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    by Teresa Walls | Nov 14, 2017

    book cover Patina by Jason Reynolds

    Patina by Jason Reynolds
    Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017
    233 pages

    Patina, nickname Patty, is the main character in this second book of Jason Reynold's Track series, described on the inside book cover as an explosive series about "a fast but fiery group of kids who have a shot at the Junior Olympics, but have a lot to prove first -- to one another, and to themselves." A book in a series can be a bit tricky when thinking about the Mock Newbery because the book should be able to stand alone as a distinguished book. No problem with this novel; it does stand on its own.

    Patty and her sister are living with their aunt and uncle since their mother has many health complications due to diabetes. Throughout the book, Patty struggles with fitting in with the "hair flippers" at her new school. Her little sister is at the school too, but as Patty says about her sister, Maddy:

    she loves it, but that's because this is the only school she's ever been at. She's never been in a school where you didn't have to wear pleated paper bags. She never went to a school with boys, and yes, boys make school really, really annoying sometimes, but they also can make it pretty fun. Or at least funny. Maddy never went to a school with mostly black kids either. She's only known life as a "raisin in milk," as my Ma puts it. (p. 29)

    Patty's is a strong voice. She is also a strong runner. I am not a runner, but Reynold's description of the races and being on a track team seem spot-on to me. Reynolds dedicates the novel "For those who've been passed the baton too young." Patty is passed the baton literally and figuratively; her story is well worth reading.

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Evan | Nov 13, 2017
    Ex Libris

    Ex Libris is a new board game by Adam P. McIver in which you build your own library. In a fantasy town. With hundreds of punny book titles. ("Conjury to Avoid Jury Duty") Where you have to master a simple backward version of the Dewey Decimal system. Could anything be geekier?

    The game itself can be straightforward or tricky, depending on how much you care about tactics. But you can just have fun with the concept, enjoying the humor and building a library collection to please everyone -- especially the town authorities, who do not like banned books. You can also unleash your inner fussiness, because if you're going to win, you have to make sure your books are properly organized on your shelves. 

    (The phrase "ex libris" is a little mysterious. It traditionally appears on bookplates that show who owns the book. Internet searches suggest it means "from the books of" or "from books," but our Latin-English dictionary doesn't have the word "libris" at all. If you are a bit of a Latin scholar and can comment about this, please do so.) 

    Meanwhile, if you and your friends love books, humor and fantasy -- and have maybe just a little OCD -- Ex Libris may be a good game for you. 

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Audio Reading Service | Nov 10, 2017


    Vicki Eber has been working with individuals to manage pain and stress for over a decade.

    Pyramid…Seated half-moon…Warrior poses… Audio Reading Service listeners can now build their core strength and flexibility from their head to their toes. Each Monday and Thursday morning at 8:00 am, we broadcast Gentle Yoga and Movement with Vicki Eber. Our listeners are guided through postures that are centering and grounding, with an emphasis on breath and alignment while listening to the body’s wisdom.

    From massage to yoga and meditation, certified wellness coach Vicki Eber enjoys seeking solutions from every aspect of the individual, and utilizing every tool she’s obtained in her education and experience to help others carve out their path to wellness. It is Vicki’s belief that anyone can achieve a balanced life, no matter where they are in their journey.  

    by Craig B | Nov 10, 2017
    cover for The Killers' album, Wonderful WonderfulMaybe a five minute opener for The Killers’ new album, Wonderful Wonderful, wasn’t such a good idea, although I appreciate the musical exploration.  I’m a little uncomfortable with the bald self-promotion of the second track, but goodness gracious, it is catchy.  That aside, the best track on this album for me was “Tyson vs Douglas.”  What a funny, appropriate metaphor for the loss of innocence (that’s what it’s about, right?); the sort of song that makes listening to an entire album out of curiosity mostly worth it.  One great song is all it takes, or at least that’s what the final track on Wonderful Wonderful would have us believe, that “just … one (is needed) to get through to (us).”  Well, for now, The Killers are correct.  They got through.  And it took just one.  I mean, I’m writing this mostly-positive blog post, right?

    Suggested Use: This album is not for sharing.  At least not in its entirety.  It might be good to sample from for a playlist, but its real utility lies in its encouragement of you getting some alone time.  The New Wave New Wave quality of Wonderful Wonderful is just too confusing for groups of friends.  Besides you don’t want anyone around when you tear up to “Tyson vs. Douglas,” right?

    by Dawn Stoops | Nov 09, 2017
    Can you guess the book characters? Move your mouse over each picture to see who it is.
    hidden picture of Lola hidden picture of Yoko hidden picture of brother and sister bear
    hidden picture of Junie b jones hidden picture of pete the cat hidden picture of buster and arthur
    hidden picture of fancy nancy hidden picture of piggie hidden picture of bob the builder
    Thanks for playing!
    by Mary Voors | Nov 08, 2017

    Cover of book Wishtree

    by Katherine Applegate
    A Feiwel and Friends Book, 2017
    215 pages

    The summary offered by the publisher in our library's catalog is: "A red oak tree and a crow help their human neighbors work out their differences." This summary does not begin to express the complexity and thoughtfulness of this book.

