Monday, December 9, 2002

Book Alert: オペラ座の幽霊

The Japanese edition of the The Doom of the Haunted Opera (loosely translated as Phantom of the Opera - eat your heart out, Gaston Leroux...) will be published next March.

Saturday, November 30, 2002

The Bullies, the Rings, and the Books

I just finished reading the 20th anniversary expanded edition of The Monster’s Ring written by popular children’s author Bruce Coville and in many ways it reminded me of some of the stories of John Bellairs, particularly The Curse of the Blue Figurine which also features a magic ring and a bully by the name of Eddie. As I read it, I was pleasantly surprised to find an actual reference to one of John’s books therein. To help get into the Halloween spirit, Russell Crannaker, the book’s protagonist, decides to read a scary story, and guess what? Russell has good taste:

Friday, November 22, 2002

Memoriam: Thomas Fuller

Novelist, dramatist, and screenwriter Thomas E. Fuller died November 21, 2002 in Duluth, Georgia following a week-long hospitalization due to a heart attack.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Sunday, November 3, 2002

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Remembrances: John Drew

Recent comments from John Drew:
The John Bellairs I knew at Chicago forty years ago would have stammered his way into hilarity at the idea he would ever have been the subject of a biography. I am sure John would fervently hope and pray that your project is some kind of spoof, preferably a work of hagiography. Perhaps it is? The Canonization of St. John of Main Street? Poor old John, sitting up there playing his harp and adjusting his halo, what would he say about your project?

Tuesday, October 1, 2002

2002 Living History Portrayal Walk

Marshall, Michigan's Oakridge Cemetery is playing host to "A Living History Portrayal" on Saturday, October 19. It is to be a guided walking tour of Oakridge Cemetery during which actors will portray ten significant persons from the past at each of those individuals' grave sites. The actors, impersonating each individual, will provide factual information about each personage, but in the tradition of the theater - the Marshall Civic Players is one of the sponsors along with the Marshall Historical Society - the evening will be high drama!

Walter says he's half-way serious about going to Marshall on October 19 to either dress up like Lewis or Pat Petersen to make an appearance and try to summon up a spirit from a mausoleum in front of all the guests. When and if that fails, Walter says he might instead circulate through the crowd while handing out Bellairsia business cards.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Will You Not Eat Your Words?

By the Hopeful Hoplites of Hammurabi indeed!  I don’t seem to recall the first book I wanted to eat but Alex Lencicki says his choice would have been one of John’s.
Do you remember the first book that you wanted to eat? The book that had you under the bed reading by flashlight? Mine was by John Bellairs, and there's a amazing site dedicated to his work here. If you ever happen upon any of his books with the Edward Gorey covers in a used-books shop or garage-sale bin, and you send it to brokentype, I'll dedicate a word to you in all my subsequent posts.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, maybe?  I'm reminded of the letter-eating scene from The Phantom Tollbooth, too.  Go figure.

Book Alert: The Whistle, the Grave, and the Ghost

A summary of The Whistle, the Grave and the Ghost:
In the woods near his home in Michigan, thirteen-year-old Lewis Barnavelt stumbles upon an ancient grave and silver whistle that draw him, his best friend Rose Rita Pottinger, his uncle Jonathan, and their friend Mrs. Zimmermann into a battle with an ancient evil.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Remembrances: Brian Kenny

Recent comments from Brian Kenny:
I was at the University of Chicago from 1963 to 1967 working on a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. There I met a number of people through Calvert House, a place where Catholic Chaplains lived. While there I started a group which met in the homes of various people to discuss theology and have Mass in their homes.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Book Alert: The Whistle, the Grave, and the Ghost

Brad Strickland, writing at the Compleat Bellairs:
"I've seen the new cover [for The Whistle, the Grave, and the Ghost], and alas, it is not a wraparound, though it strikes me as very good. Nice color scheme and nice 'Gorey' feel to it!

"The proposals are in...and a new non-supernatural Anthony Monday is among them. Let's see what Dial says now."

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

The House with an Auction in its Halls

Bryndis Rubin reports that Belcher, Dingman, Spaulding Auctioneers have announced Saturday, August 31st as the date that contents of the Cronin House, the Marshall inspiration for The House with a Clock in its Walls, will be presented in a public auction, as Ms. Mary Virginia Cronin - the last remaining owner of the house - passed away this year at age 97. The Cronin Family was one of the earliest settlers in Marshall and has long been recognized as an icon in this small town's storied history. Built in 1872, there are many memories that surround this fantastic home. Come be apart of the final chapter of the Cronin Family and take home a piece of history.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Summoning the Ace of Nitwits

by guest contributor, Ron Sharp:

I am a Bellairs neophyte. I have not read all of his books, and consider myself barely knowledgeable regarding the worlds he created. I have only recently, in fact, began reading his works at the behest of those who maintain this site. I am well read and have always been interested in magic in life. In particular I’ve been fascinated by the magical way of life described in the many books written about the Toltecs.

