Old Favorites: Edgar Allan Poe

We’re focusing on newer books, movies, and television shows for 2018, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely ignoring old favorites! After all, what’s that saying–what’s old may just become new again (or something like that)?

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

Whilst I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. . . .

I was first introduced to Edgar Allan Poe as a child. I don’t remember how I acquired it, but somehow I got my hands on a collection of his poems and short stories, and they became instant favorites. For many years afterward, when I was feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, I would flip to “The Raven,” and despite the fact that it is not in any way intended as relaxing, I always found it therapeutic.

Well, this week (January 19th) marks his 199th birthday, and there is no better way to celebrate the wonderfully unusual, macabre, and creepy world of Edgar Allan Poe than by revisiting his work.

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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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Television Review: Endeavour (2014)/Fortitude (2014)

Ready to binge watch some TV shows now that the weather is (finally) turning cooler?  Here are two great series you might have missed (I had before I received some excellent suggestions)!

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book That Scares You

BOO!

Sorry, I wasn’t trying to scare you.

Well, maybe just a little.

More directly, I was going to recommend some books so you can scare yourself, if you’re in the mood for it and want an early start to Halloween. . . .

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book with Nonhuman Characters

One of the library challenges is to read a book with nonhuman characters. So, when I was planning the sequence of posting stuff related to the challenge, I decided to schedule that one to coincide as closely as possible to World UFO Day–which was this past Saturday. (Yes, it’s a thing.)  Of course, that naturally lends itself to discussions of books with aliens in it, but I wanted a broader focus for this post. Therefore, below you’ll find a wide range of books with nonhuman characters, ranging from aliens to fantasy creatures to animals. As always, remember to check out our online catalog if you want to learn more about any of the featured books.

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book You Can Read Quickly

As summer rolls around, we all, maybe, hopefully, have a little more time for reading. But if you’re looking for a quick read to enjoy between all of your summer plans–or if you need one to fulfill the library challenge requirement–consider reading one of the following books, all of which are well under 200 pages long and, in most cases, are barely 130 pages in length.)

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book From Your Childhood

Next week kicks off the Children’s Book Council’s annual Children’s Book Week, which champions the benefits and pleasures of reading for kids. That got me to reflecting on some of my favorite books as a child. Perhaps not too surprisingly, I loved reading from an early age–relatives say that as a toddler I could be bribed out of giving people frosty silent treatments with the promise of being read to. However, as difficult as it was for me to pick what books to take to a deserted island, I came up with a list of my 3 favorite books as a child pretty quickly.

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