Top 5 Nearby Bookstores

      Are you a avid book lover or just looking for a good deal? Check out these local bookstores that not only sell literature, but take advantage of atmosphere.

1. Baldwin’s Book Barn

      Arguably the most interesting bookstore in the greater Philadelphia area, Baldwin’s Book Barn exudes antiquated charm from its stone walls. The bookstore has several stories of rare books, prints and maps. While it looks like an average colonial house from the outside, inside is reminiscent of lost treasures and remarkable finds galore. Visiting this gem should be top priority for rare book lovers, making sure to take the time to sit in a rocking chair in the secluded attic and soak in the atmosphere.

2. The Spiral Bookcase

      Home to book-enthusiasts and indie-readers alike, The Spiral Bookcase truly has something for everyone. This quirky little bookshop is tucked into a Manayunk sidestreet, where it lures readers into its homely interior. Take a moment out of the busy college lifestyle to sit in a comfy chair with a good book. Don’t forget to say ‘hi’ to the resident book store cat, Calliope.

3. Showcase Comics

      Self-advertised as Philadelphia’s Premier Store for Comics and Gaming, Showcase Comics is famous in its community for providing a cozy place for comic-lovers in the greater Philadelphia area. Its two locations in Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore hold large collections of comic books, graphic novels, board games, and more. While it’s not a traditional book store, Showcase Comics is definitely a place to check out.

4. Red Fox Book Shop 

      Inside the Red Fox Book Shop is a browser’s paradise, filled to the brim with new books each day. It is a completely community-based store, stocked by donations from the area and run by volunteers. The store’s incredibly low prices have funded the Tredyffrin free library since 2009 as a way to keep the library open as a resource to the community. Red Fox Book Shop is located in Paoli, attached to the Tredyffrin Township Library.

5. Cathy’s Half-Priced Books

      Located in Havertown, PA, Cathy’s is known for its affordable literature and abundance of floor to ceiling bookcases. If you’re looking for something fun to read on a rainy day college budget, Cathy’s is the place for you!

The Art of Binge Watching: The craft behind watching TV-shows for hours on end.

     Imagine back to the most relaxing, care-free memory you have. Was it on the beach, listening to the waves wash up against the shore? Or perhaps you’re imagining a rainy day cafe with a good book. No sensation can quite match the bliss of grabbing a laptop, hot cup of tea, fuzzy blanket and snuggling up to binge-watch my favorite series.

      Finding the perfect show to binge watch is where the important, yet challenging, art of binge watching truly begins. The ideal show is twenty-five to thirty minutes long, allowing the watcher to deceive themselves  into thinking there is enough time for “just one more episode”. Purposefully selecting a show where each episode is a moderate length helps to avoid boredom and allows you to fully absorb yourself into the each episode. Additionally, a good binge-watch does not include ads, because they allow you to contemplate how much time you have spent watching the show. The quintessential binge-watching session involves four to five episodes, depending on the length of each show.

      A person who has truly mastered the art of binge-watching knows that a truly enveloping show can be watched at any time. Waiting  for a doctor’s appointment, for class to start or in the bathroom while you brush your teeth are all viable binge-watching occasions. In fact, a person who has transcended into peak binge-watchery may even be caught binge-watching on their phone during class. While binge-watching is typically associated with procrastination, that is not its full purpose. The classic and most effective form of binge-watching is on a rainy day surrounded by an array of fuzzy blankets and salty-sweet snacks. This allows the viewer to bask in the glory of a peaceful day of binge-watching.

      Binge-watching is completely versatile, and allows you to find relaxation no matter the situation. Whether are stressed over school, wanting a quiet night in or spend some quality time with friends, binge-watching is perfect for each situation. Binge-watching allows you to travel to a different world, absorb yourself into a different culture and discuss concepts you wouldn’t normally address in everyday life. In fact, many binge-watchers purposefully pick a series which does not reflect their own life. This offers a better understanding of the world around them, and transports them to a world unlike their own. Each person has their own genre, preference and interests when it comes to binge-watching. Some of the most bingeable shows include The Office, House of Cards, Gilmore Girls, Stranger Things, Mindhunter and many more.

