Twilight happened. We all know how bad it was for everyone, but in the end, the human race persevered and we have survived. For those of us who lived through it, it’s hard to imagine a world in which vampires could ever be taken seriously again. The sparkling in the sunlight really did a number on the “scary” aspect of the dark, brooding monster that is the vampire. Luckily, there are people who have minds like ours, and want to see vampires for the bloodthirsty, murderous creatures they are. So fear not, because here is a list of Ten Books to Help You Forget About Twilight, and put the fear and mystery of the vampire into your heart once more.
1. Let the Right One In
A fragile, anxious boy, 12-year-old Oskar is regularly bullied by his stronger classmates but never strikes back. The lonely boy’s wish for a friend seems to come true when he meets Eli, also 12, who moves in next door to him with her father. A pale, serious young girl, she only comes out at night and doesn’t seem affected by the freezing temperatures. Coinciding with Eli’s arrival is a series of inexplicable disappearances and murders
2. Interview With a Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles)
Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.
3. The Hunger
The Hunger is a novel by Whitley Strieber. The plot involves a beautiful and wealthy vampire named Miriam Blaylock who takes human lovers and transforms them into vampire-human hybrids. Eternal youth is a curse for Miriam Blaylock because everyone she loves withers and dies. Now, haunted by signs of her adoring husband’s imminent demise, Miriam sets out in search of a new partner, one who can quench her thirst for love and withstand the test of time.
4. Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story
Making the transition from the nine-to-five grind to an eternity of nocturnal prowlings is going to take some doing, however, and that’s where C. Thomas Flood fits in. A would-be Kerouac from Incontinence, Indiana, Tommy (to his friends) is biding his time night-clerking and frozen-turkey bowling in a San Francisco Safeway. But all that changes when a beautiful undead redhead walks through the door … and proceeds to rock Tommy’s life — and afterlife — in ways he never imagined possible.
5. Johannes Cabal the Necromancer
Johannes Cabal sold his soul years ago in order to learn the laws of necromancy. Now he wants it back. Amused and slightly bored, Satan proposes a little wager: Johannes has to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will be damned forever. This time for real. Accepting the bargain, Jonathan is given one calendar year and a traveling carnival to complete his task. With little time to waste, Johannes raises a motley crew from the dead and enlists his brother, Horst, a charismatic vampire to help him run his nefarious road show, resulting in mayhem at every turn.
6. I am Legend
Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville’s blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive like this?
In the annals of business trips gone horribly wrong, Evangeline Harker’s journey to Romania on behalf of her employer, the popular television newsmagazine The Hour, deserves pride of place. Sent to Transylvania to scout out a possible story on a notorious Eastern European crime boss named Ion Torgu, she has found the true nature of Torgu’s activities to be far more monstrous than anything her young journalist’s mind could have imagined. The fact that her employer clearly won’t get the segment it was hoping for is soon the very least of her concerns.
The Historian is the 2005 debut novel of American author Elizabeth Kostova. The plot blends the history and folklore of Vlad Ţepeş and his fictional equivalent Count Dracula. Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.
This is bestselling author John Steakley’s vampire classic: Vampires infest the modern world and a group of brave people–professional vampire killers–devote their lives to hunting them down.
10. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years. Using the journal as his guide, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.
TEN-HUT! At ease, soldier. We just wanted to remind you all that March 4th is Toy Soldier Day, so gear up and lock n’ load, cause we’ve got a tough worldwide mission of fun to accomplish!
The lesser-known, flag twirling toy soldier.
If you’re childhood was anything like mine (which it most likely was very much not unless you also grew up with a pride of lions in Africa), then you spent a large amount of time vigorously constructing battle scenes, becoming your very own caesar, and having small plastic men fight to the death for your own amusement.
“WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE SALUTE YOU!”
No? Well, then surely you at least aligned your men in hard to reach sniper positions, then casually shot each and everyone of them down with your red ryder BB gun because they’re defenseless and can’t shoot back?
“What do you mean we can’t move?! This is some bullsh*t.”
No? Really? How about the classic “becoming God” scenario where you used a magnifying glass to smite the soldiers for no other reason than you were a vengeful, angry, and hateful God?
Not really into the magnifying glass scene? Then you must have been a bomber. What did you use? Cherry bombs? M80s? Gasoline? I personally sent my fair share of soldiers home to their wives feeling less than whole men.
“Yeah, I lost the leg, but the explosion was so sweet!”
