Reader’s Advisory: LGBTQ Stories

LGBTQ characters in comics, literature, television, and film have become increasingly popular and accepted. The success of TV shows such as Orange is the New Black, the recently critically acclaimed film Carol, and queer retellings of stories such as that of Catwoman have boosted representation of LGBTQ people. If you’ve been searching for more LGBTQ characters, here is a list of books available in the Undergraduate Library that will capture your interest.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home:A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

This graphic memoir by lesbian comic artist Alison Bechdel, author of the long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, explores Bechdel’s sexuality as a child and college student alongside the retelling of her father’s complicated sexuality and premature death. This Lambda Literary and Eisner award-winning graphic memoir is a great introduction to graphic novels and queer literature, but will also please aficionados of the genres. Fans of the Broadway musical Fun Home who were left craving more should pick up this original story!

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

This book tells the story of Ijeoma, a young Nigerian girl who falls in love with another girl of a different ethnic group as the civil war becomes the backdrop of their lives in the 1970s. As the adult Ijeoma reminisces about her childhood, she discovers herself and her desires in this intimate debut novel. People interested in coming-of-age stories will love Ijeoma’s journey to understanding her sexuality.

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
James Baldwin’s 1956 classic Giovanni’s Room follows a man conflicted between the women to whom he has recently engaged and his affair with an Italian bartender—who just so happens to be a man. As David struggles to choose between his goal of a traditional lifestyle and his sexual desires, he falls deeper into his affair with Giovanni. Baldwin wrote the classic tale of self-discovery mixed with a sex and sin in this literary masterpiece.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Fans of lesbian romance, mysteries, and historical fiction alike will devour this period romance by renowned lesbian author Sarah Waters. Sue, an orphan raised in a community of con artists, becomes the maid of a wealthy woman whose inheritance is the object of desire. With a surprising romance and plot twists, if you can’t get enough of this Lambda Literary winning story, it was retold in the form of a BBC One series, which is also available in the Undergraduate Library!

Long Red Hair by Meags Fitzgerald

Long Red Hair by Meags Fitzgerald

Comic artist Meags Fitzgerald details her story of discovering and labeling her sexuality while struggling with the social pressure to choose between her attraction to men and to women. Even within queer literatures, stories of bisexuality and other non-monosexual identities are less prevalent than gay or lesbian narratives. Fitzgerald interweaves historical examples of relationships and sexuality with her own in this 93-page whirlwind of a memoir. Readers who seek representations of lesser-discussed sexualities, or those looking for a book to devour in one sitting, will love this graphic retelling of Fitzgerald’s coming-of-age as a queer woman.

Wandering Son by Takako Shimura

Wandering Son by Takako Shimura

Takako Shimura’s manga series follows two transgender friends in middle school as they discover what it means to be transgender and how to live as their authentic selves. Through eight volumes, Shimura gives readers a coming-of-age story unlike any other: as the characters approach and experience puberty, their experiences are shaped by their gender identities that do not match their bodies. This manga series broke new ground during its first release in 2002. It will be enjoyed by lovers of comics, coming-of-age stories, and LGBTQ literature alike.

What are your favorite LGBTQ books? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)!

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UGL Advisory: What to Read/Watch After Your Netflix Series Ends

The fallout after binge watching a new Netflix series can be devastating, but we here at the UGL can help you move on from your current obsession and get a new one from our collection! Whether you want to keep your eyes glued to your laptop/tv screen or if you want to take a break and intake something a bit more tangible, there’s something in the UGL collection to fill the hole a good show can leave in your heart. We may not be able to stitch the wound of losing your new favorite show, but we’re hoping something from our immense collection of movies, books, graphic novels, and video games can serve as a sort of bandage.

What to Read/Watch Next Flowchart

 

If you like: Marvel’s Jessica Jones starring Krysten Ritter

You should try…

Fringe: The Complete First Season

Fringe: The Complete First Season

TV Show: Fringe

This now cult series partially created by the newest “Star Wars” director J.J. Abrams started in 2008 and ran for five thrilling seasons. “Fringe” is also driven by a cool female lead in Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv) and follows dark, science fiction based plotlines that will satisfy both your fantastical and nerdy desires after finishing the new Marvel series. Parallel universes, a glyph code that an intent viewer may want to crack, and mad scientists will give you plenty to think about, and the five seasons worth of episodes should take a least a chunk out of your wait for the next season of Jessica Jones.

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis

Book: Alias by Brian Michael Bendis

“Alias” is what started it all and introduced the world to Jessica Jones. The series you just finished is actually based on this series, so what better way to dive into the lore of the show than reading the source material? Brian Michael Bendis is at his full strength in this series and this series could serve as the perfect gateway to other comics series for those of you who may have been ignoring their powers. The UGL also has a copy of Jessica Jones : the Pulse. The Complete Collection, a more recent series featuring this bad-ass private investigator.

 

If you like: House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey

You should try…

The West Wing: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

The West Wing: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

TV Show: The West Wing

Probably the most natural way to segue from Frank Underwood’s ruthlessness would be to engross yourself in the fictional presidency of Josiah Bartlet, the likable democratic president of the United States from 1999 through 2007 in “The West Wing”. The Aaron Sorkin (future writer of “The Social Network” and “Moneyball”) created show focuses on the daily world of White House is one of the most successful political dramas ever and will surely provide you with enough intrigue to curb your obsession about what Frank is going to do next.

Watergate by Thomas Mallon

Watergate by Thomas Mallon

Book: Watergate by Thomas Mallon

If you have a thing for American politics at all, then you know what Watergate is and why the scandal around it shook the nation. Thomas Mallon gives us a fictionalized account of the entire scandal and focuses on the characters that you may not know. The New York Times praises Mallon’s ability to capture “the fundamental weirdness and mystery at the center of the scandal,” giving you something a bit less serious but a bit realer than the events covered in House of Cards.

 

If you like: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt starring Ellie Kemper

You should try…

Broad City: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

Broad City: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

TV Show: Broad City

If you like “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, it stands to reason that you like Tina Fey (one of the creators of the show), which means you probably also like Amy Poehler (her BFF) who is the executive producer of “Broad City”. The show follows Abbi and Ilana, two real life best friends with enormous on screen chemistry, as they navigate the intricacies of their lives in New York City. That last sentence may make this show seem like any other twenty-somethings in NYC sitcom, but “Broad City” and its stars have voices and a comedic presence that seem so fresh and different that you’ll catch yourself reeling throughout every episode. The transition between these two shows will be as smooth as a nice glass of pinot noir.

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

Book: The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

We are truly living in a golden age of television and comedy with so many distinct and varied voices out there creating things that challenge us, engage us and, perhaps most importantly, make us laugh. Any fan of modern comedy should definitely know Sarah Silverman and her bestselling book should be a fine introduction to anyone who is unfamiliar as of yet. Her comedic style is a bit different than that of Tina Fey and Ellie Kemper, but we’re sure this will have you laughing at least a little bit.

 

If you like: Master of None starring Aziz Ansari

You should try…

Louie: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

Louie: The Complete First Season; Photo taken from Amazon

TV Show: Louie

It’s not very hard to find similarities between “Louie” and “Master of None” and other shows on this list; both of these shows follow two of the funniest men of our time struggling to find themselves in New York City. It’s a time-tested formula for success, but both Louis CK and Aziz Ansari play with the boundaries of this typical format to bring themselves and their comedic outlook to the front of each show. “Louie” will satisfy on its humor alone and it’s impossible to not feel bad for and laugh along with CK with his sardonic and dark view of the world, but the artsier episodes and heartbreaking storylines will surely win you over and eventually have you begging for the next season of this one to be released.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Book: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

“Master of None” derives some of its humor from the uncomfortable and unfortunate situations minorities face in their daily and professional lives and Mindy Kaling’s latest book also dives into some of this territory. Both Ansari and Kaling are burgeoning comedic voices that are pushing the pre-existing boundaries for television while creating some of the funniest and most deeply emotional shows and other media you can intake. Don’t get caught missing out on this one.

