BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : October & Halloween

     I do love this season, and all things Halloween. Here are some pics of how I've decorated the library:

Main bulletin board, including quote by Edgar Allan Poe
Skelton and tarantula are original things I drew, the rest is vintage Halloween decor, clip art, and a library poster.
For the light green and brown "grass," I just cut up some construction paper all crazy-like.
"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality."
-Edgar Allan Poe

The cylindrical display cabinet, which I keep unlocked so I can encourage kids to grab books out of it.
The raven on top has a tag around its neck that says, "Nevermore."

The "Coming Soon" whiteboard, festooned with glowing skulls.
(And yes, we DO now have "Blood of Olympus.")

Vintage 3D Halloween decorations

The green skulls are just clip art printed on colored paper, with orange paper flames, mounted against black paper.

I like this poster. It always makes me think of Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes."

These are the windows of my horrible little cave of an office.


Vintage Halloween tablecloth used as bulletin board covering.

     My Aunt Wanda gave me this rad bag full of vintage Halloween decorations. We figure they're from the 1950s, or maybe even the '40s. Some of the stuff was never even opened! Anthony and I put some of it up at home, and the rest I took to the library. My mom helped me put everything up, which was totally fun. Thanks, Mom! Thanks, Aunt Wanda!

Vintage scarecrow as centerpiece of the big bulletin board. (I made the reading tarantula years ago when I worked in the Children's Room of the Santa Ana Public Library.)

     I'm actually ashamed of that half-hearted "WEAVE ME ALONE, I'M READING" slogan. I was in a hurry to come up with something reading-related and also spooky or whatever, and kids were due to come flooding into the library any minute.

Luckily for me there were TWO of these vintage flying saucer witches, so one is at home hovering over our dining table, and the other is coasting across the library whiteboard. She's bitchin'.

     Then this crepe paper honeycomb spider happened!

"Kiss my fat black ass!"

     Rubberhead the Skeleton Man hangs out in the library every year. He's surrounded by potions, ravens, a vintage black cat crepe paper thingie, and horror stories.

Vintage crepe paper honeycomb bats, clip art collage stuff, and spoooooky books! Plus my extended bibliography of horror reading recommendations printed on orange paper.

There's that witch, some skull lights, and that sassy black spider...

Vintage Halloween tablecloth, vintage crepe paper spider, Maurice Sendak calendar, Chris Van Allsburg glowing pumpkin print from "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick," and Alice In Wonderland Halloween scrapbook paper.

I drew that lil' skeleton years ago, and he really needs some new material because he says "The horror… the horror…" every damn year.

    In the picture above, see those two vintage orange and black plastic Halloween decorations? My Librarian gave those to me before she retired. I love them. Thanks, Marilyn!

The End!

BOOK REVIEW : "Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane" by various authors, edited by John Skipp

Get Psychos, edited by John Skipp, from Amazon HERE.

     I got an advanced e-copy of this book through NetGalley. This anthology is edited by John Skipp, and collects a very wide selection of stories involving murderous psychos from various perspectives, some humorous, some chilling. Authors include classics like Poe, Bradbury, Gaiman, Thomas Harris, Lansdale, Bentley Little, Elizabeth Massie, Robert Devereaux, Kathe Koja, and others. 
     To me the absolute chills-down-the-spine standout piece that made the whole anthology worth it was "All Through the House" by Christopher Coake, an author I was unfamiliar with. Skipp gives a brief intro to each story, and in numerous places "warns" the reader how freaky the upcoming story is going to be, but "All Through the House" was one of the only ones that really lived up to that for me. It focuses on a mass murder mainly from the viewpoint of the murderer's best friend, who suffers tremendous survivor's guilt. But the genius of the story is the way it creates a truly haunting (and haunted) sense of history about the location by slipping back in time before the murders, then moving forward to even after the house is burnt down, then backing up to before it was burnt down and a true crime writer was visiting to exploit the event for her own purposes. 
     Another stunningly horrid (in a good way, for a psycho anthology) story was John Gorumba's "Mommy Picks Me Up at Day Care," written very believably from the viewpoint of a little boy. The boy's mother "snaps" and the author is unflinching in the way he shows this young child's mind trying to process and cope with the situation in his limited way. Meanwhile, as the reader you're able to translate the child's perceptions, so you realize what's really happening. Very clever. 
     Included in the appendix is a very thorough and thoughtful afterword about psychos in popular culture by Cody Goodfellow, and then the actual letter sent from cannibal murderer Albert Fish to the mother of one of his victims. It's not for the squeamish. 
     I feel the book as a whole is pretty well done, the second half being more rewarding than the first. The "centerpiece" of the book is a novella by Adam-Troy Castro called "The Shallow End of the Pool," but unfortunately for me it was one of my least favorite in the book. That might just be because it wasn't what I was really hoping for, based on the theme. For other people it might be very worthy precisely because of that, since it's not what you would expect.