Still fun and the weather is nicer (fingers crossed).
For all of horror’s various niches and subgenres, ecological horror is one that feels more and more timely with each passing year. With bizarre and volatile weather events occurring at a distressing pace, wildfires decimating large swaths of land, and the ever-more alarming threat of rising sea levels, it’s not difficult to see why. It sometimes feels as if our changing climate has us on a rolling wave of ecological catastrophe, and the terrors once explored in the confines of the novel are now entirely too plausible. Writers have long swapped common supernatural threats like ghosts and deadly monsters for the uniquely human terror of ecological collapse and a hostile nature reclaiming the world around us. These are a few of our favorites.
Occultation, Laird Barron’s second collection of short stories (and winner of a 2010 Shirley Jackson Award), features a cadre of stories pitting men and women against a chaotic and deadly universe seemingly hellbent on their destruction. His story “-30-” was recently adapted into the film “They Remain” and follows two scientists investigating an unspeakable tragedy at an isolated former cult encampment. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned.
Holly Goddard Jones
In a dystopic near-future, the border of American civilization has receded behind an area known as the Salt Line, a ring of scorched earth meant to keep out hordes of deadly disease-carrying ticks. For most, life continues, if in a limited capacity. But there are those who venture outside to experience what’s left of nature, and one such group of thrill-seekers discovers that there are things more dangerous and deadly than the ticks lurking in the outer zone.
The first in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation introduces readers to the bizarre, surreal, and horrifying landscape of Area X. It’s been cut off from both man and civilization for decades, and nature (or something more) has fully reclaimed it. When the most recent of several ill-fated expeditions returns, each member stricken with fatal cancer, a twelfth expedition is organized to finally map the now-alien terrain. What they find is beyond anything they could have imagined.
For Eric and Stacy and their friends Amy and Jeff, a Mexican vacation seemed like just what they needed. When they hit it off with another group of friendly tourists? All the better. Unfortunately, what begins as a day trip into the jungle quickly spirals into a hellish nightmare when the group stumbles onto an ancient and overgrown ruin. Something is lurking within the vines and undergrowth – something that doesn’t want them to leave.
This 1951 classic imagines a post-apocalyptic world where the majority of humanity loses their sight in a meteor shower. As the world descends into chaos, the same meteor shower seems to have also animated the triffids – a tall, venomous plant now capable of uprooting themselves and attacking the surviving humans. Though the premise is a little bizarre, Wyndham’s narrative skill turns the tale into a true classic of speculative fiction, one that feels far more plausible than it has any right to.
The Nature of Balance
With The Nature of Balance, Tim Lebbon imagines a world where one day the majority of the world’s population simply doesn’t wake up. For the survivors, the new world quickly evolves into a horrifying place in ways no one could have anticipated. Mankind is no longer the world’s dominant species – nature is reclaiming the earth and man is simply a cancer to be rooted out and removed.
Try to imagine what would happen if one day animals suddenly turned on humans en masse. Thanks to James Patterson, you don’t have to try that hard. In Zoo, biologist Jackson Oz has been largely ostracized from the professional community for his seemingly crackpot theory on the increasing prevalence of animal attacks on humans. When these attacks grow to a startling scale and level of coordination, entire cities are crippled and Oz races to discover a means to stem the tide.
When a reclusive plant biologist living on a remote island passes away, he leaves the island to his daughter Isabella and his close friend and fellow researcher Jules. When the pair arrive, they quickly discover that Isabella’s father made a monumental advancement – communication between plants and animals. When a fierce storm isolates them on the island, they find that this breakthrough has far darker and more sinister implications than anyone could have imagined.
Algernon Blackwood’s work served as something of precursor both modern horror and weird fiction. His darkly supernatural tales, intricately woven and deeply foreboding, were a major influence on H.P. Lovecraft and several others. Ancient Sorceries is one of Blackwood’s finest collections, with the novella “The Willows” standing as perhaps the author’s best. It centers on two friends and their canoe trip on a stretch of the Danube crowded by willows on both banks. Before long, the trip is beset by dread and tragedy as nature itself begins to turn on them.
Nearly three quarters of our planet is covered in water. If, for whatever reason, the ocean’s ecology ever turned on mankind, there would be virtually no place to hide, and that’s the basic premise of The Swarm. Whales begin coordinated attacks, sinking ships. Toxic crabs poison Long Island’s water supply. The North Sea Shelf suddenly collapses. Virtually all at once, the fragile ecosystem of the earth is thrown violently out of balance, and there may be no way to set it right.
And it has all my favorite foods.
Makes sense. Why April 12?