    Wishtree begins simply enough with a comment from Red, the main character: "It's hard to talk to trees. We're not big on chitchat."

    The story revolves around Red, an oak tree who is "two hundred and sixteen rings old" and his friend, Bongo, a crow. Red watches over the neighborhood while protecting the natural community which takes shelter among its leaves and branches and hollows of its trunk. He also watches over the people in his neighborhood.

    While I am not normally a reader who enjoys "talking animals" stories, I totally fell for this book; a story which can be read on many levels. It will serve well as a read-aloud to primary level children about the importance and value of friendship. At the same time, its beautiful metaphors make it an amazing parable about welcoming and embracing diversity, not judging others before getting to know them, and recognizing that difference can bring strength.

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Emily M | Nov 08, 2017
    Looking for a book recommendation?  Look no further!  Here are a few good books I've enjoyed recently.

    TheKitchenDaughterBook Review: The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

    Twenty-six year old Ginny Selvaggio has undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome and leads a protected life, living at home with her parents who provide for her, while she spends her time surfing the internet and perfecting her cooking skills. When Ginny’s parents die in a freak accident, Ginny finds herself struggling under the weight of her grief, while clashing with her sister, Amanda.  Amanda believes they should sell their parents’ house and Ginny should move in with Amanda and her husband and children.  Ginny, on the other hand, is determined that she can continue to live alone in her parents’ home. 

    The themes of grief and family conflict are hardly original in fiction, but The Kitchen Daughter is unique in that it mixes in a touch of magical realism.  After her parents’ funeral, Ginny discovers that if she cooks the hand-written recipe of someone who has passed on, their ghost will appear to her.  Clues shared by these ghosts, along with old family mementos Ginny discovers while cleaning out the house, will unveil family secrets that are not what they seem.   

    hownottohateyourhusbandafterkidsBook Review: How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn

    Jancee Dunn’s How Not to Hate Your Husband after Kids is laugh-out-loud funny, full of relatable, real-life anecdotes, and the advice is both practical and helpful. 

    Many couples have strong, healthy marriages before having children, but develop struggles after children enter the picture.  Dunn, a free-lance writer living in New York City with her husband and six-year-old daughter, felt her marriage fit this category and wanted to do something about it.  While Dunn openly admitted she could sometimes turn into a screaming harpy, she felt justified in her anger considering she did the majority of the childcare and housework, despite the fact that she and her husband both worked.  Dunn spent months doing research, interviewing family and friends, and going to various counselors with her husband.  What she found was that her situation was one shared by many women, and one that often wreaks havoc on marriages. 

    Dunn’s honest and self-deprecating portrayal of herself within her marriage was both entertaining and insightful.  The many stories shared, both from her own marriage and from friends and family, illustrated perfectly what she found to be true in the academic research.  Perhaps most important of all, the advice shared in the book can easily be put into practice.  While simple, it is also effective.  “Your spouse can’t read your mind.  Tell them clearly what you want” and “Say thank you often” are just a few of the gems Dunn shares with her readers.  While the title indicates this is a book for women with children, it’s actually great for both men and women, as well as couples who don’t have kids. 

    thetwofamilyhouseBook Review: The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman

    In New York City in the 1940s, two brothers live intertwined lives, despite being vastly different in temperament, interests, skills, and personality.  Together, the two brothers run the cardboard box factory left to them by their father.  And together with their wives and children, the brothers live in the same house, one family in the upstairs apartment and one family in the downstairs apartment.

    At first glance, this is a scene of domestic bliss: a successful family business, sisters-in-law who are the best of friends, and cousins who can play together every day.  Underneath the lovely façade, however, fissures of discontent will lead to a shocking choice wrapped in secrets and lies.  In The Two-Family House, Loigman explores themes of family, friendship, loss, and betrayal with subtlety and grace. 

    What about you?  What good books have you read lately?

    EmilyLong before becoming a librarian, Emily was an avid library patron. She enjoys reading fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, biographies, and classic children’s literature. Her favorite book is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.


    by Becky C | Nov 06, 2017
    Editor's Note:  Becky is one of our roaming librarians.  She works at each of the Ask Here desks as needed.  The variety of questions keeps her on her toes and that's one of her favorite things about working at ACPL!

    Business and Technology

    Business, Science & Technology is located on the second floor of the Main Library.  If you've called 260-421-1200, there's an excellent chance you've spoken with the librarians in our department.  All calls to ACPL's general number are routed here first -- however, if both of our lines are busy, the calls are routed to Readers' Services -- another helpful group of folks!   

