What’s That Under The Bed: Childhood Fears

Given that it’s the Halloween Season and some of us may have spooky and creepy things on our minds, we thought that it would be fun to revisit the books and media that scared us as children. Sometimes looking back at childhood fears can be funny and cute, and other times it just reinforces the fact that these things are freakin’ scary at any age.

Serena’s Fears

1518699“The Ankle Grabber” by Rose Impey

Yes, mine is literally a book about scary things under a bed. But this book was truly traumatic, and a bunch of reviews on the books’ Goodreads page back me up on this. I didn’t even remember this book until we started brainstorming this blog post, apparently having successfully blocked it from my mind like all other traumatizing memories. So…thanks blog, for that! Supposedly, this story is supposed to help kids conquer their fears of the dark and things under the bed, but the pictures! The pictures were so creepy that it did just the opposite, ensuring that I took a running leap to my bed for years. For some reason, I kept re-reading to this book in some type of masochistic ritual throughout my childhood. It got so bad that my mom got some type of air freshener can, created a funny paper logo that she wrapped around it that said “Scary Stuff,” and convinced my sister and I to spray it around our room at night and that would someone chase of the Ankle Grabber.

95f6aaede63e86d5131fedb74111b52d“The Tale of the Dollmaker” (TV episode from “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”)

As any kid who watched early 90s TV knows, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” wasn’t messing around with its “horror stories for kids” concept. I mean, the “for kids” portion is really questionable, in my opinion. I could probably rattle off 10 episodes from this show that were scary as hell, but the one that always stood out was “The Tale of the Dollmaker” in which a cursed dollhouse traps little girls and slowly turns them into porcelain dolls. Throughout the episode, we see one of the girls, Susan, slowly lose her ability to talk and move as her body turns to porcelain. She almost loses an arm when her porcelain body breaks from too much movement. This of course lead my crazed, overly imaginative mind to begin fearing that if I sat still too long I’d start to turn to porcelain or stone or something. And as a kid who read a lot, a very stationary activity, this was a concern that popped into my brain more often than I would care to admit. I would be holding my book and literally start worrying that my arms were somehow firming up….

gooey_gus“Gooey Gus” (TV episode from “Ghost Writer”

Look at that thing?!?! What’s not to be afraid of?? The story is simple enough, Ghooey Gus is an evil toy that systematically attacks and goos to death every kid he comes in contact with. The fact that the goo tastes like bubble gum somehow made the whole thing worse. I’m convinced that whoever wrote this episode pretty much just thought to themselves “Hey, adults have had to be traumatized by ‘Chucky.’ Let’s not leave out the kids! Here, have your own toy-like terror monster!” The whole idea of drowning, suffocating, whatever, by being covered in some gross goo is horrible enough on its own, regardless of having it all tied up in the nightmare fuel of toys coming to life and attacking kids.

Kate’s Fears

images-2“Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones” by Alvin Schwartz

I’ve mentioned here that one of my absolute favorite book collections as a kid were the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series by Alvin Schwartz. But along with loving them, there were a few stories, mostly because of the pictures, that scared the living daylights out of me. The story that messed me up the most was that of “Harold”, a story about a scarecrow that comes to life and murders one of his creators. I think that it was the combination of the drawing of the terrible Harold (I mean just look at him!) and the final line of the story, which talks about Harold laying out a piece of flesh on the roof to ‘dry in the sun’. Like, what the hell is that about? In my nightmares about these books, Harold made the most frequent appearances. I still don’t really care for scarecrows.

“Fire in the Sky” (Film)p14658_p_v8_ad

I don’t know whose genius idea it was to advertise this movie with shots from an alien abduction and experiment scene, but they can bite my ass. When this movie came out I was in grade school, and since I would watch “Star Trek” with my Dad I would see the promos for this film. It’s supposedly based on a true story (whatever that means) in which a logger named Travis Walton disappeared for a few days, and when he returned he said that he had been abducted by aliens. So then I was convinced that I was going to be abducted by aliens and experimented on as well, because BASED ON A TRUE STORY, GUYS! When I was an adult I saw that it was on Netflix Instant for a time, and thought that I should face my childhood fear and laugh about how silly I was. Except, oops, the alien abduction and experimentation scene was still super upsetting and I just kind of wanted to die while watching it. Here, have a trailer. It has a glimpse of the sequence I’m referring to.

