Six-Word Memoirs

Can a story be told in only six words? Consider these six. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” This story has been attributed to Ernest Hemingway who it is said made a bet with friends that he could write a story using only six words. It is also said that he won that bet. There is considerable doubt as to the veracity of this Hemingway attribution, but nonetheless, it is indeed a very moving story –and very short story. 

Recently, The New York Times has been asking people to write their own really short stories, or six-word memoirs, about their experiences during COVID and quarantine. In only six words, people have managed to depict our times and tell the story of the pandemic. Here are a few that they’ve collected:

  • Cleaned Lysol container with Lysol wipe. 
  • Fall wardrobe refresh — three new masks. 
  • Tired of hearing, “Mark, you’re muted.” 
  • My dog loves having us home.
  • Freedom comes through following the rules.
  • Same earrings, six months, why change
  • Apparently, rock bottom has a basement.
  • I am smiling under this mask.
  • Working from home. Bored. Lonely. Lucky.
  • Stayed in, needed less, valued more.

What about you? If you were to write your six-word memoir right now, what would it be? Send an email to, or comment if you are seeing this on social media, and I’ll share our MVCC memoirs in a future post. Here’s one that is a variation of a t-shirt that I bought for my son.

2020: less toilet paper, more Zoom

EBSCO Database Outage — RESOLVED

The issue has been resolved. EBSCO databases are now working normally again. If you have any questions, please ask a librarian.


One of our vendors, EBSCO, provides the library with database subscriptions. Currently, our EBSCO databases are experiencing intermittent access issues. Users are experiencing slow response times or timeouts. In some instances, users are unable to access these databases at all. The following databases are effected:

  • Academic Search Complete
  • Academic Search Ultimate
  • AHFS Consumer Medication Information
  • American Antiquarian Archives
  • American Heritage Children’s Dictionary
  • APA PsycArticles
  • Associated Press Streaming Video
  • Audiobook Collection
  • Business and Economics Streaming Video Collection
  • Business Source Elite
  • Business Source Premier
  • Business Source Ultimate
  • CINAHL with Full Text
  • Consumer Health Complete
  • Consumer Health Complete – EBSCOhost
  • Consumer Health Reference eBook Collection
  • eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost)
  • eBook Collection (EBSCOhost)
  • E-Journals
  • ERIC
  • Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia
  • GreenFILE
  • Health Source – Consumer Edition
  • Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition
  • Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts
  • MAS Reference ebook Collection
  • MAS Ultra – School Edition
  • MasterFILE Premier
  • MasterFILE Reference ebook Collection
  • Military & Government Collection
  • MLA Directory of Periodicals
  • MLA International Bibliography
  • Newspaper Source
  • Primary Search
  • Primary Search Reference ebook Collection
  • Profesional Development Collection
  • Regional Business News
  • SOCindex
  • SOCindex with Full Text
  • Topic Overviews K-5

This post will be updated as new information arrives or when this issue is resolved. If you have any questions, please ask a librarian.

Ready to Vote?

Even Google’s webpage today has a message acknowledging that today, the fourth Tuesday of September, is National Voter Registration Day.

Have YOU registered to VOTE for the upcoming election for President in November?  If not, get the details here at the Illinois Board of Elections or the Cook County Clerk. Also, there is time to get a mail-in ballot and the Cook County Clerk has details on the website.

If YOU do not VOTE, then you have made a decision! So, be a good citizen and make the decision to participate in our democracy by VOTING. Can our country count on YOU?

“Holy Molars! It’s Batman Day!


Before COVID, today was one of the biggest days of the year for comic shops, bookstores, and libraries across the globe as everybody celebrated Batman Day.

This year will be no exception! Here is a collection of Batman titles for you to check out online or in person.

Batman in our online Hoopla collection

Batman in our library collection

Here is a link to DC Comic’s official Batman Day website

Guest Post: How You Can Read 200 Books In a Year?

This is a guest column from faculty member Jason King who teaches geography and math. Professor King contributes semi-regular posts to this blog.
It’s hard to make time to read for pleasure and as you age into this mad world, it doesn’t get any easier. And there’s so much to learn out there! If you’re living an ascetic life because of Covid, at least it may be possible to come out of it with a wealth of information only books can give you.

By the end of today I’ll probably have read 200 books this year.* How did I do it? I’m not blessed with excessive time, nor do I have a fortune to spend on books. Here’s what I’ve been doing since 2017 to get 150 books read a year.

  1. Try to find reading synergies in your life. If reading has to be done as a substitute for other things – you either drive to work or you read, for example – it’s always going to be hard to find time. But if you can use these as a complement your potential for reading more can increase drastically. I read when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, when my kids are playing at the park, when I’m on a treadmill, when insomnia hits. I used to be a snob about e-Readers, but now most of my reading happens on a Kindle Paperwhite – if I had a more advanced model I’d get more distracted than I already am.
  2. Use the library. Buying 200 books would be difficult on a lot of budgets and floorplans – it would cost a ton of money and take up a lot of space, and I don’t reread books very often. I use two library apps, Hoopla and Libby, in a combination of my local library and Moraine’s library, on which I can always find something I want to read. I still buy books when I find ones that are tough to find but it’s more rare now.
  3. Audiobooks are books, too. Some snobs think that listening to audiobooks isn’t the same as reading audiobooks – the research suggests that retention and brain usage are basically the same in either medium, so I do count audiobooks. For me, opening up audiobooks as a reading option opens up a lot of time to read. I listen to audiobooks when I’m doing dishes, doing the laundry, driving to and from places, hiking, and shopping, and sometimes playing video games. If I get cut off in traffic it’s possible I lose some of the material, but I can always rewind – and, to be frank, I sometimes space out when I read paper books as well.

