Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Spooky and Thrilling Fall Reading

Tis the season to be spooky and our most recent Genre Reading Group certainly had some spookiness to offer!  From fall reading classics to proms gone horribly wrong, GRG members brought it all!

The Shining by Stephen King
(Barnes & Noble) First published in 1977, The Shining quickly became a benchmark in the literary career of Stephen King. This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel's past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to claim the very souls of the Torrance family. Adapted into a cinematic masterpiece ofhorror by legendary director Stanley Kubrick - featuring an unforgettableperformance by a demonic Jack Nicholson - The Shining stands as a cultural icon of modern horror, a searing study of a family torn apart, and a nightmarish glimpse into the dark recesses of human weakness and dementia.

Carrie by Stephen King
(Powells) Carrie White may have been unfashionable and unpopular, but she had a gift. Carrie could make things move by concentrating on them. A candle would fall. A door would lock. This was her power and her sin. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offered Carrie a chance to be normal and go to her senior prom. But another act--of ferocious cruelty--turned her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that her classmates would never forget.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
(Barnes & Noble) The quiet Dutch community of Sleepy Hollow lay in the Adirondack mountains on the western shore of the mighty Hudson River in America’s colonial period. The solitude of the woods was breathtaking, and not even a schoolmaster was immune from the eerie miasma which everyone knew permeated the dense forest. Written in 1820, Washington Irving’s The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow has become a classic of American literature, and has been retold in many different ways.

The Small Hand & Dolly: Two Novels by Susan Hill
(Barnes & Noble)
The Small Hand
Antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow is returning from a client visit when he takes a wrong turn and stumbles upon a derelict Edwardian house with a lush, overgrown garden. As he approaches the door, he is startled to feel the unmistakable sensation of a small, cold hand creeping into his own, almost as though a child has taken hold of it. Shaken, he returns home to find himself plagued by nightmares. But when he decides to investigate the house’s mysteries, he is troubled by increasingly sinister visitations.
After being orphaned at a young age, Edward Cayley is sent to spend the summer with his forbidding Aunt Kestrel at Iyot house, her decaying estate on the damp, lonely fens in the west of England. With him is his spoiled, spiteful cousin Leonora. And when Leonora’s birthday wish for a beautiful doll is denied, she unleashes a furious rage which will haunt Edward through the years to come.

Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck
(Powells) Being the new girl at school is rough. But when the popular girls choose Kerry as the newest member of their ultra-exclusive clique, she thinks her troubles are finally finished. When her three new friends are killed in a horrifying car crash, her life seems over as well. But then the texts begin. . . .Richard Peck returns to his contemporary teen- and ghost-story roots in this suspenseful page-turner with a subtle commentary on peer pressure that fans of television dramas such as Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries will devour.

Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes: TheAuthorized Adaptation by Ron Wimberly
(Powells) Cooger and Darks Pandemonium Shadow Show howls into Green Town, Illinois, at three in the morning a week before Halloween. Under its carnival tents is a mirror maze that steals wishes; a carousel that promises eternal life, in exchange for your soul; the Dust Witch, who unerringly foresees your death; and Mr. Dark, the Illustrated Man, who has lived for centuries off the misery of others. Only two boys, Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade, recognize the dark magic at work and have a plan to stop this ancient evil, that is, if it doesn't kill them first.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is Ray Bradbury's incomparable work of dark fantasy, and the gifted illustrator Ron Wimberly has stunningly captured its sinister magic in gorgeously realized black-and-white art. Complete with an original introduction by Bradbury, Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation reintroduces this thrilling classic.

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
(Powells) This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier’s exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.
The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier’s exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas manga adaptation by Jun Asuka
(Powells) Jack Skellington's sick and tired of his hometown holiday, Halloween, and is longing for something new. But when his soul searching leads to his good-intentioned kidnapping of Santa, things start getting pretty hairy! In this Japanese manga retelling of one of Disney's most enduring films, fans can read how Jack almost ruined Christmas.

