Movie Double Feature: Dracula (1931)/Near Dark (1987)

So, here’s a confession that will surprise nobody who knows me: I rarely like the hero in a story.

Ever since I was a child, I vastly preferred villains in books, movies, and television. And I don’t mean anti-heroes who you’re supposed to like or squishy villains who feel bad about themselves. No, the badder, the better.

Compared to the hero, good villains–by which I mean really bad villains–almost always have more memorable lines and better clothes. They always seem to be enjoying themselves way more than the hero ever does and usually have a great sense of humor (okay, a dark sense of humor but still a sense of humor) and usually are smarter or at least seem to display more ambition and basic organizational skills than the hero.

This love for villains started early. When I was 5 or 6, my favorite television show was Skeleton Warriors. I watched it faithfully every Saturday morning to see the adventures of Skeletor and, well, his skeleton warriors. I was so disheartened to never find anyone who knew what I was talking about anytime I talked to someone my age about cartoons.

It was only years later when I was in my mid-20s that I realized I had been watching He-Man and had somehow convinced myself that the show was actually about the bad guy. I still think rather fondly about Skeletor and his pet Panthor, but for the life of me, I cannot remember a single thing about He-Man himself. I don’t think I noticed him as a child, either. He wasn’t on my radar because he had nothing on Skeletor!

I have changed little as an adult in that regard. And since it is Halloween, I thought I’d pay tribute to some of my favorite vampiric villains in cinema.

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2016 Library Challenge: A Banned Book

 

banned-books-week

As someone who has been an avid reader since childhood, I’ve always found one of the most nightmarish scenarios in literature the one that Ray Bradbury presents in Fahrenheit 451 where all books are banned.

To that end, September 25-October 1 is Banned Books Week, which makes it the perfect time to cross that requirement of reading a banned book off your library challenges list.

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book Translated From A Different Language

Stack of dictionaries

Can you read in more than one language? Not just basic sentences or even short paragraphs–could you sit down and read a book written entirely in another language?

If you’re anything like me, then your answer is going to be a resounding no. I took a couple of foreign languages in college and occasionally even can recognize words from those languages when they pop up on a movie or on the internet. But there’s no way I could read anything that wasn’t in English, which sadly limits my reading knowledge to publications originally written in the language or those someone has taken the time to translate.

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Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible

Eligible

Channeling my inner Jane Austen here: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession of a retelling of a classic story has one of two reactions, joy at revisiting a tale that is both familiar and new or complete, unmitigated horror at the desecration of a favorite book.

Well, perhaps I exaggerate just a little, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that people tend to either really like contemporary updated versions of old favorites or the very idea is repellent to them. Personally, I like when a classic is effectively brought into a different time and place because I like spotting all of the allusions and seeing what the author changed and what he or she didn’t and pondering why. With all of that in mind,  I approached Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest book Eligible with a great deal of curiosity.

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Discussion Thread: A Book With A Love Triangle

Love-Triangle

One of the challenges for this month is a book with a love triangle. I had contemplated doing book recommendations for this one, but most of the books I found to recommend were ones that people were likely to have either already read or at least be familiar with.

Instead, I decided to revive the “Discussion Thread” idea from when we covered Outlander.

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2016 Library Challenge: An Author with Your Initials (S. E. Hinton)

The Outsiders

The author with your initials challenge took me an embarrassing amount of time to find a book for. None of the authors with my initials seemed particularly interesting to me, until a few weeks ago when Mynette told me I really needed to read S. E. Hinton’s classic coming-of-age story, The Outsiders. In addition to being intrigued by her recommendation, I also realized that Hinton shares my first and middle initials. In the weeks since then, the book has come up a couple of times with other people, and whenever I would admit to never having read it, the response was always a confused “You’ve never read The Outsiders?”

Having finally read The Outsiders, I now understand everyone’s reaction. I’m actually  embarrassed that I hadn’t read it before.

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2016 Library Challenge: An Author’s First Book

For the month of May, we’re going to be focusing on authors–we’ll be looking at the various author-specific challenges from the 2016 Library Challenge, we’re highlighting authors who’ll be at Books in Bloom later this month, and we even have a display set up at the front of the library to spotlight author’s first novels. So, it only makes sense for us to kick off our focus on authors with a post about reading an author’s first book. I must confess, while I was researching this post, I was really startled to learn some of these books were these authors’ debuts because they already possess such polish.

As always, if you’re interested in any of the books featured in the post, you can learn more about them on our online library catalog.

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