      The art of binge-watching requires knowing yourself, and what relaxes you. It forces the binge-watcher to let go of reality for a moment and fully relax. It allows the person to transport to another world, and imagine a life they could one day lead. Not only is marathoning enthralling, but it provides a sense of community with your peers and people around the world. Binge-watching is an art, and everyone should try it. 

Embracing Your Culture: Student, Kathleen O’Keeffe shares about her Czechoslovakian heritage and traditions that her family celebrates.

      On both my mom and dad’s side of the family, Czechoslovakian culture defines much of who I am. Though my grandparents immigrated due to conflict in Czechoslovakia immediately before World War II, I claim my heritage from the nation of “Czechia,” since the two nations, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, split in 1993. Czechia and Slovakia are situated between Germany and Ukraine in Eastern Europe.

      As a child growing up, it was hard to talk to my grandparents because their broken English could not be reconciled with my incompetence in the Slavic language. While my mom could speak small amounts of Slavic, it wasn’t until I was older that I could truly communicate and learn more about my heritage.

      I learned from them that Czech culture is heavily influenced by Eastern European culture, as each country is geographically nearby and historically intertwined. Food, dance and music all have a strong significance in Czech culture and are a large part of how the community comes together. As long as I can remember, cooking and being merry have been an integral thread in family gatherings. Both men and women come together to cook traditional Czechoslovakian dishes, such as perogies and baklava. Traditional Czech music has both Polka and Orthodox church influence, resulting in upbeat, meaningful songs to dance to together. Though Czech culture has unique musical influence and traditional dance, there are many parallels between Czech and Ukrainian culture.

      When my grandparents on my mother’s side immigrated from Ukraine, they came due to famine and poverty in Ukraine. When they came to America, they brought no belongings from home, so their culture and national identity became more important than ever. Settling in Northern New Jersey, my family started a Ukrainian deli and began to meet people in the community who could identify with the country that they left behind.

      Ukrainian culture is steeped in the traditions of the Orthodox Church in most Ukrainian communities. Many Ukrainian communities purposefully form communities upon immigration to America, in order to enjoy fellowship in a traditionally Ukrainian church. In these churches, there are several cultural differences from American churches. These differences include  the use of incense and extremely formal attire, as well as sermons spoken almost entirely in Ukrainian. After church, many Ukrainian families get together to cook perogies and smoke kielbasa to sell for church fundraisers or elaborate Sunday lunches.

      Being raised in a Ukrainian-American and Czechoslovakian-American family gives me a better understanding of Eastern European culture, and a hunger to travel and see where my family lived and died. It gives me a compassion for immigrants who do not speak English in America, and an understanding of how challenging uprooting your home and leaving your family to escape occupation and poverty must be. My heritage has left a resounding mark on who I am, more than just the traditionally crooked nose my family has always joked that each true Czechoslovakian inherits.

Enforcing Abstinence Detracts from the Christian Message

      Sex is often seen as a bad word and an even worse sin. Purity culture has taught us for decades that submitting to sins of the flesh in the form of sexuality before marriage is a sin which God warns Christians against throughout the Bible.

      However, verses condemning sex before marriage never actually address this issue. Concepts such as sexual immorality, adultery and impurity are used as examples for why any expression of sexuality before marriage is inarguably sinful behavior.

      Eastern University upholds these standards by asking its students to adhere to the following policy “As a Christian community, Eastern University expects a sexual lifestyle that is consistent with our understanding of biblical teaching.

      For our community, inappropriate displays of affection are not acceptable and sexual intimacy is prohibited outside of marriage between a man and a woman.”  Our Faith Statement adds that “students can expect to be confronted, counseled, advised and when warranted, disciplined” as a result of not submitting to this prescribed sexual lifestyle.

