Featured Post

An Interview With Simon Loxley

Monday, December 13, 2010

Top 10 News Stories

As we prepare for the tenth anniversary of Bellairsia, we’re using our tragically hip Twitter feed to share some memorable moments and commentary in the form of Top Ten lists.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And Friendship Shall Combine

Every once in a while a fan asks what would happen if there was a crossover and Lewis, Anthony, and Johnny teamed-up. Jason wrote into our mailing list recently and put a different spin on the question, wondering if the books would have been even more successful had Bellairs only wrote one single series, instead of three separate ones?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Goreyana: The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie

Notes from Goreyana about The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie :
  • I have not seen this artwork in person, but close examination of the printed image reveals how the white paper is left unpainted for the beam of light, while the background is painted all around the glowing stream. Mr. Gorey shows exceptional control of his watercolor paints in this image.
  • I find it amusing that Edward Gorey took the liberty of turning the face of the zombie green in his painting, giving it a "Frankenstein's Monster" look. The description in the book states that the zombie is deathly pale with dead eyes.

Recognizing His Fame

Tom Vartabedian spent 40 years as an award-winning writer and photographer with the Haverhill Gazette.  Now, writing in a recent online edition of the Armenian Weekly, Vartabedian reflects on some of the famous writers he has encountered over the years and how they lived with their fame.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Making Models of Mysterious Books

Allen Library in Frisco, Texas, shared pictures on their blog of the models of objects from recently-read mystery books, with one image showing a pretty cool looking version of Barnavelt's Folly. Good job, sir!  Who else has ever made a Bellairs-inspired diorama or model?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Boy Who Could Enter Paintings

New commentary on the Herb Valen book from 1968, whose illustrations by Susan Perl reminded the reviewer of Edward Gorey and Mercer Mayer (and from one picture, look kin to Jonathan and Lewis Barnavelt):

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All the House's a Stage

An out-of-the-blue surprise from the website of Greg Vanselo, who apparently was part of a stage version of House.

The House with a Clock in its Walls (1994)
Producer, Director, Adaptation for the Stage, Scenic Designer, Lighting Designer, Master Carpenter

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Something About the Fox Sisters

Commentary from Ghost Augustine about the Fox Sisters, briefly mentioned in The Specter from the Magician's Museum:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Top 10 Sing-a-long Moments

As we prepare for the tenth anniversary of Bellairsia, we’re using our absurdly rad Twitter feed to share some memorable moments and commentary in the form of Top Ten lists.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Goreyana: The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder

Notes from Goreyana about The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder:
  • The drawing of the maze appears to be lost, but the dust jacket and frontis original artwork are not.
  • Bromer Booksellers sold the dust jacket artwork (two pieces of original art: one large color painting and one hand-lettered title typography) in their now famous 2001 catalog of Edward Gorey artwork, books and ephemera. The dust jacket image does not read particularly well as a single piece of art, but the execution and subject matter are top notch. The skeleton wearing glasses with plants growing up through it on the back cover of the book is particularly delightful.

Impressions on The Dolphin Cross

by Scallop Skulled Sklad (Aug. 8, 2010)
(Originally published at scallopskulledskald.blogspot.com)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fifty-five Questions About Books (with Someone's Fifty-five Answers)

Kelly Sedinger answered 55 questions about books earlier this month and off the bat, when asked about his favorite childhood book, gives some love to Bellairs - with some film commentary, to boot!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Andrew Auseon: Coming-Of-Age Stories...But With Zombies

Author Bethany Hegedus's "writer friendly; bookshelf approved" LiveJournal blog featured a multi-part interview with author Andrew Auseon as part of the publication of his latest book, Freak Magnet. When asked about writers he returns to he repeatedly, Auseon notes his long-time appreciation for John's work:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Forgetting Any Other Book But This

Those sites that allow readers to recall hazy memories of books are always interesting. If anything it gives us the chance to welcome them to Bellairsia and experience John’s (and Brad’s) work again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All It Took Was Just One Book