Jeffrey's Favorite 13 Ghost Stories by Kathryn Tucker Windham
(Powells) The 13 stories in this volume are drawn from previous volumes of Alabama, Lousiana, Georgia, Missippi, and Tennessee ghost tales. Those previous volumes, most of them originally published by the University of Alabama Press, are now out of print, except for her first, 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey.- Jeffrey, who features in the introduction to this volume, is the "friendly poltergeist" who haunts the author's family home in Selma, AL. The "Jeffrey" series began in 1969.

Haunted Birmingham by Alan Brown
(Powells) From the eerie vestiges of the Sloss Furnaces to the unexplained (and un-booked) performances in the Alabama Theatre and rather otherworldly room service at the Tutwiler Hotel, Birmingham is truly one of the South's supernatural hotbeds. Renowned author and ghost expert Alan Brown delivers a fascinating, downright spine-chilling collection of haunts from around the city and surrounding neighborhoods such as Bessemer, Columbiana, Jasper and Montevallo. Residents and tourists alike will cherish this exclusive glimpse into the city's inexplicable occupants, and even the skeptics can enjoy the book's historical framework.

Haunted Shelby County, Alabama by Kim Johnston
(Barnes & Noble) Shelby County, Alabama is at the heart of the state. The area is home to Alabama’s forgotten plantations, a deep history of the Creek Indians who died during the Trail of Tears and dark secrets from areas such as Harpersville, Calera, Chelsea, Montevallo and Leeds. From eerie images of Civil War ghosts at Shelby Springs Manor to the downright sinister happenings in the Devil’s Corridor of Chelsea, the scars of the past have left Shelby County a major hot spot of paranormal activity. Author and paranormal researcher Kim Johnston delivers a fascinating collection of haunts and legends from around Shelby County.

The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
(Powells) As Paul Muldoon writes, "It's almost impossible to think of a world in which The Waste Land did not exist. So profound has its influence been not only on twentieth-century poetry but on how we’ve come to view the century as a whole, the poem itself risks being taken for granted." Famously elliptical, wildly allusive, at once transcendent and bleak, The Waste Land defined modernity after the First World War, forever transforming our understanding of ourselves, the broken world we live in, and the literature that was meant to make sense of it. In a voice that is arch, ironic, almost ebullient, and yet world-weary and tragic, T. S. Eliot mixes and remixes, drawing on a cast of ghosts to create a new literature for a new world. In the words of Edmund Wilson, "Eliot…is one of our only authentic poets…[The Waste Land is] one triumph after another."

The Encyclopedia of Gothic Literature: The Essential Guideto the Lives and Works of Gothic Writers by Mary Ellen Snodgrass
(Barnes & Noble) Gothic literature has been described as the expression through story of the deepest human dread. This A-to-Z guide to Gothic literature covers everything from the origins of the movement in the 18th century with novels such as The Castle of Otranto and The Mysteries of Udolpho to the movement's flowering in the 19th century with the poetry and prose of such writers as the Bronte sisters and Edgar Allan Poe to its continuing influence today. The Encyclopedia of Gothic Literature is a must for teachers, students, and anyone who wants to explore this fascinating and enduring literary movement.

The Annotated Supernatural and Horror in Literature by H.P. Lovecraft
(Barnes & Noble) H. P. Lovecraft's "Supernatural Horror in Literature," first published in 1927, is widely recognized as the finest historical survey of horror literature ever written. The product of both a keen critical analyst and a working practitioner in the field, the essay affords unique insights into the nature, development, and history of the weird tale. Beginning with instances of weirdness in ancient literature, Lovecraft proceeds to discuss horror writing in the Renaissance, the first Gothic novels of the late 18th century, the revolutionary importance of Edgar Allan Poe, the work of such leading figures as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ambrose Bierce, and William Hope Hodgson, and the four "modern masters"-Arthur Machen, Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood and M. R. James.

