Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, an inspiring day of generosity across the globe. We hope you’ll support your favorite nonprofit organizations, including the Ohioana Library Association.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2019, Ohioana connects thousands of readers with Ohio writers through programs including the Ohioana Book Festival, the Ohioana Awards, and the Ohioana Quarterly, and promotes our state as one of America’s great literary centers.
For #GivingTuesday, we are partnering once again with The Columbus Foundation to help you give AND receive! On #GivingTuesday, when you give to Ohioana and one or more other nonprofits through the Foundation’s Giving Store, you’ll receive a $20 Charitable Gift Card as part of the “Give Two on #GivingTuesday” promotion. Redeemable at any of the 1,000+ nonprofits in The Giving Store, these gift cards make excellent presents or stocking stuffers, and are a wonderful way to keep the good going this holiday season.
Happy Halloween! Here in Ohio, we enjoy all things spooky. Did you know that Ohio is the state with the most annual haunted house attractions, with 111 in total? It seems that we love being scared, and that goes for our literature as well. If you’re looking for a good book to scare you on Halloween night, look no further. Below is a list of Ohio authors that specialize in stories about the dark and creepy to satisfy your need for thrills and scares.
R. L. Stine
Few scary series are more iconic (or more chilling) than R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps. With over 230 books geared at grades 3-7, the Goosebumps series has something to scare everyone. Stine explores tales about everything from ghosts and werewolves to swamp monsters and mummies, and the books have even been adapted into a movie series.
Watch below to see R. L. Stine himself discussing the legacy of Goosebumps.
2. Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison was a master of sci-fi and speculative fiction, sometimes crossing into horror as well. He is the author of more than 1,700 stories, film and TV scripts, and our library specialist recommends that you start with the short story “I Have No Mouth but I Must Scream”.
3. James A. Willis
If you’re looking for strange and spooky stories based on Ohio fact, James Willis probably has a book for you! He is the author of The Big Book of Ohio Ghost Stories and Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Investigating the Paranormal in the Buckeye State, among others. History and the paranormal mingle in Willis’s work, and are sure to prove fascinating to anyone familiar with some of Ohio’s notorious haunts.
4. Chris Woodyard
Since 1991, Chris Woodyard has been scaring residents of the Buckeye State with frightening stories that hit close to home. Make sure to explore her website, hauntedohiobooks.com, for tips on where to find ghosts in Ohio, how to write ghost stories of your own, and more.
5. Gary Braunbeck
Gary A. Braunbeck is a prolific author who writes mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mainstream literature. He is the author of 19 books and his fiction has received several awards, including the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction in 2003 for “Duty” and in 2005 for “We Now Pause for Station Identification”; his collection Destinations Unknown won a Stoker in 2006. His novella “Kiss of the Mudman” received the International Horror Guild Award for Long Fiction in 2005.
6. Lucy Snyder
Lucy A. Snyder is a five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, which should clue you in that she knows her stuff when it comes to scary stories! She wrote the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, and Switchblade Goddess, and the collections While the Black Stars Burn, Soft Apocalypses, Orchid Carousals, Sparks and Shadows and Chimeric Machines. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Scary Out There, Seize the Night, and Best Horror of the Year.
7. Tim Waggoner
Shirley Jackson Award finalist Tim Waggoner has published over thirty novels and three short story collections of dark fiction. Most recently published is The Mouth of the Dark, the story of Jayce and his 20-year-old daughter, Emory, who is missing, lost in a dark, dangerous realm called Shadow that exists alongside our own reality. An enigmatic woman named Nicola guides Jayce through this bizarre world, and together they search for Emory, facing deadly dog-eaters, crazed killers, and — worst of all — a monstrous being known as the Harvest Man. But no matter what Shadow throws at him, Jayce won’t stop. He’ll do whatever it takes to find his daughter, even if it means becoming a worse monster than the things that are trying to stop him.
8. Laura Bickle
Laura Bickle specializes in dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She writes for adults and young adults, and her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.