    Sometimes this irritates my family, when they have to ask me something twice because I couldn’t hear them the first time. 🙂
  4. If you’re listening to audiobooks, don’t be afraid to try listening to them at higher speeds. Using Hoopla and Libby allows you to listen to audiobooks at accelerated reading paces – I regularly listen to audiobooks at 2x speed, but sometimes at 2.5x or even 3x. This isn’t as awkward as it sounds – some narrators read glacially.
  5. Book selection is key. For me there’s a bunch of important aspects of picking books:
    –Many of my favorite books are contingent on time and place. Some books are great when you’re exploring an idea in your own life and reading them later on would make them feel redundant and irritating. Other books are great, but need to be read after education and experiences are cultivated. Some books I’ve tried to read when I was preoccupied or angry and my opinion of them was colored by the environment of my life. Some books should be read when an expert opinion guiding you through them.
    –If books are like food, I have found it’s good to make sure you allow yourself cheat days. Reading only classics or higher-level academic stuff gets boring, but reading only pulp fiction and easy-to-read material also feels gross after awhile. No matter what, it’s still better to eat only junk than to starve.
  6. Use a tracker to keep you honest, if you think it would help. I like tracking my books on Goodreads – it lets me log my books read, pages read, helps me set a reading goal, and can even make recommendations if you need some ideas on what to read.

I’ve included some of my favorite library books I’ve read this year. Feel free to send me questions or ideas on good books if you have any!

Deep River by Karl Marlantes (audio book, ebook)

Calypso by David Sedaris (print book)

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (audio book)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (ebook, print book)

The Counterlife by Philip Roth

  • *By the end of September 5, I read another, so I’m now at 201 for the year.

History, Epidemics, and How Governments Respond (video)

With concern over the Covid-19 Pandemic dominating all aspects of society, join political science and history faculty members Kevin Navratil, Jim McIntyre and Josh Fulton for a discussion of how the United States has grappled with disease outbreaks in the past. From Yellow Fever to Spanish Flu, come understand how Americans coped and how governments sought to combat the threats of disease.

Are There Really Farting Microbes on the Planet Venus? This is a Job for Research!

Maybe you were scrolling through a news feed today and saw some headlines about aliens on Venus, or at least this weird gas that maybe means aliens. Maybe you’re not sure what to make of that or even if it’s true.

So we’ve got this library full of reliable news sources and books just waiting to be explored. Let’s do a little SCIENCE RESEARCH!

Oh, come on, don’t you want to know about the alleged aliens? Let’s check out some different databases and see what we can find!

If we’re looking for science news, a great place to start is Science Magazine Online, where we can find a news article describing the research that lead to the discovery.

If we are looking for more news, maybe we should try a news database, like the New York Times. If we search “life on Venus” under news, we find another article about the research that looks at this specific gas found in the Venusian atmosphere that we know is produced on Earth by tiny microbes. The production of that gas could mean there are living microbes, like bacteria, in the Venusian clouds! ALIEN BACTERIA!

Maybe now you’ve been bit by the knowledge bug and you want know more about Venus or the other planets. Follow me down the rabbit hole of astronomy information! We’ve got some great books in our collection that you can find through our Catalog! You might find a few books that look interesting…

As for life on Venus, we may not have the answer yet, but with a little bit of research we can discover what the headlines really mean. It wasn’t that bad, was it?

Librarians are always ready to help you dig into the databases to find what you need. All you have to do is ask us!

Three Jokers a Morality Tale

3 Jokers- DC Comics

DC Comic’s release of “Three Jokers” is a massive hit. The first issue release of this comic book series is bound to have a second and third printing as issues are flying off local comic book shop shelves. Released on DC Comic’s mature content line, Black Label, Three Jokers is not just violent for violence’s sake. It is shaping up to be an incredibly dark morality tale. Readers who finished the first issue will find themselves questioning whether two classic DC characters have finally lost their way.

The question Three Jokers immediately asks is, “What happens if our comic heroes finally crack under the suffering and violent crimes of the Joker?”

For those that pondering this question, authors have written academic papers on the subject, and can be found through our resources.

The Joker: A Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime from University Press Scholarship eBooks.

“It’s What You Do That Defines You”: Batman as Moral Philosopher and other abstracts from Wiley Online Library

To find these articles and more from University Press Scholarship eBooks or Wiley Online Library, click here to access them through Moraine Valley Library’s eBook database page.

To read Batman or Joker comics and graphic novels online for FREE with your Moraine Valley Library account , click here try Hoopla.

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