Posted in Fantasy, Film, Horror, Science Fiction

Survival of the Fin-est

Shark Week may be over for the year, but that doesn’t mean you can go back in the water quite yet. You might know the more famous shark movies, like Jaws or Deep Blue Sea. Today’s blog post is a school of more unusual shark movies. Below each title, you’ll find a summary of the movie from our catalog. Let’s dive in.

Sharks of the Corn

“Strange things are happening in Druid Hills, Kentucky. People are saying there are “large Great White sharks swimming in the corn stalks!” Meanwhile, serial killer Teddy Bo Lucas is arrested for killing dozens of people using shark jaws and teeth as weapons. Chief Vera Scheider is caught in the middle, trying to figure out if her missing twin sister Lorna might be one of them.”

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Posted in Adult, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction, Staff Picks, Teen & Young Adult

Book I Have Been Saving to Read on Vacation

What’s your favorite coping method? Lately I’ve got two. First, I’ve been daydreaming and scheming over the past 14 months about having a mini road trip adventure. Soon I will leave my dark hovel and re-enter the bright, shining world, and when that time arrives I know which books are coming with. Which leads me to coping mechanism #2; keeping an eternal, endless reading list that will never get shorter, only longer. Always longer. Check out my list below for some summer reading inspiration of your own. What’s that? It’s not officially summer til June 20th? Why don’t you tell someone who hasn’t been living in their head for the better part of a year and a half, because I will never listen.

Below, I list my top three genres and the books I’ve been saving to read on the road, along with their runners-up.

The HORROR:


The Twisted Ones (2019) by T. Kingfisher

Some will know T. Kingfisher as Ursula Vernon, author of the very popular juvenile graphic novel series, Dragonbreath. She felt the need to create a pen name to distinguish the adult titles from the juvenile titles, and after enjoying work published under both names, I can see why. Kingfisher spins dark fairytale-adjacent stories filled with sinister characters, terrifying big boss-style monsters, and genre-defying badass women. Check out some of her short fiction HERE. I’ll look for a spooky roadside motel near the woods to read this one at night. 

Here are some additional titles to make your skin crawl:

The Luminous Dead (2019) by Caitlin Starling
The Remaking (2019) by Clay McLeod Chapman
The Library at Mount Char (2016) by Scott Hawkins
Behind Closed Doors (2016) by BA Paris


The MYSTERY:


And Then There Were None (1939) by Agatha Christie

Summertime is murder mystery time, specifically Agatha Christie time. There’s just something about the warmth and the light that makes me want to read her work. One would think that after being a Christie stan for more than two decades I would have already gotten to this gold-star standard, but no. Along with Death on the Nile, The ABC Murders, and A Caribbean Murder, And Then There Were None is considered among her greatest novels. I have seen minimum one movie adaptation but have since forgotten whodunnit, but should know the solution to the mystery by the end of my vacation, if all goes according to plan. Ideally, picnicking somewhere gorgeous.

And Then There Were None is also a fascinating example of how beloved media can, and should change over time. The original title of this book featured the worst racial epithet I can think of and was also known at one time as “Ten Little Indians”. To read more about the racism subsequent publishers have done their best to purge from Christie’s work, take a look at THIS article. It’s an apt topic to explore and discuss while everyone is so het up about “cancel culture”. Some things should be relegated to the past, and unnecessary and negative portrayals of racial stereotypes is one of those things.

More mysteries to read in the sunshine:


Secondhand Spirits (2012) by Juliet Blackwell (available in Overdrive/Hoopla)
The Devotion of Suspect X (2011) by Keigo Higashino
Murder In G Minor (2016) by Alexia Gordon (Only available on Hoopla)
Naked In Death (1995) by JD Robb

The SPACE OPERA:


The Outside (2019) by Ada Hoffman

This book checks a lot of boxes for me; outer space, giant space station, giant space station disaster, artificial intelligence, neurodivergent protagonist, woman author. The past decade has been a cavalcade of excellent women and femme-penned speculative fiction and scifi, all to the credit of the genre. Reading about far off galaxies and hitherto unknown beings gives me a sense of calm and peace that I can’t articulate. I’m going to read this at an outdoor patio while I wait to be brought something delicious to eat and drink.

