. It is also helpful to have a voice of reason who will help reign in wild ideas that may not have the payoff the project needs (Dr. Pfannenstiel is very good at this:) ). Finally, acknowledging that your project will need to be adaptable to meet the unexpected needs that come up in either the logistics of carrying out a project or the ever-shifting goals of your target audience is key to success.

ENWL is in their Folklore and Evermore Eras

With only a week left until the release of The Tortured Poets Department, the department of English and World Languages has transitioned into its Folklore and Evermore eras.

Folklore (2020) is a drastic shift from its predecessor Lover, as the album (which was written, produced, and released during the Covid-19 pandemic) uses a folk-pop sound to create an escape from reality and into a world in woods. Folklore follows the love triangle between Betty, August, and James, and takes listeners through a journey of shared memories, myths, and personal legends. Other themes off this album include empathy, nostalgia, and romanticism. Some key songs from this record include “Cardigan,” “Exile,” “Mirrorball,” and “August.”

Evermore (2020) follows in its sister album’s footsteps by transcending users to another reality, one that is both warm with memories and cold from current reflections of them. Themes from this album include forbidden love, romantic neglect, forgiveness, marriage, and infidelity. Notable songs from this album include “Willow,” “Champagne Problems,” “Tolerate It,” and “Ivy.”

You may be in your Folklore era too if you:

  • Love the dark academia aesthetic
  • Are learning how to manage burnout
  • Every other post on your Instagram is a tree
  • Are a major multi-tasker
  • Turn darkness from the past into soft sunshine
  • Are a member of George Street Press

You may be in your Evermore era too if you:

  • Are a yearly Ren-Faire attendee that loves to bring a character to life
  • Shoulder a lot of responsibilities but are finding ways to make your magic grow
  • Building your new normal, learning what you can do to recognize and accommodate your needs as a member of ADAPT
  • Cunning eye for detail and a love for nature

Dr. Baldys is in her Folklore era because this album is one of Taylor’s most lyrically detailed with many connections to Dr. Baldys’ area of study: Victorian Literature!

Dr. Farkas is in her Folklore era because even though she can’t teach you to read minds, she can definitely help you turn your writing around!

Dr. Mondello is in her Evermore era because she incorporates themes of the supernatural, whimsical, and magical within her each of her literature courses. Since Dr. Mondello started during Covid, we have seen how much she has grown into her position, just as Taylor did as an artist during this album, and she comes back as a stronger professor each semester!

Dr. Mando is in his Evermore era because he recognizes the connections between nature and literature, as seen in songs like “Ivy” and “No Body, No Crime” on the album.

There are many literature connections off of Folklore and Evermore, but a few highlights include:


“Cardigan” and Peter Pan

“Mirrorball” and “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath

“Invisible String” and The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and Jane Eyre

“Mad Woman” and Wide Sargasso

“The Lakes” and The Laker Poets and the Romantic Era


“Tolerate It” and Rebecca

“Happiness” and The Great Gatsby

“Ivy” and Jane Eyre

“Evermore” and Emily Dickinson’s poem “One Sister Have I in the House”

ENWL Reputation and Lover Eras

The department of English and World Languages has shifted from into its Reputation and Lover eras in continuation with the countdown to Taylor Swift’s newest album The Tortured Poets Department.

Reputation (2017) is Swift’s first album with an edgy and rock and roll sound that sends off the message of confidence within herself that is powerful enough to gain revenge against her enemies. Other themes off of this album include identity, transformation, growth, resilience, and commentary on media criticism. Some key songs from Reputation include “Look What You Made Me Do,” “Getaway Car,” “Delicate,” and “Don’t Blame Me.”

Lover (2019) takes on a completely opposite tone, as it pulls from her personal life by focusing on romantic, long-term love, as well as facing adult issues such as change and loneliness. The album is a bubble gum pop collection of experiences that make listeners reflect on life as a whole, as it tells us that our past does not define our future. Key songs from this album include “Lover,” “Cruel Summer,” “The Man,” “The Archer,” and “False God.”