    As you enter the department, you'll notice the Ask Here desk to the left.  Make sure you stop by!  We have more than a few tips and tricks up our sleeves for making the most of your visit. 

    You'll also notice that we have a large, comfortable seating area beneath the circular window.  Our legal reference collection lines the wall -- you know we have an extensive legal collection, right?  While the reference sets must be used inside the department, we also have several self-help legal titles within the regular stacks that you can check out.  You'll want to note that while we can help you figure out the various indexes involved, we cannot tell you which form you may need for your situation.  That would take us over the line from helpful librarian to someone attempting to practice law without a license.  If you have questions about what form you may need, we can show you options but the decision remains yours.  We have a handout at the desk with numbers you may call for limited legal advice.

    The shelves across from the Ask Here desk feature new titles added to our collection.  Popular topics shelved in our department include Astronomy, Cookbooks, Do It Yourself Manuals, Finance, Gardening, Health & Drug Information, Job Search, Legal Guides, Pet Care, and Repair Manuals.  We also have display shelving to highlight timely titles we think you may be interested in -- please feel free to check them out!

    As you browse the shelves, you may notice that we have a collection of catalogs available for checkout.  I love these!  We also have a unique map collection -- contour maps of Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, divided into quadrangles at a 1:24,000 scale.  

    While we cover several subjects within our department, Business, Science and Technology is one of six specialized departments within the Main Library.  Topics we may only touch aspects of will be more fully represented in either Art, Music & Media; Childrens'; Genealogy; Readers' Services, or Teens(Look for posts about each of those departments in the weeks to come)

    We have 13 regular use and 2 Express (15 minute use) computers in our department.  Business, Science & Technology, Art, Music & Media, and Readers' Services all provide computers for general public use.  To use our computers,  you need to bring your library card -- if you have the ACPL app on your phone, you can use it to scan your bar code to sign up.  Printing is available -- we charge 10 cents a page for a black/white copy and 25 cents a page for a color copy.  You'll want to bring dollar bills with you -- the machines we use to load money on your library card to pay for the printouts only work with paper money -- they don't accept change and they don't provide change.  Any money you load onto your library card remains on there until you deduct it for copies. 

    Finally, we have one study room available on a first come/first served basis.  It's popular!

    Whew!  I hope you enjoyed this "tour" of the department!  If you did, and if you're interested in follow-up posts about specific features, please leave a comment.  I'd love to hear from you! 

    Perhaps you'd like to contact the Business, Science & Technology Department directly?  We can be reached at 260-421-1215

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..
    by Dawn Stoops | Nov 03, 2017
    cover image for building amazing creations

    For all those lovers of LEGO Bricks, there's a new book you've got to see!

    Sean Kenney, a renown LEGO Brick artist, is the author of Building Amazing Creations. This isn't Sean's first book about LEGOs but it is the first one to show his studio, give lots of details about his work and exhibits, and have hundreds of pictures of his cool creations. It truly is a feast for the eyes with so many brightly colored sculptures. 

    The book is broken down into 13 chapters like 'Animals', 'Robots', and 'Behind the Scenes'. I loved learning that the mama polar bear is his largest sculpture and weighs 625 pounds with more than 125,000 bricks. I also found his studio photos interesting with drawers and tubs and boxes of bricks all sorted by size, shape, and color. Building Amazing Creations is 382 pages of fascinating facts, glorious LEGO sculptures, and information about the life of an artist. All ages of LEGO fans will find something to love in this new book!

    Curious about Sean's other books?
    Check one, or five, out at your local library!

    cover image for totally cool creations
    cover image for cool city
     cover image for cool cars and trucks
    cover image for cool robots
    cover image for cool castles
    cover image for cool creations in 101 pieces
      cover image for cool creations in 35 pieces  

    by Kayla W | Nov 03, 2017


    What is NaNoWriMo?  It is a writing marathon that asks its participants to try their hand at writing the rough draft of a long form writing project throughout the month of November. The website which the program calls its home base got its start and continues forward with one major goal in mind – to hopefully begin and end a writing project in the space of thirty days.  To be more specific, the original goal of the San Francisco-based program was to propel novel writers to burn through the projected word count of a typical novel – fifty-thousand words – beginning on the first official minute of November first, and ending as soon as midnight strikes for the first day of December.

    National Novel Writing Month, or as it is oftentimes known as NaNoWriMo, has been a “thing”, mainly in the U.S, for the past eighteen years. Yes, this year the month-long writing marathon is old enough to drink alcohol, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to encourage Allen County writers to give it the old college try.  I, myself, haven’t participated in what amounts to a writer’s version of a triathlon for years.  This year, I am returning.  I hope to entice a few others to join me and the local community of writers to give Allen County some pride, in the form of a raise in this years’ shared wordcount.