See, I told you that your childhood wasn’t comparable to mine. But what Toy Soldier Day comes down to is simply spending the day doing something that the individual enjoys, or banding together with other Soldiers to organize a grand event. Toy Soldier Day reminds us all of the importance of having a good time and never losing the child in us all (whether that child was raised by lions or not)!
Five or six years ago I read Watchmen, and it nearly ruined comics for me. Blasphemy, I know. While I certainly appreciate the clear thought, effort, and direction that went into such a genre-defining (and -defying) graphic novel, it just wasn’t for me. And, yes, I also realize (now) that serialized comics and graphic novels are entirely different things, but at the time, I was completely clueless. It wasn’t until I picked up the Fables series recently that I started considering myself a comic reader. Maybe it’s the story, maybe it’s the artwork. Maybe it’s the form (I find the shorter plot arcs that stretch two or three issues within a volume so much easier to digest than the sprawling storyline of your typical graphic novel.) For whatever reason, I’m a comic convert. I’m even considering giving Watchmen a reread. Anyways, if you’re at all like me, then you’re probably looking for something different, offbeat, stimulating. So here’s a list of five comic series for anyone considering giving the medium a try.
(1) Fables by Bill Willingham – It’s what I’m reading. It’s what’s on my mind when I’m not reading. This series shot to fame several years ago, although many readers think it’s past its prime now. (I couldn’t say; I’m barely halfway through the series.) But right now I’m loving it. If you’re into well-developed characters and clever riffs on old tropes, then Fables is perfect for you. Myself, I was skeptical even after Volumes 1 and 2, but Volume 3 (and everything I’ve read since) blew me away. Definitely a great choice for comic novices. And, like I said, this series alone has revitalized my interest in the entire genre, so there’s always that!
(2) The Unwritten by Mike Carey – This series is next on my list. The story follows a young man named Tom Taylor whose father wrote a series of Harry Potter-esque books using Tom as the inspiration for the novels’ main character. But now Tom’s father is missing and Tom’s life is starting to share some disturbing parallels with his doppelganger’s magical antics from the books. It’s also worth mentioning that Tom himself is a dead ringer for Daniel Radcliffe (which can’t be coincidental). So, I guess what I’m saying is that reading The Unwritten will probably give you endless nostalgia shivers, and that’s a pretty wonderful thing.
(3) The Sandman by Neil Gaiman – This series was so buzzy that at one point it held a spot on The New York Times’ Bestsellers list. It’s also been called “a comic strip for intellectuals.” Here’s what I know about the series: it’s dark, thought-provoking, and takes its inspiration (in typical Gaiman fashion) from many different myths and legends. Perhaps the best thing about The Sandman, though, is its many spin-offs that feature both central and obscure characters from throughout the Sandman universe. While the original Sandman series itself is lengthy, with all this bonus reading material, you’ll be at it for years and years.
(4) Dial H by China Mieville – China and I are sort of in love, so forgive me if this description becomes overly sappy. For those of you who don’t know, China is a writer of science fiction and fantasy novels from the UK. His work is often incredibly bizarre, and the effect here is pure genius. Dial H is the closest thing on this list to a traditional superhero comic series, but here the superheroes are creepy, asocial, and oftentimes indistinguishable from the villains themselves. Sadly, the series was cancelled far too soon, with only two volumes published. That being said, Dial H‘s brevity makes it a great palate cleanser to break up your reading regimen between longer series like Fables and The Sandman.
(5) Preacher by Garth Ennis – The original cowboy comic, Preacher tells the story of Jesse Custer, a small-town church leader from Texas whose life is upended when he’s possessed by a supernatural creature named Genesis. Now Jesse has virtually unlimited divine power at his disposal and a clear mission to find God, who recently “left” Heaven and hasn’t been seen since. The artwork (and the storyline) reminds me of several things: the Dark Tower novels by Stephen King, campy ’80s pop culture, and those Wes Anderson movies about vampires murdering and, in turn, being murdered somewhere in the Texan desert. To me, Preacher (midway in length between Dial H and The Sandman) screams summer beach read: fun, light, and fast-paced.
Dr. Seuss’s birthday (March 2nd) was also chosen as Read Across America Day by the National Education Association because of his lasting contributions to education in America. The book that really started that ball rolling was The Cat in the Hat, first published in 1957 after an editor at Houghton Mifflin approached Seuss about producing a book for young children using no more than 250 individual words. After being given a list of between 300 and 400 words “first graders should know,” Seuss reportedly became so frustrated that he decided to make a story of the next two rhyming words he saw. They were cat and hat and that’s how legends are born. (The book contains 236 words.)
