Summer reading: Johnny Got His Gun

Johnny Got His Gun book cover
Johnny Got His Gun
Dalton Trumbo

It’s an anti-war novel about a man who returns from World War I after having lost his vision, hearing, his ability to speak, and all of his arms and legs. In this state, he claims that he is “the nearest thing to a dead man on earth” and in his unique position, caught between the worlds of the living and dead, he begins to re-examine the reasons he felt compelled to go to war.

This book just moved me. There’s a wealth of interesting points of discussion (political, historical, literary), but above all it is just a persuasive call for humanity.

Class of 2019
English major

This book is part of the 2019 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

The Versatility Chronicles: Hilary Schiraldi, Berkeley Librarian and Powerlifter

Hilary deadlifts 303 lbs. for a personal best (Photo credit: Jeff Frank, Shuttersport Productions)

Library staff are just about the most intellectually curious people there are, and with social sciences being such an interdisciplinary scholarly endeavor, you’d expect people from our division to have diverse interests outside of the workplace as well as in.  Watch this space– we’ll occasionally be highlighting some of the non-workplace pursuits of our versatile workforce, starting with the amazing Hilary Schiraldi.  In addition to being a Business Librarian in the Social Sciences Division, she is a nationally ranked powerlifter in her age/weight class.

Hilary came to powerlifting (not the same as the weightlifting events we see in the Olympics, or Strongman, or bodybuilding, or even Highland Games) early.  She realized in high school that she enjoyed working with weights, and at Berkeley she actually started teaching herself basic powerlifting by taking a class with Cal’s Rec Sports, joining the Rec Sports Facility, and (natch, she’s a librarian!) reading a book.  But her practice changed direction when she had a little time to kill in the neighborhood South of Market in SF, and she found a barbell gym, SF Iron, and her new coach, Scott Kaplan.

With coaching, she really took off, and after doing several local competitions, eventually qualified to go to the USPA National Powerlifting, Benchpress and Deadlift Championships in Columbus, OH at the end of June.   In the event, Hilary participated in three different types of lifts: the bench press and deadlift as you’d expect from the event title, and also the squat (here’s a good overview of what’s involved in these lifts).  In each case, she lifted different sets of weights with different techniques (and luckily using different sets of muscles too, since all of her lifts happened on the same day). She had three attempts to lift (and increase the weight at each attempt) for each event.  In the end, she was pleased with how she did, achieving her first attempt at the benchpress (darn it, her rear end lifted from the bench on the second attempt), her second attempt at the squat, and all the way to her third attempt at the deadlift, lifting 137.5 kg/303 lbs., a personal best.  This meant she was third nationally in her age/weight class, earning a spot on the podium!

Like any world where people pursue a passion, powerlifting has communities and a culture of its own, and it’s one in which Hilary thrives (although she did enter another world in Columbus, making scented candles the day before she competed).  It’s fascinating to listen to her talk about her experiences, and if you want to hear and see more, check out her Instagram account at hil_schi (also if you really want to follow in her footsteps, her coach is @the_kaplan_method and her gym is @sf_iron). And maybe consider learning to lift yourself?  It’s great for your bones and musculature, especially your stabilizing muscles.  Competing in all three events Hilary did is called full power, and who doesn’t want that?  Here’s to versatility, and work-life balance, and Hilary’s FULL POWER!

New Books Added to Graduate Services in August


Happiness by Alain Badiou translated with a foreward by A.J. Bartlett and Justin Clemens

In praise of politics

In Praise Of Politics by Alain Badiou with Aude Lancelin

Looking for dragon smoke : essays on poetry

Looking For Dragon Smoke: Essays On Poetry by Robert Bly

Ezra Pound's and Olga Rudge's the blue spill : a manuscript critical edition

Ezra Pound’s And Olga Rudge’s The Blue Spill: A Manuscript Critical Edition edited by Mark Byron adn Sophia Barnes


Hominescence by Michel Serres

Filipino (Tagalog)

The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition


“Tagalog, or Filipino, is said to mean  ‘river people’ from taga- ‘place of origin’ and ilog “river,'” writes the linguist and historian Andrew Dalby. Already a language of written culture in the region of Manila on the island of Luzon when the Spanish invaded in the late 16th century,  Filipino spread across the Philippine archipelago over thousands of years and was declared the first official language in the 1940s when independence from the United States was in sight.”[1] 

During the Spanish colonial period, publishing in Filipino and other indigenous languages was largely religious in inspiration while incorporating distinctive Tagalog poetic forms. One of Aurelio Tolentino’s most famous works of verse, Dakilang Asal  (“Noble Behavior”) is a series of ten didactic poems conveying a code of upright moral conduct meant to instruct the lives of Filipino youth. Presented as the basis for a buhay ng lahat ng dunong  (life of all wisdom), Tolentino emphasizes key ethical virtues that remain prominent in Filipino culture, i.e. parental reverence, utang na loob (debt of gratitude), cleanliness, modesty, and humility.

The Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies (SSEAS) at UC Berkeley offers programs of both undergraduate and graduate instruction and research in the languages and civilizations of South and Southeast Asia from the most ancient period to the present. Instruction includes intensive training in several of the major languages of the area including Bengali, Burmese, Hindi, Khmer, Indonesian (Malay), Pali, Prakrit, Punjabi, Sanskrit (including Buddhist Sanskrit), Filipino (Tagalog), Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Urdu, and Vietnamese, and specialized training in the areas of literature, philosophy and religion, and general cross-disciplinary studies of the civilizations of South and Southeast Asia.[2] Outside of SSEAS where beginning through advanced level courses are offered in Filipino, related courses are taught and dissertations produced across campus in Asian American Studies, Comparative Literature, Ethnic Studies, Folklore, History,  Linguistics, and Political Science (re)examining the rich history and culture of the Philippines.[3]

Contribution by Gabrielle Pascua,
Undergraduate, Department of History

Sources consulted:

  1. Dalby, Andrew. Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More Than 400 Languages. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.
  2. Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies, UC Berkeley (accessed 6/18/19)
  3. Filipino (FILIPN) – Berkeley Academic Guide (accessed 6/18/19)

Dakilang asal
Title in English: Noble Behavior
Author: Tolentino, Aurelio, 1867-1915.
Imprint: Maynila : Imp. Tagumpay, 1907.
Edition: 1st edition
Language: Filipino (Tagalog)
Language Family: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian
Source: HathiTrust Digital Library (University of Michigan)

Other online editions:

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The Languages of Berkeley is a dynamic online sequential exhibition celebrating the diversity of languages that have advanced research, teaching and learning at the University of California, Berkeley. It is made possible with support from the UC Berkeley Library and is co-sponsored by the Berkeley Language Center (BLC).

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