    Sound like your sort of masochistic fun?  Then your first step would be to check out the site for yourself, and see if it’s something that you would like to do.  If you do it off-site and without any writing buddies, it’s an endurance test that you may hopefully reap the rewards of in the coming year or years. Well worth a shot, if you ask me! If you participate, the main area of attention has always been the forums, where you can find writers and the writing curious hanging out in one place for one magical month.  There, you can expect to ask and answer some questions that have been gnawing at the back of your mind and find some of the finest procrastination during the month where you really shouldn’t be doing just that. 

    Yes, it's already started, but there's nothing stopping you from jumping in - I'm sure with just a few extra hours of hardcore writing, you'll catch right up!

    As far as I know, the NaNo-ers have had a meet-up at one of the ACPL branches not too long ago, but I don't know if there happen to be any more regional meet-ups in the works.  If there are, I would encourage first timers especially to check in, whether it's a mini pep rally over coffees, or it's a friendly write-in.  If you're interested in joining or hosting a meet-up, I would recommend checking into the regional forum of your choice and checking to see what's already planned.   If you want to write or talk writing in person, that's great!  To me, NaNoWriMo is all about writers coming out of their work spaces and joining in conversation about the craft that is so often a lonesome prospect.

    If you find yourself in need of inspiration, I would recommend borrowing one of the ACPL's copies of the creator of NaNoWriMo's ode to writing, No Plot? No Problem! 

    If you’re interested in joining us, then there’s just one thing I want to say, and that is: gentlefolk, get ready to start your engines!

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre.  Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, and reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.

    by Nancy | Nov 01, 2017
    Poldark cast image via BBC

    So, the third season of Poldark on PBS is airing now.  It’s so nice to have that Sunday evening treat each week.  I was smitten with Ross Poldark and Demelza right out of the gate with season 1.  After it aired, I read all of Winston Graham’s Poldark books (12 in all!) in quick succession.  I even tried to watch the 1970’s version of Poldark, but despite all the raves, I couldn’t get into it.  I also tried other Winston Graham books to tide me over (because, of course, the new season took a long time coming), but alas, they didn’t hold a candle to the Poldark clan.  Maybe one day I’ll try his other books again, though probably not before re-reading these.

    The Poldark books, or, more properly, the Novels of Cornwall, made me think about the human condition.  I could connect with the characters’ flaws so well.  Yes, even George Warleggan (perhaps a little too much for comfort).  Elizabeth too.  Even though I know what is coming, I love seeing these actors play it out.  Graham set his stories in a particular time (late 1700s and early 1800s) and place (Cornwall, England) and his research bleeds into the story.  The books had me tracking down information online about steam engines, Napoleon, and other historical facts included in the novels.  I found myself trying to figure out where names like Demelza and Clowance came from (they are places in Cornwall).  But mostly, I just wanted to find out what happened to Ross, Demelza, Morwenna, George, Valentine…. I know there is so much to come!  The current season is covering books 5 & 6, The Black Moon and The Four Swans.  So they are moving right along. 

    But reading the books, as is usually the case, made me a bit disappointed in the casting.  I have one major change I would make.  There are two female leads that I feel would have been a better match to the books had they just switched roles.  Can you guess which two female actors I would have swapped?

    How about you?  Are you a fan of the series?  Are you reading the books?  I’d love to connect with you!

    PS: If you like Poldark, I think you would like season 1 of Victoria too.  Lord Melbourne--swoon!  Again, so much history and human flaws!  Of course, watching it had me reading Daisy Goodwin’s book and a biography of Lord Melbourne by Lord Cecil which I can highly recommend.  Fascinating man.  Season 2 of Victoria in January will hopefully keep me going after season 3 of Poldark ends and the long wait returns.

    by Dawn S | Nov 01, 2017
    winter book sale ad

    Join us for our first annual Winter Book Sale! Every branch of the library will be hosting a book sale this winter, sponsored by the Friends of the Allen County Public Library.

    Paperbacks $0.50

    Hardbacks $1.00

    Oversize $2.00

    Media $3.00

    New Haven
    Tuesday January 2
    10:00 am - 9:00 pm

    Little Turtle
    Saturday December 9
    12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Thursday January 11 and Friday January 12
    10:00 am -12:00 pm & 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    Monday January 15
    10:00 am - 9:00 pm

    Monday January 15
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm

    Monday January 15
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm

    Wednesday January 17
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm

    Wednesday January 17
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm

    Thursday January 18
    12:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Thursday January 18
    12:00 pm - 5:00 pm & 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Saturday January 20
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Monday January 22
    10:00 am - 9:00 pm

    Hessen Cassel
    Thursday January 25
    10:00 am - 9:00 pm

    Saturday January 27
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm

    by Mary Voors | Oct 31, 2017

    It’s one of my most favorite times of the year!  No, I don’t mean fall, or Halloween, or even winter or the upcoming holiday season. I mean the time when lovers of children’s literature start talking about which book might win the Newbery Award! Which kid's book, published in 2017 in the United States, by an American author or resident, will be chosen as the “most distinguished” book for kids?