As for all days worthy of celebration, we have a great card for Dr. Seuss Day and we are generally excited for and in favor of reading across America and Dr. Seuss. Like most people, we have a nostalgic love of those crazy rhyming stories and a love of reading that persists to this day.
Whether you have the innate entropy of the Cat or the ineffable crotchetiness of the Grinch or even the outspoken environmental leanings of the Lorax, let your Seuss flag fly on Dr. Seuss Day and read on, friends!
Personally I have mixed feelings about March. It has some great stuff like the start of spring and St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s also long and mostly still pretty wintry. It’s a tough month, sometimes. Here at KU, though, March has some excellent events, so we’re very excited about it! Click READ MORE to find out what’s happening in the coming weeks!
1. Raoul Duke – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
“We had two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls.” – Need we say more?
2. Fred and George Weasley – Harry Potter
Mischievous, hilarious, own a joke shop, they’re cute, and there’s two of them!
3. Gandalf – Lord of the Rings
The man brings fireworks everywhere he goes! And we all know what his pipe is really filled with, plus have you seen his smoke rings?!
4. Tyler Durden – Fight Club
The man may be a bit unhinged, but by God he knows how to throw together one hell of party you won’t soon be forgetting. He just oozes cool, and chicks dig scars.
5. James Bond – The World of 007
The ultimate ladies man, Bond would take us out for a night on the town, bring home a couple of beautiful women, and take the black-jack table for everything it has. Talk about a weekend in Vegas.
6. Cat in the Hat – The Cat in the Hat
The Cat is a one animal party factory. He parties so hard he destroys entire homes, but the best part? He totally cleans up the whole mess afterwards. He’s like that friend who holds your hair while you yack. Yes, he forced you to drink eight shots of tequila, but look, he’s taking care of you!
7. Two-Bit Matthews – The Outsiders
The eyes. The hair. The Mickey Mouse tee shirt. Two-Bit is everything his name would lead you to believe, a wise-cracking, loud mouthed energetic punk who knows you only live once so you might as well put your foot down on the gas.
8. Tyrion Lannister – A Song of Fire and Ice
The man knows how to hold his booze, and has it in the ladies to boot! And when it’s the end of the night, and he can’t walk, you can just carry him on your shoulders.
9. Dean Moriarty – On the Road
Dean might be the hardest partier. Never stopping, never slowing down. Dean will have you jump into a car and be in twelve places before dawn. Music and booze are just around the corner. Buckle up.
10. Cassidy – Preacher
A chain smoking, hard drinking, Irish vampire who gets kicks hanging off the empire state building? Count me in. Cassidy is a loyal friend, who enjoys the occasional bar fights, and you will too when you have the advantage of being with the guy who cant die and throws one hell of left hook.
11. Mr. Tumnus – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
“THEY CALL ME MR. TUMNUS!” is a joke that would get funnier and funnier the drunker you got with the whimsical Mr. Tumnus. Then he would play a flute or whatever to chill you out.
12. Ramona Flowers – Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Everyone likes the girl with a bit of rebellious streak, and pink hair, and a giant hammer, and a murky past, and good taste in music, and…. and…. (the writer passed out after swooning).
13. Wizard White Beard – Where’s Waldo
Though not as popular as Gandalf, (probably because of the lack of fireworks) Wizard White Beard is man you want to party with. We know this because of his lack of shoes and and lackadaisical clothing and hair choices. He has a laid back personality and is more or less a hippie who more or less has a bunch of top notch ganja.
14. Crowley – Good Omens
Not only is he a sunglasses wearing demon form hell, he loves to party on earth so much that he is forcefully trying to prevent the apocalypse form happening. It doesn’t hurt he drives a sweet muscle car and enjoys drinking with angels.
15. Oompa Loompas – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
I mean, what needs said? They sing. They dance. They’re orange. You can toss them! They have access to the world’s most famous candy factory! And they roll deep. These are the guys we want to party with.
16. Jay Gatsby – The Great Gatsby
He’s rich. He’s handsome. He throws the most kick ass parties this side of the 1920′s!
17. Johanna Mason – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
She weilds a heavy, stern, hard weapon. She’s gorgeous. She casually gets naked. She’s a champion, and one we wouldn’t mind going on a bender weekend with.
18. Mad Hatter – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
You know that heavily medicated friend who refuses to take his meds because he insists he’s “more fun” when he’s not on them? The Mad Hatter is that friend, and we really can’t argue with him.
19. Snoopy – Peanuts
Snoopy. He is Joe Cool, and can take you to a million places without having to leave his dog house.
20. Huckleberry Finn
He’ll steal you some chickens, a cigar and boat all at one time, which sounds like a great party combination to me.