Amy Mascott is the creator of teachmama.com, where she shares tools and resources parents can use to become the best teachers for their children. As part of her All it Took was Just One Book series she asked blogger Amy Kraft to write a post about a great "spooktacular book for October."  Kraft writes about children’s media in her blog, Media Macaroni, and has reviewed Bellairs' books in the past. Here she says her favorite book as a child was The House with a Clock in its Walls:

Review: Mummy "A Good Creepy Story With A Very Gothic Feel"

Book review: The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Listening to The Mansion in the Mist

Fan Jay Cook wrote to suggest as you pick up some Bellairs or Strickland to read this fine autumn season, you might want to consider a soundtrack for your reading experience:

Top 10 Horrific Moments

As we prepare for the tenth anniversary of Bellairsia, we’re using our gradually enjoyable Twitter feed to share some memorable moments and commentary in the form of Top Ten lists.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Yet Even More About Widow's Walk Lake

Filmmaker and Bellairs-fan James Strayer got in touch with us again recently about Widow's Walk Lake, a film inspired partly by some of Bellairs’ spooky stories. Strayer gave us an update this week of how the project is progressing:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Mad Dash (or, N or M?)

Blogger Michael Dennis recently shared some thoughts about The Face in the Frost, both of the book itself and the way it was published.

Goreyana: The Ghost in the Mirror

Notes from Goreyana about The Ghost in the Mirror:
  • This piece...is a masterpiece of suspense and terror. If you did not know that it was a piece of dust jacket artwork, you would view it as a wonderfully creepy painting by Mr. Gorey. Barely visible on the printed dust jacket are two faces which appear on the front cover inside the "O" of Ghost and Mirror. They can be seen a bit more clearly floating in the sky on the original art.
  • The dust jacket painting was included in the 2001 Bromer Booksellers catalog of Gorey items. The hand-lettered type for the cover/spine was included as a separate piece of art. I am not aware of the frontis drawing being available from Bromer or Gotham Book Mart.

What Robert Bloch owes to H. P. Lovecraft

In a 1983 interview with Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier, author Robert Bloch described how much as a teenager he enjoyed the magazine Weird Tales and how frustrated he was at not being able to find stories by his favorite writer, H. P. Lovecraft, from past issues. So he wrote to Lovecraft, as told by the Reader's Almanac blog:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bellairs: John vs. George

Thispost reminds us of something we did once many years ago: in a fit to find more JohnBellairs, we grabbed a few George Bellairs titles from the library in a misguided attempt to convince ourselves the two were related. George’s stuff wasn’t bad, as we recall, but, alas, nothing to do with John.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 Living History Portrayal Walk

The 10th Annual "If These Stones Could Talk..." Tour takes place this October in Marshall's Oakridge Cemetery, one of the oldest continuously operated cemeteries in Michigan. The walking tour features actors portraying significant people from Marshall's past at his or her's grave site; this year's "participants" will be named soon.

Where: Oakridge Cemetery, 900 S. Marshall Avenue
When: Saturday, October 16, 2010; 7:00 PM

For more information, including associated costs, please contact the Marshall Chamber of Commerce or visit the events page of our forum.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Goreyana: The Mansion in the Mist

Notes from Goreyana about The Mansion in the Mist:
  • Edward Gorey created a dust jacket design for this title that has a definite front and back which does not blend seamlessly. Because of this, the art from this title was cut in half and the two sections were sold separately by Gotham Book Mart in the mid 1990's. The rear portion of this art (the mansion) sold on eBay in July 2000 along with two other pieces of original artwork. 

Top 10 Humorous Moments

As we prepare for the tenth anniversary of Bellairsia, we’re using our developmentally playful Twitter feed to share some memorable moments and commentary in the form of Top Ten lists.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Time-out for Pocket Watches!

