Who You Gonna Call?!

Ghostbusters

With people’s minds turning towards things that go bump in the night as we get closer and closer to Halloween, it is important to stop and remember the important things in life. Specifically, a goofy movie from the 80s about catching ghosts.

On the night of October 7, 1984, Ray Stantz, Peter Venkman and Egon Spengler, while enjoying a magnificent feast of take-out chinese food that represented the last of their petty cash, the Ghostbusters received their first call. Shortly thereafter they arrived at the Sedgewick Hotel and, after some sliming and a great deal of collateral property damage, captured their first ghost, the disgustingly gluttonous, but somehow lovable, Slimer.

After that? More ghost-busting shenanigans than you can take shake a stick at – sequels, video games, books, comic books, graphic novels, movie reboots, dogs and cats living together… I bet you could find a lot of it at the library, if you’re interested.

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Close Encounters of the Bookish Kind: 10 of the Best Alien Books

Alien Drive

Photo by Miriam Espacio on Unsplash

Coming right on the heels of “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” firmly cemented Steven Spielberg as the director of his generation. While “Jaws” was a perfect thriller, “Close Encounters” was more indicative of Spielberg’s range and creative ability. In many ways, “Close Encounters” is Spielberg’s masterpiece – a tightly constructed and awe-inspiring exploration of the possibility of other life in the galaxy, of obsession, and humanity’s place on a grand cosmic scale. It remains a remarkable, and singular, cinematic experience. The film is turned forty years old this year and as a result we saw a one-week re-release in theaters across the country in September. Here are a few suggestions for literary encounters to satisfy your curiosity for all things extraterrestrial. Let’s have a look.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

In this imaginative and often profound blend of speculative fiction and philosophy, a Jesuit priest and linguist named Emilio Sandoz leads a team on a mission to make first contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life. The Sparrow is an engrossing, insightful, and challenging read.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Michel Faber’s novels have always defied easy categorization and his latest is no different. The Book of Strange New Things is the provocative and thought-provoking tale of a devout missionary named Peter who is sent to a distant planet that is home to an alien population struggling against a dangerous illness. Back on Earth, his wife Bea’s faith begins to falter as the world is devastated by natural disasters and crumbling governments. Through their stories, Faber teases out and confronts complex and challenging questions of faith, love, and responsibility.

The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel

Mysterious lights moving across the sky, strange apparitions appearing out of nowhere, bizarre occurrences with no clear explanation: The Mothman Prophecies has all of the elements of a grade-A UFO/first contact tale. Beginning in 1966, the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, became home to a series of increasingly strange instances centering around a winged apparition known to locals as the Mothman that culminated in a terrible disaster. Originally published in 1975, this one remains a must-read.

Arrival (Stories of Your Life MTI) by Ted Chiang

“Arrival” was one of 2016’s better films and certainly a thought-provoking exploration of grief, time, and perception told within the confines of a first contact narrative. The basis for “Arrival” was a novella titled Story of Your Life from Ted Chiang’s 2002 collection, Stories of Your Life and Others. Like most of Chiang’s fiction, Story of Your Life is an elegiac and thought-provoking piece of speculative fiction well worth your time.

The Day After Roswell by William J. Birnes and Philip Corso

The Roswell UFO Incident has become one of the most infamous UFO sightings in history and has turned Roswell, New Mexico, into something of a mecca for UFO true believers and conspiracy theorists. In this bestseller, retired Colonel Philip J. Corso lays bare what he claims was a government cover-up of an actual extraterrestrial event in Roswell. While generally viewed as something of a literary hoax, The Day After Roswell is nonetheless an entertaining – if controversial – read.

Contact by Carl Sagan

If you’re looking for the ring of authority in your first contact/UFO sci-fi, it’s hard to go wrong with Carl Sagan’s Contact. Sagan, the celebrated astrophysicist and science communicator, crafted this novel about a multinational team of scientists establishing first contact with a technologically advanced extraterrestrial life form.