      Professors, faculty, students (Christian or non Christian) and parents can all agree on one thing: the issue of premarital sex is a complicated and largely disputed topic. Yet Eastern University upholds several policies around this ambiguous idea of “sexual intimacy.”

      The concept of abstaining from premarital sex is a result of centuries of misinterpretation of biblical text. Verses addressing adultery (Exodus 20:14, Hebrews 13:4), sexual immorality (1 Cor 5-7, Acts 15:19-20) , and lust (Matthew 5:28, 2 Timothy 2:22) are referenced when discussing this topic. However, none of these verses, nor any in the texts of the Bible, actually address the idea of purity before marriage.

      In fact, in biblical culture marriage was viewed very differently. A marriage was between a man and woman to ensure that, upon his death, the man would have children to receive his property, livestock and slaves. Within the concept of a biblically righteous marriage, men had multiple wives, and owned concubines to perform intimate sexual acts with outside of marriage. 

      There are several stories in the Bible where God commands His people to engage in sexual acts outside of marriage, such as the story of Ruth and Boaz. Our western cultural concept of marriage between one man and one woman did not exist in biblical times.

       This non-biblical understanding of marriage is reinforced by the verses which address marriage and sexual purity. Over and over again, verses about sexual immorality and adultery are cited as God encouraging “purity.”

      However, the idea of keeping oneself pure before marriage is not addressed,  upheld or exemplified in the Bible. In fact, many theologians agree that sexual immorality addresses the heinous sexual acts of rape and incest. In biblical culture, the concept of adultery is one which is limited within marriage and only applied to the husband.

      Christian women especially are held to this impossible standard where purity is more important than any other aspect of their faith. Such an understanding of faith devalues the importance of love, grace and faithfulness, as well as limits women to root their worth in an abstract concept of sexual morality, which is left undefined by the Bible.

      The culmination of these ideas is not to say refraining from sex before marriage cannot be beneficial in any way, or to encourage students to run sexually rampant. Instead, it is to understand the gravity of reinforcing this damaging concept of purity, and to question whether it is of God or a product of a good-intentioned, yet inherently human (and thus flawed) culture.

       As students and faculty of a Christian university, it is our responsibility to navigate these questions. Constantly challenging and addressing our faith and culture allows us to better understand God’s intentions and the way we should apply faith to our lives and institutions. Not in spite of, but instead because of  our devotion to God, we must closely examine whether Eastern’s policy embodies the spirit with which we are called to live out our faith or not.

      The policy at Eastern University does not address the complexity of a community which commits itself to “sexual purity.” It defines a concept which the Bible itself does not define, and aims to scrutinize students by this standard. Whether or not the policy is upheld does not affect the negative influence that reinforcing a culture of purity has on Christians today.

      Making the conscious effort to honor God and choose true Christianity over popular culture is challenging, but  I urge Eastern University to do so. By acknowledging the complexity of the issue and establishing moderation between the extreme concepts of disapproving of “displays of affection” and encouraging promiscuity, Eastern would stand firm in their adherence to God’s word. This would truly foster a community that encourages the love and grace of Christ through growth and an understanding of worthiness.

A New Congress: A look into the diversity in politics 100 years after the 19th Amendment

      Since the 116th Congress was sworn in this Jan., there has been a lot of talk about a woman wearing big hoop earrings and red lipstick waltzing around D.C. like she owns the place. Who is this woman and what is she doing on the Congress floor?

      Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest congresswomen to be elected in U.S. history. She forefronts a movement designed to bring equal representation to people of all sexes, classes, religions and ages; and she does it with style .

      She does not, however, do it alone. Ocasio-Cortez is flanked by representatives Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, the first Native American women elected to Congress; Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, and Jahana Hayer, a former single mom who grew up in the projects. It’s safe to say that this past Congressional election did not look like your average election.

      Ocasio-Cortez dedicated her campaign to supporting Medicare for all, affordable housing, bringing troops home from the Middle East, guaranteed federal jobs, banning assault weapons and so much more. She presented these ideas to her constituents with the grace and passion only a representative from the Bronx could.