Friday, July 5, 2002

Children's Fantasy and Christianity

Eve Tushnet's article in the online edition of CRISIS magazine - a magazine featuring articles about contemporary culture and Catholic traditions (and with, due respect, a title that John probably would have enjoyed) - begins this way:

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Understanding Phil Absen

We received some comments this week from fan Brian Showers who recently re-read The Curse of the Blue Figurine for the first time in at least a decade. He’s says that while the book was pleasing the second time around there was one glaring thing in his mind – the encounter with Phil Absen.

A Gorey Exhibition on Reading



From the Edward Gorey House:
Gorey's life revolved around his passion for the written word, evident in his creations both on paper and on stage. Throughout his career, Gorey contributed illustrations to books by children's authors such as John Ciardi, Florence Heide, Edward Lear, John Bellairs and Peter Neumeyer. This exhibition includes examples of these illustrations as well as posters and advertisements Gorey created to advocate reading for both children and adults. From June 15 through September 29, 2002.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Book Alert: Le Fantôme dans le Miroir

The French edition of the The Ghost in the Mirror, with cover art by Lalex, is to be published this October. This is book #4 in the Kévin et les magiciens series.

Sunday, June 2, 2002

Book Alert: House/Ghost Flip Book

A new paperback combined edition of The House with a Clock in Its Walls and The Ghost in the Mirror has hit the shelves.

The book is a flip book, if you will: you first read House through to the end, flip the book over and read Ghost (or, read Ghost first through to end, flip the book over and ... well, you get the idea).

The cover work is identical to the Puffin paperback editions with artwork by Bart Goldman.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Book Alert: Émily et l'Anneau Magique

The French edition of the The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring, with cover art by Lalex, is to be published this June. This is book #3 in the Kévin et les magiciens series.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

A Thorough Loving of the Common Road

Winona Post editors John and Fran Edstrom have hopped into their car for a road trip – and the adventure described in Fran's article reminds us Anthony and Miss Eells's adventures touring the back roads of Hoosac. We doubt the Edstroms come across anything as mesmerizing as a mansion in New Stockholm, though:

Monday, April 8, 2002

Book Alert: La Médaille Ensorcelée

The French edition of the The Figure in the Shadows, with cover art by Lalex, is to be published this June. This is book #2 in the Kévin et les magiciens series.

Monday, March 25, 2002

Interview: Ann LaPietra

Ann LaPietra is the owner of the Marshall, Michigan bookstore "the kids' place" and the woman behind the popular John Bellairs Walk, a tour of the sights and sounds of Marshall and how they inspired John’s New Zebedee. We asked Ann about the walk, the city, and John’s enduring popularity.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Testimony: Second Shelf From The Bottom

by Kalev Hantsoo (Mar. 21, 2002)
(Originally published at the compleatbellairs.com)
"Good heavens!" he exclaimed. "You can read, and you like to read! Please excuse my amazement, but I have just come from visiting my sister's daughter, who lives up in New Hampshire. She has two children about your age, but they couldn't read their way through a box of cigarette papers. Which is scarcely odd, because their parents don't read anything except the phone book and the directions on spaghetti boxes. You like to read! Lord have mercy! Will wonders never cease...."
The Curse of the Blue Figurine

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

James Stoddard: The High House

I recently came across a review of James Stoddard’s The High House (1989) by author Darrell Schweitzer, who notes Stoddard paid homage to Bellairs by way of The Face in the Frost. Stoddard pays tribute to many classic works of fantasy with references to such esteemed authors as Lord Dunsany, Mervyn Peake, C.S. Lewis, and George MacDonald. His nod to Bellairs comes on page 48 where the young protagonist, Carter Anderson, explores a magical house's library and is surprised at some of the titles shelved in its history collection:

Thursday, January 31, 2002

Gorey at Bromer Booksellers

Edward Gorey's illustrations for The Beast Under the Wizard's Bridge, The Dark Secret of Weatherend, The Ghost in the Mirror, and The Vengeance of the Witch-finder are available from Bromer Booksellers. As Beast is Gorey's last completed bookwork before his death in 2000, one understands how and why the cost of this artwork - along with one swell copy of the published work - sells at $10,500.00. And, no, the Bellairsia staff cannot make you any deals.

Sunday, January 27, 2002

Remembrances: Alan Loxterman

Recent comments from Alan Loxterman:
Both in physical appearance and with his sardonic sense of humor, I recall John Bellairs as a cross between Alfred Hitchcock and Charles Laughton.

Friday, January 25, 2002

Interview: Lalex

Imagine our surprise to see some familiar characters running around - but this time around speaking French!  Bon Sour One Frank, indeed! Lalex is the contemporary illustrator of the French translations of John Bellairs' Lewis Barnavelt books in the "Kévin et les Magiciens" series.

Wednesday, January 2, 2002

"Tower" nomination



From Kalev Hantsoo:
The children's magazine Disney Adventures is having its annual book awards and The Tower at the End of the World is a nominee. The information is found in the Winter 2002 issue with votes due by February 15. Go vote!

#JohnBellairs