matila-2“Matilda” by Roald Dahl

Yup, another instance in which I loved a book and yet it scared me to death. And what was it that scared me to death about this book? Was it Miss Trunchbull and her penchant for throwing children? Was is Matilda’s awful parents and they way that they abused her? Was it The Chokey? Oh no. It was the part where Matilda glues her father’s hat to his head with superglue. Yep, you heard it here first, folks, Kate had RIDICULOUS anxiety about that concept. What if it would never come off? What if a hat got glued to MY head and then IT would never come off?! Honestly, I had so many crazy anxieties as a child that made no sense I probably should have been in therapy for them, and the hat glue scene from “Matilda” is really just the one that takes the biggest WTF cake. I hid that damn book behind my bookshelf after reading that scene, and didn’t come back for it for a week or two.

What did you fear when you were a child? Let us know in the comments! We won’t judge you if you don’t judge us!

October 2017 Highlights

It’s October! Kate’s favorite month of the year! Serena is less sold on the idea, but can grudgingly admit to liking the fact that she can now pull out even more cardigans and sweaters to wear from her closet. The slight chill in the air also gives the perfect excuse to say “No thanks!” to any outdoor activities and justify hours on end spent curled up in a blanket reading on the couch. Here are the books we’re looking forward to getting our hands on this month!

Serena’s Picks:

30025336Book: “All the Crooked Saints” by Maggie Stiefvater

Publication Date: October 10, 2017

Why I’m Interested: After blowing through the entire “Raven’s Cycle” which just got better with each entry, it’s not a surprise to find Stiefvater’s latest book on this list. The story takes place in Bicho Raro, Colorado, a small town not unfamiliar with every day miracles. Three cousins, each with a unique miraculous ability of their own, all learn that not everything wished for comes true in the manner you may expect. Or want. There’s been some early controversy around this book (which is an entire post in itself, since how can there be much controversy over a book many of us haven’t even read yet??), so I’m excited to read it and form my own opinion.

34128219Book: “The Book of Dust” by Philip Pullman

Publication Date: October 19, 2017

Why I’m Interested: AAAAAAAAHHHHHH! I mean, is any actual reason needed?? It’s a prequel to “The Golden Compass” trilogy! This should be titled “Why I’m Scared” not “Why I’m Interested.” That’s always the cruel twist of returning to a world you’ve always loved. My one reassurance in this case is that young Lyra is very, very young. A baby. So it seems that she’s more of a side character than anything, which leaves the door wide open for Pullman to let other, new characters shine without damaging the story that we all know and love that follows. Mostly, I’m excited to see some good Mrs. Coulter/Lord Asriel action!

33574143Book: “The Beautiful Ones” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Publication Date: October 24, 2017

Why I’m Interested: By now it’s been well-established that I love the combination of historical “etiquette” books and fantasy. Antonina Beaulieu has a gift, a telekinetic gift. But her limited control of this ability has made her the target of malicious gossip and rumors. She’s finds comfort, and potentially love, in the tutelage of a grand performer, Hector Auvray. But is Auvray all he appears to be? And is his courtship of Nina to be trusted? This last part, especially, the question surrounding the romantic plot line, is what intrigues me the most about this story. It could go one of several ways: A.) there is no romance and he’s a villain character, B.) he’s actually a good guy, though there’s a question surrounding this for much of the story, or C.)…there’s a love triangle. We’ll see!

Kate’s Picks:

34690764Book: “DC Bombshells (Vol.5): The Death of Illusion” by Marguerite Bennett

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Because DUH AND OR HELLO?!?! It’s a new “DC Bombshells” Collection!! And judging by the cover, it looks like my girls Harley and Ivy are going to be back! While I did most certainly enjoy the previous installment, I have been ACHING to see more of those two, Zatanna, and that action that is going on in Europe, so I’m hoping that we will get all of that in this issue. Plus, it’s always fun to see who will turn up and how they will subvert certain plots and truths from the DC Universe to fit into this story. I’m hoping that somehow, some way, Star Girl comes back, though I’m not holding my breath.