Brer's PowerOfBabel blog has a few words on the fantastic pocket watch:
Pocket watches have been around, surprisingly, almost as long as printing itself; it is not surprising, then, that they keep popping up in works of fiction, and perhaps especially fantasy fiction. Read or view a work of Fantasy (and I include under that unfortunate rubric Horror and Science Fiction as well as works dealing with Magic) and sooner or later characters of a certain port or gravitas will haul out a chronometer to consult. I would like to consider several examples and and explore the uses to which the fantastic pocket watch has been put.

Faces in the Mirror

by Matthew D. Surridge (Aug. 8, 2010)
(Originally published at BlackGate.com)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stamping Lovecraft Birthday Wishes

Mark Koltko-Rivera notes the United States Postal Service has a program, the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC), taking suggestions from the public regarding new postage stamps. And he has a rather eldritch idea:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

47th Annual Historic Home Tour

For 47 years the Historic Marshall Home Tour 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.

This year's tour will feature seven homes and will include seven historic museums covering diverse specialties such as unusual architecture, antique home furnishings, Civil War memorabilia, a restored antique post office, Michigan's largest collection of magic memorabilia as well as two art centers. To close out the tour's twenty structures will be one business from Marshall's well-maintained historic business district.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fidgeta, Patron Saint of Facilitators

Ralph Brown, a consultant based in the Minnesota area, wrote us this summer to say he happened upon our site's praise for John's first book, Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies. Brown read the Fidgeta story in its original form, the 1965 edition of the Critic, and tells us he found it "roll-on-the-floor hilarious."

Though he admits to not having seen the story in decades, he still pays tribute to the tiny saint in his own way.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bellairs - To Film, or Not to Film?

In the occasional yay-vs-nay for Bellairs movies, this post - entitled Three Books We’d like to See on the Big Screen - suggests The House with a Clock in its Walls would make a good film:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Don’t Give Up Your Day Job

In a review of Greg van Eekhout’s Kid Vs. Squid, Elizabeth Bear shares her memories of children’s books growing up:

When I was a kid, children’s books that had magic in them almost always seemed to end with the kids giving up the magic because they had earned their character growth and could be adults now. At the time, I thought this was bogus and lame, and it’s a good part of the reason I liked Oz and John Bellairs so very fiercely.
John Bellairs never made anybody give their magic up to hold down a day job.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jeffrey Lewis: Office hours

An article about musician Jeffrey Lewis:

Jeffrey didn’t play sports. He sketched on the floor of his room and included drawings in school projects. Horror novels by John Bellairs were Lewis’ favorite books and he bought comics at magazine stands in Saint Mark’s Square.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Top 10 Awesome Illustrations

As we prepare for the tenth anniversary of Bellairsia, we’re using our wonderfully eclectic Twitter feed to share some memorable moments and commentary in the form of Top Ten lists.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Goreyana: The Secret of the Underground Room

Notes from Goreyana about The Secret of the Underground Room:
  • This is one of Mr. Gorey's disjointed dust jacket covers where the image from the rear panel does not flow smoothly into the front. The outdoor scene on the back makes an abrupt change at the edge of the book's spine, with the front cover showing "the underground room". Even so, the front cover portion is one of my favorite paintings created for this book series. The masterful work has only hints of colors, but the mood evoked by the tones fits the story perfectly. Edward Gorey is quoted as saying he painted in "mushroom colors", and this is a perfect example.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

'Hark! A Vagrant' does Bellairs

Hark! A Vagrant is a web comic created by artist Kate Beaton. It often features literary and historical references and it’s something that John probably would have gotten a kick out of (amateur cartoonist that he was, too).

Beaton has done a few series involving Edward Gorey illustrations: old book covers drawn by Gorey are augmented by new art by Beaton that further tells the story of what’s seen on the cover.

For example, she recently had some fun with Bellairs’s 1990 Johnny Dixon adventure, The Secret of the Underground Room, and injecting some mislaid humor into what is actually a terrifying scene from the book.  We'd love to see other samplings of Bellairs titles.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Congratulations to Omar Rayyan

Finalists for the Chesley Awards, which honor art and artists related to science fiction and fantasy, were announced by the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists recently.