Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Therein Illustrated & The Honour Of It

At some point in our research we came across this article about the decline in artwork used in children's books. For an example the author cites John's novels and the differences in artwork between those published in the 1970s and those released during the 80s. We thought we'd re-publish it here to gain some more insights:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More About Widow's Walk Lake

Filmmaker and Bellairs-fan James Strayer got in touch with us earlier this year about his latest work, Widow's Walk Lake, a film inspired partly by some of Bellairs’ spooky stories. The story is set in the 1930s and follows a young man as he goes off to war leaving his wife behind.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Book Alert: Magic Mirrors

There is news this holiday season of what appears to be a new John Bellairs anthology on the horizon. This one is a collection of his non-YA books entitled (appropriately enough) Magic Mirrors.

The anthology looks to include:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Time Capsule: October 31, 1948

October 31, 1948: It may be hard to believe but it was sixty years ago tonight that ten-year-old Lewis Barnavelt dared himself to meet Tarby Corrigan in Oakridge Cemetery know the rest.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Such Virtue Hath My Pen

Color us impressed: John Joy has created a mock book cover design for John Bellairs’ The Figure in the Shadows.  Very impressive...almost to the point we'd like to see the whole series by this guy. Anyone at Dial paying attention?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Book Alert: The Sign of the Sinister Sorcerer

Its summer again in New Zebedee and Lewis Barnavelt is back in another hair-raising adventure! What sort of shadowy figure does Lewis see and why has our timid hero immersed himself in understanding the mystical and magical number three? Fates? Wise men? Blind mice?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Time Capsule: October 3, 1958

October 3, 1958: 50 years ago today John Bellairs debuted in the pages of the University of Notre Dame student magazine, the Scholastic. Now a senior level English major, Bellairs and friend Charles Bowen were tapped to share their humorous observations about life in South Bend by alternating each week author of Escape.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2008 Living History Portrayal Walk

Oakridge Cemetery, one of the oldest continuously operated cemeteries in Michigan, is home again this year to the 8th Annual "If These Stones Could Talk..." Living History Portrayal Walk. This guided walking tour will feature actors portraying significant persons from Marshall's past at each of those individual's gravesites.

This year’s famous Marshallnites include Anne Ells (no relation Myra, that we know of), Samuel Burpee, Mary Coleman, Deville Hubbard, Calvin Clark, Rev. Christopher Heidenreich, and Adam Crosswhite. The event will take place rain or shine so participants are encouraged to bring flashlights, wear comfortable walking shoes, and carry an umbrella.

When: October 11, 2008
Time: 7:00 pm

To learn more, please contact the Marshall Chamber of Commerce.

We hope Walter has better success with this than he did last year. That’s when he got a bit irritated with our nagging and let fly with a boisterous “You may all go to hell and I will go to Marshall!” Oddly enough, though, it was Walter who ended up in Hell, Michigan (and we manned the office, per usual). He claimed to have had a nice time on his visit except for being persistently followed by someone who sorta-kinda looked like Ronald Padavona. Walter said the guy kept waving his fist in the air with his index and little fingers extended and shouting “an angel is missing, an angel is missing!” All in all, we hope Walter manages to show up for an appearance this year.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Time Capsule: September 20, 1378

September 20, 1378: 630 years ago today Antipope Clement VII was elected by French cardinals as opposition to the Roman-elected Pope Urban VI; these proceedings lead to what Bellairs lovingly called the Grand Central Schism in Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies [58-9].

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Salisbury Cathedral, Cheer thy Spirit with this Comfort

The Cathedral of Saint Mary – better known as Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, England – is celebrating the 750th anniversary of its consecration.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

45th Annual Historic Home Tour

For 45 years the Marshall Historical Society has been showcasing eight private homes, one church, and one business as part of its Historic Home Tour. It has been called the Granddaddy of Midwest Home Tours and is famous all over the country for its traditions and heritage. Marshall's Home Tour was voted the Best Home Tour by the readers of AAA's Michigan Living magazine.

Of special interest to fans of John Bellairs is the inclusion in this year's tour of the Zaharion (née Cronin) House (407 North Madison), the landmark inspiration for The House with a Clock in its Walls.

When: September 6-7, 2008
Time: Saturday 9:00 to 5:00, Sunday 10:00 to 5:00

For more information, including cost, please contact the Marshall Historical Society.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

About Widow's Walk Lake

One of the joys of Bellairsia over the years has been the response we get from fans. Some are new to the Bellairs-game and have questions about books, while others are long-time readers and appreciate the site memorializing John and his work. It’s also been nice to hear from John’s close friends and have them express their pleasure in us keeping John’s memory alive. And we’ve had fun doing it, too.

So we found it interesting a few weeks ago that another such fan surfaced to tell his story.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The John Bellairs Mural

Team Haverhill, an independent citizen action group dedicated to bettering Haverhill, Massachusetts, began a Mural Project in 2007 consisting of outdoor murals of famous people from the city's past. A new series of murals are planned for 2008, bringing the total to 18, and among those will be one honoring author and former Haverhill resident John Bellairs.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Curse of the Sad Little Figurine

Stu Horvath has shared this little gem on flickr:
This figurine was found in an antique store in the Brandywine River Valley. It was so worn and unloved, I just couldn't resist buying it, particularly since is cost about a buck.

