Wednesday, October 31, 2007


It's only a few hours and counting until thousands of aspiring writers and wordsmiths around the world launch into the annual event known as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).

Participants can go to the NaNoWriMo website, sign up for a free account, and then begin writing their own version of the Great American Novel. Everyone who takes part is encouraged to shoot for the ultimate goal -- start with 0 words on November 1st, and finish with a complete 50,000-word novel (or longer!) by the stroke of midnight at the end of November 30th.

Looking for some moral support as you keyboard your way to literary greatness? You can hang out with the 340+ other Nebraskans who are registered participants -- bemoan your progress in the discussion forums -- identify your friends as Writing Buddies and track their daily word count -- get together at regularly scheduled NaNoWriMo gatherings in Lincoln -- and look forward to the big celebration party for local writers after the November 30th deadline has passed! You can keep your writing completely private or open it up to everyone else to read and critique.

Although a complete 50,000 novel in a month may prove to be too much for you, the creative and supportive environment of NaNoWriMo is sure to get your literary juices flowing, no matter whether you're writing a political thriller or Chick Lit!

So...check out, get started writing, and drop us a note in the comments here to let us know what your "handle" is on the NaNoWriMo site...we'll keep an eye on your progress!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An October Staff Recommendation - The Horror Readers Advisory

To see all October 2007 Staff Recommendations, visit the Staff Recommendations page on BookGuide.

The Horror Readers' Advisory: The Librarian's Guide to Vampires, Killer Tomatoes, and Haunted Houses
by Becky Siegel Spratford and Tammy Hennigh Clausen [809.386 Spr]

Though primarily intended as a training tool for librarians, this can also serve as a handy little guide for horror fans as well. It breaks the broad horror genre down into 11 digestible chunks, in chapters such as: "The Classics", "Mummies, Zombies and Golems: The Walking Dead Under Wraps", "Werewolves and Animals of Terror: The Best Walks Among Us", "Black Magic, Witches, Warlocks and the Occult: Double, Double, Toil and Trouble"; "Scientific and Biomedical Horror: The Doctor Will See You Now"; and "Splatterpunk or Extreme Horror: Horror's Cutting Edge" (and more!). Each section provides a background blurb identifying characteristics that are common to that type of horror-writing, then lists 20 to 30 noteworthy titles that really stand out in that category. Non-librarians may wish to skip the sections on collection development and marketing, but may enjoy the background provided about the major horror-related literary awards. This one is a quick read, but especially useful for the casual horror reader looking for top-flight recommends of what to read next!

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

An October Staff Recommendation - The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural

To see all October 2007 Staff Recommendations, visit the Staff Recommendations page on BookGuide.

The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural
edited by Jack Sullivan [809.387 qSul]

Although somewhat dated (published in 1986), this 480-page oversized volume does a nice job of presenting entries about people, places and things of a supernatural or horrific nature in a compact encyclopedic form. Special emphasis is placed on biographical entries about prominent horror writers, novels and noteworthy horror films. Large entries are also available for all of the standard horror tropes -- vampires, ghosts, werewolves, golems, etc. The book is liberally illustrated with a variety of black and white images -- woodcuts, line-drawings, photographs, etc. Also of note -- there are over 50 lengthy essays on themes that are native to horror and the supernatural. Although this is a somewhat "dry" text, due to its encyclopedic nature, it is still filled with detailed entries on obscure topics that may surprise even long-time horror fans!

[ Wikipedia page for this book ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

An October Staff Recommendation - Poe's Tell Tale Heart on DVD

To see all October Staff Recommendations, visit the Staff Recommendations page on BookGuide.

by Edgar Allan Poe [DVD Poe]

Poe's classic short story about murder, insanity, betrayal and revenge is brought to life in this odd video adaptation. Using very simple filming techniques, the story is told almost like a stage play. Decent acting, though, and an atmospheric set design. For true Poe devotees, this one may fall a bit short. But for casual Poe readers, this film version is worth a look.

Have you seen this one? What did you think?

2007 Nebraska Book Festival

Lincoln-area Book Lovers --

2007 Nebraska Book Festival -- October 26-28 -- Lincoln, NE

Downtown Lincoln businesses, museums, University facilities, and the State Capitol will open their doors to the Nebraska Book Festival, offering venues for readings and presentations, book signings, poet sightings, photo exhibits, award ceremonies, aardvarks and String Beans, music and food, a film screening, and other fun activities for children and adults.