In this annotated edition of Lovecraft's seminal work, acclaimed Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi has supplied detailed commentary on many points. In addition, Joshi has supplied a comprehensive bibliography of all the authors and works discussed in the essay, with references to modern editions and critical studies. For this new edition, Joshi has exhaustively revised and updated the bibliography and also revamped the notes to bring the book in line with the most up-to-date scholarship on Lovecraft and weird fiction. The entire volume has also been redesigned for ease of reading and reference. This latest edition will be invaluable both to devotees of Lovecraft and to enthusiasts of the weird tale.

Hop Frog by Edgar Allan Poe
(Barnes & Noble) "Hop-Frog" (originally "Hop-Frog; Or, theEight Chained Ourangoutangs") is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1849. The title character, a dwarf taken from his homeland, becomes the jester of a king particularly fond of practical jokes. Taking revenge on the king and his cabinet for striking his friend and fellow dwarf Trippetta, he dresses them as orangutans for a masquerade. In front of the king's guests, Hop-Frog murders them all by setting their costumes on fire before escaping with Trippetta.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
(Powells) Written by an anonymous 19-year-old, rejected by two publishers, and finally given a printing of only 500 copies, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein would go on to become one of the most influential novels in the science-fiction and horror genres. But Shelley's work is much more than a Gothic tale of terror; it's a classic piece of literature that raised many disturbing questions about humankind that are just as relevant today as when they were written. On October 31, 1831, Shelley published a revised edition that has become the more widely read version, not because of its textural superiority, but for its availability. In fact, it has been argued that the original text, with its darker undertones, may be the most definitive work. Whichever version you read, Frankenstein is a masterpiece!  Recommended by Nate Ashley,

Dracula by Bram Stoker
(Powells) "Count Dracula" has inspired countless movies, books, and plays. But few, if any, have been fully faithful to Bram Stoker's original, best-selling novel of mystery and horror, love and death, sin and redemption. Dracula chronicles the vampire's journey from Transylvania to the nighttime streets of London. There, he searches for the blood of strong men and beautiful women while his enemies plot to rid the world of his frightful power. Today's critics see Dracula as a virtual textbook on Victorian repression of the erotic and fear of female sexuality. In it, Stoker created a new word for terror, a new myth to feed our nightmares, and a character who will outlive us all.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
(Powells) Lush, romantic, and wildly passionate: Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, the tale of two soul mates separated by class and society, has seduced readers for generations and inspired countless adaptations. Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff--the gypsy boy her father brought home to their estate of Wuthering Heights--have been inseparable since childhood. But as Catherine grows up and becomes a lady, she spurns Heathcliff for the wealthy and genteel Edgar Linton. She never stops loving him, however…with a passion that not even death can diminish. 

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
(Powells) Haunting readers since its first publication in 1911, the classic story of the disfigured Erik who haunts the Paris Opera House and secretly trains singer Christine Daa, leading to an obsessive love and pattern of fear and violence, remains a riveting journey into the darkest regions of the human heart.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
(Powells) Set in medieval Paris, Victor Hugo's powerful historical romance has resonated with succeeding generations ever since its publication in 1837. It tells the story of the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, condemned as a witch by the tormented archdeacon Claude Frollo, who lusts after her. Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre-Dame Cathedral, having fallen in love with the kindhearted Esmeralda, tries to save her by hiding her in the cathedral's tower. When a crowd of Parisian peasants, misunderstanding Quasimodos motives, attacks the church in an attempt to liberate her, the story ends in tragedy.

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
(Powells) In a remote room in a large city, a young reporter sits face-to-face with his most astonishing subject: a onetime New Orleans gentleman plantation owner who, in vividly terrifying and haunting detail, recalls his centuries of extraordinary life--beginning with his initiation into the ranks of the living dead at the hands of the sinister, sensual vampire Lestat.

Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night by Nicholas Rogers
(Powells) Every year, children and adults alike take to the streets dressed as witches, demons, animals, celebrities, and more. They carve pumpkins and play pranks, and the braver ones watch scary movies and go on ghost tours. There are parades, fireworks displays, cornfield mazes, haunted houses and, most important, copious amounts of bite-sized candy. The popularity of Halloween has spread around the globe to places as diverse as Russia, China, and Japan, but its association with death and the supernatural and its inevitable commercialization has made it one of our most misunderstood holidays. How did it become what it is today?