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Written while Arthur C. Clarke was working with Stanley Kubrick on the groundbreaking film of the same name, 2001: A Space Odyssey is based in part on various short stories Clarke had written in the years previous. Like the film, it is a heady and thought-provoking examination of man’s place in a greater cosmic scheme.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

The classic The Left Hand of Darkness from sci-fi maven Ursula K. Le Guin tells the story of a lone human sent to an alien world whose population can choose and change their gender. It was a groundbreaking work in 1969 given its exploration of sex, gender, and psychology and remains an intriguing read today.

Armada by Ernest Cline

Ernest Cline’s sophomore effort brings his considerable pop-culture acumen to bare in this alien invasion thriller. The novel centers on Zack Lightman, a young sci-fi aficionado who finds himself in the middle of a spacefaring adventure to defend Earth from invasion after spotting a flying saucer. Much like Cline’s debut novel, Ready Player OneArmada is a rollicking, self-aware, coming-of-age thriller.

UFOs by Leslie Kean

In UFOs, investigative reporter Leslie Kean pulls together a thorough and intriguing collection of UFO sightings from around the world alongside Kean’s own examination of hundred of documents recounting the phenomena. It’s a deep and thoughtful look into an endlessly controversial and fascinating subject.

 

Books to Film – October Releases

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

The Mountain Between Us

The Mountain Between Us filmMovie: The Mountain Between Us
When it comes out: October 6
What the book is about: On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to get back East for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness– one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.

So B. It by Sarah Weeks

So b itSo B It filmMovie: So B. It
When it comes out: October 6
What the book is about: She doesn’t know when her birthday is or who her father is. In fact, everything about Heidi and her mentally disabled mother’s past is a mystery. When a strange word in her mother’s vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi sets out on a cross-country journey in search of the secrets of her past. Far away from home, pieces of her puzzling history come together. But it isn’t until she learns to accept not knowing that Heidi truly arrives.

The Chinaman by Stephen Leather

The ChinamanThe Foreigner filmMovie: The Foreigner
When it comes out: October 13
What the book is about: Jungle-skilled, silent and lethal, he had killed for the Viet Cong and then for the Americans. Now all that was behind him. Quiet, hard-working and unassuming, he was building up his South London take-away business. Until the day his wife and youngest daughter were destroyed by an IRA bomb in a Knightsbridge department store. Then, simply but persistently, he began to ask the authorities who were the men responsible, what was being done. And was turned away, fobbed off, treated as a nuisance. Which was when the Chinaman, denied justice, decided on revenge. And went back to war.

Crystal Clear by Eric Le Marque

Crystal Clear6 Below filmMovie: 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain
When it comes out: October 13
What the book is about: In this gripping first-person account, former Olympian Eric LeMarque recounts a harrowing tale of survival—of eight days in the frozen wilderness, of losing his legs to frostbite, and coming face-to-face with death. But Eric’s ordeal on the mountain was only part of his struggle for survival—as he reveals, with startling candor, an even more harrowing and inspiring tale of fame and addiction, healing and triumph.

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

The SnowmanThe Snowman filmMovie: The Snowman
When it comes out: October 20
What the book is about: Antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity. Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf. Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall

Same Kind of Different as MeSame Kind of Different as Me filmMovie: Same Kind of Different as Me
When it comes out: October 20
What the book is about: Meet Denver, a man raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana in the 1960s; a man who escaped, hopping a train to wander, homeless, for eighteen years on the streets of Dallas, Texas. No longer a slave, Denver’s life was still hopeless—until God moved. First came a godly woman who prayed, listened, and obeyed. And then came her husband, Ron, an international arts dealer at home in a world of Armani-suited millionaires. And then they all came together. But slavery takes many forms. Deborah discovers that she has cancer. In the face of possible death, she charges her husband to rescue Denver. Who will be saved, and who will be lost? What is the future for these unlikely three? What is God doing? Same Kind of Different As Me is the emotional tale of their story: a telling of pain and laughter, doubt and tears, dug out between the bondages of this earth and the free possibility of heaven. No reader or listener will ever forget it.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

WonderstruckWonderstruck filmMovie: Wonderstruck
When it comes out: October 20
What the book is about: Ben and Rose secretly wish for better lives. Ben longs for his unknown father. Rose scrapbooks a famous silent actress. When Ben finds clues and Rose reads enticing news, the children independently run to New York for what they are missing. Ben’s story in words, Rose’s in pictures, come together in deafness.

Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg

JungleJungle filmMovie: Jungle
When it comes out: October 20
What the book is about: What begins as a dream adventure for four amicable, if hastily met, muchileros (backpackers) quickly becomes a struggle for survival as they unravel under the duress of the jungle. They are an odd mix to be sure: Marcus, the Swiss mystic; Karl, the shady Austrian geologist; Kevin, the well-intentioned American photographer; and Yossi, the Israeli adventurer. “Jungle” is the incredible true story of Yossi Ghinsberg’s triumph over the most adverse and frightening of circumstances. It is a tale of survival and human fortitude against the wildest backdrop on the planet.

1922 (Full Dark, No Stars) by Stephen King

19221922 filmMovie: 1922
When it comes out: October 20
What the book is about: 1922 is a novella by Stephen King, published in his collection Full Dark, No Stars. The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father.

Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel

Thank You for Your ServiceThank You for Your Service filmMovie: Thank You for Your Service
When it comes out: October 27
What the book is about:  In the ironically titled Thank You for Your Service, Finkel writes with tremendous compassion not just about the soldiers but about their wives and children. Where do soldiers belong after their homecoming? Is it reasonable, or even possible, to expect them to rejoin their communities as if nothing has happened? And in moments of hardship, who can soldiers turn to if they feel alienated by the world they once lived in? These are the questions Finkel faces as he revisits the brave but shaken men of the US 2-16 Infantry Battalion.

Book Movies coming in September

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen Fallen_filmWhen it comes out: September 1
What the book is about: 17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.

It by Stephen King

ItIt_filmWhen it comes out: September 8
What the book is about: It was the children who saw – and felt. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of their nightmares. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .
Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd

Dan Leno and the Limehouse GolemThe Limehouse Golem_filmWhen it comes out: September 8
What the book is about: Dan Leno, the great music hall comedian, was known in his lifetime as ‘the funniest man on earth’. So how could he have been involved in one of the most curious episodes in London’s history when, in a short period during the autumn of 1880, a series of murders was attributed to the mysterious ‘Limehouse Golem’?

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung

First They Killed My FatherFirst They Killed My Father_filmWhen it comes out: September 15
What the book is about: Chronicles the brutality of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, from the author’s forced ”evacuation” of Phnom Penh in 1975 to her family’s subsequent movements from town to town and eventual separation.

J.D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski

(Film: Rebel in the Rye)

JD Salinger A LifeRebel in the Rye_filmWhen it comes out: September 15
What the book is about: One of the most popular and mysterious figures in American literary history, author of the classic Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger eluded fans and journalists for most of his life. Now comes a new biography that is “energetic and magnificently researched”—a book from which “a true picture of Salinger emerges.”

Stronger by Jeff Bauman

StrongerStronger_filmWhen it comes out: September 22
What the book is about: When Jeff Bauman woke up on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 in the Boston Medical Center, groggy from a series of lifesaving surgeries and missing his legs, the first thing he did was try to speak. When he realized he couldn’t, he asked for a pad and paper and wrote down seven words: “Saw the guy. Looked right at me,” setting off one of the biggest manhunts in the country’s history. Just thirty hours before, Jeff had been at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon cheering on his girlfriend, Erin, when the first bomb went off at his feet.

Victoria & Abdul by Shrabani Basu

Victoria and AbdulVictoria and Abdul_filmWhen it comes out: September 22
What the book is about: Abdul Karim, an assistant clerk at Agra Central Jail, suddenly finds himself a personal attendant to the Empress of India herself, Queen Victoria. Within a year, he is established as a powerful figure at court, becoming the queen’s teacher, or Munshi, and instructing her in Urdu and Indian affairs. Devastated by the death of John Brown, the queen had at last found his replacement. But her intense and controversial relationship with the Munshi led to a near-revolt in the royal household.

New Ditto!

Did you know that the word ditto is borrowed from the Italian word for “said”, which was in turn derived from the Latin word for “said”? It turns out to have ancient origins; noble roots even. Classy.

Alexander Hamilton Shelf End Ditto