Readersforum's Blog

February 25, 2014

Is Amish Fiction the Antidote to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?

THE HALLOWED ONES_cover image copy 2By Sonja Sharp.

“After the end of the Outside world, the Plain folk survived.” That’s the appropriately unadorned opening line of The Hallowed Ones, a novel that may well be the first true crossover book from the most popular genre you’ve never heard of: Amish fiction.

The bizarre and best-selling world of Amish fiction fills shelves in Walmarts across the country and boasts titles like The Women of Lancaster County and A Plain and Simple Heart, their emblazoned with blushing, black-clad blonds. Most Amish books—thousands of them, so many that Library Journal now counts them as their own category—are romances written by evangelicals.

But a new Amish novel, The Hallowed Ones, and its gore-drenched sequel, The Outside, are different. Laura Bickle’s gripping series is Amish apocalypse fiction. The Undead of Lancaster County versus Bonnet the Vampire Slayer.

I stumbled upon The Hallowed Ones in the “popular” section of my local library’s e-lending service and borrowed it for a laugh. Amish vector-vampires, hehe, I thought. But the joke was on me; I had nightmares for days.

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10 Literary Restaurants for Hungry Book Nerds Around the World


alicemagicworld3By Emily Temple
What’s even better than drinking while reading? Eating while reading, of course (hint: you can have a drink, too). With the news that Biblio, a book-themed eatery, was popping up in Williamsburg, Flavorwire took to the Internet to put together a guide to a few amazing-looking literary-themed restaurants from around the world. Indulge your eyes (and, if you’re close enough, your stomachs) at these bookish establishments.

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Hugo, Hernani, Hero

Victor Hugo    (1802 - 1885)

Victor Hugo
(1802 – 1885)

By Steve King

On this day in 1830 Victor Hugo’s Hernani premiered in Paris. Though the play is rarely read or staged now, the opening night is regarded as one of the most momentous in French theater history, part of a larger and most theatrical conflict between the new-wave bohemians in Hugo’s “Romantic Army” (these included Dumas, Balzac and Berlioz) and the old-guard Classicists — a conflict soon decisively won.

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February 21, 2014

William Burroughs – the original Junkie

JunkieOn the centenary of William Burroughs’ birth, Will Self on why he was the perfect incarnation of late 20th‑century western angst – self-deluded and narcissistic yet perceptive about the sickness of the world.
By Will Self
Entitled Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict and authored pseudonymously by “William Lee” (Burroughs’ mother’s maiden name – he didn’t look too far for a nom de plume), the Ace original retailed for 35 cents, and as a “Double Book” was bound back-to-back with Narcotic Agent by Maurice Helbrant. The two-books-in-one format was not uncommon in 1950s America, but besides the obvious similarity in subject matter, AA Wyn, Burroughs’ publisher, felt that he had to balance such an unapologetic account of drug addiction with an abridgement of the memoirs of a Federal Bureau of Narcotics agent, which originally appeared in 1941.

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18 Bookstores Every Book Lover Must Visit At Least Once

Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy.

Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy.

By Ashley Lutz

Bookstores can be a destination upon themselves.

From Venice to Mexico City, check out some of the most interesting book retailers out there.

1. Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy. 

This bookstore features classic volumes of American and Italian books packed in traditional Venetian gondola boats. But the show-stopping attraction is the back of the bookstore, which opens up to a beautiful canal.

“It’s a bookshop right on the canal that floods every year, so the eccentric, stray-cat-adopting owner keeps his books in boats, bathtubs and a disused gondola to protect them,” writes Paris Review.

The store is also lauded for its extensive art and postcard collections.

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Gogol’s Last Days, Lost “Nose”

Nikolai Gogol    (1809 - 1852)

Nikolai Gogol
(1809 – 1852)

by Steve King

On this day in 1852 Nikolai Gogol died at the age of forty-two. His unique style is a comic-tragic-absurd hybrid which has led to him being labeled the Hieronymous Bosch of Russian Literature. Having come under the sway of a fanatical priest late in life, and then been subjected to the treatments of several quack doctors, Gogol’s last days mirrored one of his bizarre stories all too closely.

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