Wednesday, January 17, 2018

These Eighty Years: #HappyBirthday #JohnBellairs

Celebrating what would have been the 80th birthday of John Bellairs, born this 17th day of January in 1938, in Marshall, Michigan.  Birthday wishes courtesy of:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Some of This Year's Book-to-Movie Adaptations

Amy Durant writes in the Watertown (NY) Daily Times of the various books being adapted for the screen this year, of which she's counted 15.  Titles include Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House (as Durnt points out, no "The Lottery"), and the classic A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.  Oh, and one this site and its fans are keenly aware of:

Playing the Torturer, By Small and Small

Image result for Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death 
The notion of memorializing a crime in miniature caught our eye this Sunday morning, if only because it reminded us of the dollhouse room in the Childermass Clock, itself a rather macabre monument to Childermass family secrets.

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death are a series of intricately-designed dollhouse-style dioramas created by Frances Glessner Lee (1878–1962), a pioneer in forensic science.  Glessner Lee used her inheritance to establish a department of legal medicine at Harvard Medical School in 1936, and donated the first of the Nutshell Studies in 1946 for use in lectures on the subject of crime scene investigation. In 1966, the department was dissolved, and the dioramas went to the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore, Maryland, where they are on permanent loan and still used for forensic seminars.  The 2012 documentary "Of Dolls and Murder" celebrates Glessner Lee and her creations, the latter of which were the focus of a story on CBS-TV's Sunday Morning.

Quoth Bellairsia: #EyesOfTheKillerRobot

"I'm cleaning out the back room of my study, something that has needed doing for ages."

Roderick Childermass - The Eyes of the Killer Robot

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #HouseWithAClockInItsWalls

"That’s all I need. An expert on Elizabethan ordnance."

Jonathan Barnavelt - The House with a Clock in its Walls

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Poll: Your Favorite Judith Brown Artwork in #TreasureOfAlpheusWinterborn

Artist and illustrator Judith Gwyn Brown created 10 full page illustrations for The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn and, in celebration of its 40th anniversary, we want to know which one is your favorite.

Perhaps it's Philpotts peering from behind the bars of the bank, or a dog barking in the dead of night, or maybe a scene from inside (or outside) the library, or just the enigmatic philanthropist himself, smiling in his portrait that hangs above the fireplace.

Or something else entirely?

Watch out for ol' Eagle Eye and pick your favorite from our list below and see how it ranks with other fans!

And of course, believe only half of what you read.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 Kicks Off with #JohnBellairsMonth, 'Pedant' Celebration

Happy 2018!

Right out of the gate, January is Richard Denney‏’s #JohnBellairsMonth in which he and other fans will read The House with a Clock in its Walls (he’s done this month-thing before, too, so he’s no novice).  If you want some discussion topics or need some past reviews we've got you covered.

It’s a good book to celebrate and a good month to celebrate, too, as the 17th would have been John’s 80th birthday.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Film News: Barnavelt Channels Led Zeppelin

 Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black), Mrs. Zimmermann (Cate Blanchett), and neighbor (director Eli Roth) go through the motions of Led Zeppelin's “Immigrant Song”.  Enjoy.

A post shared by Jack Black (@jackblack) on

Monday, October 30, 2017

Spooky Stories Haunt the Shelves of Winona Public Library

Ben McLeod wrote to us last decade to tell how Bellairsia finally helped him connect the dots between Hoosac and Winona:
I cannot describe to you the frisson of reading a book about a mysterious library and a treasure hidden within while sitting in the very library being described. As I read more of the Anthony Monday books certain particulars made it very, very clear that Hoosac was in fact Winona. When I tried to point out to parents and librarians that these books were about our town, I was met with disinterested disbelief. Adults simply assumed that I was projecting myself onto the characters of the books.
McLeod discovered through the site that Bellairs had taught at the now-defunct College of Saint Teresa in the early 1960s, prompting him to finally find his white whale.  Or his Winterborn.  Or Weatherend.  Whatever.   Now he's back (McLeod, that is), this time with an article in the Winona Post just in time for Halloween that further explains the connection and celebrates the four-book Anthony Monday series:

Haverhill’s Horror Movie Heritage

WHAV radio notes some of the people associated with Haverhill that have contributed to horror movies over the years just in time for Halloween. In addition to John Bellairs - noting his Johnny Dixon series (set in "a thinly-veiled 1950s Haverhill") and the impending movie adaptation of The House with a Clock in its Walls - Dave Goudsward passes along the following biographies:

Sunday, October 29, 2017