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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Agatha Christie’s A Holiday for Murder

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

For those looking for a prolific writer whose works are always in season, Agatha Christie should be on the top of your list. You won’t run out of books to read quickly — they are fun to revisit even if you have read them some time ago, and she even has a holiday tale. . . .

Known by several titles since its original publication in 1938, Agatha Christie’s A Holiday for Murder (aka Hercule Poirot’s Christmas or Murder for Christmas) has been delighting fans of classic murder mysteries for decades.

Simeon Lee is an unpleasant old man. He is also a very rich old man, which might explain why his timid son Alfred and Alfred’s long-suffering wife Lydia tolerate his meanness. They’ve lived with Simeon for years, despite his cruelty and the savage way he treated his late wife.

The rest of the family long ago figured out their own escape, whether it was fleeing to London for a political career like stingy George, becoming an artist and renouncing all family ties like the sensitive David, running away to Spain to get married like free-spirited Jennifer, or just absconding to parts unknown like the family’s wild child Harry.

But for Christmas, Simeon has summoned all of his sons (and their wives) back home, as well as the late Jennifer’s daughter Pilar. Also popping in is the son of his former business partner back in South Africa. It almost looks like the old man wants to make amends for the holidays, but anyone who assumes that just doesn’t know Simeon very well. . . .

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Oddly Specific Genres: The More, The Merrier

Some writers spend years working painstakingly on one book. Other authors, meanwhile, seem to effortlessly churn out several a year.

For readers, waiting years for the next book can be agonizing, but it can also be frustrating to read something that seems hastily thrown together. For that reason, every reader (and writer, for that matter) definitely has their preference, with some militantly spurning series and others who think that, well, the more, the merrier. (Personally, I’m in the middle. I enjoy a good series, but I’m also not much of one for the seemingly never-ending ones, with a couple of notable exceptions, because I quickly lose interest.)

This month at the library, we’re celebrating those merrier writers, those with long-running series, by highlighting their holiday entries.  The good news . . . if you like what you read, there’s plenty more!

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Oddly-Specific Genres: If They Can Write A Book, So Can You!

Are you ready to unleash your writing superpowers? That’s the theme of this November’s NaNoWriMo, the annual writing challenge that requires participants to write a novel in the span of 30 days.

Think you couldn’t write a book in 30 years, let alone 30 days?

Well, if these decidedly non-author celebrities can write fiction, why can’t you?

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Oddly-Specific Genres: As Seen On TV

The dog days of summer are here! For many of us, this means it’s time to stay inside and binge watch some TV. But did you know some of the best of those great TV shows you love are actually adaptations of books?  It’s true!

Everything from epic fantasies (Game of Thrones) to historical romances with a science fiction twist (Outlander) to dystopian social commentary (The Handmaid’s Tale) to modern Western mysteries (Longmire) to supernatural comic books (Preacher and American Gods) are adapted for television now.

And if you think the adaptation craze on television is going to be ending anytime soon, well, think again.

Below are some books to start reading now, so when the television adaptations they are based on hit DVDs or the screen soon, you’ll be ready.

Special thanks to Mary-Esther for giving me some excellent suggestions for shows highlighted in this post!

As always, follow this link to our online library catalog to learn more about these items.

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Oddly-Specific Genres: 2017 Books in Bloom Authors

It’s that time of year again!

And by that time of year again, of course, I mean Books in Bloom.

We hope you’ll join us on May 21st in Eureka Springs at the Crescent Hotel for another afternoon of books and author talks.

Like last year, we’re giving you the scoop on who will be there, so you can get a head-start reading some of the offerings from this year’s authors.

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Oddly-Specific Genres: It’s Raining Cats and Dogs!

There’s a mystery sub-genre for all occasions and tastes. Literally. You want to read a mystery with food in it? There’s an entire sub-genre devoted to it. You want to read a mystery that involves some hardcore knitting? There’s an entire sub-genre devoted to it. You want to read a mystery that involves cute dogs and cats? Well, this post is for you!

Personally, as much as I enjoy mysteries, I’ve never really delved into these types of mystery sub-genres.

I’ve already talked about my hopeless track record in regard to food and mysteries.

Knitting and needle-crafts in general are not my friends, so that’s just not even an option.

But it’s really kind of odd that I’ve never gotten into pet mysteries because I really do like pets, specifically dogs. I’m currently owned by a 3-lb. Chihuahua named after a Roman emperor.

Even beyond my own personal enjoyment of animals, one of the first books I remember loving as a child featured pet detectives (sort of)–Bunnicula. Granted, they were paranoid and not always terribly competent pet detectives, but that was a huge part of their charm.

So, if like me you’re a newbie to the world of pet cozy mysteries, here’s a roundup of introductory titles to this oddly-specific genre.

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