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Reader’s Advisory: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

Now that the last Hunger Games movie is in movie theaters, the beloved trilogy is officially over. Now what? Lucky for you, the UGL has put together a list of young adult novels that have everything you loved about The Hunger Games and may even leave you asking, “Katniss who?” Suzanne Collins’s series may live in your heart forever, but the time has come to test out some other dystopian young adult fiction. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Pierce Brown’s science fiction novel, Red Rising, is the first in a three-part series that blends oppression, rebellion, and an impossibly strong lead character. The story’s teen protagonist, Darrow, lives in a mining colony on Mars and learns about government secrets when he is rescued by an underground revolutionary group. As Darrow attempts to seek justice on the ruling elite, the action heats up and it becomes impossible to set this book down. If you’re looking for a fast-paced story, this is it.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Tahir’s thought-provoking, action-packed novel is the perfect follow-up for The Hunger Games if you are craving complex characters. The story follows Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier, as they both seek freedom from the tyrannical government, inspired by ancient Rome, that destroys everything they hold dear. Tahir’s novel is a heart-wrenching look at what it means to be human and includes everything from gritty action to complex romance.

Matched by Allie Condie

Condie’s book follows a strong female protagonist that has to decide between listening to authorities and standing up for what she believes in. Cassia gets matched with her perfect partner by Officials who have control over people’s love, life, and death. When Cassia falls in love with someone else, she has to decide whether she will obey or follow her own path and fight back. This novel is perfect for anyone who preferred the themes of The Hunger Games, but not the violence.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Aveyard’s fantasy novel follows seventeen-year-old Mare Barrow as she discovers her magical ability and navigates a dangerous, divided society. Mare is torn between the Red commoners that she grew up among and the Silver elites that are gifted with superhuman abilities. Filled with class tension, betrayal, and moments of romance, this clever book is the perfect read if you are looking for a self-aware, strong female character.

Legend by Marie Lu

Legend takes place in what was once the western United States, an area faced with endless war. The story follows June, a wealthy military prodigy, and Day, the country’s most wanted criminal. When June’s brother is murdered and Day is the number-one suspect, their lives become intertwined. June seeks to avenge her brother’s death, but the two characters soon realize they both have a common enemy. This suspense-driven novel is full of twists and turns and provides an interesting look at the role of government and power.

What are your favorite YA books? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)!

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Reader’s Advisory: Books About Music

November is American Music Month, so we decided to take the opportunity to walk you through some of our music books about American musicians and movements. Though the Music and Performing Arts Library holds all the actual music the libraries have to offer, the UGL does have a pretty eclectic collection of books about music. Whether you’re into Broadway or Grunge, we like to think our collection has at least a little something for everyone. Take this opportunity to find a new favorite genre or simply to learn a bit more about your favorite band with the suggestions below.

No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead by Peter Richardson

With the band playing what are supposed to be their final shows together back in July for their Fare Thee Well series, there has been resurgence in interest for the Deadhead world and in the great American rock band those fans follow. This 2015 book attempts to find out why the Grateful Dead were so popular and spin the band and their fans not as the hippie burn-outs the mainstream media has portrayed them, but as a cultural tour de force and one of the most influential and talented bands to tour the world.

Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth by John F. Szwed

Billie Holiday is one of the most influential and remarkable individuals to ever grace this Earth with their presence. If you like Adele or Amy Winehouse, you are indebted to the work that Billie Holiday did in her lifetime. In fact, if you like popular music at all, reading this book will help you recognize the huge impact Billie Holiday has had on the musical world of today. Szwed is also an accomplished author who has unraveled the mystery around many other great American musicians and music industry giants such as Alan Lomax, Sun Ra, and Miles Davis.

Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

If you’re into the history of indie rock at all, find out about its ins and outs via this unique and personal book by Kim Gordon. Saying that Gordon is cool is an understatement. Kim Gordon was a founding member and bassist/guitarist/vocalist of Sonic Youth, one of the biggest punk bands of the 80s and 90s and one of the most influential bands to ever make music. Gordon details her life in this book from her days growing up in California to the aftermath of her divorce from Sonic Youth cofounder Thurston Moore.