In all honesty, I bought it for something other than aesthetic reasons. I read all of John Bellairs' supernatural adventure books when I was a kid. It is exactly this sort of thing, bought in an out of the way antique store, that winds up being an artifact of ancient evil in those books. Here's to hoping.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

In Forms...and At Zoos...Imaginary

Writer and children's librarian Lisa Chellman writes about the devil's in the details when it comes to fictional things in Michigan:
When I was a kid, I never fully forgave James Howe for writing, in Morgan's Zoo, that one of the animals was to be shipped to the zoo in Kalamazoo. There was no zoo in Kalamazoo, as I knew darn well; the nearest zoo was in Battle Creek. My parents explained poetic license, but to me it was just wrong.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Memoriam: Dody Goodman

Dody Goodman, best known to contemporary audiences as the scatterbrained secretary in the Grease movies and in her role in the sitcom Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, died Sunday, June 22. She was 93.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Discovering Hoosac

by guest contributor, Ben McLeod:
When I was about nine or ten years old, in the very early 1980's, I checked out the Winona Public Library's copy of The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn. I probably took it back into the stacks, which is where I liked to curl up with creepy finds. But before you write this off as another fan's first-time discovery of Mr. Bellairs work, let me explain. I felt like Bastian in Michael Ende's The Neverending Story because as Anthony Monday wandered around the Hoosac Public Library, I began to think it was strangely familiar. As I read further and the novel's description of Hoosac developed, I came to realize that it was, in fact, Winona, Minnesota under a different name.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Under the Spell of Scary Stuff

It’s nice - even if it is all these years later - to come across something new about John Bellairs. This week we were directed to Marilyn Stasio's article in the June 9, 1991 edition of the New York Times that gives some praise to the then recently-deceased author.

Plus we sort-of like the phrase "chiller-dillers" and welcome it back into polite society PDQ.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bibliofile: Peter Smith Publishing

No book collecting topic has been discussed more at Bellairsia and the Compleat Bellairs over the years than the fine art of tracking down the hardcover first edition copies of John and Brad’s books with the wraparound dust-jacket artwork by Edward Gorey and doing so without shelling out fistfuls of money in the process.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Celebrate Edward Gorey's Children's Books

Celebrate Edward Gorey's Children's Books with a visit to the Edward Gorey House and their exhibition of original works by Edward Gorey for his own children's books and illustrations he created for many other authors. The Edward Gorey House is pleased to announce the 2008 opening on Thursday, April 17th and running though December 21, 2008.

Our exhibit will show many of Gorey's original pen and ink, watercolor, and preliminary pencil illustrations for children's books of his own creation, and for other noted children's authors including Peter Neumeyer, Florence Parry Heide, Edward Lear, Hilaire Belloc, T. S. Eliot, and others. Special books such as Gorey's only pop-up book, The Dwindling Party and the three-dimensional accordian book The Tunnel Calamity are highlighted. A unique focus of the exhibit will be early drawings and illustrations by Gorey from his childhood years.

Edward Gorey House
EGH Press Release

Friday, May 23, 2008

Book Alert: The Sign of the Sinister Sorcerer

A summary of Brad Strickland's forthcoming book, The Sign of the Sinister Sorcerer:
In Michigan in the mid-1950s, Lewis Barnavelt is convinced that the series of accidents he and his uncle are experiencing are the result of a curse by a mysterious, hooded figure that may be part of his uncle's past.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Creature Of Sale

We don't usually do what Bishop Barlow would do and play the part of realtor but we thought we'd pass this along:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

About Those "Notes" Found In The Desk Of A New York Advertising Executive...

Maybe it’s because we were immersed in trying to understand St. Fidgeta and Other Parodies a few years ago that we cracked a smile at the news that Pope Benedict XVI is making his first visit to the United States this week. This will be the ninth time a pope has visited the United States and Benedict XVI becomes only the third pope to do so, followed by John Paul II (seven visits) and Paul VI’s first, and historic, visit to New York City.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bibliofile: 遺書と地下聖堂

We were going through the archives this weekend and we came across our Japanese file, which turned out to only be a few notes about the Japanese editions of the books that came out a few years ago.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Memoriam: Gary Gygax

The father of role-playing games and the co-founder of Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax, has died. Gygax, along with Dave Arneson, created the long-popular fantasy game in 1974 which is estimated to have been played by 20 Million people.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Knowledge Must Prove Ignorance

Longtime fan and occasional Bellairsia contributor Jon Caulkett notes that John's Wikipedia article has been creatively rewritten to include this fact:

Friday, February 1, 2008

Time Capsule: Forty Years Of Existence

John Bellairs’s second book turns 40 years old this month. The Pedant and the Shuffly is the fable pitting cold, hard logic against boundless, explosive chaos.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

How Sweet A Voynich Plant

Centuries after surfacing, the Voynich Manuscript still has its mysteries and people are still trying to make heads or tails out of what it is, what it means, and why someone bothered to create it in the first place. The arcane tome has a special place for Bellairsians: Prospero and Roger Bacon must battle a curious grimoire with similar (or identical?) properties in The Face in the Frost and Johnny Dixon also has a run in with a similar manuscript in The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost.