Monthly Archives: October 2014

Look What’s in the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. There’s a big browsing section of what new books the library bought.

(2014-03-07 002)Title: Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook

Publication Information: Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, c2012

ISBN: 978-1-118-38894-5

Library of Congress Classification: TX739.2.H34

Dewey Decimal Classification: 641

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Halloween cooking

This is a fun cookbook.

I love everything Halloween, and this book has some good suggestions for party ideas.

Some of the recipes are how to cook something and, more importantly, how to dress-up food for the holiday. The Spiderweb Black Bean Burgers (p. 64-65), Chicken Enchilada Mummies (p. 66-67), Taco Monster Mouths (p. 68-69), Serpent Subs (p. 72-73) and Spooky Shepherd’s Pie (p. 88-89) are variations on recipes that most of us probably have or know where to get them, as well as how to make the food look spooky.

There are some good recipes. I like the Candy Corn Cookies (p. 156-157) and Scary Cat Cookies (p. 158-159); these are clever and good-tasting cookies. The ideas on how to create candy-corn-shaped cookies with the same candy colors is very inventive. Some of the recipes are for simple, yet clever, snacks. Witches’ Brooms (p. 166-167), Grilled Ham and Cheese Boo Bites (p. 74-75), Scarecrow-d Taco Dip (p. 42-43), and Graveyard Bones with Dip (p. 36-37) are simple ways to celebrate Halloween without going to a lot of trouble. Meanwihile, Scary Pancakes (p. 94-95) and Spiderweb Pot Pies (p. 84-85) look delicious. These are definitely comfort foods.

With these types of cookbooks, you have to remember that the brand names, in this case Pillsbury, are going to be mentioned. However, it’s easy to find a recipe to make the product that is the brand name. For example, for the Spooky Spiderweb Pizza (p. 78-79), a can of Pillsbury pizza crust is needed. There are so many recipes on the Internet for pizza dough that you can easily replace the can with your own (or someone else’s) dough.

So, if you like celebrating Halloween and like food, this book is for you. You’ll get a lot of ideas here.

Horrifyingly Mad

(2014-03-23 001)Title: Horrifyingly Mad

Publication Information: New York: Fall River Press, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4351-3743-1

Library of Congress Classification: NC1428.M23

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
United States—Civilization—Humor
Motion pictures—United States—Humor
Popular culture—United States—Humor
United States—Civilization—Comic books, strips, etc.
Motion pictures—United States—Comic books, strips, etc.
Popular culture—United States—Comic books, strips, etc.

When my brother and I were growing up, getting an issue of Mad, or Cracked (which I preferred), was a real treat. The silly, satiric commentaries on life resonated with our views on what was going on around us. Making fun of movies, television shows, advertisements, anything and everything really settled well. In retrospect, many of the commentaries were quite good.

This collection of horror-themed comics are fun, but like any typical issue of Mad and Cracked, the entries are uneven. Some are excellent, some are okay, some completely miss the mark, and others leave you wondering, “Huh?” Nonetheless, they bring back some nostalgia for me. Since all of these are collections of already-published issues, some come from the time I was actually reading Mad and Cracked.

If you are looking for something that can bring back good feelings from the past and still entertain, this is for you.

Lafcadio Hearn, Kwaidan: Japanese Ghost Stories

(2014-03-23 002)Title: Kwaidan: Japanese Ghost Stories

Author: Lafcadio Hearn

Publication Information: New York: Fall River Press, 2010

ISBN: 9781435120235 (143512023X)

Library of Congress Classification: PS1917

Dewey Decimal Classification: 389

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Ghost stories, Japanese
Japan—Social life and customs—Fiction

I’ve always loved ghost stories. This collection comes from someone who once lived in Japan and enjoyed the culture. Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) died at the beginning of the last century. He had an interesting life. Born on Lekfada, one of the Greek islands, to a British surgeon and a Kytherian Greek mother of noble heritage, Hearn was raised in Ireland after having  been baptized Greek Orthodox. He eventually came to live in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he married an African American woman, which was illegal at the time. Eventually he made he way to Japan, married a Japanese woman, had children, and wrote about Japanese culture and folklore, of which this book is a reprint.

When reading ghost stories from other cultures, it is interesting to see how the ghost manifests, what the cultural attitudes towards ghosts are, and how the characters function in those cultures and around the ghosts. This collection presents a variety of people found in many different situations.

There are many different spirits. In A Dead Secret, O-Sono married and had a boy but died after four years of marriage. Her son tells the household that his mother has come back, and fear drives them to consult a monk. The monk discovers what is troubling O-Sono. The Story of Aoyagi tells of Tomodata, a young samurai, who meets a wonderful peasant girl that he marries, with a surprising result. Of a Mirror and a  Bell is about the death of an old woman whose mirror was used to make a bell for a Buddhist temple–and her prophecy that whomever breaks the bell while ringing it will be rich. Like any collection, some of the stories are only okay or just odd. The original subtitle for Kwaidan was “Stories and Studies of Strange Things,” which explains why some of the stories are not about ghosts. Nonetheless, it is a good book.

Something must be said about the  illustrations. They are beautiful and are rendered in traditional Japanese art style. All  are in color and all are extremely striking.