28096526Book: “A Line in the Dark” by Malinda Lo

Publication Date: October 17, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Malinda Lo is known for writing some well regarded LGBTQIA YA fiction, and given that this sounds like it could be a bit of romance with a bit of psychological intensity I am fully on board. It’s about two best friends, Angie and Jess. Jess is attracted to Angie, but Angie falls for a preppy girl named Margot who goes to a local boarding school. Margot, of course, brings these two into her inner circles, and it sounds like things get pretty messy, pretty quickly. And you all know how much I love catty girls at boarding school! I’ve been meaning to read Malinda Lo for awhile now, and now seems as good a time as any! Especially if things get disturbing and dark.

34497909Book: “Haunted Nights” by Lisa Morton (Ed.)

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Well obviously it’s because it’s October, and with October comes HALLOWEEN!! So what better way to get amped for Halloween than with a collection of ghost stories!! And even better, this collection of scary stories is specifically themed to have a focus on Halloween and the scary things that come with it. With popular authors like Seanan McGuire, Jonathan Maberry, and Garth Nix on board, this collection is sure to have something for everyone, and is coming out just in time for the best and scariest time of year!

What are you excited for this month? Let us know in the comments!

Not Just Books: September 2017

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Serena’s Picks:

mv5bmjm3mjq1mzkxnl5bml5banbnxkftztgwodk1odgymji-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Movie: “Baby Driver”

The name alone is confusing for this one. Add to that a very low level marketing scheme for a summer movie, and you couldn’t be blamed for blinking in confusion at this entry. But let me tell you, if you enjoy action movies, especially ones with good car chases ala “The Bourne Identiy,” this is the movie for you. It’s all about Baby, a young man with some definite driving skills who gets caught up in a criminal underworld filled with unhinged bank robbers. Beyond the superb action scenes, this movie has a killer soundtrack. And without spoiling the movie, the soundtrack doesn’t exist to simply backup the movie’s action, but plays a rather pivotal role in the story itself. Sound ambiguous? Good! Check it out and find out what I mean!

mv5bmtewmduymzgyndveqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mdq3odu3odiy-_v1_sy1000_cr006661000_al_TV Show: “Outlander”

Droughtlander is over! Finally! It’s been almost two years since Season 2 ended with Claire and Jaime being torn apart by the centuries that exist between their own time periods. Confession: I didn’t even finish Season 2 until just this summer purely because I knew that it ended on, essentially, a cliffhanger. And since it took forever and a day for this third season to make it to our screens, I feel like this was the right choice. My other confession is that I haven’t read the books this series is based on. But from a non-reader perspective, this show definitely stands on its own, full of historical drama, romance, and two outstanding lead characters. If you like period piece dramas with a heavy dose of romance (and can stand some heavy stuff, cuz this show definitely doesn’t shy away from that), definitely check out the first two seasons, and now the few first episodes of season three, of “Outlander.”

mv5bmtcynteyoty0m15bml5banbnxkftztgwotaynzu3mdi-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Movie: “The LEGO Batman Movie”

This is late coming, but I sadly missed getting to see this while it was in theaters, so I’ve been patiently monitoring my Netflix DVD queue to move it up to the top once it was released. And I’m glad I did! As we all know, here at Library Ladies, we’re definitively Team Superman. But, in many ways, that’s what makes this movie so perfect for me! My biggest complaint about Batman, and especially the more recent movies with him, is the overly serious take they had on this hero. Not so here. All of Batman’s flaws are played perfectly and hilariously! It’s also chock full of references to other iterations of Batman that we’ve seen in comics, TV, and movies. I’m sure I didn’t catch them all, but those I did were great. Robin and the Joker were great foils to Batman, and in many ways, these relationships had much more heart than we’ve seen in any relationships given to us with past versions of the character. Definitely worth seeing if you (like me) have been living under the rock for the last 6 months and somehow missed this one.