You may be in your Reputation era too if you:

  • Are Not afraid to take a risk
  • Love making multimodal media projects
  • Have an unbroken streak on Wordle
  • Know the power of peer-review
  • Always grabs the latest issue of The Snapper

You may be in your Lover era too if you:

  • Speaks your ideas into existence
  • Like to reenact scenes in Shakespeare class
  • Are a hopeless romantic (but expects a little tragedy)
  • Practice self love
  • Are a member of GSA

Faculty and Staff in their Reputation and 1989 Eras:

Dr. Craven is in her Reputation era because she loves to challenge students to make bold decisions – so that no matter what her students do they’ll be “ready for it.”

GA Heather is in her Lover era because she has loved every moment being a GA for the ENWL department! Working with Dr. P and Becca everyday has been a “golden” and sparkling experience.

Reputation is filled with unexpected literary connections. Some included are:

  • The song “Delicate” can be connected to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel This Side of Paradise with the quote of “we’re all delicate here, you know.”
  • So It Goes” connects to Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter House Five, as the phrase is used 106 times in the novel, as it is associated with death and mortality
  • Fan favorite “Getaway Car” references Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities with the first line of “it was the best of times the worst of crimes.”

Although not a direct connection, fans have associated the song “I Think He Knows” to Anne and Gilbert’s relationship from the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, which has been adapted into a tv series on Netflix. 

ENWL RED and 1989 Era

The Department of ENWL is continuing our Taylor Swift era this week with Taylor’s fourth album RED and fifth album 1989.

RED (2012; Taylor’s Version 2021) leans into an aesthetic that has become known as “sad girl Autumn,” evoking tumultuous reckonings with breaking up, growing up, and moving on. Top tracks from RED include “I Knew You Were Trouble When You Walked In,” “22,” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Some of these more vibrant tracks tend to outshine some of the gentler tracks that reveal the hidden artistry of Taylor’s lyricism, including the track “All Too Well,” that draws heavy influence from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

1989 (2014; Taylor’s Version 2021) on the other hand is a beachy album crafted for late summer listening featuring vibes that are equal part wistfully nostalgic and longingly dreamy. Top tracks from 1989 include “Blank Space,” “Bad Blood,” and “Wildest Dreams” from the Deluxe version which went viral on TikTok in 2021.

You may be in your RED era too if you:

  • Are always ready to analyze
  • Enjoy movies that re longer than 2 hours
  • Favorite movie is one most people have never heard of
  • Are a member of Film Club
  • Constantly change your Letterboxd top four favorites

You may be in your 1989 era too if you:

  • Are always on the go
  • Take crazy detailed notes
  • Stay out too late
  • Love to be transported by what you read
  • Are a member of Ville AAUW

Faculty In Their RED and 1989 Eras

Dr. Antolin is in his RED era because of his extensive work with the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who Taylor draws great inspiration from for this album. Taylor’s songs “Red” and “All Too Well” reflect his influence particularly from the poem “Tonight I Can Write (The Saddest Lines).” You can read a translation of the poem here.

Fun fact: Dr. Antolin is also a musician! He plays the classical guitar.

Dr. Corkery is in his 1989 era because of the unexpected connection between hip-hop and Taylor Swift on 1989. Artist Kendrick Lamar is featured on the song “Bad Blood,” and in Dr. Corkery’s literature and hip-hop course, students are able to learn more about the history of rap music and why it is an important part of our culture.

Both RED and 1989 have some unexpected ENWL connections. Red features Taylor’s first mini-film for the song “All Too Well” following the tale of jilted lovers. The fall aesthetics and whirlwind affair has a similar vibe to the classic romcom When Harry Met Sally. At one point, Harry even wears a red scarf – maybe he also stole it from an ex;) On 1989, Taylor features references to Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland within her song “Wonderland.” Some lyrics that pay direct homage include “fell down a rabbit hole” and “with a Cheshire Cat smile.” She also references the classic 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter in her song “New Romantics” with the lyric “we show off, our different scarlet letters, trust me mine is better.”

