Now, you know the Book Owl loves books and libraries, but did you know there’s a library just for the birds? Crazy right? And here I thought the Book Owl was the only feathered friend who liked spending time amongst the stacks.
But it turns out a school librarian from Virginia, Rebecca Flowers (so appropriate), has set up a bird feeder in her garden that looks just like the check-out desk at your local library…
*Note: The Bird Library used to have a livestream feed on YouTube, but it seems like it’s no longer working. :((
Reading Treats for You
Since bird seed probably isn’t your idea of a treat, I’ve collaborated with a couple authors to bring you bundles of book-filled joy!
Below you’ll find loads of fantastic fiction to treat yourself throughout December, as well as stockpiling a few tomes to cosy up with in a comfy reading chair over the next few wintry weeks (unless you’re in the southern hemisphere…then you can enjoy your books while basking in the summer sunshine).
The bundles below feature a wide range of genres, so there’s sure to be something that appeals to your book-loving heart.
Happy Book Hunting!!
This first bundle is hosted by author Randall Krzak who chose several of my short stories (including Testing the Waters, The Ghost of Arlen Hall, and Mrs. Morris Meets Death) as part of his fabulous bundle. Note: The books in this promo are not necessarily Xmas-themed, but all books are (or should be) only 99c. What a deal!!!
This fabulous little bundle is hosted by the talented Stephanie Mirro. Among loads of other goodies, this box set promo contains both The Osteria Chronicles Box Set (Books 1 – 3) for only $3.99 ($3 off normal list price) and Domna: The Complete Set for a mere $4.99 (a 50% discount compared to buying the books individually)
A Quick Reminder About These Bundles
These promotions are all run by indie authors via BookFunnel. They’re by far one of the best ways to get out the word about my books without breaking my tiny marketing bank.
However, to participate in these group promos, I have to maintain a good BookFunnel reputation…and you can help with that.
Every time you come back to this post and explore what’s on offer in these bundles, you help boost my reputation. It costs you nothing to browse the bundles below, but provides a big boost that allows me to continue to promote my work in a beneficial and affordable way.
This is just a quick between-episodes post because I couldn’t resist sharing a book-related tidbit with you.
It’s a library. In a grocery store.
Wait, no, that’s not quite right. It’s a grocery store that is now a library.
I haven’t succumbed to any panic buying during the pandemic, but I could see myself raiding the shelves at this grocery store!
So this particular library is the Carmel Clay Public Library in Carmel, Indiana, and they’ve turned a former grocery store into a library. Instead of canned food, they have Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, instead of dried beans they have Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Tree. Looking for the candy aisle, you’ll find Laura Esquival’s Like Water for Chocolate.
And while I think stocking the shelves of a store with books instead of junk food, is a brilliant idea, unfortunately, this is only temporary while the Carmel Clay Library waits for a the construction of brand new building.
Seriously, though, you can’t beat finding books like Winter’s Bone, The Winter’s Tale, The Snowman, and The Ice House in the freezer department.
But before you go…I also want to share a couple new book promotions you might be interested in. The first features books with a historical setting where the ladies take the lead. And the other is full of free tomes ranging from horror to sci-fi to fantasy. Just scroll down tad bit to see the deals.
Have fun browsing, and as a bit of fun, let me know a title of a book and where you’d shelve it in your grocery library!
The Latest Book Deals – Historical Ladies & Free Fantasy
(Be sure to also check out more November book bargains and freebies in the sidebar of this blog)
It’s a listener-inspired episode in which, just like in the movie Ghostbusters, the Book Owl discovers ghosts love spending their time browsing, and sometimes wreaking havoc, in the stacks of their local libraries.
Note: I’ve made the transcript a little easier to read by providing section breaks with headers. Let me know if this works better for you who’d rather read than listen.
Hey everyone, this is Tammie Painter and you’re listening to the Book Owl Podcast, the podcast where I entertain your inner book nerd with tales of quirky books and literary lore.
Well my little ghosts and goblins, this episode is coming out only a couple days before the haunting holiday of Halloween, which means I’m required by podcast law to feature something spooky. As if we Americans aren’t already fearful enough over the upcoming election, right?