Kate’s Picks:

mv5bmtg2mzi0ntq3ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwodmymzc1mde-_v1_uy1200_cr9306301200_al_TV Show: “Bob’s Burgers”

Last summer I binged through the first couple of seasons of the hilarious and actually kind of heartwarming show “Bob’s Burgers”, but it tapered off when Netflix ran out of episodes. I’ve picked it up again, though, and it’s still such a great sitcom that I’ve been obsessing over making my way through it until there aren’t any more episodes to watch. The Belchers are such a funny and eccentric, but absolutely loving, family, and I love watching the shenanigans that they get into as they run a burger restaurant. It’s hard to pick a favorite because all of them are great, but Mom Linda and Daughter Louise are probably the characters who make me laugh the most. I do have to say that there is a certain, relatable something to awkward and somewhat odd teenager Tina, though, and I really do have to applaud the show for giving us a teenage girl that is comfortable with who she is and has no qualms about her eccentricities. “Bob’s Burgers” is a real hoot.

mv5bmjazmte1nzqxnf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjcwody3mti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Movie: “Everything, Everything”

Though my usual book fare doesn’t contain much on the romance front, every once in a blue moon I stumble into a book that is both romantic, and appealing to me. I absolutely LOVED Nicola Yoon’s book “Everything, Everything” (putting it on my Top Ten list in 2016), and was interested in seeing the movie. I ended up watching it twice on our long plane trips to and from New Zealand, because I couldn’t get enough. While there are some small differences, it’s still the story of Madeline, a girl raised indoors her entire life because she was diagnosed with SCID, an autoimmune disorder. When Ollie moves in next door and they start communicating via internet and text, she starts to want more from her life. Amandla Stenberg is the perfect Maddie, and her chemistry with the adorable Nick Robinson is supercharged. It’s romantic and sad and I just really like it.

maxresdefaultTV Show: “American Horror Story: Cult”

To be quite honest, I have a very love/hate relationship with the horror anthology series “American Horror Story.” Some seasons I loved (“Coven”), others I thought tried way too hard to be edgy (“Murder House,” “Asylum”), and others I was solidly meh on (… the rest?). But I keep coming back, and this time it’s “Cult.” Sure, I still find it a bit on the ‘trying too hard’ side in some ways, but then there are other things about it that I really like (Billie Lorde and Billy Eichner specifically). While I’m not sure that my opinion of it will end up like my deep love for “Coven” or my disdain/ indifference towards other seasons, I do know that as of right now I’m entertained. And really, that’s all that matters when it comes to this show. I AM STILL HOLDING OUT HOPE FOR FINN WITROCK TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE, THOUGH.

 

Movin’ Right Along: Favorite Traveling Stories!

Over the week of Labor Day, both of us went on week long adventures and vacations. Serena went to Glacier National Park for family and the outdoors, while Kate went to New Zealand for hobbits and landscape appreciation! In honor of our trips, we have complied a list of books that have to do with traveling and vacationing. Just because summer is almost over, it doesn’t mean that we have to say goodbye to travel and trips!

172732Book: “The Motorcycle Diaries” by Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Publishing Info: Verso Books, 1995

Before Che Guevara became a legendary revolutionary and symbol of rebellion, he was a medical student with a taste for adventure. He and his friend Alberto went on a motorcycle journey from his home in Argentina to a leper colony where he was going to treat patients. During this journey across the continent he met many people from many backgrounds, and seeing their plight sparked his political activism. His journey on his motorcycle is chronicled in his diary, which was published years after the fact and became a critically acclaimed movie starring Gael Garcia Bernal. South America comes to life on the page as Guevara’s journey unfolds, and it makes the reader ache to see what he saw.

9791Book: “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson

Publishing Info: Broadway Books, 1998

Those familiar with Bill Bryson know that he’s an avid traveler and a connoisseur in history and storytelling. Arguably, his most famous and beloved work is “A Walk in the Woods”, his story of his attempt at walking the Appalachian Trail with very little prep and very little idea of what he was getting himself into. After putting out feelers to the people in life as to who would like to try and walk the Trail with him, his only taker is an old college friend named Katz. Hilarity, mayhem, and poignancy ensue. This travel log is not only very funny, but also has some fascinating stories about the history of the trail, the wildlife on it, and the people they meet along the way.