9. Josef Matulich
These aren’t your typical horror stories! Josef Matulich is a master of both laughs and scares, combing humor with horror. Some of his titles include The Ren Faire at the End of the World and 44 Lies by 22 Liars.
10. Dayna Ingram
Dayna Ingram writes science fiction horror for young adults. Of her latest book, Kirkus reviews writes, “”Ingram gives a nightmarish twist to the familiar YA formula of teenagers facing martyrdom by an oppressive society…. An absorbing and poignant YA dystopian fantasy with a convincing heroine.”
He looks like a certain jolly old elf and he does bring gifts, but he’s not Santa. He’s King Gambrinus and he doesn’t have a special day, but maybe he should. We’d like to suggest December 5 because of its significance in United States History: it’s the day that Prohibition ended.
In 1933, after a less-than-successful run at being alcohol-free, America threw in the towel, effectively saying “Oh to heck with it,” and alcohol was again legal and could be sold, produced, transported, and generally enjoyed.
Our very own King Gambrinus statue in Columbus once adorned a brewery owned by August Wagner, a Bavarian brewer. The statue was saved even though the building is long gone, and his serene highness is now on display in Columbus’ Brewery District.
Beer is back in Columbus and all over Ohio with the rise of independent brewers. The later day beer barons and the fruits of their labors are celebrated in books like Ohio’s Craft Beersby Paul Gaston, published by Kent State University Press. The latest addition to the genre of Ohio beer book includes Columbus Beer: Recent Brewing & Deep Roots by Curt Schieber.
King Gabrinus himself is less well-documented. He’s not exactly a god and certainly not a historic figure. He’s like Bacchus or any other merry reveler of myth; a personification of good times. With one leg up on a barrel and a foaming flagon held high, he reigns victorious over lesser beverages.
It’s that time of year, when pumpkins get carved into jack-o-lanterns and everyone dresses up in great costumes to pretend to be someone (or something) else for a day. There’s plenty of scary stuff right here in Ohio, and fun stuff too — and serious stuff.
A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch, written by Nancy Gilson, featured the work of James Willis. James chases folklore, ghosts stories, and ghosts. He’s the author of three perfect Halloween books: Weird Ohio, The Big Book of Ohio Ghost Stories, and the most recent offering, Central Ohio Legends & Lore. You can follow him on Twitter at @GhostsofOhio to get all of the latest and greatest.
There’s plenty of book offerings in the category of cemeteries in Ohio as well, like Buried Beneath Cleveland: Lost Cemeteries of Cuyahoga County, by Wiliam Krejci. So if you are troubled by poltergeists, it could be that your house or your business is built over the top of a graves that didn’t get moved. Cemeteries that aren’t hidden are spooky and creepy, for sure, and in older ones if you walk across the grave, the ground might sink under your feet a bit (so DON’T DO THAT! OMG!). But cemeteries are also full of stories, and one of the few places that ordinary people can be memorialized for posterity.
So if you are looking for spooky thrills on the 31st, check the local paper and see if there’s still time to find a corn maze, a haunted tour, or that perfect pumpkin ready for carving!
The Winter issue of the Ohioana Quarterly focused on our good friend, the Mercantile Library in Cincinnati.
This library is one of the gems in the crown of the Queen City. It was established in 1835, according to the feature story written by Ohioana board member Bryan Loar. Its founders were merchants and clerks, hence the name. These young men of the city, who could expect a prosperous future for themselves as well as Cincinnati, placed a premium on learning and so created a place and an opportunity.
Can you imagine what a haven the library must have been from the rush and press of business in 1835? Cincinnati was hardly a backwater since it was a significant river port on the Ohio, with trade and a thriving meat-packing industry sending out salted pork all over the country. And can you imagine the despair over not one but TWO fires it endured, the first in 1845 and the second in 1869? Fortunately, most of the volumes were saved in both instances. And in 1904, the Mercantile Library found a home it has stayed in ever since.
