Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Therein Illustrated & The Honour Of It

"House" frontispiece by Edward Gorey
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:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Comments of Praise, Richly Compiled

John Bellairs
Catherine Dalek commented on some of her summer reading list, including few Bellairs titles:
Obviously I’m not the target audience. however, I’m not sure how well novels written in the 1980s but set in the 1950s resonate with today’s ten year olds.
What say you, readers of today?  Do you enjoy reading of the world 50+ years ago or is too strange a time and place to bother with?  We wonder how John would have been affected by - or would have affected - children’s literature trends were he still around.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More About Widow's Walk Lake

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.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Enquirer: Marshall Historic District Possible

Marshall, Michigan
Darby Prater reports in the Battle Creek Enquirer:
In a town known as "Historic Marshall," it might seem appropriate that downtown buildings be required to maintain an historic appearance. But, while preservation of traditional architecture is encouraged, Main Street Manager Diane Larkin said without establishing a local historic district, the city has no legal control over it. Representatives and volunteers from 17 Michigan communities convened Tuesday [December 9] at Schuler's Restaurant to discuss the role of design in historic preservation. Marshall is one of four cities nominated for the master level of the Michigan Main Street Program, which will help Marshall attract tourism and industry, Larkin said.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Book Alert: Magic Mirrors

Books News
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:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Something About a Magician Disillusioned

Lumache Mansion in Colon, Michigan
If there's one thing we learned from The Specter of the Magician's Museum it's the men and women who practiced stage magic came up with some interesting stage names. Much of Specter has its roots in the American Museum of Magic in Marshall as well as Colon, the magic capital of Michigan. There are more names buried out in Colon's Lakeside Cemetery, too. The Magnificent Fraud. The Amazing Conklins. The Conjuring Humorist.  America's Greatest Pickpocket. You get the idea.

Ion Zwitter shares the story of one such magician, The Great Lumache: