Bleak Books with Olivia: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Have you ever read a book all the way through just to close it for the last time and say “wow, that was bleak”? Well, I’m here to make the case for those dark, dreary, haunting, and disturbing reads that keep you up at night long after you put them down. Welcome to Bleak Books with Olivia, your resident creepy book lover at the Aurora Public Library District.

Leigh Bardugo is all over the place right now. Her three teen series that comprise the “Grishaverse” are wildly popular and have been since the first book in the Grishaverse came out: Shadow and Bone. The Grishaverse is also newly represented onscreen as a new Netflix series titled “Shadow and Bone” as well. Ever since the show was announced, these books have been flying off our physical and ebook shelves, and I must admit, I am one of those newly ravenous readers. But I didn’t pick up Shadow and Bone in hopes of finishing it before the Netflix series came out. I actually found myself drawn to the series after reading Bardugo’s excellent adult debut, Ninth House.

(It is important to note that this book is very much for adults. There are very graphic depictions of violence, gore, and sexual assault.)

Ninth House tells the story of an unlikely Yale freshman: Galaxy “Alex” Stern. Alex finds herself with a full ride to Yale after surviving an apparent overdose and an unsolved multiple homicide, but there’s one major hitch. Alex has to assume all the duties of a member of Lethe, a secret society set up in order to keep all the other infamously secret societies on campus in check. Keep them in check from what, you ask? Oh, just the typical, everyday, run-of-the-mill dark magic ritual. And these… unsavory and, at times, just plain gory rituals attract ghosts, or Grays, which can be a bit of a problem. That’s where Alex steps in. Alex has seen Grays since childhood and, as one may rightly assume, her experiences with them have caused a massive amount of trauma. This new role in the House of Lethe forces her to confront her trauma until an odd murder takes place on campus. Alex is told to leave it up to the authorities. After all, it is just a townie. But Alex knows something is wrong, and she’s up for the challenge of decoding this unnatural crime scene. What follows is a supernatural rollercoaster ride as you piece together both the cause of the murder and Alex’s past through flashbacks.

One part murder mystery, one part supernatural fantasy, and one part dark academia makes up this disturbing, sinister read. It’s the jack of all trades when it comes to bleak books. Can’t get enough of the story? Here’s some good news: not only is Ninth House the first book in a supposedly five book series (according to Bardugo’s Twitter account), but Amazon is reportedly making this series into a television show as well with Bardugo as head writer and executive producer. Three cheers to my fellow hyperfixaters! Looks like we’ll be seeing Alex for years to come.

Thank you for joining me on this dissection of one of my favorite Bleak Books. I hope to see you again sometime soon! Please take a look in the Adult Fiction section at the Aurora and Dillsboro Public Libraries for my favorite Bleak Books. If you are looking to check out this specific title, please look at the Get Caught Reading display in the stairwell at the Aurora Public Library. It’s one of my staff picks! If you meet me in the library and have any Bleak Books suggestions, please let me know! I’m always looking for a new book to disrupt my life for a couple of weeks.

Spook-tacular Titles for Halloween

It’s getting spookier and spookier as Halloween draws closer, from classic scary movies and ghost hunting shows clogging up the TV, to orange-and-black-packaged candy going on sale, to the decorations and costume ideas beginning to crowd your social media feeds. What better way is there to get you in the mood for Halloween than to check out some books about real-life haunted houses and ghost stories?

Check out these spook-tacular titles:

Haunted Indiana by Mark Marimen

Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard

Eerie Haunted Places by Molly Kolpin

Haunted Hotels Around the World by Megan Cooley Peterson

Grave’s End: A True Ghost Story by Elaine Mercado

Timeless Towns and Haunted Places by J.R. Humphreys

Hoosier Folk Legends by Ronald L. Baker

Haunts: Five Hair-Raising Tales by Angela Shelf Medearis

Haunting Urban Legends by Megan Cooley Peterson

Seeking Spirits by Jason Hawes

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ghosts and Hauntings by Tom Ogden 

Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators by Tea Krulos

When Ghosts Speak: Understanding the World of Earthbound Spirits by Mary Ann Winkowski

Don’t forget to check out OverDrive for even more creepy titles. And if you’d rather watch a scary movie, the Aurora Public Library District has got you covered there, too! Still can’t get enough? Ask for recommendations for horror fiction. There are several staff members on hand who would love to point you in the right direction!