The Riot Grrrl Collection edited by Lisa Darms and Johana Fateman

Punk rock has always been strongly associated with DIY ethics and strong personal identities and the 1990s Riot Grrrl movement was one of the most well known and documented of these sorts of movements. This collection of zines, personally produced and published magazines, shows how so many people during this era found their way to feminism and found their own voices through a kind of music and culture that finally represented them. This collection does a great job of showing just how easy it is for someone to take part in a movement bigger than themselves and celebrates the voices of the many fans and fighters of a historic and interesting cultural movement.

The B Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song by Ben Yagoda

The American songbook is rich and deep and it all started with Tin Pan Alley. This book tells the end of the Tin Pan Alley era as rock n’ roll reared its tumultuous and tide-changing head. The intertwining stories told in this book are ones that shaped the entire landscape of American music, giving readers a better, deeper understanding of the reasons things played out the way they did. Frank Sinatra had it his way and rock n’ roll had its own and this book breaks down the very difference between those contrasting ideas.

How are you celebrating American Music Month? Did we miss any of your favorite books about music? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)!

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Reader’s Advisory: Halloween Graphic Novels

Well Club UGLers, it is getting ever closer to Halloween which means it’s time to make costumes, eat candy corn, and scare ourselves with movies, books, and haunted houses. In this week’s Reader’s Advisory, we are going to give you some graphic novel reading suggestions that up the ante on chills, thrills, and blood. The Undergraduate Library has one of the biggest graphic novel collections in the country, so stay tuned because there is bound to be something you’ll like.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Broshol

Anya’s Ghost, by Russian-American Vera Broshol, is a creepy, yet tame, ghost story option for those who prefer not to be kept up at night. Anya is a Russian immigrant navigating high school with no friends and low self-esteem when she unexpectedly falls into a well and meets a ghost. When Anya is rescued, she also rescues the ghost, who she adopts as her new best friend. The best laid plans go awry in this ghostly graphic novel perfect for someone who gets a bit squeamish in a horror film!

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

If your favorite part of a graphic novel is the artwork, Through the Woods is sure to suit your tastes. This horror graphic novel by Canadian lesbian author Emily Carroll is composed of five spine-tingling fairy tales gone wrong. From kidnapped sisters in the cold winter to a murdered wife’s ghost, these five tales and the horrifically beautiful depictions will be just creepy enough for people who like fear without the gore.

Dark Metro by Tokyo Calen and illustrated by Yoshiken

For those who prefer manga, Dark Metro is a perfect Halloween choice. This exploration of the Tokyo underground beneath the subways. The boundaries between life and death are challenged by those who spend time here with Seiya, the guide of the land of the dead. These short stories about people preyed upon by the ghosts of the city’s terrifying underworld will please those who are a little into the dark side. This creepy manga has two volumes to keep you reading all Halloween weekend.

Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb

If manga isn’t your thing, you could always go to the tried and true Batman for your source of Halloween entertainment. In Batman: The Long Halloween Batman must stop a serial killer called Holiday. Holiday is a crazed maniac who kills people every holiday. In this story, Batman’s greatest foe is defeating this villain while also wrestling with some of the most iconic members of his rogues gallery including Falcone, Two-Face, and the Joker. This graphic novel is sure to delight the murder-mystery fans in us all. Check this one out if you need to quench your superhero fix with a Halloween twist.

30 Days of Night by Steve Niles

Last on the list is easily the most brutal and bloody. 30 Days of Night, takes place in a small town in Alaska where the sun does not rise for 30 days. Vampires come to the town to openly kill and feed on the townspeople. How will this seemingly endless vampire rampage end? You could always check out the graphic novel! This graphic novel is definitely for fans of vampires – and those that aren’t on the squeamish side.

For more Halloween graphic novel suggestions, check out our handy chart:

Halloween Graphic Novels

Have any other suggestions for frightful graphic novels? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)! Happy reading, Club UGL!