The building is, of course, lovely. It has plenty of natural light, comfortable chairs, wood book shelves and cabinets, and works of art both venerable and modern. And it has kept up with the times. There are 80,000 books in the collection and membership has grown from the original 45 to the current 2,500. There are discussion groups, literary and other events, and even e-books.
As Bryan says in the article, “The Mercantile Library continues to support personal improvement and the exploration of contemporary ideas through an adaptive and open space, a notable collection, inspiring art, and extraordinary programs.”
Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? Nothing worthwhile happens overnight and change takes time — and work. Lots and lots of work.
In politics, Ohio can make a proud claim: Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927) was the first woman to run for president of the United States. There’s some discussion about the legitimacy of her bid for office: Woodhull was under the age of 35 and of course women couldn’t vote so how could her bid for office be legitimate? Ooof. And some aspects of her personal life could be termed disorderly … but when has that stopped members of the opposite sex from running for office?
Ohioana is sending love today to all of the women who write. Thank you today to Connie Schultz who writes about politics and who moderates a lively Facebook community. Thank you to Gloria Steinem, native of Toledo. Thank you Toni Morrison, for your amazing work. Toni Morrison won the Ohioana Book Award for Sula, and her mother, Mrs. George Wofford, accepted the award on Ms. Morrison’s behalf at the luncheon in 1975. Ms. Morrison also sent Ohioana a note in 1999, thanking us for honoring her:
For Ohio to be a gift to any writer’s imagination is high praise indeed. May we continue to serve as an inspiration.
This week marks the 50th birthday of Ohio University Press. We’d like to congratulate them on reaching this milestone and wish them 50 more great years!
OU Press was a key partner in the very first Ohioana Book Festival, held in 2007. The event was built around their award-winning anthology Good Roots: Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio. Ten of the collection’s twenty authors came to Columbus for a day of panels and readings that set the pattern for each festival that has followed.
The press has also published books by many Ohio authors over the years, including P.L. Gaus (writer of Amish mysteries), Ellen Bromfield Geld (novelist and daughter of Louis Bromfield), Marilou K. Suszko (food writer), Andrew Welsh-Huggins (Associated Press reporter and novelist), and many more.
You can visit OU Press online here. Some of their new and upcoming releases will be featured at this year’s Ohioana Book Festival!
Pilkey was born and raised near Cleveland, Ohio. In elementary school he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia; he first created the Captain Underpants character during “time outs” in the school hallway. Although Pilkey’s teachers throughout elementary and high school discouraged his drawing, one of his college professors saw his work and encouraged him to try writing children’s books. His first book was published in 1987.
Pilkey’s book The Paperboy was a Caldecott Honor book; The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. He was recently selected to illustrate a picture book version of “One Today,” a poem written by Richard Blanco and read at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration.
Morrison was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio. After receiving degrees in English from Howard University and Cornell University, she worked as a university professor and book editor. She began writing fiction as part of an informal group that met to discuss and critique each other’s work. She went to one meeting with a short story about an African American girl who wished for blue eyes; this later became her first novel, The Bluest Eye. To date Morrison has written ten novels as well as children’s books, nonfiction, plays, and a libretto.
The president of the Ohio Board of Education recently criticized The Bluest Eye and questioned its inclusion on the recommended reading list for high school juniors. You can hear Morrison’s response and comments by Ohioana Library Executive Director David Weaver here.
Morrison won the 1977 National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon, a 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved, and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 for her body of work.
Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi, but spent her childhood in Toledo and graduated from college there. After spending two years in the Peace Corps and earning a master’s degree, she began writing. Taylor’s books are based on family stories told during childhood gatherings and therefore strongly reflect her own family history. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was only her second novel. In addition to winning the 1977 Newbery Medal, it was a National Book Award nominee, an ALA Notable Book, and a Kirkus Choice and was listed as a New York Times Book Review Best Children’s Book 1970-1980.