29283884Book: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee

Publishing Info: Katherine Tegan Books, 2017

Part romantic romp, part historical fiction, and part sumptuous road trip adventure, “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” is not your average travel story.  Monty, a teenage boy of high stature in the 1700s, is going on a final European Tour before he is to settle down and take over the family estate. Accompanied by his sister Felicity and his best friend (and unrequited crush) Percy, Monty cavorts through 1700s Europe, meeting interesting people, and getting into trouble, along the way. The descriptions of this trip are fun and decadent, and you cannot help but wish that you too could be accompanying them through Old Europe and the adventures that they pursue.

10692Book: “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova

Publishing Info: Time Warner Books, 2005

On the surface level, this is presented as a horror story relating to Vlad the Impaler who is most notoriously known for inspiring Bram Stoker’s “Dracula, and the legacy that he and this most famous vampire have left across the centuries. In particular, how is this history tied up with Rossi family, the central characters of our story? However, more actually, it is a travelogue story detailing the rich history of Eastern Europe. A family mystery leads our two protagonists throughout the region, and the text takes a deep dive into the beauty of its wildernesses and cities. This book will make you want to suddenly upend your life and take a month-long trip to Budapest.

865Book: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

Publishing Info: HarperCollins, 1988

This is the story of a treasure hunt. But instead of pirates, islands, and maps marked with an “X,” we follow Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who travels from his home in Spain across the desert in Egypt to discover a hidden treasure said to be buried in the pyramids. However, no one knows what exactly this treasure is. As he travels and meets new and interesting people (a gypsy woman, a would-be King, the titular alchemist), we come to see that the real treasure is the value placed on dreams and the will to follow them wherever they may lead us.

45546Book: “Undaunted Courage: The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America’s Wild Frontier” by Stephen E. Ambrose

Publishing Info: Simon & Schuster, 1996

This is a nonfiction story that is masquerading as fiction and details the historic journey across the country by Lewis and Clark between 1803 and 1806. Ambrose focuses his tale particularly on Captain Meriwether Lewis and his relationship with President Jefferson, the driving force behind the mission. While many of us know the broad strokes of the story, this book is jammed packed with details that add color, heart, and rightly highlight the real stakes involved in undertaking a journey such as this. For example, did you know that at this point in history, the wilderness was so overrun by squirrels that they would actually migrate each year, in a similar manner to birds? And Lewis and Clark noted seeing packs of them swim across rivers in this migration? As a largely fiction reader, this is on a select must-read nonfiction list!

 

September 2017 Highlights

School is starting! Granted, this means less than it did years ago, but one of us works in an academic library, so return of students is still kind of a big deal. The summer is closing out and fall is around the corner. Kate is more excited about this than Serena. But we both know how we’ll be spending the more chilly months when we’re locked indoors: reading some great books that are coming out soon!

Serena’s Picks:

32768509 Book: “Girls Made of Snow and Glass” by Melissa Bashardoust

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Yet another fairytale re-telling! But this version of Snow White is told from the perspective of both Snow White herself and her evil stepmother. But what makes someone good? And what makes someone evil? When marrying a king, Mina never meant to become a stepmother. But Mina is the only mother that Lynet has ever known. But when Lynet’s father sets her up as a ruler of the southern providence, Mina begins to see her own hopes of independence and rule slipping away. This sounds like it is very loosely based on the original tale, but that’s all the better!

32991569Book: “Jane, Unlimited” by Kristin Cashore

Publication Info: September 19, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I got this one signed by Kristin Cashore while at ALA this summer, and I’m very excited to finally read it! I loved “Graceling” and “Fire” and it’s been a while since she’s released something new. I heard her speak at a panel where she got a question from someone in the audience wondering whether the version she had read was complete. The answer was “yes.” So, I’m guessing that Cashore plays with narrative style quite a lot in this book. I, personally, enjoy non-traditional story-telling and unreliable narrators, so I’m excited to find out what prompted this question!

28524058Book: “Before She Ignites” by Jodi Meadows

Publishing Info: September 12, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Here, too, is an author who I’ve enjoyed in the past. This is the story of a girl whose been told she’s special and perfect since the day she was born. Rather than inspire egotism, however, this has only made Mira’s crippling anxiety worsen. When she discovers secrets that betray everything she’s ever known, her life will take a turn towards discovering dark and dangerous truths. I love the concept of turning the “special snowflake” YA heroine protagonist on its head, and if anyone is capable of pulling it off, its Meadows. This one’s already on the hold list for me at the library!