You don’t have to wait to see us in your “Wildest Dreams,” follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with all our Taylor Swift content:)

Research Corner (Taylor’s Version): Revisiting and Reflecting on Content

While Taylor’s reason for rerecording her albums is to reclaim ownership and divest from her previous record label, her actions speak to a powerful practice in ENWL research and content strategies. Revisiting and reflecting on content is a valuable skill that both reiterates and transforms knowledge. For Taylor, not only do her “Versions” allow her to rectify possession of her voice and content, but they allow her to build on her past creations and even add tracks from her vault. In our research, each week we have new data and content to generate, but taking a moment to revisit our existing content reminds us to share important updates and events to our story. Creating intentional spaces for reflection also gives us the chance to celebrate accomplishments and recognize our growing community. With this in mind, we can fashion achievable goals –including our goal of growing our follower account on Instagram to 200 by the end of the semester (we are currently at 179). While this metric is not a be all end all evaluation of engagement, in our ongoing efforts to understand how the current digital landscape can create opportunities for connection, follower counts represent an aggregate web of accounts we’ve reached  and curious individuals who want to interact with us. We hope that increasing our followers will help us share our information and ENWL values with a wider audience, allowing for the formation of meaningful connection.

English and World Languages is in Their “Fearless” and “Speak Now” Eras

Leading up to Taylor Swift’s release of her newest album The Tortured Poets Department, the department of English and World Languages is highlighting each of her albums in preparation for the event. This week, the department has entered its Fearless and Speak Now eras! The album Fearless was originally released in 2008, with her rerecording or “Taylor’s Version” rereleased in April of 2021. Fearless incorporates themes of romance, aspirations, fairytale elements, heartache, and resilience through its 26 song track list. Some key songs off of this album include “Love Story,” “White Horse,” “Fearless,” and “Forever and Always.” Her third studio album Speak Now was originally released in 2010, with Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) released in July of 2023. This album transitions from adolescence into adulthood by incorporating themes of coming into your own and gaining confidence through whimsical and theatrical elements. Some key songs off of this album include “Long Live,” “Enchanted,” “Dear John,” “Mine,” “Sparks Fly,” and “Better Than Revenge.”

You may be in your ENWL Fearless era too if you are:

  • Registered for the Spanish Literature in English (CRN 14628) for next fall
  • Write 8 pages for a 4 page paper
  • Romanticize the little things
  • Love a late night study session with friends
  • Daydream about a bright future
  • A member of Spanish club

You may be in your ENWL Speak Now era too if you are:

  • Someone who takes creative risks
  • Grew up reading fairytales
  • Is a multifaceted and multimodal writer
  • Defies stereotypes
  • Is a member of the Creative Writers Guild
  • Have a Goodreads account
  • Secretly loves rock music

Dr. Jakubiak is in her Fearless era, as she travels across the world to showcase not only her writing and poetry talents, but also brings back this international knowledge to her courses and students. The song “Fearless” has the lyrics “and I don’t know how it gets better than this, you take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless.” These lyrics showcase her bravery in going to different places and events to show her work and highlights how putting yourself out there “fearlessly” can lead to a successful outcome. Dr. Jakubiak’s adventure with the English languages started with translating lyrics of Pop and Rock songs by artists like George Michael, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Cyndi Lauper!

Dr. Pfannenstiel is in her Speak Now era, as although she may appear to be soft like the album cover, she creates a blend of deep knowledge and student centered teaching that evokes the same spirit as Speak Now. She includes elements of lighthearted joy alongside rock and roll that encapsulate the theme of being honest to oneself, as heard on the album. Dr. P connects to the song “Enchanted,” as she is always so kind, helpful, and thoughtful to be both her undergrad and gradate students. It is always enchanting to get to grow with her as a learner!

Both Fearless and Speak Now have unexpected literature connections. Swift draws inspiration from William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet for her hit song “Love Story,” narrating a modern and happier retelling of the classic fated lovers on her Fearless album. The song “Speak Now” has a connection to the 1967 film The Graduate, as the song features the lyrics “don’t say yes, run away now, I’ll meet you when you’re out of the church at the back door.” These lyrics recall an experience of crashing a wedding and running away with one member of the couple, which was mist famously done in the move, as Benjamin crashes the wedding of his lover Elaine and whisks her away onto a bus.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on our Instagram @ville.englishworldlanguage to see why the humanities will “never go out of style.”

Research Corner: Faces take us places

This week, through our data tracking, it was evident that we received a boost in engagement with posts that included faces of our faculty rather than those without. For example, on our ENWL trope posts, we had a total of 20 likes over 48 hours with zero saves, zero shares, and zero comments. However, on the Faculty Feature post, we had a total of 35 likes over 48 hours, with 4 saves and eight shares. It is interesting to see this boost because of this one change, and makes us wonder if this is because the posts with faces fit the expectations set for social media rather than those with just text or images.