Behind the Scenes:
Anyway….I already had an idea for this episode floating around in my brain, but then Helen Crawford listener and lead monster maker over at Crawcrafts Beasties stepped in and said, “What about an episode on haunted bookstores?”
I thought it was brilliant. Unfortunately, it turned out that there really aren’t many interesting tales of haunted bookshops. I mean, there were a few haunted bookstores, but it was more just quips about cold spots in the building or the occasional book falling off a shelf. There were no real stories behind the stories.
But the lack of bookstore ghosts didn’t stop my search. Because it turns out that just like in the movie Ghostbusters, ghosts would rather spend their time browsing, and sometimes wreaking havoc, in the stacks of their local libraries. And let me tell you there turned out to be an overwhelming number of library hauntings, but I’ve picked a few of my favorite, funniest, and creepiest ones to share with you.
Cheap Ploy to Get You to Join My Newsletter:
And if you’re on The Book Owl Podcast newsletter, as your bonus trick or treat this time around, you’ll get links to all the ones I had to skip over. And that also means this is the perfect time to mention that if you aren’t already signed up to the newsletter, there’s a link in the show notes. You’ll not only get bonus content with each episode, but you’ll also get a little owl-themed gift for joining the flock.
Alright, onto the episode and ten spooky libraries!
So since Helen is from Ireland, I thought it would only be appropriate if we start with a haunted library from the Emerald Isle.
Ghost in the Library #1
And that would be Marsh’s Library which the more I read about it, might just deserve its own full episode. This gorgeous book palace was founded in 1701 by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh – which makes him sound like a Harry potter character — and this was the first public library in Ireland.
Well, Marsh had a niece who he had raised and adored and whose relationship with a salty sea captain he vehemently opposed. The niece couldn’t help it, she was in love and eloped with her captain, leaving behind a note for her uncle telling him what she’d done.
Of course, she didn’t want to be stopped before the two got properly hitched so she hid the note in a book. In a library. Marsh never did find the note. I’m not quite sure how he was seen supposed to know it existed, but after his death in 1713, something was seen wandering through the gallery, rummaging through book after book in search of the letter. And supposedly if you move between one gallery of the library to another, you can feel a spectral chill….
Ghost in the Library #2
Hopping over to Norfolk, England, well this ghost story really drives home the stereotype of the British stiff upper lip, Keep Calm Carry on mentality.
So we’re heading to the library of Felbrigg Hall. In the 1970s, the estate was acquired by the National Trust and it was up to David Muffon to put the place in order. So one evening (okay it could have been daytime, but evening makes it spookier), David’s at a desk in the library and happens to notice someone in a chair by the fireplace reading some books….then the someone finished his reading and faded away.
Okay, at this point, even as a skeptic, I’d be letting out a horror movie scream and dashing the hell out of there. But not David. He just shrugs his shoulders and continues about his work, then later asks the butler if the house has any ghosts.
To which the butler says, “Oh sure, we’ve got William Windham III who likes to raed by the fireplace.” The butler found this so normal he even set out books for the ghost to read…turns out Ghost William favored works by his old friend Samuel Johnson. Talk about a life long fan. Or is that an afterlife long fan?
Okay so let’s jump the pond because it turns out, American ghosts really love their libraries.
Now as some you know, Mr. Husband works at a library and there’s an ongoing joke that once you get a job at the library, you don’t leave. Turns out, that might be very true because I think at least a third of the stories I read were about the ghosts of former library workers. Most of whom liked to push books to the floor…which I’m sure after a lifetime of having to keep the shelves tidy means they are having a very satisfying afterlife.
Ghost in the Library #3
Mr. Husband also tells stories of a few, rare troublesome patrons, but in most cases, these folks leave the library premises when asked. Not so much in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at Lehigh University’s Linderman Library. See they used to have an old man who came to the library and was a real nuisance. Not one to let a little death stop his crabby ways, he is now haunting the library and continues to pester students and staff.
Ghost in the Library #4
Speaking of naughty ghosts, over in Tarrytown, New York, not long after his death, Washington Irving — who wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow — began haunting the library of his home. Trouble is, unlike William Windham, Irving isn’t there for the books…he’s there because it’s a tourist attraction and he likes to pinch the bottoms of female visitors.
