Vampire Novels

I’m back with some more spooky October reads. This week’s focus is the vampire novel. Here are my Top 3:

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King ‘Salem’s Lot is a small New England town with white clapboard houses, tree-lined streets, and solid church steeples. That summer in ‘Salem’s Lot was a summer of homecoming and return; spring burned out and the land lying dry, crackling underfoot. Late that summer, Ben Mears returned hoping to cast out his own devils and found instead a new, unspeakable horror. 

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. 

The Passage by Justin Cronin A security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment that only six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte can stop.

Up next: haunted houses!

Ghost Stories & Possession Novels

Over the course of October, and our 5 weeks of themed reader’s advisory–Witches and Vampires and Zombies, Oh My!–I have lots of “spooky” reads to recommend, however this week’s novels are just plain scary. Beware gentle reader!

Top 3 Ghost Stories & Possession Novels:

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill Middle-aged rock star Judas Coyne collects morbid curios for fun, so doesn’t think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online auction site as haunted by its dead owner’s ghost. Only after it arrives does Judas discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of Coyne’s discarded groupies, and that the old man’s ghost is a malignant spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter’s suicide. 

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix 1988. Charleston, South Carolina. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act–different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries–and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty A young girl becomes possessed by the devil and causes several violent deaths before she can be cured.

Next week we’ll showcase some titles you can really sink your teeth into. *hint, hint*

Witches and Zombies and Vampires, Oh My!

It is October. My favorite month of the year. Falling leaves, lots of flannel, and that indescribably blue October sky. As my childhood hero Anne Shirley says,

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For the next five weeks I am going to focus on spooky reader’s advisory, because ’tis the season. 😉

Top 3 Witchy Reads:

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike Toward the end of the Vietnam era, in a snug little Rhode Island seacoast town, wonderful powers have descended upon Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie, bewitching divorcees with sudden access to all that is female, fecund, and mysterious. Thenceforth scandal flits through the darkening, crooked streets of Eastwick–and through the even darker fantasies of the town’s collective psyche.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman Orphaned at an early age, Gillian and Sally Owen are raised by an aunt who deals in sorcery. The girls long for the normal life and leave home as soon as they can. Years later tragedy strikes and it is then they realize that magic is their gift, not their affliction. 

Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt Daughters of the Witching Hill brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching account of a family sustained by love as they try to survive the hysteria of a witch-hunt.

Tune in next week for my Top 3 Possession Novels. The scariest of this month’s recommendations.

Banned Books Week

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Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country.

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Join me every day from September 24-30 in celebrating Banned Books Week on Twitter. Follow us @owl_librarians while we participate in the Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament!

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Author Spotlight: J. Courtney Sullivan

Every year I read dozens of debut novels by writers coming into their own and making their mark. I also happily devour the newest offerings from the established authors I follow. However, it is an infrequent and exciting occurrence when I read a new novel written by an author who has an entire backlist of books I have yet to explore! This happened recently with one of my new (to me) favorite writers: J. Courtney Sullivan.

Sullivan’s new book, Saints for All Occasions, seemed like a perfect fit for me: big, Irish-Catholic family, secrets, sisters, and heartbreak. I started reading and by page 15 I was wondering how I had been missing out on this wonderful writer for the past 8 years! After devouring the next 350 pages, I checked out two of Sullivan’s earlier novels: Maine (my absolute favorite) and Commencement (her fantastic debut). I’m saving The Engagements for a rainy day.

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Don’t miss out on this author! Come to OWL and check out any (or all) of her 4 books today.

You’re welcome. 😉

Fun Fall Books

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As I was searching the internet this morning, attempting to remember some of my favorite fall-themed books. I discovered that someone else had read my mind (and reading list) and beat me to it! Even better, they did a fabulous job. So, this week I want to share a wonderful (free!) resource with all of you called BookBub, their claim to fame is providing tailored recommendations of ebooks but I use them for their book-lists such as, 10 New Books for Outlander Fans, 23 New “Book Club” Books, 19 Books That Aren’t on High School Reading Lists–But Should Be, etc. A fun way to find new reading ideas if you don’t have a librarian nearby. 🙂

So, without further ado, 9 Books to Read This Fall:

*Click on image to enlarge it.

Enjoy!

Bingeworthy TV

For something a little different I thought it would be fun to highlight several exceptional television shows that the OWL owns in their entirety.

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ActionThe Americans Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings seem to be a typical suburban couple, but they’re actually lethal KGB agents plotting to bring down America. As the Cold War escalates, Philip and Elizabeth must take extreme measures to continue their mission to keep their true identities hidden. 

ComedyPushing Daisies Ned can bring the dead to life briefly when he touches them, and must touch them again to reverse the spell. Along with a private eye, he uses his gift to help solve crimes and collect the rewards.

DramaFriday Night Lights In the small town of Dillon, Texas, everyone comes together on Friday nights when the Dillon High Panthers play. But life is not a game and the charismatic football players, their coach Eric Taylor, and the passionate fans find that their biggest challenges and obstacles come off the field.

Mystery/SuspenseCastle A famous crime and horror novelist, Rick Castle, helps Kate Beckette of the NYPD homicide department solve crimes. Castle’s non-traditional approach to solving the crimes conflicts with Beckett’s conservative approach, leading to much tension and a hint of romance.

Science Fiction/FantasyFringe Three unlikely colleagues – a beautiful young FBI agent, a brilliant scientist who’s spent the last 17 years in a mental institution, and the scientist’s sardonic son – investigate a series of bizarre deaths and disasters known as ‘the pattern.’ Someone is using our world as an experimental lab. And all clues lead to Massive Dynamic, a shadowy global corporation that may be more powerful than any nation.

Happy viewing!

“School” Books

It’s that time of year again, back to school! For students this is often a sad or at least bittersweet occasion, but as a former student it marks the beginning of my favorite time of year. I’ve always seen Labor Day as more of a new beginning than New Year’s Eve. Sharpened pencils, crisp air, stiff new clothes–this is a time of reinvention for young people headed back into the classroom. For those of us not going back to school some of the purposeful energy that marks a fresh start manages to rub off on us as well. If you’d like to go back to school yourself, at least from the comfort of your favorite arm chair, here are some recommendations:

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Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Carrie by Stephen King

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

Happy Reading!

 

He Said/She Said

In honor of the eclipse, here’s a recommendation for a fun, twisty thriller (think Gone Girl and Behind Her Eyes) that centers around a couple who also happen to be eclipse chasers.

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“In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share. But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his. The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder–did she trust the wrong person? 15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past. From Erin Kelly, queen of the killer twist, He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story”– Provided by publisher.

 

 

Congratulations!

I want to give a big (virtual) round of applause to all of our summer reading participants. Audra and I weren’t sure what to expect when we planned the OWL’s first ever Adult Summer Reading program. We hoped it would be a success–that readers would enjoy it and that it would encourage all of us to read outside of our comfort zones–but we never imagined the great numbers and positive feedback we’ve received. 118 people signed up, 55 met at least 8 challenges (and were invited to the After Hours Celebration) and of those 33 people completed the whole challenge card!

There are many of you who discovered that you really enjoy graphic novels, or audiobooks, or essays. And some who now know they definitely do not. 😉 We loved hearing about what you were reading all summer and helping provide you with suggestions to meet your challenges. And 647 challenges were met!!! Bravo!

It was a fantastic summer of reading and we cannot wait to do it again next year.

Your devoted librarian,

Patricia Moore