Kate’s Picks:

34273236Book: “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng

Publishing Info: September 12th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I really liked Ng’s previous novel, “Everything I Never Told You”, as it was not only a stunning and devastating literary novel about a teen’s death, it was also a meticulously pieced together mystery. I have been waiting eagerly for her newest book, “Little Fire’s Everywhere”, as it sounds like an examination of small town life and the ugliness that can come with it. True, it doesn’t really match up with the usual books that I blog about on here, but I love Ng’s writing so much that I couldn’t resist trying to get an ARC for it through NetGalley… and then totally succeeding. And besides, you all know how much I live for the dramatic stories of angst and potential backstabbing.

31556153Book: “Feral Youth” by Shaun David Hutchinson (editor)

Publishing Info: September 5th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: This is a collection of short stories written by a number of YA authors, a couple of whom I really, really like. This is a collection kind of inspired by “The Canterbury Tales”, only the twist is that the premise is that each story is written by a group of teens at a camp for troubled youth, who have been instructed to go into the wilderness and reflect through writing. This is an interesting enough premise in and of itself, but the real kicker for me is that both Brandy Colbert AND Stephanie Kuehn have contributed stories to this collection. And I love me some Brandy Colbert and Stephanie Kuehn, because it means that we have to potential to get some pretty dark and insightful stories from both of them.

34466922Book: “Sleeping Beauties” by Stephen King and Owen King

Publishing Info: September 26th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Because duh. It’s a new work by Stephen King!! But along with that, it’s a joint project with his son Owen. Owen, like his father and his brother Joe Hill, is a writer in his own right, though unlike them he trends a bit lighter in his tone. This one sounds a bit more like a dystopic future, in which women of the world have succumbed to a sleeping disease. If disturbed, they turn incredibly violent and dangerous. There is one exception, a woman named Evie, who seems to be immune. Set inside the backdrop of a women’s prison, I have a feeling this book is going to be gritty and tense, just the way I like them.

What are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Not Just Books: August 2017

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Serena’s Picks:

screen-shot-2017-07-11-at-14-45-31Netflix Series Trailer: “Stranger Things” Season 2

I get chills just watching this! I absolutely loved the first season (so much so that I re-watched it on a binge with my husband in a hotel during our honeymoon. We needed a break from the site seeing! And it was really good! I will defend this choice forever). This trailer is the perfect balance of giving viewers everything they could want. Familiar characters, but with new challenges. Stakes (and monsters) that are bigger than ever. The music is on point, the visuals are stunning, and it doesn’t seem to have lost anything from one season to this (the biggest worry always with second seasons). I love that it looks like we will get so much more from Will, who was largely just missing the entire first season.

mv5bmjm0mdyzoda1mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnde5mtkxnde-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_TV Show: “Justified”

I’m not hugely into Westerns. I think I read one Louis L’Amour years ago and was pretty “meh” about the whole experience. However, I discovered “Justified” earlier this spring and have been steadily consuming it almost nightly ever since. Two things make this series stand out in my mind: 1.) The casting. Timothy Olyphant is pitch perfect as Raylan Givens, a jaded, trigger happy, Kentucky marshal. And Walton Goggins makes you root for the “villain” of the story almost just as strongly as you do for Raylan. 2.) The writing. The dialogue in this series is smart, quick, and leaves you wishing you had thought of that line. Goggins, in particular, has a way of stringing words together that makes them come out sounding almost like poetry.

a1c70sokgklColoring Book Artist: Joanna Basford

It’s been a busy, busy summer. Between traveling and finishing our basement, I’ve been in desperate need of some forced relaxation. Enter: Joanna Basford and her gorgeous artwork in her adult coloring book series. I loved coloring as a kid, and I’m not quite sure why I thought that I had to stop as an adult. But this last year when I realized that there is a thriving market for adult coloring books, I was beyond ecstatic. It took me hardly any time to realize that Joanna Basford is pretty much the reigning queen in this arena. And for good reason! Her images are beautiful, creative, and intricate enough that it can take days to finish coloring one page. One of my favorite things to do recently has been to color a page from “The Enchanted Forest” book I own while listening to my audiobook. Have to get that reading in, too, you know!

