April's Books to Film

Based on Nicholas Sparks' novel The Lucky One (PG-13), it follows U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault as he returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq, with the one thing he credits with keeping him alive --- a photograph he found of a woman he doesn’t even know. Learning her name and where she lives, he shows up at her door.

In Think Like a Man (PG-13) - the film adaptation of Steve Harvey's bestseller Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man : what men really think about love, relationships, intimacy, and commitment, 4 interconnected and diverse men whose love lives are shaken up after the ladies they are pursuing buy Harvey's book and start taking his advice to heart. When the band of brothers realize they have been betrayed by one of their own, they conspire using the book's insider information to turn the tables and teach the women a lesson of their own.

In The Pirates! Band of Misfits (PG), Hugh Grant stars in his first animated role as the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain --- a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side, and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. We have Author Gideon Defoe to thank for his two adventurous tales in The Pirates! Band of Misfits : an adventure with scientists & an adventure with Ahab

In the film The Raven (R) when a serial killer who bases his methods of killing on Edgar Allan Poe’s stories (beginning with The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Pit and the Pendulum and working his way through other stories), Poe joins forces with a young Baltimore detective to solve the crime. The script is based on biographies of Edgar Allan Poe

Spoiler Alert!

John Dies at the End.

But in the beginning, John was alive and well when David Wong’s book started as a free webserial in 2001. It garnered enough popularity (approximately 70,000 fans) to get a more concrete existence and was printed as a paperback in 2007. Now, it has been adapted to film and premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

This comedic horror story centers around two friends, eccentric slacker John and self-deprecating, sarcastic Dave, a dog named Molly, and their experiences with, and caused by, a drug called "Soy Sauce." The drug is said to cause hallucinations and "out-of-body experiences" for the users. But John and Dave start finding themselves in situations that seem more real and even less explainable.

Strange deaths start occurring. Molly, the dog, is finding herself in strange instances of trouble and heroism. People are going missing, being possessed by evil, and all hell may literally be breaking loose. Dave is not thrilled about their new paranormally-enhanced life, but John loves all their unusual encounters and dives in headfirst. It looks like it's up to John and Dave to save the day, willingly or unwillingly. With less than 400 pages, this book is a quick read, full of genuinely frightening things as well as genuine hilariousness.

The Monster Squad, on DVD

As a classic kid-comedy film from 1987, The Monster Squad is underrated. Not enough people of a certain generation have seen this film, and I speak of my peers. Peers who, when hearing a quote from this movie during a trivia contest, hadn’t heard of the movie, let alone recognized the quote. The silence of the film's initial release in 1987 was slowly followed by a rebirth as it was discovered by old and new fans. After 20 years of VHS life, it was finally released on DVD.

The film follows 12-year-old Sean, his best pal Patrick, and their gang of misfit friends. As fans of classic horror films, they gather in the local tree house to talk monsters. The monsters become all too real when Count Dracula shows up in town with the Wolf Man, the Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Gill Man, all searching for an ancient amulet that will shift the balance of good and evil, giving Dracula control. It’s up to Sean and the newly formed Monster Squad to stop the end of the world from arriving.

It’s a zany pre-teen adventure, filled with pesky little sisters, creepy neighbors, childlike one-liners, and a swirling vortex of evil. The two-disc 20th anniversary edition of the film is available at AADL on DVD and Blu-ray.

"Bitten & Smitten"

One of the many perks of working in a library includes shelving books. It's often during shelving that I find some of my favorite reads that I'd likely not come across otherwise. One of those books (and the rest in the series) is Bitten & Smitten by Michelle Rowen. The bright cover caught my eye and the witty summary sucked me in (pun fully intended).

Sarah Dearly, the saucy yet reluctant heroine, finds herself just trying to live through what she has dubbed the "world's worst blind date" when she suddenly wakes up to find herself being buried, almost undead, in a shallow grave. She escapes only to witness her blind date being "taken care of" by what she soon learns are vampire hunters. Unfortunately, thanks to the "love bites" left by her undead date, she now has to escape the hunters or wind up sharing more than just a bad night with her toothy date.

Her escape leads her to Thierry de Bennicoeur, a moody vampire master who helps her evade the stakes of her stalkers. After stumbling through her first "undead days," Sarah realizes she's going to need a little more help than she thought when it comes to navigating the night. Michelle Rowen draws the reader into this light read with suspense and quick one liners.