    Every year for the last several decades – we’ve forgotten exactly when we first started doing this – the Children’s Services department at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana has offered a Mock Newbery reading list and discussion. We share our list, talk among ourselves & online, and get together a week or so before the real Award is announced to select the ACPL Mock Newbery winner.

    Sound like fun? You bet it is! You can register for the “in-person” program which will take place on the afternoon of February 3, 2018 here.

    Are you interested in joining the discussion online before you come to chat in person? Beginning next week, and every week through January, we'll start a conversation about one or two of these titles on this blog.

    Here – in no particular order – are the titles we’ll be discussing online throughout the coming months. We will be talking about these same titles in-person on February 3rd.

    What fun, right?!??!!!  Hope you’ll join us! Click here to sign up for the “in-person” discussion. And be sure to stop back to this blog each week as we discuss another title.

    by Kayla W | Oct 30, 2017

    Dark Forest image via pixaby

    We are lucky to have a fine back catalog of horror films, both in the sense of our modern world, but also literally, in terms of what ACPL has gathered.  I know that those of us who have been fortunate to see the great horror produced just fifteen years ago look at the current trend of over-produced, high budget work and we might think, “Really?”.  But it is that defeatist attitude that we must persevere through! 

    And what a truly blessed year it is for the genre!  With the remake of It, as well as the thoroughly entertaining The Cult of Chucky, horror movies are once again starting to claw their way out of the pit that the PG-13 soft death of the genre had ascribed them to.

    Purely rhetorical though it may be to ask, what, exactly, is the appeal of a horror movie?   

    To me, a horror film is often best characterized by one of two things: a sense of charm and an interesting point of view.  At least in my opinion, how “terrifying” something is doesn’t really account for much.  I feel like the horror genre in particular has to be approached by the would-be creator with a humble sense of self-knowledge, no matter how dirty and cheap or clean and stream-lined the project is.  In some of the most famous cases, even purposefully playing on one’s own phobias as well as a DIY mentality to the whole process made necessary by a low budget - made famous by the likes of The Evil Deadmakes for some of the most famous and well-regarded work in the genre’s canonThis is not a universal truth, but it is a large part of the appeal of the genre to me. 

    Below you will find a list that I consider to be some of the best that horror movies have to offer, ones that I purposefully chose to point out as great starting points for people interested in the genre.  And I realize only now how much I love the magical realism or the shock of the monsters that Spanish-speaking countries have provided over the years.  Oh well, at least I am capable of owning up to my biases.

    The Cabin in the WoodsA sincere celebration of everything wonderful and horrible about the genre - The Cabin in the Woods. Is this movie a testament to the fact that people making horror movies aren’t thinking outside of the box, allowing this movie to still remain notable for everything truly groundbreaking that it managed to accomplish in its run time, or is it truly as fantastic a movie as many say it is?  Either way, if you’re interested in a blood-and-guts send up/parody of seemingly the whole genre, this movie should not be passed up.


    Mulholland DriveDavid Lynch’s reputation precedes him  Mulholland Dr. This movie is a solid introduction to the specific sense of nightmare logic that Lynch has perfected.  It may very well be the seminal work that is moored to what resembles a reality that an audience can identify with – to a point.  In my opinion, this work could be classified among his most unnerving.  It is worth watching before diving headfirst into his particular strange mixture of dark human id, where dream and superstition can transfigure things into something very, very dark and strange.

    The Devils BackboneThe moody ghost story brother to Pan’s Labyrinth’s tragic fairy story - The Devil’s BackboneOne of magical realist Guillermo del Toro's lesser known films, it is invaluable as a truly tense, emotional, and dark entry point into his body of work.  This movie that exemplifies del Toro’s unique talents: his eye for taking the fantastic and the macabre, as well as a deep-abiding love of not just outsiders, but monsters, and making them hauntingly beautiful and tragic. 


    RecordingFound footage horror at its very best - Rec (Red Light)Replicated to far less effect with an “Americanized” version, this movie features a cast that is both believable and likeable.  The threat is far more effective than the English-language version whipped up to appeal to people with a fear of subtitles.  Seeing this film and the reigning king (queen?) of “found footage” horror, The Blair Witch Project, reminds me of the appeal this type of horror holds.  It truly feels as though you are trapped with a threat that is not just physically overpowering, but is also metaphysical in origin.