And EVEN MORE space operas:

The Empress of Forever (2019) by Max Gladstone
Salvation (2018) by Peter F. Hamilton
The Stars Are Legion (2017) Kameron Hurley
Too Like the Lightning (2016) by Ada Palmer

Will I actually end up reading the books I have picked out? No way to tell. Chances are that I will find many distracting and cruddy paperbacks in secondhand stores while I gallivant far and wide.
All listed titles are available through the Monarch catalog unless otherwise specified. Don’t see any titles that float your boat? Why not give the Your Next Five Books tool a try? Never hesitate to reach out for tech help, book recommendations, or encouraging words. Email publicservices@meadpl.org or call 920-459-3400, option 4. Oh, and have a fantastic vacation.

Posted in Fantasy, Games, Horror, Science Fiction

Bonus Level!

With the ongoing pandemic, game releases have been a bit sparse. Despite that, there are still some games coming out this year worth getting excited for! I’ve selected a few of the games Mead will be getting and included their descriptions from their publishers.

New Pokémon Snap

Explore lush scenery on unknown islands to snap photos of Pokémon in their natural habitats

Seek out and take in-game photographs of Pokémon in their native environments in the New Pokémon Snap game, only for the Nintendo Switch system! Snap photos from the NEO-ONE as you encounter and research lively wild Pokémon. You might see unexpected expressions or behaviors—Pokémon patrolling their territory, playing, or lurking in out-of-the-way spots.

Investigate the mysterious Illumina phenomenon

Travel to the islands that make up the Lental region. In this region, some of the Pokémon and vegetation will appear to have a special glow. Research these Pokémon alongside Professor Mirror as you explore dense jungles, vast deserts, and more! Your observations of Pokémon thriving in the wild may help unravel the truth behind the Illumina phenomenon. The Pokémon pictures you take will be used to build your very own Pokémon Photodex!

Save, edit, and share your favorite Pokémon photos

Save photos to your personal in-game album to edit and adjust them. When you complete a course, you can adjust the brightness, blur, zoom and other aspects of your photo in Re-Snap mode. Then, add stickers, frames, and filters to add a personal touch. Share your favorite photos with family and friends in-game*. You can also see what kinds of photos everyone else is taking. See something you like? Award a Sweet! medal.

*Nintendo Switch Online membership (sold separately) and Nintendo Account required for online features. Not available in all countries. Internet access required for online features. Terms apply.”

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Posted in Adult, Horror

The Scariest Book You’ve Ever Read

It’s a beautiful, sunny, windy day outside today, and I couldn’t think of what topic to write about, and so we have ended up at… the scariest book you’ve ever read! Why? I don’t know – perhaps the terror of not having a blog topic transformed into a need to write about horror books, or perhaps I’ve just been spending too much time looking at sewing patterns for Halloween costumes recently. Whatever the reason, it has led us here – to what my coworkers here at the library consider the scariest books they’ve ever read!

Descriptions below taken from the publisher or our catalog.

The Troop by Nick Cutter

Once every year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip. This year, something is waiting in the darkness. Something wicked….

An intruder stumbles upon their campsite like a wild animal. He is shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry. Within his body is a bioengineered nightmare, a horror that spreads faster than fear. One by one, the boys will do things no person could ever imagine….

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Posted in Adult, Horror, Uncategorized

Horror Novels in Lieu of Halloween

This year has been a torment. I don’t need to list all the reasons why, but my number one reason this month is missing out on all the Halloween festivities. The 31st falls on a Saturday AND lasts for 25 hours thanks to Daylight Savings. Like, we get it. No fun allowed in 2020, please stop driving the point home. Since we can’t cavort with our fellow ghouls and ghosts like nature intended, I’m going to stay home and read like the big, boring, health-conscious person this year has forced me to become. Now, please do not take that statement the wrong way. Reading is my favorite respite from reality and I don’t know where my mental health would be without the comfort of checking out five thousand library books to keep me company. Since parties are off the table for me (and everyone else I surely do hope), I’m going to keep things spooky and within the spirit of America’s Best Holiday (patent pending) by reading my favorite horror novels. Below I listed four of my recent favorites. 

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (2020)

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Posted in Film, Games, Horror, Science Fiction

Spooky Scary

It’s finally October! Start carving your pumpkins. Pick up a bag of your favorite candy. And put something scary on the TV because there’s not much else to do with the pandemic still going on. Like last year, I’ve written up a list of a few of my favorite horror movies.