I know what you’re thinking, “Why the hell on God’s green earth would I ever want to sit through the fourth installment of an already questionable franchise when I could just as easily drive a nail through my foot, because let’s face it, that would be more fun and less painful.” Well, I’m here to tell you, nay, berate to you, that this spectacularly awful piece of cinema, with a staggering zero percent on rotten tomatoes, might be the most fun you’ll ever have watching a movie. Why? Well….
1. Shark Sense
This film posits the idea that Ellen Brody, our protagonist, and widow of Chief Martin Brody from the first and second Jaws films, has a psychic connection to the shark THAT IS HUNTING HER FAMILY. I want to make sure you understand that the plot of this film revolves around, what is now the fourth great white shark in the series, hunting down and killing members of the Brody family. Just let that soak in for a minute. How does the shark know the Brody family? How does he find them? Why does Ellen have a “spidey sense” tingling whenever the shark is going to attack? If you think you’ll get answers to these question, you’d be wrong. It’s more fun and much more sensical to just make up your own answers. It will only improve your movie watching experience.
2. Michael Caine.
That’s right. You read it correctly. Michael Mother F*cking Caine is in this shit. Not enough for you? What If I said he played the island drug runner/pilot, Hoagie. Yes, his character is a sandwich. He also missed receiving an Academy Award because he was filming reshoots ( I want to stress here that they had reshoots for this film TO MAKE IT BETTER) for this movie, and has famously commented on the film “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
“It’s a good thing my career didn’t sink with this move”
3. Defying Nature
We all know that since fish use gills to survive in water and don’t have lungs, that they can’t scream, right? RIGHT!? Wrong. Or at least in the bat shit crazy world of Jaws The Revenge, because in that world, sharks remove their heads from the water and roar, because f*ck science.
4. Death By Fear…of Sharks
As if by now, this movie hasn’t defacated all over the Jaws legacy enough, they take it a step farther by positing the idea that Chief Martin Brody, the hero and protagonist of the first two Jaws films, who triumphantly conquered his fear of the ocean and blew up two giant great white sharks, has died because he afraid of… sharks. Yup, Jaws the Revenge completely undermines the first and second Jaws by making the heroic Chief Brody into a big scared pussy. This is all established in the first ten minutes, so you know we’re in for one hell of an awfully fun ride.
Rest in Peace Chief Brody…. you big scared pussy.
5. Human Blood Sacks
I know that we’ve already established Jaws 4 has told the laws of nature to go f*ck themselevs, but the fact that in this movie, all people are represented as nothing more than water balloons filled with blood, ready to explode at any moment, is really the craziest part of this movie. If you’re not into gore, don’t worry, it’s hysterically amazing when the shark bites into someone and they explode.
After you’ve seen this movie there will be a rift in your life of a time before and after you’ve seen Jaws the Revenge. I can’t say for sure if one is better than the other, but you will be changed. Your mind will be challenged in all aspects, and you will question life and all it has to offer. I suggest you venture this metamorphic viewing with a pal you can laugh with.
If your pal is Mario Van Peebles it’s a super bonus.
So, the Winter Olympics are over again and we have to wait 2 years for the next Olympic events. Four years if you’re only really interested in Figure Skating and Ski Jumping and Bobsled. That is a major bummer, but we should not allow ourselves to collapse under the weight of our despair. Instead, let us celebrate that event which has, in recent years, become symbolic of the Winter Olympics at large, Curling! Bonus, February 23rd is Curling Is Cool Day! And for those enterprising souls who wish to give a card on this most august of days, we have one!
Even if you think things like Skeleton are cool (and really, how could you not, given the name and the fact that it involves people flying face-first down an ice chute at 80 mph), you will have to admit that Curling is pretty killer. It’s like some crazy Scots (because, like all ridiculous-but-badass games, it hails from Scotland) decided that they wanted to play shuffleboard one winter, but because shuffleboard is not manly enough, they invented curling. And then somehow, over the course of hundreds of years, it became something that the IOC thought was Olympics-worthy. Which is not to say that it isn’t, because it totally is. It’s just funny that some Scottish hick game played with rocks dredged out of a pond became an Olympic sport. Just sayin’.
The best thing about curling is that curlers are expected to be excellent sports. Despite the presence of officials in big curling matches, curlers are expected to call their own fouls; it’s also considered totally unacceptable to cheer an opponent’s mistake or to celebrate one’s own success. Although there are no tangible consequences for breaches of etiquette, curlers are nevertheless polite and sportsmanlike. So not only is it the coolest sport, but it’s also the classiest.