    VoidCosmic horror done in a way that has long since been abandoned by big Hollywood productions - The Void. Lovecraftian horror is a specialty that is rarely done well these days, let alone when it’s not tempered with comedy.   This movie feels like it’s a throwback to the days when studios knew how to spend the oftentimes meagre budget set aside for their movie, and spent it on quality actors and creating an ambiance throughout the film that haunts you. 


    They Look Like PeopleTrue horror bleeds through horrific fantasy – They Look Like PeopleThere are certain people who are basically all but immune to the experience of a movie, due to the fact that they shrug and say, “well, it’s just a movie.”  The stuff happening on screen is just too fantastic or out there to feel “real” to them.  I recommend this movie to those type of people, especially to those who were disappointed by the depictions of mental illness in Split.  This is a tense one that I should recommend with a trigger warning for how much it does key into the very real transformation of reality into something nightmarish and sinister for someone suffering from intense, untreated paranoia.


    What We Do in the ShadowsThis does for vampires what This is Spinal Tap did for rock n’ roll – What We Do in the ShadowsWhether or not you’re a The Flight of the Conchords fan, I feel safe in saying that if you’re a lover of the strange comedy of a Christopher Guest movie, then you’re sure to have a fantastic time watching this palate cleanser of a pseudo-biopic documentary.  Silly would be putting this movie mildly.


    A good flick in the vein of 80’s kids’ moviesMonster House. Monster House  A CGI piece with an utmost respect for the Halloween spirit, this movie has a credit list to be proud of. The screenplay was co-written by cult favorites Rob Schrab and Dan Harmon and production credits go to Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg.  This movie has a ton of charm, humor, and heart, and darn it, but it does my blackened heart good to see a movie about old-fashioned stake-outs and breaking and entering – for kids!


    The SimilarsA much-celebrated return of physical effects and slow-building dread in (mostly) black and white – The SimilarsIf the cover art didn’t give it away, this movie wears its vintage-era influence on its sleeve.  To me, however, this movie has less to do with the Hammer Horror-era and more to do with Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone.  It deserves more praise beyond even how it accomplishes the goal of raising up the same moody nightmarish tension of the best Twilight Zone episodes, however, as the purposeful and scant uses of color and the moments of genuine shock indicate the work of a truly mindful and creative team that worked on this film.

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre.  Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, and reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.

    by Kayla W | Oct 27, 2017

    Spooky Castle image via pixaby

    This is my month.  Although I was haunted in my childhood by a certain scene from A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4, I have grown incredibly difficult to scare, and, as an added benefit, I may or may not any longer have human emotions.  Yay!

    The upside is that I feel comfortable recommending things that have a macabre flavor to them. That’s not to say that horror needs to rely solely on how “terrifying” it can be (that, dear friends, is almost purely based on someone’s personal taste).  On the contrary, the horror that sticks most with me usually didn’t terrify me, but I might have been thoroughly entertained or chilled by it.  Or, I might have laughed hard at it.    To be frank, when it comes to the genre and the subgenres of Horror, it tends to be the sort of thing you love, hate, or are indifferent to almost immediately.    Sometimes you don’t feel a liking for a certain style or subgenre of Horror, and that’s okay.  But, does it hurt to experiment with some new styles?

    In that spirit, I have decided to offer a sampler of some of my favorite books that I feel are a great place to start with their specific subgenres.  Each cover and title have been linked to the ACPL catalog, so feel free to check out all of these for yourself.  I focused on underrated or cultish pieces, so hopefully even if you’re already a connoisseur of the macabre, you’ll find something to enjoy this season.   Dive in below for a surface level list of recommendations, tailored for the horror-curious.

    American Gothic TalesA taste test of the best that Americans have to offer - American Gothic TalesA collection of short pieces, curated and edited by Joyce Carol Oates.  As the title implies, this collection focuses on the subgenre of Gothicism, with a chronological bent towards the American fixation on the genre. You got your Poe and Lovecraft, but you’ll also get some Thomas Ligotti, Shirley Jackson, and favorite short stories of mine by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Sylvia Plath.  I could not recommend a better starting place for anyone interested in the genre, let alone Gothic Horror.

    Fragments of HorrorPure strange and disquieting nightmare fuel – Fragments of Horror If you’ve never had a chance to experience the work of Manga artist Junji Ito, then allow me to welcome you to a voice in the genre so potently, truly imaginative in how he terrifies and entertains you, that you might find it hard to be affected this thoroughly by anything else you’ll come across.   This is an artist who taps into the deepest vein of nightmare logic, body horror, and at times bizarre, laugh-out-loud comedy that intermingles tragedy, disgust, and farce.  This collection of shorts is a great start for someone new to the artist, but it doesn’t include the show-stopper for which he is perhaps best known for, “The Enigma of Amigara Fault”.  Still absolutely chilling!