Kate’s Picks:

250px-mpgisWeb Series: “The Most Popular Girls in School”

I’m late to the train on this one, but “The Most Popular Girls in School” is a hilarious and vulgar web series about cheerleaders and popular girls being snide to each other. And on top of that, it’s all stop motion with Barbies. Yep, you read that right. Awful nasty popular girls as played by stop motion Barbies. From the rage filled cheerleader Brittnay Matthews, to the aloof and unbothered new girl Deandra, to the bubble headed Parisian (but possibly Québécois) Saison Margueritte, the characters are outrageous and hilarious. It’s very much a hybrid of “Mean Girls” and “South Park”, and I can’t get enough of it.

wet_hot_american_summer___tv_show_folder_icon_v1_by_dyiddo-d9022iiNetflix Series Re-Watch: “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp”

“Wet Hot American Summer” is my favorite movie of all time. I had promised some of my girlfriends that I would hold off on watching its newest miniseries, “Ten Years Later,” until I could watch it with them. So the night that that one dropped, I instead re-watched the first sequel series, “First Day of Camp.” And gosh, it’s still filled with joy, absurdity, and a great cast with great comedy to boot. Most of the (HUGE) original cast came back, including Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Bradley Cooper (whose romance with Michael Ian Black in the movie is given an origin story here, and yes, it’s just as sweet as you’d think), and on top of that there are many, many cameos from other comedic players. It perfectly captures the joy of the movie, more so than “Ten Years Later” (yes I did end up watching it). Watching “First Day of Camp” and then “Wet Hot American Summer” is the perfect way to close out your own summer.

mindhunter-696x324Netflix Series Trailer: “Mindhunter”

My love of true crime has really been given a LOT to work with lately. Between the “My Favorite Murder” Podcast and a number of pretty neat true crime books coming out, my guilty pleasure has been well sated. And now Netflix is coming out with “Mindhuter”, a series about two FBI Agents (one played by Jonathan Groff) who try to study and profile serial killers. On top of that, it’s based on a book written by John Douglas! This trailer is creepy and unsettling, but it also has some familiar faces in it for me, in terms of the killers they are going to be tackling (hey hey, Edmund Kemper you crazy son of a bitch!). I really like Jonathan Groff, and I like that this takes place during a time when serial killer and psychopathic pathology weren’t really understood. I have a feeling I’ll need to watch this with the lights on, because the trailer is freaky enough on its own.

 

 

The North Read-members: A “Game of Thrones” Book List

Like many people, we are HUGE fans of “Game of Thrones” here at The Library Ladies. The drama, the action, the intrigue, the DRAGONS, we are here for it. With the seventh season a little past its midway point, we thought that it would be fun to throw out some recommendations inspired by the show. But instead of focusing on plot points, we’re focusing on characters, and what books they might like. The night is dark, and full of readers, so let’s see what books we would recommend to some of the best loved (and most hated) characters on the show.

 

Jon Snow: “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks

Jon Snow, who is presently the King of the North, is less interested in the fight over the Iron Throne, and more interested in the fact that a horde of ice zombies known as White Walkers are gathering an army that is threatening to invade all of Westeros. Even though his strategizing has been mostly solid up until this point (the whole Rickon thing notwithstanding), we think that he should read up on Max Brooks’s book “The Zombie Survival Guide”. This book talks about how to defend against an uprising of the undead in your day to day life, and while it has it’s tongue planted firmly in cheek, it still gives realistic and helpful tips on how to plan for multiple kinds of disasters. Dragon Glass and Valyrian Steel may be key, but having escape routes and plans for any terrain and climate from the get go couldn’t hurt, right?

 

Daenerys Targaryen: “Dragon’s Milk” by Susan Fletcher

It’s been quite a while now since Dany’s dragons were adorable little draclings, but there was a time when they were only adorable little babies, helpless and needing her care. “Dragon’s Milk” was one of my favorite fantasy stories when I was a teenager, and the three adorable draclings that our teenage protagonists “adopts” was definitely part of the appeal. I believe we even named one of our pet birds “Pyrro” after one of the draglings in this story. Here, Kaedra, like Dany, finds herself raising three tiny dragons who are truly babies, temper tantrums and all. What’s more, this book, like “Game of Thrones” doesn’t play it safe with the stakes. There is danger, tragedy, and real consequences involved for all of the character’s actions.