Happy Reading!

Ghosts, Here?

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When I first told a friend that I had started working for the Aurora Public Library District, she asked if I had seen “The Ghost.” Ghost? What ghost? I have volunteered for several years at Aurora’s own Hillforest Victorian House Museum, so I feel I am no stranger to talk of ghosts! But, I have yet to encounter a library ghost. So, to find out just who might want to haunt the library property, I asked our Local History Librarian, Roy Lambert.

Roy told me that as a youth growing up in Aurora, he often heard stories of the ghosts in the Library.  In 1913, the Siemental Property on Second Street was purchased with monies of Georgiana Sutton in memory of her parents, Dr. and Mrs. George Sutton, and construction of the new library commenced. Originally, the basement was mostly a storage area, not open to the public, as it is now. This dark solitary basement, mostly off limits to the public, increased the possibility of ghosts. According to Roy, an archaeological publication states there was a large Indian mound in downtown Aurora that was partially destroyed when the streets were originally graded. The only mounded area in the historic district of Aurora is the mound that our library now occupies. Dr. George Sutton, Aurora’s revered early physician and amateur relic hunter had accumulated a vast collection of Indian artifacts and most likely some bones. These were eventually stored in the library basement. Indian bones were also found when grading was done on Mechanic Street many years ago.

In 1937, the Ohio river flood was nearing the library and all the contents of the lower level were removed for safe keeping, including the collection of Dr. Sutton. This collection, however, was never, never seen again–no one knows what happened to the collection. In 2015, a paranormal group did some investigating after hours at the Library. They detected possible spirit presence, as if trying to contact the investigating group, in the basement area were the artifact collection had been stored many years ago.

Incidentally, Roy mentioned that the door to the Local History Library (The Depot) opens quite often for no apparent reason. Also, when opening the upper level doors to the Aurora Public Library building, one door opens eerily by itself when the other is opened. Coincidence?  Are there spirits living in the Library? Anywhere in Aurora?

If you are interested in paranormal activity, there are several books you may find interesting:

Hoosier Folk Legends, by Ronald L. Blake, gathers Indiana legends about premonitions, death, ghosts, haunted houses, special powers, witches, monsters, famous people, local heroes, outlaws, bottomless lakes, and local place names.

“If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, something weird that don’t look good,” who would you call?  Residents of southern Indiana and Kentucky know the answer—SIGH, Southern Indiana Ghost Hunters—that’s who! Inside Southern Indiana Ghost Hunters Chronicles by C.C. Thomasyou can read the weird, the strange, and the downright spooky. This is not your normal ghost story book, though. Each case is approached scientifically and you are given a final analysis of whether or not ghosts actually exist.

Although these tales are not from our own backyard, Seeking Spirits, by TV’s popular Ghost Hunters Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, reveals all-new, never-before-told stories from their spooky early investigations. They also offer essential tips for budding paranormal investigators — including how to use an electromagnetic field (EMF) meter and an infrared camera, determine if a supernatural phenomenon is good or evil, and deal with spirits. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, these fascinating and frightening true stories will keep you up at night!

 

Additionally, on Thursday, October 26 at 7:00 p.m., AURORA MAIN STREET is hosting the Aurora Ghost Tour, where eerie tales will be told while strolling through the historic downtown, a tour of Hillforest, witches brew and treats. Who knows who (or what) you might run into!! Perhaps, you’ll encounter the Library spirit!

Ghosts and Witches Book Display

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Are you looking for that perfect spooky read for Halloween? Stop in and see our Ghosts and Witches display at the Aurora Public Library! The display includes fiction titles all about ghosts and witches. And don’t forget to check out the Indiana Digital Download Center, too, for even more haunting reads!

“Witch” book will you pick?