    The Ocean at the End of the LaneSometimes your memories are too eerie to re-examine - The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Although I find Neil Gaiman’s work to be on the bloated and somewhat emotionally drab side, I have to admit that when the man is pressed to be succinct, he can make something beautiful – or truly disturbing – happen.  Although his best known work, the comic book series The Sandman, is something that cannot be ignored (or at your own peril), after having read the more recent piece by the man, I have to admit to being inspired by his light touch with the scary elements.

    Rose MadderThe American Dream of matrimony is sometimes a nightmare - Rose MadderAlthough King is already a household name – and growing more so, with the recent, popular re-make of It – to me, his best, most poignant work has always featured strong female protagonists.  The books that, unfortunately, do not seem to get as much attention as his others.  Among those books that I have had the chance to read, this one has stuck with me the strongest.  Carrying themes of marital abuse and a hope for recovery in the face of an overpowering spouse, this book rings out with much the same themes presented in The Shining, but with a much more disquieting, unflinching focus on being the prey for a disturbed, predatory individual. 

    Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkTerrifying children since before I was in grade school - Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkThis is the first book in the series, and I recommend this collection, with the caveat that you get the older editions, with the original art by Stephen Gammell, whose work is often replicated, but is ultimately irreplaceable.  Although most of it is suited perfectly for children, some of the short stories – “Harold” and “The Dream” - still haunt me to this day.  Short, elemental, this is work that anyone who wants to create horror should learn from. 

    Through the WoodsSometimes we’d do well to fear what awaits us… - Through the WoodsThis particular collection of short pieces does what a short visual narrative does best – it presents a haunting, sometimes punchy collection of parables that feel like nightmares you would have after having read one too many Grimm’s brothers fairy tales.  The art is simply too beautiful at times, providing a bounty of color that clashes and meshes with the dark subject matter and the shadowy depths presented in the pieces.  “His Face all Red” is a short piece that has thoroughly earned a reputation in and of itself.

    I Am LegendThe vampires are just the start of Robert Neville’s nightmare  - I Am LegendIt’s hard to beat a classic, and although I haven’t read this one myself, my S.O empatically swears by this novel.  It’s a parable of loneliness and coping in the face of overwhelming nihilism, and it happens to be a trail blazer in the arena of sickness-caused apocalypse stories.   It’s an end of the world caused by the aftereffects of a war that birthed a sickness whose symptoms mirror the fabled ones of Vampirisim and has transformed all but a single man into animalistic, predatory herds.  If the story began and ended with its premise, it alone would make the story worth reading, but that is not even scratching the surface on everything going on in this dark tale.

    John Dies at the EndWho says horror can’t be absolutely hilarious? - John Dies @ the EndThe progeny of’s Jason Pargin, whose pseudonym is David Wong, this novel is a bizarre thing that has taken inspiration from so much and wears it proudly.  A combination of stoner, scatological, bizarre, and horror humor, this comedy/horror hybrid goes as high concept and as down in the dirt with its subject matter as can be imagined.  I would also not be doing it justice if I did not mention how witty the writing is – in between descriptions of foul-mouthed demonic entities harassing our anti-heroes.  This recommendation is also a glad one for me to make, as the latest book in this series, What the Hell Did I Just Read?, has quite a few copies in circulation as well.

    Let the Right One InShe’s not as innocent as she looks  - Let the Right One InAnother recommendation, not from me, but from my S.O.  And yes, it’s vampires again.  This one comes from Sweden, and deals with a thoroughly unflinching look at the lives of two children – one of whom is no longer much of a child – and a brutal series of events that brings them close together.  It’s a story of devotion, innocence, absolute reliance, and shocking cruelty.  I would not recommend this story to the faint of heart!

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre.  Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, and reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.
    by Mary Voors | Oct 26, 2017

    poetry contest poster
    Entries are still being accepted in the Library’s Annual Poetry Contest!  All kids and young adults in kindergarten through high school are invited to submit a poem on the topic of their choice. The deadline to get your poem submitted is Monday, November 6. You can drop your poem off at any Allen County Public Library branch or at the Main Library. Just Write It! -- there is no specific theme this year.

    All winning poems will be added to the permanent library collection in both print and digital form. If you are interested in last year’s winning compilation of poems, you can place the print version on hold here or read the entire book of winning poems online here.