Ghost in the Library #5
So let’s get into the creepy side of the stacks…over at the Sweetwater County Library in Wyoming, ever since the library opened in 1980, lights have been seen flipping on and off, and strange sounds reverberate through the building at night. In rooms with no windows, glowing dots are seen to flicker across the walls.
See, it turns out the city planners didn’t pay attention to their horror film tropes and built the library over a freakin’ graveyard that had been the burial place mainly for Asian railroad workers. The graves had supposedly all been moved in the 1920s. Supposedly.
Because in 1985, they found one remaining coffin. Yeah, I’m out of there already, but for those of you sticking around…it gets even more eerie. See, kids, there used to be these things call typewriters and the library had them for typing up forms and documents. But on occasion, the typewriters would type on their own.
The library staff tried inserting paper to see if the ghosts had a message to convey, but the specters refused to commit anything to paper. Pretty smart that. But wait, there’s more because the creepy crawlies aren’t done yet!
So once the library got computers, there was one that was a closed system, meaning it had no external inputs, and because of what it was used for it had no wordprocessor on it either. The librarian using it one day turned her back and when she turned back around her name was typed in large letters across the screen. Again, no external input. No word processing program. I’m scaring myself here.
Ghost in the Library #6
Speaking of typewriters over at the Old Palace Theater branch of Arkansas’s Saline County Library, employees have heard phantom footsteps, slamming doors, books falling from shelves, and paperback carousels rotating on their own. And, working late one night, Director Julie Hart heard the distinctive sound of a manual typewriter. Trouble is… the library had gotten rid of all their typewriters years ago. Damn typewriters are scary!
Ghost in the Library #7
This one isn’t super creepy, but it does prove that if you name your kid Millicent, you’re just asking her to eventually become a ghost. So the founder of Fairhaven’s Millicent Library was Standard Oil magnate Henry Huttleston Rogers. His daughter Millicent died of heart failure in 1890 when she was only 17, and he named the library after her.
And of course she began haunting it. Patrons have seen her glowing blue form walking the halls. And at night, after the library’s closed, people have reported seeing a girl standing in the window of the turret that makes up part of the front of the building.
But Millicent isn’t lonely in her afterlife. She’s also hanging out with a woman in black who runs her fingers along the shelved books, and a man dressed in a tweed jacket, purple bow tie, and small circular glasses who mops the basement floor.
Ghost in the Library #8
Okay, want another creepy one? How about another horror movie classic: the evil curse! And you’ll find that over at the Peoria Public Library.
See, the land the library was built on was once owned by Mary Stevenson Grey. And I don’t know if she hated libraries or just had a bad experience with a librarian, but in 1847 she pronounced a curse on anyone who occupied her land after she died.
And if you don’t believe curses are real, well, three library directors have already met untimely ends. There’s E. S. Willcox, who in 1915 was run over by a streetcar; there’s Samuel Patterson Prowse, who was doing nothing more exciting than attending a library board meeting in 1921 when he suffered a fatal heart attack. And in 1924, Director Dr. Edwin Wiley committed suicide by taking arsenic.
Now, I don’t know if the Peoria Library is covering something up, but since those deaths, supposedly no other library directors have died under mysterious circumstances. Still, employees do report seeing the ghost of Prowse hanging around the basement.
Ghost in the Library #9
Enough with creepy, let’s get to my second favorite, which is funny and kind of sad too. So the front portion of the Old Bernardsville Public Library in New Jersey was once the Vealtown Tavern during the Revolutionary War.
The innkeeper’s daughter was Phyllis Parker who was in love with a British spy. The spy was hanged in 1777, and to make sure Phyllis didn’t forget her transgression, the body was delivered in a coffin to the tavern.
Phyllis suffered a nervous breakdown and was never the same again. Then, starting in 1974, Ghost Phyllis began showing up in the rooms of the library where the tavern once was. But she was a good ghost who never caused any trouble and seemed to be a welcome addition. So much so that they issued her her own library card.
