Month: October 2012

Check It Out Blog

Joyce’s Pick: That’s Life

Joyce staff picks photoListening to contemporary jazz these days, you don’t expect to get classic Sinatra and Bennett vocal stylings, but Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. croons exactly that. That’s Life is the debut release of Landau, an America’s Got Talent winner. Take a new walk down memory lane and try it!

What the Monsters Are Thinking

The Monster's Corner book coverHannibal Lecter. Dexter Morgan. We have a fascination with what motivates monstrous characters, sometimes even taking it so far as to root for them. If this is true for you, be sure to visit The Monster’s Corner, a collection of “stories through inhuman eyes,” edited by Christopher Golden. Top horror and dark fantasy authors pen original tales from the point of view of frightening creatures, and, after all, we can’t really judge until we’ve walked in their shoes, right? Standouts include the grisly “Less of a Girl” by Chelsea Cain, the clever “Jesus and Satan Go Jogging in the Desert” by Simon R. Green, and Kelley Armstrong’s “Rakshasi,” elegant in both tone and perspective. Satisfy your appetite for creepy with any one of these disturbing stories.

There’s Someone At Your Chamber Door

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –
    Only this and nothing more.”

The opening to Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is one of the most recognizable, atmospheric starts to a poem ever. Vincent Price is one of the most legendary horror actors ever. Put them together and  a macabre beauty is made.

LISTS: Killer Vampires and Werewolves

13 Bullets book coverWhat should vampires be? According to Stephen King, “Killers, honey. Stone killers who never get enough of that tasty Type-A. Bad boys and girls. Hunters. In other words, Midnight America. Red, white and blue, accent on the red.” In other words…not sparkly, angst-filled romantics.

If you agree with King and want to read vampire novels where your bloodsuckers are monstrous and mean, click here.

Bonus list: Then click here for equally atrocious werewolf tales.

Hoodoo Meets Vaudeville in 19th Century Chicago

Redwood and Wildfire book coverRedwood comes from a long line of female conjurors. When her mother is lynched by a mob, Aidan, a half-Seminole, half-Irish man, finds the body and treats it with reverence. Aidan and Redwood form a lifelong bond that eventually leads to them fleeing Georgia for Chicago after Redwood kills a man who sexually assaults her. Aidan and Redwood explore vaudeville and the burgeoning film industry as they travel. The culture-changing and healing power of music and theater become equally important themes as race and gender politics in Andrea Hairston’s turn of the century, James Tiptree, Jr.-awarding winning fantasy, Redwood and Wildfire.

Another Award First!

Bring Up the Bodies book coverCongratulations to Hilary Mantel for making award history with her win of the 2012 Man Booker Prize, a prestigious literary honor that often has significant impact on popular reading. Bring Up the Bodies, the second installment in a planned Tudor trilogy, explores the fate of Anne Boleyn. The first book, Wolf Hall, won the Prize in 2009 and became an international bestseller. According to the selection committee, “her resuscitation of Thomas Cromwell – and with him the historical novel – is one of the great achievements of modern literature.” With this honor, Mantel becomes the first writer to win for a direct sequel, one of only three writers to win more than once, the first woman to win twice, the first British author to win twice, and the first to win again in so short a time.

A Non-Partisan Exposé on Health Care

Health care is complicated. It is expensive. The methods of healing and billing for that care are not well understood by patients. Dr. Marty Makary – a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, a professor of health policy, and a frequent medical commentator on CNN – believes that the lack of transparency within the medical field is why treatment error rates and costs have not dropped.

For a detailed indictment of the health care industry, read Makary’s book, Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care.

LISTS: True War Stories

Helmet for My Pillow book cover“I stood among the heaps of dead. They lay crumpled, useless, defunct. The vital force was fled. A bullet or a mortar fragment had torn a hole in these frail vessels and the substance had leaked out. The mystery of the universe had once inhabited these lolling lumps, had given each an identity, a way of walking, perhaps a special habit of address or a way with words or a knack of putting color on canvas. They had been so different, then. Now they were nothing, heaps of nothing. Can a bullet or mortar fragment do this? Does this force, this mystery, I mean this soul – does this spill out on the ground along with the blood?”

For more of Helmet for My Pillow or other true war stories on audiobook, click here.

A Fourth Grade Field Trip Turned Deadly

The Missing book coverA fire destroyed the Bedford paper mill and, since then, the surrounding woods between Bedford and Corpus Christi have died. Lois Larkan uses these woods as a “teachable moment” and takes her class on a field trip to see the ecological disaster. Distracted by a break-up, Lois doesn’t notice that one child gets left behind until it’s too late. Little James Walker has had plenty of time to wreak havoc in the woods. James stumbles upon and releases a malevolent evil into the world…and it’s a contagion…a sentient contagion. Anyone who comes in contact with it becomes a flesh-eating monster. Can Corpus Christi (and the world) survive? Find out in Sarah Langan’s horror-edged thriller The Missing.