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Just for Fun

Happy Halloween!

Trick or treat! It’s the time of year when we indulge in all things scary and consume copious amounts of candy. Need a little help getting into the Halloween spirit? The Library’s got you covered! Check out these films and books and get yourself ready for all things creepy and spooky. We’ve also included some kid-friendly suggestions for those of you who, like me, can’t sleep for a week after being forced to watch a scary movie.

Ghost Train
Streaming video in Academic Video Online
This documentary, produced by Edward Mirzoeff, features people who have witnessed ghosts and other supernatural phenomena talk about their experiences.

Secret Lives Of Ghosts and Werewolves
Streaming video in Academic Video Online
This documentary explores the facts behind myths, including the Monkey Man of Delhi and a ghost who inhabits the crypts of Edinburgh Castle.

scary_stories_cover_largeScary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
(J 398.25 Sch9s)
Technically, this is a children’s book but to this day, the eerie illustrations in the Scary stories series still freak me out. Growing up, I had a hard time getting the stringy, distorted images out of my head but I’m pretty sure I still read every book in the series.

Tales of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
(813 P75ta)
A true classic. My favorites are Masque of the Red Death and The Cask of the Amontillado.


Haunted Halls Ghostlore of American College Campuses by Elizabeth Tucker
Why do so many American college students tell stories about encounters with ghosts? In Haunted Halls, the first book-length interpretive study of college ghostlore, Elizabeth Tucker takes the reader back to school to get acquainted with a wide range of college spirits. Some of the best-known ghosts that she discusses are Emory University’s Dooley, who can disband classes by shooting professors with his water pistol; Mansfield University’s Sara, who threw herself down a flight of stairs after being rejected by her boyfriend; and Huntingdon College’s Red Lady, who slit her wrists while dressed in a red robe.

Victorian Ghost Stories by Mike Stocks
Six spine-tingling stories dug up and dusted down for today’s readers. Enter the terrifying world of Victorian ghouls and ghostly apparitions – if you dare.

halloween treatsHalloween Treats Simply Spooky Recipes for Ghoulish Sweet Treats by Annie Rigg
In this spooky new book, queen of cakes, Annie Rigg, turns her hand to simple, cute and creepy cakes, cookies and other edible sweet treats to delight any Halloween-loving child. You’ll find chapters on Cookies; Cupcakes; Big Cakes; and Other Treats. Kooky recipes include cookie ghouls, gingerbread witches’ hats, spidery cupcakes, and jack-o-lantern cookies.

Behind the Mask by Yangsook Choi
J-P C4542b
Kimin, a young Korean-American boy, has trouble deciding on a Halloween costume, but as he looks through an old trunk of his grandfather’s things, he suddenly unlocks a childhood mystery.

The Story of Halloween by Carol Greene
J 394.2646 G83s
Explores the history of Halloween from the holiday’s Celtic origins over 2000 years ago to present-day celebrations, and provides spooky riddles and ideas for pumpkin art.

Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann
J-P R635b
Although devastated when his pet dog dies, a young boy goes trick-or-treating and receives a timely visit from an old friend during a scary encounter with graveyard skeletons.

bone dog

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Book, Movie, Food

n346955I’m writing today about a book I haven’t read and a movie I haven’t seen. But thing is, I’m excited for both. The Hundred-Foot Journey first caught my attention as a movie trailer filled with feuding restaurants in France, Michelin stars, and Indian cooking. Obviously, I was immediately intrigued. The basic plot, as described by IMBD: “The Kadam family leaves India for France where they open a restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory’s Michelin-starred eatery.” Sounds good to me! And when I discovered that this was a movie based on a book, I was even more excited. After hearing great reviews on both the film and the book, I knew I was going to be diving in to both.

See, I love reading about food. The descriptions of foods and their preparations–the smells and textures described in vivid detail–have always inspired me to get in to the kitchen to create the reality of the described experience. Reading about the origins of a dish, or the technique of a chef always makes me more reflective of my own food choices and preparation processes. So, I am excited to read this book. But I’m also excited to see this film.

See, I love watching people cook. I love seeing deft hands chopping, kneading, and grinding to manipulate ingredients. The vivid colors of foods, the distinct textures of ingredients, and the chef’s responses to smells and tastes make me want to recreate those experiences in my own kitchen. I love cooking shows (even Julia Child’s old black-and-white episodes!) because they remind me of why I love to cook. Films surrounding food offer both the excitement of a plot and the opportunity to gawk and drool over dishes that contribute to the story in meaningful and delicious ways.

The_Hundred_Foot_Journey_(film)_posterThe Hundred-Foot Journey gives me the chance to indulge in great food writing and great food on film. I can’t wait to dig in to both!

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Banned Books Week (one week late)

Last week, bookstores, schools, and libraries around the country celebrated Banned Books Week. Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the “freedom to read.” While the idea of censorship may seem antiquated, more than 11,300 books have been challenged in the United States since the first Banned Books Week in 1982. You can learn more about frequently challenged books on the American Library Association’s website. Some challenges to books are exasperating. Others are alarming.

Take, for instance, what happened in Arizona. In 2010, a state law was passed that resulted in the banning, not only of books, but of an entire school curriculum. The law stated,BBW_vert_banner2

“A school district or charter school in this state shall not include in its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the following:

1.  Promote the overthrow of the United States government.
2.  Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
3.  Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.
4.  Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

Following this legislation, the Tucson Unified School District dismantled its widely praised Mexican-American Studies program. In dismantling the program, officials removed hundreds of curriculum materials from schools and classrooms. Among the removed materials were books, including Rethinking Columbus: The next 500 years, Critical race theory, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  In 2013, following years of community protests and national outcry, the school district voted to un-ban several of the removed books.

Challenges to what we read and, consequently, censorship of what we think, persist. The antidote? Go ahead. Read. Encourage others to do the same. Don’t let anyone stop you.

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Style by the Book – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

daughter smoke bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the first in a trilogy written by Laini Taylor. The story introduces a world in which chimera and angels are trapped in a neverending war. Karou, a human teenage girl raised by chimera, struggles with her identity and mysterious past. She lives on earth, unaware of the feud that lurks just beyond in another world, running errands fetching teeth for her loving, but secretive chimera father. The story is unique and well-written with vibrant characters full of personality. As with many trilogies, the third book falls a little flat compared to the first two, but this series is still worth reading. For this Style by the Book, I decided to focus on Karou, and her best friend, Zusana. Feisty, loyal Zusana is easily my favorite character in the book.





Do you have a favorite book that you want to see featured on Style by the Book? Share your suggestions in the comments!

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Style by the Book – Anne of Green Gables

I grew up adoring the 1980s Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea TV mini-series. In my opinion, Megan Follows will forever be the perfect Anne Shirley. As a child it was a treat to catch it on my local PBS station (and luck… this was before the days of channel guides and DVR) and as an adult it’s my sick-day movie and never fails to comfort me. It wasn’t until much later in life that I read my way through L.M. Montgomery’s series starring the spirited Anne Shirley. As the book and mini-series can’t really be separated in my mind, this Style by the Book is inspired by both.

Anne of Green Gables

Want more Anne Shirley? The Library has Anne of Green Gables (J M76a) available in print and The Complete Chronicles of Avonlea as an e-book!

Do you have a favorite book that you want to see featured on Style by the Book? Share your suggestions in the comments!

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