Crowley

Crowley is not a good movie. It’s one of those movies that’s so bad it’s good. The premise itself is fairly outrageous, a guy using virtual reality gets possessed by the ghost of Aleister Crowley via the internet. The actors chew up the scenery. Crowley’s antics lean more towards raunchy than evil. The music is the one genuinely good part since it’s handled by Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden.

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Posted in Fiction, Horror, Kids 5-12, Uncategorized

Chills in the Air

October is my favorite month of the year. I love the chill in the air and the spooky vibes that come along with Halloween. It’s the perfect time of year to curl up under a cozy blanket with a scary story! There are many horror stories written for middle grade readers ranging from the mildly creepy to downright terrifying! I have some recommendations below that can be found in our children’s collection. Click on the titles that interest you to request your copy straight from our catalog.

The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright

Ease young readers into horror stories with this ghostly murder mystery! 12 year-old Amy has an extended visit with her aunt who is cleaning out her deceased great-grandparents’ home. Their deaths happened many years before Amy was born and have always been a mystery to her. The mystery begins to unravel when she uncovers a beautiful dollhouse modeled after their house, stashed away in the attic. The dolls in the dollhouse seem to move on their own. Are they trying to tell her something? Any mention of the dollhouse or the great-grandparents upsets her aunt, so Amy has to do her own research to uncover what really happened to her family years ago. This story has a low level of supernatural creepiness that pairs well with its fascinating family mystery.

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Posted in Fantasy, Games, Horror

Roll for Adventure

Dungeons and Dragons is a fun game, whether as a player or a dungeon master. Being the dungeon master can be difficult, though. It’s part memorizing rules, acting, writing, and people wrangling. Writing an adventure or an entire campaign setting can sometimes be the most difficult part of being a dungeon master. That’s why this week’s blog post is all pre-written adventures, it won’t help with rule memorization or the voice acting, but I can’t do everything for you.

Curse of Strahd

Ravenloft has been a part of Dungeons and Dragons since the very first edition. Curse of Strahd is the fifth edition’s return to the lands that the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich rules over with an iron fist. This adventure has more of a gothic horror taste than the usual D&D adventure. The part that got this one on my radar was that it has rules for using a Tarokka deck, a pseudo-tarot deck, to influence where monsters and artifacts will show up in the adventure. I can’t promise that your party will survive Strahd once they enter Castle Ravenloft, though.

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Posted in Adult, Biography & Memoir, eBooks & eAudio, Graphic Novels & Memoirs, Horror, Science, Science Fiction

A Dive into the Reading Pile

My social life has taken a pretty sharp decline since I’ve gone into quarantine. Being home more has given me a bit of a push to reevaluate my reading pile. I’ve sifted through the books that have piled up around my home to find some that I thought others might be interested in as well.

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A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer was one of the authors that I read for a few classes at university. He’s a writer that can take relatively dry science topics, like evolution, and make them engaging for every degree of reader. Near the end of my undergraduate education, I found an interest in virus-host coevolution and tried to find books on viruses. I stupidly didn’t take a microbiology class due to initially thinking microbes were boring. I need to note that this particular book has been in my pile for a few years, but it has taken on new relevance.

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Posted in Adult, Contemporary, eBooks & eAudio, Fiction, Horror

Modern Classics: Jane Austen

Known for expressing her wit and social commentary through her characters, Jane Austen is a staple of classrooms and beloved by many. But for readers new to Austen, the language can feel challenging and lots of sneaky jokes get lost along the way. (Consider: a character preaching about the importance of frugality while renting the carriage equivalent of an Audi.) Modern retellings can reframe those jokes in a way that doesn’t require extensive knowledge of 1800s British customs, or offer a fresh take for those who know Austen’s works well. For longtime Austen fans and newcomers alike, here are 6 adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels.

The Austen Project:
Emma by Alexander McCall Smith & Eligble by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Austen Project brings Jane Austen into the present day. Eligible imagines Elizabeth as a writer for a magazine and Jane as a yoga instructor in New York. After their father has a health scare, the daughters return to their childhood city of Cincinnati to find the home in disrepair and a mother determined to marry off Jane before her 40th birthday.

In Emma, the titular character returns home from university to start her career in interior design. While she plans to get her business off the ground, she uses her free time to offer guidance to those she deems less wise in the ways of the world than she is – and she includes nearly everyone in Highbury in that tally.

Two other adaptations in the series, Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid and Sense and Sensibility have been released as well.

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