Beverly Cleary’s birthday. She helped make it famous – not her birthday, D.E.A.R. Day. Inspired by letters from readers sharing their enthusiasm for the D.E.A.R. activities implemented in their schools, Cleary first wrote about D.E.A.R. in Ramona Quimby, Age 8, where even more young readers and educators found the idea and really liked it. As D.E.A.R. has grown in popularity and scope, the program has expanded to span the entire month of April . . . offering classrooms and communities additional time to celebrate!
Go here for more information about D.E.A.R.
Go here for something to read after you drop everything.
April is National Poetry Month, a literary celebration of a genre that supports expression, encourages feelings, and challenges readers to think beyond the words on a page. Inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is observed by thousands of libraries, schools, and publishers around the world. Readers near and far are invited by their communities to celebrate with poetry readings, festivals, writing workshops, and so much more. Below are a few simple tips on how you can help your readers discover the beauty and wonder of poetry through your digital collection.
Remembering the first poem you ever read may be difficult (CC: Mother Goose), but a reader always remembers the first poem that made them think a little differently. Bring poetry to the forefront of your digital collection by featuring some of your staff’s favorite poetry ebooks and audiobooks.. Poetry is a genre that can be intimidating to some readers, curating a list with the classics or modern poetry recommendations is a great way to introduce readers to new content and help them open their mind to new concepts, cultures and understandings. (Ex: OverDrive librarians curated a list to help introduce young adult readers to the genre featuring “Our Favorite J/YA poetry”.)
Poem in Your Pocket Day 2018 is on April 26 and is part of National Poetry Month. On this day, select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, street corners, and on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem.
Use your social media profiles to celebrate with your followers! Grab readers attention with excerpts from your staff’s favorite poems. This is a great way to use your expertise and personal recommendation to help direct readers to a title they may not have searched for, all while raising awareness of poetry. Additionally, this creates an interactive space for readers to connect with your staff outside of the library walls. For example (feel free to use):
For more inspiration, check out the 30 ways to celebrate national poetry month list created by The Academy of American Poets.
Every day, libraries of all types prove that they are powerful agents of community change. No longer just places for books, libraries now offer a smorgasbord of free digitally-based programs and services, including 3-D printing, ebooks, digital recording studios and technology training.
National Library Week will be observed April 8-14, 2018 with the theme, “Libraries Lead.”
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.
The National Library Week 2018 celebration will mark the 60th anniversary of the first event, sponsored in 1958.
In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee’s goals were ambitious. They ranged from “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time” to “improving incomes and health” and “developing strong and happy family life.”
In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!”
Celebrations during National Library Week include: National Library Workers Day, celebrated the Tuesday of National Library Week (April 10, 2018), a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers; National Bookmobile Day, celebrated the Wednesday of National Library Week (April 11, 2018), a day to recognize the contributions of our nation’s bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities, and Take Action for Libraries Day, a national library advocacy effort observed for the first time in 2017 in response to proposed cuts to federal funds for libraries.
On Monday, April 9, the 2018 State of America’s Libraries Report will be released. The report includes the much anticipated list of Top Ten Most Challenged Books of the previous year, compiled by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
Misty Copeland serves as 2018 National Library Week Honorary Chair.
In August 2015, Copeland was promoted to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, making her the first African American woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history.
Copeland is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir “Life in Motion,” and her 2014 picture book “Firebird” won the Coretta Scott King Book Illustrator Award in 2015. Her new book, “Ballerina Body,” an instant New York Times Bestseller, published in March 2017.
She has worked with many charitable organizations and is dedicated to giving of her time to work with and mentor young girls and boys. She was named National Youth of the Year Ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in June 2013. In 2014, President Obama appointed Copeland to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. And in 2015, she traveled to Rwanda with MindLeaps to help launch its girls program and to establish The Misty Copeland Scholarship.
There are several ways to celebrate National Library Week:
Head to your public, school or academic library during National Library Week to see what’s new and take part in the celebration. Libraries across the country are participating.
Post National Library Week graphics to your social media channels.
National Library Week is the perfect opportunity to tell the world why you value libraries. This year, in keeping with the Libraries Lead theme, we’re asking you tell us how the library led you to something of value in your life.
Library lovers can post to Twitter, Instagram, or on the I Love Libraries Facebook page during National Library Week for a chance to win. Entries can be a picture or text. Creativity is encouraged. Just be sure to they include the hashtags #LibrariesLead and #NationalLibraryWeek for a chance to win.
One randomly selected winner will receive a $100 gift card and a copy of “Firebird,” the Coretta Scott King Award-winning book by Misty Copeland, our National Library Week Honorary Chair.
Join in the fun. The promotion begins Sunday, April 8 at noon CT and ends Saturday, April 14 at noon CT. Check out the National Library Week page for details and more ways to celebrate.