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Reader’s Advisory: Book to Film

Well it appears that the summer is over and school is back to dominate your life. With school comes endless amounts of homework and social events that could really slow down your progress on that constantly growing “to-read” list. Unfortunately for you, your time to read these books before they are inevitably adapted into movies could be coming to an end. From Sci-Fi to young adult dystopians, no genre is safe from the entertainment machine that is the movie industry! You better put your reading hat on, you do not want the movie to ruin the book!

Here at the UGL, we understand your plight, so this week’s reader’s advisory is focusing on books that will be adapted into movies during the Fall semester.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

First on the list is James Dashner’s The Scorch Trials. If you were a fan of the first book in the series, then you will be quite pleased to read The Scorch Trials. Centered on the Gladers after their adventures and hardships in the maze, the story sees the group from the first story face even more tragic situations and encounter new friends. From start to finish, this book is full of excitement and with the adaptation, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, coming out September 18th, you better get off your butt and do some reading.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Have you ever wondered if you would be able to survive in the wilderness with just your wit and your smarts? Well stop wondering, you would definitely not make it. But Andy Weir’s debut novel, The Martian, depicts someone who is attempting to survive on Mars with just those tools (and a couple degrees in botany and engineering). In Weir’s groundbreaking novel, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after a freak accident. Now, against all odds Mark must survive long enough for NASA to save him. Humorous, dark, and amazingly hopeful, Weir’s novel is the go-to read of the fall. With the adaptation coming out October 2nd, you have a couple weeks to read this page turner.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Next on your young adult list is the final chapter of the popular Hunger Games trilogy: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. After the last hunger games, which saw the launch of a revolution, Mockingjay sees Katniss’ story end with a violent revolution, secrets, and love. With the success of the previous films and pending release of Mockingjay Pt. 2 in theaters on November 20, you have some time to read this one, but why wait?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Let’s be completely honest, you probably skipped Frankenstein in your high school class. So what better time to read Mary Shelley’s magnum opus than now? Frankenstein tells the classic story of a doctor attempting to create life. Frankenstein has been spoofed and adapted into a number of different movies, novels, and plays, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from trying again. Harry Potter himself (Daniel Radcliffe) is starring in an adaptation that tells the story from Igor’s perspective titled Victor Frankenstein. With this coming out November 25th, you better start scheduling some “me time” with Mary Shelley.

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

Guys and gals, Moby Dick was real! In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex tells the real life story of man’s encounter with nature and giant whales. The novel, by Nathaniel Philbrick, tells the story of the survivors of the Essex, a whaleship that was attacked by a sperm whale in November 1820. Tragedy after tragedy befalls the survivors of the attack who were eventually saved in February of 1821. This is a must read for non-fiction aficionados and it is also a great way to mentally prepare to see Chris Hemsworth (yes, that is indeed Thor) on the big screen once again. In the Heart of Sea comes out December 11th which sounds like a thrilling way to kick start your Christmas vacation.

Which of these fine books are you most looking forward to read? Let us know by tweeting @AskUndergrad. All of these and more can be found at the Undergraduate Library or online using the library catalog.

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New Science Fiction Books at the UGL

Are you a fan of space travel? Do you crave futuristic storylines? Are you interested in reading about science, technology, and parallel universes? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, you’re in luck. The UGL has recently added several new science fiction works to its collection. Whether you’re looking for a standalone cyberpunk novel, or a space opera series, the UGL has you covered.

Nigerians in Space by Deji Bryce Olukotun

 

Olukotun’s debut novel is equal parts action and history. Nigerians in Space, which is primarily set in Cape Town, combines African politics, culture, and thrilling adventure. This afrofuturist science fiction novel is a great choice for readers that want a little bit of everything.

 

The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle

The Atlantis Gene is the first novel in the Origin Mystery Trilogy. Riddle’s novel takes place at the start of the next human evolution. This novel takes both the past and future of humans into consideration with great detail. The Atlantis Gene is a great choice for anyone who is looking to be immersed in incredible detail and a fast-paced plot.