Doll Bones by Holly Black
(Powells) A doll that may be haunted leads three friends on a thrilling adventure in this delightfully creepy novel from the New York Times bestselling co-creator of the Spiderwick Chronicles.
Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her.

But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen — and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.

Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen’s ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?

Antichrist (DVD)
(Rotten Tomatoes) A grieving couple retreat to 'Eden', their isolated cabin in the woods, where they hope to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse. Critics Consensus: Gruesome, explicit and highly controversial; Lars Von Triers' arthouse-horror, though beautifully shot, is no easy ride.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (DVD)
(Rotten Tomatoes) Halloween 3 has nothing in common with the original Halloween other than its title. Here, a deranged mask manufacturer (Dan O'Herlihy) makes and sells millions of Halloween masks that will kill any child who wears them. When his scheme is found out, he goes on a bloody rampage in order to escape detection.

My Story by Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart
(Powells) For the first time, ten years after her abduction from her Salt Lake City bedroom, Elizabeth Smart reveals how she survived and the secret to forging a new life in the wake of a brutal crime
On June 5, 2002, fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, 2003, she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life.

Now for the first time, in her memoir, she tells of the constant fear she endured every hour, her courageous determination to maintain hope, and how she devised a plan to manipulate her captors and convinced them to return to Utah, where she was rescued minutes after arriving.  Smart explains how her faith helped her stay sane in the midst of a nightmare and how she found the strength to confront her captors at their trial and see that justice was served.

In the nine years after her rescue, Smart transformed from victim to advocate, traveling the country and working to educate, inspire and foster change. She has created a foundation to help prevent crimes against children and is a frequent public speaker. In  2012, she married Matthew Gilmour, whom she met doing mission work in Paris for her church, in a fairy tale wedding that made the cover of People magazine.

Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed, a Memoirof the Cleveland Kidnappings by Michelle Knight with Michelle Burford
(Powells) Michelle was a young single mother when she was kidnapped by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. For more than a decade afterward, she endured unimaginable torture at the hand of her abductor. In 2003 Amanda Berry joined her in captivity, followed by Gina DeJesus in 2004. Their escape on May 6, 2013, made headlines around the world.

Barely out of her own tumultuous childhood, Michelle was estranged from her family and fighting for custody of her young son when she disappeared. Local police believed she had run away, so they removed her from the missing persons lists fifteen months after she vanished. Castro tormented her with these facts, reminding her that no one was looking for her, that the outside world had forgotten her. But Michelle would not be broken.

In Finding Me, Michelle will reveal the heartbreaking details of her story, including the thoughts and prayers that helped her find courage to endure her unimaginable circumstances and now build a life worth living. By sharing both her past and her efforts to create a future, Michelle becomes a voice for the voiceless and a powerful symbol of hope for the thousands of children and young adults who go missing every year.

George Romero Quadrilogy Zombie-Thon:

A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.

The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city to protect themselves as they come to grips with the situation. 

(Amazon) Enter the bleak existence of a call girl haunted by the atrocities of her childhood. In the spring of 1997, Shelley Hansard is a drug addict with a heroin habit and crack psychosis. Her desirability as a top London call girl is waning. When her client dies in a suite at The Lanesborough Hotel, Shelley’s complex double-life is blasted deeper into chaos. In her psychotic state, the skills required to keep up her multiple personas are weakening. Amidst her few friends, and what remains of her broken family, she struggles to maintain her wall of lies. 

Hostel (DVD) ​
Three backpackers head to a Slovak city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.

​​Hostel II (DVD)
Three American college students studying abroad are lured to a Slovakian hostel, and discover the grim reality behind it.

Suspiria (DVD)
​A newcomer to a fancy ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the school is a front for something far more sinister and supernatural amidst a series of grisly murders.

​​The next GENRE READING GROUP meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 25th at 6:30pm and the topic will be Native & early Americans. Mark your calendars and join us!

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