ENWL Debut Era

We’re kicking off our Taylor Swift Era by highlighting ENWL connections to her first album! Taylor’s first album shares her name but has become known to Swifties as simply Debut. Released in 2006, this album is heavily connected to Taylor’s roots in the country music genre with her top hit from the album named after Country singer/songwriter Tim McGraw. The aesthetics from the album capture light-hearted simplicity featuring butterflies, flowers, and her acoustic guitar in shades of baby blue.

You may be in your Debut ENWL era too if you are:

  • In ENGL 110 – English Composition
  • Always over prepared
  • Just starting off in your writing journey
  • Will skip a class to go home early for break
  • Makes at least 3 drafts before submitting a paper
  • Will most likely visit the Writing Center
  • A member of the English Club

Dr. Rea is also in his Debut era because this is his first year as a professor at Millersville. “The Outside,” one of the tracks from this album, starts with the lyrics “I didn’t know what I would find” and we hope that Dr. Rea has found lots of great things in our department! This song also features a connection to Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” with the lyrics “I tried to take the road less traveled by” echoing Frost’s famous lines. Click on this link to read “The Road Not Taken” or check out another poem by Frost that shares Debut’s aesthetic: “Blue-Butterfly Day.”

Have you noticed any other unexpected connections to this album? Comment below to let us in on what you catch! Also, stay up to date with all our Taylor Swift content on Instagram and Facebook where we’ll see you next week with more “enchanting” fun;)


Research Corner – Data Logging

Week one logistics of our social media research project involved setting up data tracking log sheets and guidelines for collection. To set up our log sheet (see image below) we had to answer two primary questions a) what data is available and b) when should we collect data to make sure we are capturing meaningful information (without overloading our team with work). For our first week, we’ve settled into collecting information that is publicly available through each platform’s built in data analytic software. For data we expect to have slower growth (follower/subscriber/event attendance counts) we’ve decided to collect weekly numbers and for data we expect to change more rapidly (likes/shares/comments) we’ve decided to collect numbers at 24-hrs, 48-hrs, and at 1 week intervals until the conclusion of the study (with a total of 6-weeks for each data point). We hope that this range of data will be able to be used to determine if there is a significant impact (represented by an increase in these various metrics) from using Taylor Swift influenced content. We’ve separated our sheet into 6 sections (one for each week) with additional tabs for method notes and screenshots with sections on each tab for user added notes to document who is posting what when.

ENWL Enters Our Taylor Swift Era

With the announcement of Taylor Swift’s upcoming album titled The Tortured Poets Department, the English and World Languages Department is kicking off Taylor Swift themed events and fun leading up to a listening party on April 19th when the album drops. On this blog and social media, we will be moving through Taylor’s discography chronologically posting about unexpected connections Taylor Swift’s music has with English and World Languages (ENWL) by highlighting media, critical theories, research methods, and faculty interests tied into themes and literary connections in Taylor Swift’s lyrics and eras for each album.

This content strategy will also function as a 6-week study to measure student engagement metrics utilizing celebrity impact to generate interest in all things ENWL. Using Taylor Swift as inspiration will draw on an existing fandom to build a discourse community and provide a large base of material to fuel content. Not only will this allow us to potentially promote ENWL topics to a larger audience, but we will also be demonstrating our research techniques for this project by sharing our process on this blog including our world building strategies and research methods to show why and how ENWL research works.

The purpose of this study is two-fold: first it will establish a quantifiable content strategy to model systems of social media usage to determine the usefulness of social media to academic departments, and second it will provide additional means for students to connect with peers, professors, and ENWL media to establish community while also modeling ENWL research methods and methodologies for students to engage with. For this project, we will collect data that measures specific metrics of engagement on social media (likes, shares, comments, follower number) as well as in-person events (sign-in sheets). We will be sharing our process, documentation, and insights to show you in real time what ENWL research can do!

Join us for the next six weeks here, on Instagram (@ville.englishworldlanguage), and on Facebook (Millersville University, Department of English) as we present Swiftie connections to our discipline and envision new ways for our students to connect with each other and ENWL materials. The Department of ENWL is officially in our Taylor Swift era:)

Highlights from Reading and Conversation Event with Julia Fiedorczuk

This week, Millersville welcomed renowned Polish writer, poet, translator, and researcher Julia Fiedorczuk on the last stop of her North American tour. She read from her latest collection of poetry, Psalms, which was awarded the prestigious Wisława Szymborska Prize in Poland in 2018 as well as selections from her unreleased novel, The House of Orion, providing context and insight on her process and conceptual and physical groundings.