Winners in Genre Fiction - RUSA’s 2012 Reading List

The American Library Association's Reading List Council have selected their top picks for 2012 in eight popular genres. Among the winners (and the shortlists) are some of the best by first-time novelists.

ADRENALINE
Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson. (See FFF blog)
Each morning, Christine wakes with no memory. From the clues she left herself, she tries to piece together her identity and sort lies from the truth. The unrelenting pace thrusts the reader into the confusion of a waking nightmare in which revelations of her past lead to a frantic crescendo.

FANTASY
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (See FFF blog)
Le Cirque des Rêves is utterly unique, disappearing at dawn in one town only to mysteriously reappear in another. At the heart of the circus are two young magicians, involved in a competition neither completely understands. The dreamlike atmosphere and vivid imagery make this fantasy unforgettable.

HISTORICAL FICTION
Doc by Mary Doria Russell
In the early days of Dodge City, a genteel, tubercular Southern dentist forges a friendship with the infamous Earp brothers. Combining historical details and lyrical language, this gritty psychological portrait of gunslinger Doc Holliday reveals how the man became the legend.

HORROR
The Ridge by Michael Koryta
The unexplained death of an eccentric lighthouse keeper in the isolated Kentucky woods, followed by a mysterious threat to a nearby large cat sanctuary prompt an investigation by a journalist and the local sheriff. Palpable evil and a sense of dread drive this chilling tale.

MYSTERY
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (See FFF blog)
An introverted mathematician matches wits with a brilliant former colleague to protect the neighbor he secretly adores from a murder charge. Although the reader knows the murderer’s identity from the beginning, this unconventional Japanese mystery remains a taut psychological puzzle.

ROMANCE
Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase
Ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot will do almost anything to secure the patronage of the Duke of Clevendon’s intended bride. Neither her calculated business plan nor his campaign of seduction can withstand the force of their mutual attraction. Witty banter and strong-willed characters make this a memorable tale.

SCIENCE FICTION
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
The missions of a jaded cop and a dedicated ice hauler officer collide as the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. A mystery adds a noir touch to this space opera featuring deeply flawed yet heroic characters, non-stop action and Earth versus Mars politics.

WOMEN'S FICTION
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (See FFF blog)
A former foster child struggles to overcome a past filled with abuse, neglect and anger. Communication through the Victorian language of fflowers allows her to discover hope, redemption and a capacity for love. Damaged, authentic characters create an emotional tension in this profoundly moving story.

Zombie Story Invasion!

Help! There’s a pack of zombies headed for the library! Zombie graphic novels, I mean. It’s an outbreak of zombie apocalypse stories! Soon there won’t be any stories about living humans (or even vampires) left! For those of you who have eaten your way through The Walking Dead and loved every gory piece of it, check out these new titles coming soon to a library near you.

Death Valley – Being a high schooler is hard when your class is the last vestige of humanity. This is what a John Hughes zombie apocalypse story would look like.

Zombie Tales – An anthology of short stories that take the old human vs. zombie formula and turn it on its head. These humorous stories are often more akin to Oscar Wilde than George Romero.

Dead InsidePostSecret crossed with 28 Days Later. This collection of photographs from the post-apocalypse tells a story with pictures and “found” items.

The Hidden – A gorgeously colored and illustrated horror story about the end of times, featuring the undead… and more!

Daybreak – Award-winning author Brian Ralph brings a very different visual aesthetic to his story of two survivors in a zombie infested wasteland.

Halloween, The Movies

When John Carpenter’s original Halloween came out in theaters in in 1978, the newspapers read “When was the last time you were really scared by a movie?” Coming out several years after hits like The Exorcist, Jaws, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, horror fans were ready for Halloween, and were not disappointed by the high grossing independent film.

One cannot think of slasher films without thinking of Halloween and the white-masked Michael Meyers. The premise is that as a child, Meyers killed his sister on Halloween, and is thus institutionalized.15 years later he rises from catatonia, escapes, returns home, and terrorizes teenage babysitter Laurie (played by Jamie Lee Curtis, in her feature film debut) and her friends. As with most horror films, the film includes graphic violence, and is not for everyone.