 

The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata

Nagata’s Locus award winning novel blends cyberpunk and hard science fiction to tell a story about nanotechnology, privilege, and strong female characters. The Bohr Maker is the first book in the Nanotech Succession, a collection of standalone novels. Readers looking to think deeply about what it means to be human should consider checking this book out.

 

Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon

Trading in Danger is the first of five novels in the Vatta’s War space opera series. Kylara Vatta, the novel’s heroine, forgoes tradition and chooses to join the military rather than pursue a career in her family’s business. Things don’t quite go as planned and soon Ky’s easy journey as a ship captain turns into an adventure filled with interplanetary rebellion and exciting space battles. This book is great for readers that are looking to become immersed in an action-packed series about military strategy and brilliant characters.

Tau Zero by Poul Anderson

Tau Zero is a hard science fiction novel that fuses emotion with technology. Anderson’s novel follows the crew of a starship as they embark on a journey to reach a distant star system. With in-depth scientific explanations of how time, relativity, and the cosmos work, this novel is a great read for hardcore science enthusiasts.

What are your favorite science fiction novels? Let us know in the comments!

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Valentine’s Day: Blind Date with a Book

Love is in the air and Valentine’s Day is nearing, *swoon*. While this is mostly a holiday for couples to celebrate their love, single or not, it is also an excuse to stuff your face with chocolate or pizza (if it’s that kind of night). Whether you like Valentine’s Day or not, the UGL has the perfect blind date for you. Yes, it’s time for the “Blind Date with a Book.”

Who will you choose as your blind date? Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

Who will you choose as your blind date? Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

We have selected books, movies, and audio books for your blind date. This is how it works:

  • We wrapped the selected items using our great wrapping skills
  • Like a dating profile, the cover has a picture, likes, dislikes, and their idea of a perfect date
  • You can use this information to select your perfect match!
Find your perfect match. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

Find your perfect match. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

You can have as many dates as you’d like. After you have selected your dates, take the items to the circulation desk and check them out. When you get home, get some coffee, unwrap your blind date, and prepare to fall in love. What are your favorite books to read or movies to watch around Valentine’s Day? Share them with us in the comments below.

 

 

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Classic Horror Stories Readers’ Advisory

Halloween season is here! Although there are many things to enjoy about the holiday (dressing up in silly costumes, eating tons of candy, the return of the NBA, etc.),a favorite part of Halloween is the tradition of reading scary stories. You can be scared witless by a story at any time of the year, but around this time feels just right to curl up with a scary book as the leaves are beginning to turn.

 

Horror fiction has a long, rich history. Many modern horror novels and films are influenced by the classic horror stories of yesteryear. The following reader’s advisory are horror stories and novels whose frights have withstood the test of time.

 

The Raven: Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

 Arguably the father of the horror short story, Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most notable writers in the horror/suspense genre. Poe is perhaps best known for his poem, “The Raven,” but his short stories are where the true scares can be found. This collection includes the titular poem, as well as nail-biters like “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Masque of the Red Death.” Recommended if you like Gothic literature, detective stories, and mystery.

The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

 This 1895 collection of weird, supernatural short stories has experienced something of a renaissance this year. The cause behind this spike in interest is the HBO series “True Detective”, which heavily referenced Chambers’ work in its suspenseful first season (ex: The Yellow King, Carcosa, etc.). American horror master H.P. Lovecraft was also heavily influenced by this collection. Recommended if you like supernatural stories and/or if you’re a “True Detective” fan waiting for Season 2.

 

“The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

 Published in 1898, this novella is a literary tale of psychology and the supernatural. Given its short length, this is a good choice if you’re looking for an evening of mystery. Like many of the best horror stories, this novella is still inspiring a debate over whether the ghosts in the tale are real or merely imagined. Recommended if you like psychological literature, ghost stories, and New Criticism.

Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft

 Despite not being widely recognized during his lifetime, H.P. Lovecraft is now one of the most celebrated authors of Horror and Weird Fiction. Although not all of his work falls into the horror genre, Lovecraft’s short stories and novellas have plenty of terrifying and eerie moments. This collection contains all of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu stories, including his most famous story, “The Call of Cthulhu,” as well as his legendary novella, “At the Mountains of Madness.” Recommended if you like terrifying creatures, complex mythologies, and artist H.R. Giger’s work on the Alien films.

 

The Shining by Stephen King

 One of Stephen King’s best works, The Shining is a quintessential haunted house (or hotel) story. Although Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation is excellent and quite scary at times, the book is way more terrifying. Set at a luxurious mountain hotel in Colorado, The Shining explores what happens when the Overlook Hotel closes for the winter and aspiring novelist Jack Torrance and his family stay on as caretakers. Recommended if you like supernatural terror, haunted houses, and being scared of bathtubs.

 

These five works merely scratch the surface of the scares that horror literature has to offer. What are your favorite scary stories or films? Tell us in the comments below. Happy haunting!

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Baseball Playoffs Readers’ Advisory

Football is back, political campaigns are turning in to high gear, leaves are beginning to change color, and the 2014 Major League Baseball playoffs are mere days away. This year’s playoffs are shaping up to be very intriguing with several different exciting plot points. Los Angeles Angels Mickey Mantle-replicate/baseball cyborg Mike Trout will be making the first playoff appearance of his career. After missing the playoffs last season, Bryce Harper and the Nationals will be back in the race to the Fall Classic. Clayton Kershaw will bring his Koufax-esque pitching stats along as the big-spending LA Dodgers make another run at October. Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers will try to atone for their streak of disappointing playoff finishes, and the St. Louis Cardinals will be back as the nearly dynastic team that everyone outside of the Midwest loves to hate.

 

Although there will be several fresh faces in the playoffs this year, baseball is a game steeped in history. Fans often make sense of new players by comparing them to the stars of the past. Baseball is also (arguably) the major sport that best lends itself to literary works. The following list contains some excellent fiction and non-fiction works in the UGL’s collection that you can read while enjoying the playoffs.

 

October 1964 by David Halberstam

 

Halberstam was one of our best chroniclers of American political and cultural history. He was also a damn good sportswriter. This 1994 book covers the 1964 World Series between the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals. Halberstam also explores the complex racial issues of America in the mid-60s through the lens of professional baseball.

 

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

One of the finest sports novels to come out in recent years, The Art of Fielding follows golden gloved college shortstop Henry Skrimshander at the fictional Westish College. Henry approaches the record for most consecutive errorless games by a shortstop, but a tragic accident derails his streak. This nuanced character study is especially recommended for fans of Melville’s Moby Dick.

 

Underworld by Don DeLillo

Although Don DeLillo’s magnum opus is not entirely about baseball, it opens with a fantastic novella-length section set in the Polo Grounds in 1951 on the day that the New York Giants famously captured the National League pennant on Bobby Thompson’s three run homer (aka The Shot Heard Round the World). In DeLillo’s novel we find out what happened to Thompson’s homerun ball (which in real life remains a mystery). Recommended for fans of baseball history, the Cold War, and postmodern literature.

 

Down to the Last Pitch: How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves Gave Us the Best World Series of All Time by Tim Wendel

 

If you’re not old enough to remember the 1991 series, or if you’d like to refresh your memory, Wendel’s 2014 book covers the utterly bonkers series between the Twins and Braves. To get some context on just how crazy the series was, take a look at the following sentences: 4 games were won on walk-offs. 3 games went into extra innings. Recommended if you like thrillers, Kirby Puckett, and/or John Smoltz.

 

Wrigley Field: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Chicago Cubs by Ira Berkow

Although Cubs fans have to suffer through another season of not even sniffing the playoff race, they can take solace in this book. An exploration of the storied history of Wrigley Field with accompanying photographs, the book includes interviews of many famous Cubs fans about their Wrigley experiences (including President Obama). Recommended if you like Chicago, architecture, and/or long suffering fanbases.

 

The UGL has all these baseball books, as well as many others in its collection on the lower level. If you’re looking for non-fiction baseball books check the GV section of our collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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