 

Arya Stark: “Skullsworn” by Brian Staveley

For our most deadly Stark, what could be better than a book that is ALSO about a female assassin who has been trained by an organization that essentially worships death? While Staveley’s Skullsworn do not give up their names (or get super cool face-changing-abilities) they do have a similarly pragmatic approach to death and killing and are equally proficient at it. Our would-be-assasin, Pyrre, even has a list of marks she must kill before the end of the book in order to pass her final test. Arya would fit right in with this group! And I’m sure they would have looked on with pride at her mass elimination of no-one’s favorite sleazy patriarch and family.

 

Tyrion Lannister: “And I Darken” by Kiersten White

Going in, this book seems to be about Lada and her rise/fall to power. But this is also Radu’s story, and his is one that in many ways closely mirrors Tyrion’s. They are both born into the world with traits that set them apart and clearly mark them as “other.” This failure to be the sons their fathers want leads to neglect, scorn, and ultimately, exile. Both have complicated relationships with their siblings, specifically their sisters, and both find themselves more welcome and at home in the court of a foreign ruler whom they go on to support and become the right hand man of. Like Tyrion, Radu thrives at political maneuvering and brings these skills to the forefront in his support of Mehmed. And in many ways, Lada can be seen as the combination of Cersei and Jaime into one sibling; she both loves and hates Radu at different points throughout the story, and his feelings are similarly flexible towards her.

 

Cersei Lannister/Jaime Lannister: “Flowers in the Attic” by V.C. Andrews

Well, the obvious comparison is there. Cersei and Jaime, the Golden Twins of House Lannister, are a bit too close for comfort. They are in love with/obsessed with each other, and all of her children with King Robert Baratheon are actually her children with her twin brother. So yes, the Twincest factor matches up with the brother/sister couple of Cathy and Chris Dollanganger. But there are other parallels between the Lannister family and the Dollangers of V.C. Andrews’s book “Flowers in the Attic.” The Dollangangers also have a massive fortune that they sit upon, and with that money comes the dysfunction, cruelty, and haughtiness that has come to define the Lannisters. So does a penchant for poisoning those who may be getting in their way. And much like Corrine Dollanganger, it can be argued that Tywin Lannister doesn’t really care for any of his children, so parent issues are present as well.

 

Sansa Stark: “The Witness Wore Red” by Rebecca Musser

There is no question that Sansa Stark has been through hell. She was raised to be a queen, but then betrothed to a sociopath, held political hostage by his family, only to escape to then be married off to ANOTHER sociopath who tortured and raped her daily. But she escaped from him as well, reclaimed her family home, got her brutal revenge on her husband (in one of the most satisfying sequences the show has ever done), and became the rightful Lady of the North once again. Because of all this, she should read “The Witness Wore Red,” a memoir by a woman who was a member of the FLDS Church, until she escaped and testified against her abusers in court. It follows her life as a child growing up in the FLDS, being married off to the elderly ‘prophet’ of the sect, Rulon Jeffs, and her eventual escape and activism. This book is harrowing and hard to read, but ultimately triumphant, as Musser not only has her life and her freedom now, she is also an advocate for stopping sex trafficking and abuse.

 

Brienne of Tarth: “The Woman Who Rides Like a Man” by Tamora Pierce

Technically, “The Woman Who Rides Like a Man” is the 3rd book in a 4 book series, but the title and plot of this one book in the series most closely aligns with Brienne’s experience of life as a lady knight in a world that doesn’t know what to make of that. I mean, this is the tag line of this book: “Let her prove herself worthy as a man.” Alanna faces the same challenges as Brienne now that she has graduated as a full knight while at the same time being exposed as a woman, a fact she has hidden for years as she trained. Both Brienne and Alanna are constantly defending their right to be what they are: excellent warrior women. And both Brienne and Alanna find the people and causes for which they are willing to devote their considerable abilities to fully.

There are so many other characters that we haven’t touched upon. What books would you recommend to those characters, or the ones that we covered? Tell us in the comments!!