Sunday, May 20, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #ChessmenOfDoom

"I have bushels of keys. If you want to know, I also save string."

Anna Louisa Thripp - The Chessmen of Doom

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #SpecterFromTheMagiciansMuseum

"Try dressing up in a floppy clown outfit and doing tricks on live TV."

Clarence Mussenberger - The Specter from the Magician’s Museum

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #SecretOfTheUndergroundRoom

"So do you mean that Father Higgins is dead, and that old coot stole his eyes?"

Byron “Fergie” Ferguson - The Secret of the Underground Room

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Glimpse Inside 'The House with a Clock in its Walls'

A delightful article from the Gloucester Daily Times about Priscilla Bellairs and the upcoming film adaptation of The House with a Clock in its Walls:
In mid-November, Bellairs was invited to visit the film set in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received a warm welcome from the film crew and cast members, including Jack Black, who she recalls was dressed in "hideous makeup," and Blanchet.  There, Bellairs witnessed the filming of three different scenes, which she said took place on "deeply elaborate sets" with an outstanding attention to detail in keeping with the settings of John's imaginative novel.
Plus, for those in or around the Newburyport area:
Coming up on Tuesday, May 15, Priscilla Bellairs will host a program at the Emma Andrews Library in Newburyport, during which she will give an eyewitness account of how an idea in the mind of John Bellairs more than 40 years ago became a children's classic book — and now, a feature film by Universal Pictures.  During the program, she will discuss her unique perspective on the film, which is sure to come with some surprises for Bellairs fans; though many readers speculate the house in "The House with a Clock in its Walls" is based on a Victorian in John's hometown of Marshall, Michigan, and others argue that it is based on a Haverhill mansion, Priscilla Bellairs revealed that it wasn't entirely based on either, but on a composite of the two.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Radio Of Horror Highlights /bɛl ɛrz/

Our friends at the Radio of Horror have highlighted John Bellairs, both in text and video:
John’s books really help me get thru a lot of crap in my child hood and was the first book series I ever latched onto as a kid to really embrace. Stories of teenage kids teaming up with an old mentor to stop a doomsday weapon surrounded by Supernatural forces black magic and more really appealed to me. The cover jackets and front page had some of the best art by the late Edward Gorey I ever saw and loved it.

And our best guess, of the pronunciation, is /bɛl ɛrz si ʌ/.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #GhostInTheMirror

"What kind of mirror do you speak of? An erdspiegel, would it be?"

Grampa Drexel - The Ghost in the Mirror

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Film News: "House" to Open in India

If you can't make it to a state-side grand-opening of The House with a Clock in its Walls, it's been announced the film will be released in India, too.  The film is being distributed there by Reliance Entertainment.
"Considering the popularity of Hollywood horror offerings like IT, Annabelle and Conjuring in the past, The House with a Clock in Its Walls could do significantly well in the Indian markets."

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Film News: Thoughts on the Trailer

It's the day after...a day since the first trailer to The House with a Clock in its Walls was released and there's been plenty of reaction online.  Here is but a sampling:

Official site:

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Film News: Things Are Quite Different Here #HouseWithAClock

The first trailer for The House with a Clock in its Walls was released today. It's our first chance to see Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black), Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), and Mrs. Zimmermann (Cate Blanchett) in action.  A mere 177 days until the September 21 debut.  The clock is ticking....

Monday, March 26, 2018

Film News: Photos From Inside "House"

USA Today features the first photos of The House with a Clock in Its Walls (in theaters Sept. 21), horror director Eli Roth's new family-friendly magical adventure that stars Jack Black as a small-town warlock and Cate Blanchett as the witch next door. (The debut trailer drops Tuesday morning.)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #TreasureOfAlpheusWinterborn

"Three, three, who’ll gimmee three, threena quatta, threena quatta, quattava dollar, quattava dollah...."

Charley Gegenfurtner - The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #SpellOfTheSorcerersSkull

"It’s part of an old hymn called ‘St. Patrick’s Breastplate’ never occurred to me that the thing might have magical properties...."

Thomas Higgins - The Spell of the Sorcerer’s Skull

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #GeoffreyChaucer

"Go Bellairs! Quote Chaucer!"

University of Notre Dame pep rally - March 10, 1959

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Chastising The Pedant and the Shuffly

So, we mentioned a dozen days ago that we were celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Bellairs's second book, The Pedant and the Shuffly. We also noted some of the Chicago influences on the book and hinted there was another Chicago story to tell. And here it is.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #PedantAndTheShuffly #Announcement

"What is a shuffly? Who is snodrog? Find out at the autogrphing (Sic) afternoon at Staver's Bookshop and meet the Author and illustrator of the new book: 'The Pedant and the Shuffly' a fable inspired by 57th Street. Time: Saturday, February 24 - 2 to 5. Staver Booksellers, 1301 East 57th Street, Chicago."

Advertisement - The Chicago Maroon (Feb. 20, 1968)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Celebrating The Pedant and the Shuffly

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of The Pedant and the Shuffly, the second book of John Bellairs and his second collaboration with illustrator Marilyn Fitschen. The short, 79-page illustrated fable details the encounter of the two titular characters: the pedantic wizard Snodrog, who submits logic traps to his fellow countrymen to transform their weak-minded bodies into linen napkins, and the fury, mop-topped creature known as the Shuffly, whose cheery and playful mindset constantly circumvents the Snodrog's best laid plans.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #PedantAndTheShuffly #Snodrog

"As I say, in the light, as it were, of all these, proves that YOU DON'T EXIST!!!"

Snodrog (the Pedant) - The Pedant and the Shuffly

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #PedantAndTheShuffly #SirBertram

"We toss the dusty erasers of old questions into the air and try to bat them with solid answers."

Sir Bertram - The Pedant and the Shuffly

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: #DarkSecretOfWeatherend

"My name is Yon Yonson,
Ay come from Vis-con-sin...."

John Johnson - The Dark Secret of Weatherend

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Remembering Ursula K. Le Guin

Forty years ago The Face in the Frost was first released in paperback through Ace Books, a well-known publisher of science fiction and fantasy titles. In a June, 1978, letter to his friend Gerald Kadish, Bellairs briefly mentions his book and then shares the good news:
"[Face] is coming out in November in paperback! I was sent the lurid jacket sample by a girl who works for Ace Paperbacks. The jacket has blurbs by Lin Carter and Ursula K. Le Guin, and I am tickled."
Le Guin died last week at her home in Oregon, leaving behind a celebrated body of work, including the Earthsea series, stories in the Hainish Cycle, and numerous standalone novels and short stories. Awards for her work include the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, and multiple Hugo and Nebula awards.

(For the record, Le Guin says Face is “authentic fantasy by a writer who knows what wizardry is all about.")

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Quoth Bellairsia: Schnee, eis, und scheistwetter

"I was fortunate enough to observe that phenomenon before which the Aurora Borealis are as Christmas lights - the Notre Dame snow ploughs. There is nothing quite so thrilling as seeing a fleet of these Dreadnoughts sweeping the plain, transforming the snow-covered wastes into ice-covered wastes for the convenience of the student."

John Bellairs - Notre Dame Scholastic (January 23, 1959)

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.