She sat facing us, a mixed crowd of approximately 40 community members, faculty, and students, in a red armchair in the Ford Atrium. Beside her, Dr. Katarzyna Jakubiak acted as moderator and co-presenter as each poem presented was read twice, first in Polish by Fiedorczuk and then in English by Dr. Jakubiak. Fiedorczuk remarked that she prefers to not read her poems aloud in English stating “I can’t read them not because I dislike them, they’re beautiful, but because Polish is so connected to me,” expressing a gratefulness to Bill Johnston, the translator for both Psalms and an earlier work Oxygen. The depth of her connection was evident, even to non-Polish listeners. She spoke in a soft breathy voice with conviction and pressing flow, transporting the audience in gentle percussive insistence into her work that interweaves narratives of human trauma and resilience with environmental beauty and catastrophe.

In simultaneously engaging two often juxtaposed topics, she masterfully shapes a dialogue that addresses both the ongoing climate crisis and human crises (most notably the great migration crisis in Europe that begin around 2013) challenging divisions of science and humanities, noting that these are the same struggle. The ongoing loss of biodiversity is inextricable from the loss of human life and language and vice versa. As such, Fiedorczuk powerfully argues for “science to be informed by poetry” stating that “literature needs to be precise and science needs to be imaginative.” Poetry specifically offers the ability to tap into human imagination that she describes saying, “imagination is a wonderful thing and imagination is a wild thing,” noting that human imagination is collective and often “more than” human. This ability to place ourselves in collective imaginings is key to understanding Psalms that explores the complicated interplay of two primary emotions: despair and joy.

Placing these two emotions in confluence creates a needed perspective that shares moments of the “absolute unconditional acceptance of life” and the “possibility of having real authentic joy” in the face of the complex fears of global climate and humanitarian issues. This is partly accomplished by centering the physical experience of language drawing from its oral beginnings and exploring how “little portions of sound” can create meaning. Describing this work as a “somatic translation,” that is partially a translation and interpretation of the Biblical poems of the same name, Fiedorczuk studied Hebrew and even memorized some of the verses so she could sing them and embody the experience of language. Despite the religious nature of the original material, she emphasized that her poems are not religious at all. They are “prayers” but only in the sense that they address someone who can potentially respond – like a crying child, who uses sound before they can construct meaning, is still calling someone, addressing someone. In this way, her Psalms are meant to invite or invoke another presence.

Humble and honest, Fiedorczuk also shared her struggle to find relevance as a writer in the face of such extreme human and natural suffering. After visiting the Białowieża Forest in 2021, a place for her that is rooted in mystical reverence as it is one of the oldest forests in Europe, she found herself questioning her value as a writer while witnessing the struggles of migrants who were displaced in the forest, sold on a false dream that it would offer an easy way to enter Europe. Her doubts about whether or not it was meaningful for her to write anymore had overtaken her until a friend reminded her “but that’s what you do, just do your job.” This experience is reflected in her poem “Cold” that states “Even when bombs are falling you ought to write” that also uses part of a phone call from someone who became trapped in the forest as part of Poland’s response to the migration crisis. She recognizes that her approach to these circumstances is not necessarily a solution, stating that while writing is “not going to solve problems, I’m a writer and that’s my contribution.” She also stated that even in the face of the global epidemic of hopelessness and numbness, “something can always be done” and that there is “always a way to help someone. Always a way to deeply care for someone or something.”

For many of us in the discipline of English and World Languages studies, that way is writing. Fiedorczuk suggests that when we feel hopelessness creep into our own lives to practice “place writing” that centers noticing and knowing what is immediately around you, leaving preconceived ideas behind; “start where you are, start with small things, start with noticing what’s around you.” In so doing, writing can allow us to build new ways of knowing and practice resiliency and recognize that “this life is extremely valuable, and we cannot wait for all these crises to be over because that may never happen. The art is to live in the present.”