Despite this, Phyllis slowly stopped making appearances and one of the last times she was seen was in November 1989, when a 3-year-old boy saw a lady in a long, white dress in the reading room. Not put off one bit, he stopped and said hello to her. Maybe Phyllis knew her time was up because only a couple years after this final appearance, the library moved to a new location.
Ghost in the Library #10
And I’ve saved my favorite ghostly tale for last. And this tale really does have a tail because its about a ghost cat. Unless he’s Manx.
Anyway, this is at the Doris and Harry Vise Library at Tennesee’s Cumberland University. So in March 2001, the director of the library, John Boniol, said a cat came floating across his office floor. He said it wasn’t walking, it was gliding and none of the feet touched the ground. It then vanished into the boxes that were under his desk. Which sounds like your typical cat.
But that’s not the only ghosts in the Vise Library. John reported eerie sensations in certain rooms and a former librarian used to play peek-a-boo with the ghost of a little girl. I’m not sure if that’s creepy, or just says a lot about what it takes to get through a slow day in library land.
So, what about your area, any haunted libraries you know of? Have you felt any icy fingers tickling your spine while you roamed the stacks? Let me know!
So, now it’s update time – As for writing, as I record this I’m about halfway through the first draft of the third book of my Cassie Black trilogy, and by the time this comes to, I am hoping I’ll be almost done with that draft. I’m pushing to get the book, and the trilogy completely revised and edited by the end of the year, and I think I’m going to be cutting it pretty close, but it will be nice to have them all put together and ready to publish in the first part of 2021.
And as for the podcast, well, not much to report here. Thanks to everyone who’s been commenting on the episodes and as ever, if there’s a strange bookstore, quirky author, or other book related topic you want covered, don’t be shy about letting me know!
Okay everyone, that is it for this episode. If no ghosts and goblins snatch you up at your local library, I will hoot at you next time.
The Book Owl Podcast is a production of Daisy Dog Media, Copyright 2020, All rights reserved.
Theme Music “Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
All you have to do is visit the link above, then enter your name and email and you’re registered to virtually attend a gobsmacking amount of lectures about historic books, about book preservation, about books books books.
There’s also discussions on other aspects of the LOC, plus loads of live author chats including John Grisham, Kwame Mbalia, Thomas Frank, Sarah Scoles, and oodles more!
The festival starts Friday (25 September) and runs through Sunday the 27th. Once you sign up, you’re free to pick and choose as many or as few programs that interest you.
Have a great book-filled weekend!!!
And if you missed out on Agatha Christie hanging ten last week, be sure to give Episode 12 a listen.
If you’re looking for something unforgettable to read this weekend, try this…..
I know it’s not the Book Owl’s usual posting day, but I just wanted to share the excitement of World Literacy Day with you!
So what’s the day all about? Well, the fine folks over at Wikipedia have this to say…
“8 September was declared international literacy day by UNESCO on 26 October 1966 at 14th session of UNESCO’s General conference. It was celebrated for the first time in 1967. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.”
And since I (aka “The Book Owl”) love being able to read and think reading is one of the best pastimes EVER, I wanted to celebrate by sharing a couple podcast episodes in which I cover a little bit of literacy, the importance of being a reader, and the strange historical course of inventions that help keep people reading to this very day.
The first is Episode 3 in which the Book Owl delves into that age-old question, the quandary that has stumped philosophers and scientists for centuries, the issue I’m sure has been keeping you up at night….
Do dogs know how to read?
Spoiler alert…no, they don’t, but they can listen which is why our canine buddies are regularly invited into libraries to help build better readers. How does this work? Who came up with the idea? How can you get involved? Find out in Episode 3: Is That A Dog in the Library?!!
Note: I was still getting the hang of things with Episode 3, so the sound quality isn’t the best, but it’s still worth a listen.
Then we haveEpisode 8: The Story of Seeing Clearly in which I take a peek at the amazing combination of historical events that turned eyeglasses from a luxury item used only by the wealthy to a household commodity (and requisite accessory for many readers…including myself).
From imprisoned Venetians to curing syphilis, the history of eyeglasses is more intriguing than it might seem at first glance (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
Those show links will take you to the episode’s listening page where you’ll also find links to the show’s transcript, in case you know, you wanted to actually read on World Literacy Day!