Visit the official Nebraska Book Festival website for full details, including the official NBF schedule, plus a schedule of storytelling activities for children.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

October Staff Recommendation - X-Files Book of the Unexplained

To see all October Staff Recommendations, visit the Staff Recommendations page on BookGuide.

The X-Files Book of the Unexplained [Volume 1]
by Jane Goldman [001.95 Gol]

Rather light-toned look at the various scientific and paranormal topics brought up in episodes of the hit X-Files television series. The subjects are covered a bit cursorily, however the "unexplained" elements of the episodes' plots are tied in nicely to concepts of "could this really have happened?" This book will appeal most to X-Files fans who have an open mind and strong sense of curiousity about the dark shadowy corners of our world.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Monday, October 22, 2007

An October Staff Recommendation - Heart-Shaped Box

To see all October Staff Recommendations, visit the Staff Recommendations page on BookGuide.

Heart-Shaped Box
by Joe Hill

This is a book with an aging rocker protagonist, who has a morbid facination with anything occult. In fact, this facination leads him to purchase a dead man's suit that evidently includes a bona fide ghost. The story really begins when the suit comes in delivery on a cold morning. People who enjoy Stephen King will enjoy his son's first full-length novel written under the psuedonym Joe Hill. This is a book worthy of the King name and as wonderfully well-written.

[ Joe Hill's official web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Reminder -- Final Just Desserts of 2007 this Thursday!

Mystery Fans --

Just a reminder...the final Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group meeting for 2007 will be held at Bennett Martin Public Library this Thursday at 7 p.m.. The book we'll all be discussing is Nebraska mystery author Mignon Eberhart's "The Mystery of Huntings End". We'll be taking our traditional two-month hiatus in November and December so as not to conflict with participants' holiday travel plans.

Just Desserts will return in January, and our January and February selections have already been posted to the Just Desserts page on BookGuide -- We'll be discussing James D. Doss' "Shadow Man" on January 31st, 2008, and Ngaio Marsh' "Grave Mistake" on February 28th, 2008.

Just Desserts meets the final Thursday of each month (Jan-Oct) from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Reference Reading Room (1st floor) at Bennett Martin Public Library. Participants are encouraged to all read the same book to facilitate discussion -- we alternate between "classic" and "contemporary" authors -- although we try to reserve time for general mystery discussion at the end of each meeting. Participants are also encouraged to bring a small dessert selection to share with fellow mystery fans. Drinks are provided.

Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

An October Staff Recommendation - The Shining

To see all October Staff Recommendations, visit the Staff Recommendations page on BookGuide.

The Shining
by Stephen King

A delightfully creepy tale of a family alone in a mountainside hotel. This is a story of a struggling writer who takes a job as a winter caretaker at a distant hotel. He brings his family along. What he doesn't know is that the hotel is haunted by some not-so-friendly ghosts. His son, who has a sort of psychic ability, has some frightening experiences with the local ghosts. The solitude of the snowed in mountain, along with the man's pent-up frustrations, causes him to lose his mind slowly. Horror ensues as the family fights to live. [Loosely adapted into a 1980 film directed by Stanley Kubrick, and a true-to-the-book TV mini-series adaptation in 1997 with a screenplay by King himself.] -- reviewed by Julie H. [Bess Dodson Walt Branch]

[ official Stephen King web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

An October Staff Recommendation - Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials

To see all October Staff Recommendations, visit the Staff Recommendations page on BookGuide

This wonderful illustrated guide is an essential part of any serious science fiction fan's permanent library. Wayne Barlowe has been described as the John James Audubon of otherworld creatures. Here, he brings to vivid life fifty alien and inhuman creatures made popular in works of science fiction, fantasy or horror literature. His illustrations are so detailed, they often appear to have come from anatomy textbooks. Curious to see what the Mesklinites from Hal Clement's "Mission of Gravity" look like? How about Larry Niven's three-headed Puppeteers? The Thing, from John Campbell's unforgettable "Who Goes There?" Or take a gander at the Overlords, from Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End". These and many more -- including an artist's sketchbook -- await you within the pages of this unique genre gem. Also...if you enjoy this one, try Barlowe's The Alien Life of Wayne Barlowe and Barlowe's Inferno. -- reviewed by Scott C. [Bennett Martin Public Library]

[ Wikipedia page for Barlowe ] [ official Wayne Douglas Barlowe web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An October Staff Recommendation -- Society of S

To see all October Staff Recommendations, visit the Staff Recommendations page on BookGuide.