      The citizens who voted Ocasio-Cortez into office did so because she spoke directly to them. From tweeting ideas on Twitter to hosting informal live videos on Instagram, Ocasio-Cortez has a strong social media presence. She even made an appearance on Twitch, an online streaming service used primarily for broadcasting video games live. Ocasio-Cortez met her constituents where they were- and they responded by storming to the polls.

      Though Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez caught the attention of people nationwide, she is only one of 102 women (out of 435 representatives) sworn into the House of Representatives this past election. In June of 2019 it will be exactly one hundred years since women won the right to vote, and with over a hundred women in Congress, America has made leaps and bounds. We have not, however, reached equality for all citizens by a long shot.

      As we begin a time of hope and excitement for the women in Congress, it is important for us to remember how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. Simply getting women into positions of power is challenging enough in America, however, it is not the end goal. We must expect and encourage these women to make real, valuable advancements in issues of women’s rights.

Love for Eastern Professors: Students reflect on the instructors that helped them during their college careers.

A Letter to Dr. Gramby-Sobuwke

      Dear Dr. Gramby-Sobuwke,

      The most wonderful part of being your student is the way you facilitate our conversation. When you catch a person’s eye across the room, it encourages them to speak up and say what is on their mind. You coax each person in the room to speak and share different opinions.

      Dr. Gramby-Sobuwke, you go out of your way to encourage marginalized students with a glint in your eye. Sometimes, students catch that glint and grumble, lamenting that they didn’t do the reading; other times it emboldens students to speak their mind. Your students come from different countries, speak different languages, and have very different worldviews, but you works to weave ideas together into a beautiful tapestry.

      In your class, it is a necessity to have founded beliefs with the qualifications on-hand. As students, butterflies flutter in each of our minds, not stomachs, as we flick through theories and readings in an attempt to articulate our thoughts.

      As a professor you are not afraid to adjust and modify class, and see the beauty in a flexible education, catered to the students instead of a test. Your teaching style is engaging, and mindful of encouraging different perspectives.

      Dr. Gramby-Sobuwke, you persevere despite hardship, work dedicatedly to develop your students, and unceasingly advocate despite opposition.  You are a kind, considerate and hardworking professor. Any students at Eastern University should deeply consider taking your classes.

      Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day,

      Kay O’Keeffe

Why Political Science?

      If you are looking for a major which will match your passion for inspiring change, a political science major is the one for you. This major offers a community of people who work together toward a better America and a better world, no matter what that looks like. As a major it offers an array of career options, the ability to study what you’re passionate about, and the opportunity of worldwide influence.

      As a student of political science, the future is ripe with career options. Career opportunities ranging from animal-rescue nonprofits to a position in the House of Representatives are all on the table. Studying political science gives insight into how the world works. Political science offers one of the vastest range of career options because it applies to and affects all fields of study.

      Political Science is one of the only majors which can guarantee a career filled with passion. Whether you are employed by the U.S. government, a non-profit, or work in public relations, political science is deeply intertwined in the issues which affect each of us day to day. Each course is designed to sharpen your oral and written skills, as well as hone your beliefs, understandings of the world, and opinions on social matters.

      Since political science is important worldwide, the career offers global opportunities. Professionals and academics around the world work together to study global political science in an effort to better understand how societies and legislature affect positive change. The political science major offers the opportunity to work from the most remote corners of the world, our nation’s capital, or even your own living room. Since it is a global effort, political science offers global opportunity.

      Studying political science also comes with certain challenges. Being a political science major means continued education, keeping up-to-date in politics, and badgering family members to register to vote (it’s a requirement of the major haha). Some believe political science isn’t important in today’s world or a worthwhile use of a bachelor’s degree, but for those of us who pursue this major, it’s all of that and more.

      A political science degree offers an abundance of career opportunities, a job working in a field you are passionate about, and a community of people who will continually challenge you to grow. Political science may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are passionate, hard-working, and are ready to cultivate change, political science may be the major for you.