Though the show aired one to two years before most of today’s high school seniors were born, Buffy the Vampire Slayer still has a cult following amongst fans of all ages. I have even heard a child in the children’s section of the local library singing songs from the musical as they browsed books. If you’re like me, a crazy fangirl of the show, you miss it immensely. It had humor, heart, and the characters became like family. It has such a huge following that it, thankfully, has continued in graphic novel form. Fans continue to write fanfiction, attend cons to meet the actors, and in general, keep the Slayer alive. Another way to do this is by reading novels that could easily be set in the same world, or that Buffy (and Giles!) would definitely approve of.
I’m a big series fan. I always have been, since way back in my Babysitter’s Club days. Books, tv, movies, comics; I’m not particular about format, I just love to get to know a group of characters and then follow them through their ups and downs. Whether that means high-stakes urban fantasy, or an emotionally-gripping mirror of the landscape we’re all navigating out here in the real world, I want to get invested. I want to laugh at jokes that are only funny to insiders, and cry at slights that hit deep because they’re drawing on the hundred interactions that led up to them. When I become attached to any imagined world, and all of that world’s quirks and characters, whether as a reader, listener, or viewer (or, for many people, though admittedly not me, gamer), I just want more; any medium will do, just let me stay immersed in that delightful world a little longer.
So, first things first, how many of you have a card for your local library?
I hope all of our trusty Hub readers raised their hands with enthusiasm! After all, having a library card is cooler than being cool, as the 2015 honorary chair Snoopy himself tells us. Besides, a library is a gateway to a host of free and fabulous resources! If you haven’t had the chance to saunter on down to your local public library and receive your very own library card, take advantage of this celebration’s last couple weeks to investigate the process.
But if you need a reminder of just why libraries are in fact so cool, check out these examples of excellent and awe-inspiring fictional libraries.
The Hogwarts Library from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
What library fan could resist the cavernous and mysterious space full of magical texts detailing everything from how to take care of baby dragons to the secrets behind the creation of dangerous potions? The Hogwarts Library is located on the fourth floor of Hogwarts castle and contains thousands upon thousands of books. The space is divided into many specific sections, including the Restricted Section–a roped off area which requires a signed note from a professor to access. As far as we know, the librarian is the stern Madam Irma Pince. Additionally, the library is the site of quite a lot of significant moments and discoveries for Harry, Ron, and Hermione during their time at Hogwarts; it’s clearly a cool place to hang out–or at least a good place to conduct research on dark secrets and even darker magic. After all, as Ron so wisely states in his description of Hermione’s particular approach to problems, “When in doubt, go to the library.” Continue reading Celebrating National Library Card Sign Up Month With Fabulous Fictional Libraries
In 2008, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight hit the big time with the release of movie version. Millions flocked to the theaters, then to bookstores and libraries to finish Stephenie Meyers’ saga. Suddenly, everywhere we looked, there were vampires: scary, sexy, sparkly, fangsâ€¦ you could take your pick. More books hit the shelves (or were discovered) like PC Cast’s House of Night series, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy, and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series. Not to mention the many TV shows cropping up everywhere, such as HBO’s True Blood and CW’s Vampire Diaries. It was vampire frenzy. Then the inevitable backlash hitâ€”hard. Folks had clearly hit a saturation point with vampires (particularly Twilight.) It became cool to loudly proclaim ones’ hatred of Twilightâ€”and all things vampire. Twilight spoofs were being produced, such as Nightlight: a Parody by the Harvard Lampoon and the Vampires Suck movie.
Fast forward to 2013 when Holly Black (author of both children’s and young adult gold like The Spiderwick Chronicles and the overlooked but spectacular Curse Workers trilogy) offers The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. This book has everything a lover of gothic reads could want: creepy cool cover art, a terrifying opening scene, scary and dangerously hot romance, flawed narrator, realistic intriguing side characters, and a vividly described falling apart Las Vegas-like town under constant camera surveillance (showing another frightening side of reality TV like that depicted in the Hunger Games trilogy.) In fact, in this librarian’s humble opinion, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown has nary a flaw to be foundâ€”except that it’s about vampires. As Karyn Silverman of the Someday My Printz Will Come blog writes, â€œâ€¦I think the anti-vampire bias runs so deep in most librarians these days that Coldtown risks a cold shoulder as a result.â€ I fear Silverman might be correct in her assessment, as I haven’t heard much buzz from other readers about Coldtownâ€”unless of course, I’m the one who brought it up (which I do, often and loudly). On a bright note, Coldtown‘s appearance on YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list offers hope for this overlooked gem. Continue reading The Rise and Fall of YA Lit Trends: Timing is Everything
We have finally come to the end of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer trilogy of YA book recommendations. I had people ask me to include Spike and Drusilla as well as other characters that hang out in the dark. I feel this may be the most challenging entry yet. I mean, when would Adam find the time from acting like Dr. Frankenstein to pick up a book? Also, unless Glory’s minions were reading her the story of her life aloud, I can’t see her being interested in much else. But still, I will do my best to find recommendations for even the most reluctant reader.
Darla – I thought I would work my way through the series chronologically. Unfortunately, that puts the most difficult character first. I can easily think of a title or two for every other character. Darla is a puzzle. Initially, we don’t learn much about Darla until she appears on Angel. Everything we know about her consists of her life as a vampire throughout history. She is the only main villainous vampire with a recurring storyline in Buffy that we do not know the origin story. It’s not until Angel that we learn that she has been a vampire since the sixteenth century. This may be a stretch, but I would give Darla Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (the 2014 Printz Award winner) to read. Darla and Angelus were together initially 200 years ago, but then were pulled apart when Angelus becomes Angel, the vampire with a soul. Then, like the characters of Eric and Merle in Midwinterblood, the two are brought back together again through a series of circumstances. And of course I have to mention, there is a bit of vampire action in the book as well.