Society of S
by Susan Hubbard

An intellectual vampire novel about Ari, a young woman trying to discover more about herself and her family. This coming of age story follows Ari as she discovers more and more about Vampirism and the sinister things that not just vampires harbor inside. Those that enjoyed The Historian by Kostova will enjoy this shorter novel about another aspect of the vampire legend. -- reviewed by Sean S. [Loren Corey Eiseley Branch Library]

[ official MySpace page for the Society of S ] [ official Susan Hubbard web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Staff Recommendation - Haunted Places

To see the entire month's worth of Staff Recommendations for October, visit our Staff Recommendations page at BookGuide

Haunted Places: The National Directory
edited by Dennis William Hauck [133.1 Hau 2002]

As the subtitle implies, this trade paperback is a guide to "ghostly abodes, sacred sites, UFO landings, and other supernatural locations" in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. The hauntings identified for Lincoln, NE, include the famed Clara Mills ghost in Nebraska Wesleyan's C.C. White building, the Hobbittsville House ghost, the ghost in the Old Captain's Studio, the State Capitol Building ghost, ghosts in Lake Street Park and Robber's Cave, and several rumored hauntings on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. Hauch writes each entry in a brief, but informative, style and provides detailed addresses or directions to finding the sites listed (when known). The one caveat I would mention is that his background details aren't always 100% accurate. Although the Lincoln entries appear to be free from errors, I found that his descriptions of various other sites differed from other printed sources. Stilll...highly readable, entertaining, and generally informative. A fun read for those interested in paranormal hauntings. -- Reviewed by Scott C. - Reference Department - Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Doris Lessing -- 2007 Nobel Laureate for Literature

Doris Lessing, the Persian-born, Rhodesian-raised and London-residing novelist whose deeply autobiographical writing has swept across continents and reflects her engagement with the social and political issues of her time, won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday. [from the New York Times article]

Check out our display of Doris Lessing books at Bennett Martin Public Library in downtown Lincoln, and share your thoughts here on this influential and eclectic author's many works.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An October Staff Recommendation - Midnight Mass

Check out the 10 new reviews at BookGuide's Staff Recommendations page for October 2007.

We're going to post all ten as blog entries here over the course of the month, or you can visit the link above to see them all at once right now. Here's your first Oct selection...

A unique twist on the classic vampire story. Vampires are taking over the world, and are corralling people into 'ranches' to be 'cattle' for the vampires. Some humans are permitted to remain human, the 'cowboys', to guard the ranches during daylight hours and to help in catching more humans. This is a tale of an odd band of rebels (a fallen priest, a rabbi, a girl, and a nun) and their part in the horror of every day life. The priest has become disillusioned because his mentor invited the vampires in and helped them destroy the church, all to become a vampire himself. Can he fight the despair he feels? Can a priest work successfully with a rabbi? How on earth do they think they can destroy the vampires? Was also released as a motion picture in 2003. -- Reviewed by Julie H. [Bess Dodson Walt Branch Library]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

New Oprah Selection: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A few days ago, Oprah Winfrey announced her latest selection for the Oprah's Book Club -- Gabriel Garcia Marquez' classic novel, Love in the Time of Cholera.
Originally published in Spanish in 1985, this novel has won numerous awards Here's a plot blurb: In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermino Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.
Have you read this title? What did you think of it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Read...Discuss...Repeat for October 2007

October 2007
Interview With the Vampire
Anne Rice [1976]

The October 2007 selection for Read...Discuss...Repeat! has been posted to the BookGuide site, and we're also going to posting it here in the BookGuide blog as well.

You can find some background information, including links to related websites and some "readalikes" for this month's title, by visiting: This month's Read...Discuss...Repeat! page.

We then encourage you to leave your thoughts about this month's selected title either via the comments form on the linked page, or by replying in comments here in our blog!