We are very grateful to Julia Fiedorczuk for visiting and sharing her work (despite a twisted ankle!) and to Dr. Jakubiak and the Department of English and World Languages for hosting the event. Read selected poems from her latest book Psalms here: https://www.harvardreview.org/content/psalms/?fbclid=IwAR3mIzvhCxFtylEXd948anhK5FyyH-wpdsjrbKPsxyZBTaOHC8uwD_tz-rs



English and World Languages Faculty Focus: Research Talk

This past Wednesday, the department of English and World Languages hosted their first Faculty Focus Research Talk, a new event that will take place regularly throughout the semester. This event allows professors within the department to highlight either their current or past research projects, an opportunity to show a different side of their academic selves outside of the content they teach within their classroom. As a student conducting and participating in their own research, it is easy to forget that professors are engaging in those writing and researching processes themselves. This new event series provides a unique opportunity for students to connect with professors not only about the topic of their research, but also to ask them questions about it, which could help them to change or modify their own research and writing methods for the better.

For the first faculty focus research talk, Dr. Baldys and Dr. Rea presented their past research to a group of both students and faculty. Dr. Rea discussed rhetorical violence within a local Florida community titled “Striking Out in Ybor City: Baseball, Housing, and Rhetorical Violence.” This wonderful presentation prompted discussion that may not be found in a classroom, such as what is rhetorical violence, how can it appear in different conversations and modalities, why Dr. Rea chose to focus his research on this specific set of affordable housing in Florida, and why it matters to research this topic. Dr. Baldys shifted the conversation from a rhetorical to a literary perspective with her presentation titled “Disability and Victorian Feminism: Narratives of Resistance in the Novels of Mona Caird.” Mona Caird, a Scottish essayist and novelist, is not as well known in the literary world as she should be. Dr. Baldys’ research presented a different side of Victorian literature that may be overlooked in comparison to other texts that have been centralized in conversation in the classroom, such as more popular books and writers. In both presentations, Dr. Baldys and Dr. Rea showcased different fields, methodologies, and methods of research that show students not only how they could apply these to their own research, but also provide a space to ask questions and learn about new fields and writers they would not have encountered in the classroom.

Valentine’s Book Recs 2024

It’s that time of year again when love is in the air and in the pages –check out our Faculty and Staff recommendations for romantic reads below!

Love in the time of Serial Killers   by Alicia Thompson

Recommended by Dr. Pfannenstiel

While writing her doctoral dissertation, the protagonist moves to Florida to sell her father’s house – and falls in love with her neighbor whom she suspects is a serial killer. This is such a lighthearted romance read. There are so many misunderstandings, mixed in with the real pressures of navigating imposter syndrome, higher education, and real life – all at the same time. That level of real-ness really resonated, making the romance tropes even more enjoyable.

Check out a free physical copy with your Lancaster Libraries card here.

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Recommended by Dr. Baldys

Two rival journalists fall in love while exchanging letters during a magical war. This book is an enjoyable blend of period piece (think British World War 2 vibes) plus an enemies-to-conspirators-to-lovers plotline, seasoned with magical realism and Ross’s lyrical prose. I’ve been on a YA kick recently and found Ross’s novel to be a standout: enchanting and satisfying without being sensationalist, and legitimately well written, too. Enjoy!

Check it out here!

Enchanted to Meet You by Meg Cabot

Recommended by Heather Verani

This paranormal romantic comedy novel is about a self-made witch who must team up with a handsome stranger to help protect her village from an otherworldly force. With the tag line of “It’s magic when you meet your match,” this book is an easy to read, slice of cheesy romance that we all need in our lives. I first picked up this book because the title is a line from the Taylor Swift song “Enchanted.” I love both witchy books and the romance genre, so I thought this would be a fun read!

Check out a physical copy for free with your Lancaster Libraries Card!

The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre

Recommended by Becca Betty

This book flirts with the supernatural and interweaves romance and found family as a group of strangers begin renting rooms together in The Only Purple House in Town. The main character, Iris Collins, has failed repeatedly to meet her family’s expectations and is struggling to find her place in the world. She inherits a house from a deceased relative and begins refurbishing and renting out the rooms to people that at first seem like unlikely misfits. The novel follows the repairing of the house and the hearts of its residents, embracing the human and the monstrous to overcome stereotypes about success, queer relationships, and what it means to be a family. Whimsy, sweet, and soulful, this book is an excellent read for anyone looking to be reassured that they can find love in themselves and others.

Access it for free online through Hoopla with a Lancaster Libraries Card!

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