Following the success of the first film came at string of nine sequels and remakes, starting with Halloween II, in 1981. Of the films, only the original Halloween and Halloween II were written Carpenter and Debra Hill, and a couple were even directed by Rob Zombie. They vary in quality, but you horror diehards can be the judge. (Blu-rays are also available for some of the films.)

Check out AADL's large selection of Horror films, if you're looking for more flicks that may cause you to sleep with the lights on.

Set Your Halloween Holds!

Halloween is coming up next month and boy does AADL have some great books and movies to get you in the spirit of the season! Just take a look at the lists below. There’s sure to be something for anyone that loves Halloween.

Find non-spooky books for kids that have ghosts, witches, or pirates in them. But what if the kid in question doesn’t scare easy? “Who you gonna call?” You can call on these lists to give them a bookish scare: all-around scary books for kids or something on a more specific topic.

Taking it up a notch, what are some good horror reads for the teen and adult age sets? There is a lot of overlap in this area, resulting in this dual purpose list. Everyone love zombies so teens and adults alike might find something to satisfy their craving with zombie literature and zombie love. Plus there’s always the less cool, more overdone werewolf stories.

Each age group might get a kick out of hearing local lore. Look no further than our list on Michigan Ghost Stories.

After all that reading, kick back with some old school monster or zombie movies. Don't forget to request some milder flicks for ghouls and boys, too.

Put your holds on quick before the list gets too long! Otherwise you’ll end up watching Halloween in December and the timing will be all off. Set your reserves fast!

What’s New: Horror Films. You Scared?

What’s nice about browsing DVDs in the catalog is that that you can also browse DVDs by genre. It’s helpful if you’re looking for a particular mood or theme, or want a very narrow list. After you pull up a list of just Westerns or Comedy, you can then sort the list to see the newest items listed first. Handy! How about some new-to-AADL horror flicks? Gotcha.

Triangle: "When Jess sets sail on a yacht with a group of friends, she cannot shake the feeling that there is something wrong. Her suspicions are realized when the yacht hits a storm and the group is forced to board a passing ocean liner to get to safety, a ship Jess is convinced she's been on before. The ship appears deserted, the clock on board has stopped, but they are not alone... Someone is intent on hunting them down, one by one." (Also available on Blu-ray.)

The Traveler: "Mr. Nobod (played by Val Kilmer) is a mysterious stranger whose past threatens to haunt the lives of six unsuspecting sheriff's deputies. The moment he arrives in their small town police station, confessing to multiple murders that have yet to occur, their lives are forever changed."

Rubber: "Robert, an inanimate tire that was abandoned in the desert, suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the landscape, he discovers that he possesses terrifying telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything without having to move. Content to prey on small desert creatures and discarded objects, his attention soon turns to humans, especially a beautiful and mysterious woman who crosses his path. Robert becomes a chaotic force to be reckoned with." (Also available on Blu-ray.)

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #276

Graveminder * (also available in audio ) is the first adult title by popular YA author Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely series).

Her grandmother Maylene's death brings Bek (Rebekkah) Barrow back to Claysville, a sleepy little town with strict rules how the dead are to be buried. Without a thought, Bek slips into performing the strange rituals at the gravesite that she has watched Maylene performed over the years: she takes three sips from a silver flask and speaks the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Bek never suspects that with Maylene's passing, she is the new "graveminder", the next Barrow female to uphold the century-old contract between the worlds of the living and the dead. Worse yet, no one will tell her that Maylene was actually murdered, and danger is lurking in Claysville. The dead are hungry.

Byron Montgomery, the young Undertaker seems to be the only one who could help her set things right once the dead begin to walk, but he is also the last person Bek would want to involve considering their complicated past and the itchy spark between them that Bek is trying desperately to ignore.

"Haunting, captivating, brilliant!" Check out the author's website and Maylene's Scrapbook for the backstory of the graveminders. A nice cross-over for YA readers.

Want more creepy/chilling read this summer?

Try So Cold the River by Michael Koryta (in audio); Coffin County by Gary Braunbeck; and The Caretaker of Lorne Field by Dave Zeltserman. Perfect to read around the campfire. Don't wander off though, and make sure someone's got your back.

* = Starred review

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