    Want more information about this year’s poetry contest? Here are the official rules:

    1. Poetry Contest is open to all children in kindergarten through grade five, and all teens in grades six through twelve.
    2. Only one entry per student.
    3. Poem must be student's original work.
    4. All entries must be submitted on 8.5" x 11" paper.
    5. All entries must have student's name, address, phone number, email (if available), school, and grade on the back of the poem.
    6. Poetry Contest starts on Monday, September 11, 2017.
    7. Poetry Contest ends on Monday, November 6, 2017, 9:00 pm.
    8. Criteria for judging of poems includes
    • understanding the concept of a "poem"
    • creativity
    • legibility
    • originality

       9. Awards for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and HM will be chosen for each grade.
     10. Winners will be notified by mail.
     11. The Poetry Contest Awards Ceremony will be held at 10:30 am on December 9th.
     12. All Poetry Conest entries become the property of the Allen County Public Library.
     13. For further information, call the library at 260.421.1220.

           What are you waiting for? Start writing YOUR poem to enter!

    by Becky C | Oct 25, 2017
    Ever wonder what library staff like to read? Wonder no more! Here's a quick look at some books we've enjoyed this month. Click on a book cover to check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    My Friend Dahmer   Silence Love and Other Consolation Prizes 
     Good Omens  The Real Life Downton Abbey  It
     When Dimple Met Rishi  The Restless Dead  Geekerella
     Only Human  Very Good Lives  All the Feels
     Emma in the night  Before I Go To Sleep  Queens of Geek
     A Court of Thorns and Roses  Prized Possessions  Jhereg

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..
    by Dawn S | Oct 24, 2017
    Most moms I know who get their little ones to storytime each week don't spend a lot of time browsing the adult non-fiction stacks while they're here. They just don't have time. The thing is, there are so many great books out there on all sorts of mom topics. I love the baby/family cookbooks, decorating books for kids' rooms, crafty books, and the rest!

    Here's just a sampling of what's out there.

    cover image for pottery barn kids room
    cover image for the mindful mom to be
     cover image for nourishing meals
      cover image for the black woman's guide to breastfeeding cover image for the playschool guide to baby play
    cover image for baby and me
    cover image for baby says sew
     cover image for how to parent your anxious toddler
    cover image for around the world in 80 purees

    There really are thousands of great books to choose from so ask your librarian for more choices next time you stop in!
    by Evan | Oct 23, 2017
    The notion that we all have demons in us is commonplace, although modern understanding denies them spiritual form. Except that George Saunders is about as modern as a writer gets and the spirits in his love song to suffering humanity -- Lincoln in the Bardo -- can't stop haunting themselves even as their bodies molder. 

    Lincoln in the BardoAbraham Lincoln's near-crippling grief on the death of his son Willie inspired Saunders's novel, which recently won the Man Booker prize. The ghostly characters who encircle the Lincolns are a cross-section of anguished Americana, but their confusion, pain and goofiness are universal. In pop culture terms, they desperately need to "let it go." 

    Bardo is a Buddhist concept that has been loosely compared to the Christian idea of purgatory -- the place where souls dwell to make up for their sins before entering heaven. Bardo does have a spiritual meaning as an existence between lives, but you may be in bardo right now. Any time your life is sorely disrupted -- perhaps by losing a job or by the death of someone close to you -- you can be in bardo. The question then becomes can you accept impermanence and move on, or do you resist it with all your being. 

    Part of the fun of Lincoln in the Bardo is its dynamic structure, which is magnified in the audio version that features 166 voices. More of the fun is recognizing some of your favorite actors reading outrageous bits; there's a cast list at the bottom of this link. (After listening to the book, I was further amused to see that in the print version the f___s and s___s in the most raucous conversations look just like that -- decorously using the first letter only -- while the audio version, by its nature, lets everything fly.)

    Most chapters give you ghostly dialogues that range from horrific to hilarious as the spirits cut into each other to tell you their pathetic stories and try to save Willie Lincoln's soul. Other chapters use the same quote, quote, quote style to offer what seem to be snippets from actual historical accounts about the Lincolns, except that of the five I  googled only one was born outside Saunders's imagination. 

    If good literature is something that entertains you so much you look at your life in a different way, Lincoln at the Bardo qualifies. And if you are someone who walks through cemeteries on Halloween, let Saunders be your companion as you ponder whether there are souls around you who just can't let it go -- and whether you are actually one of them. 

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.
    by Becky C | Oct 20, 2017
    Editor's Note:  Originally published October 21, 2012

    Before The Walking Dead, before the CDC published their Zombie Pandemic Preparedness Guide, before Fort Wayne’s first annual Zombie Walk in 2008, there was a little video made by the staff at the Allen County Public Library.  What can we say?  We’re always on the alert for the next big thing and we’ve got your back!

    You might also like:

    Fright Night 2017Check out Downtown Fort Wayne's website for the Activity List, Parking Map, ATM locations, and Survival Guide!

    7 reasons libraries are our only hope in case of a zombie apocalypse.  I didn't write this but I wish I had!

    Zombies aren't the scariest thing about a zombie apocalypse
      Do you watch The Walking Dead?  I do!  This post was written during Season 4.

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..