Tag: a series of unfortunate events

Don’t Clean Your Room! Read About The Top 8 Books About Dust

Riddle me this: What is everywhere in your room but doesn’t clutter up any space?

DUST!

Dust is actually very important, as far as books go. They can set a scene, they can create a mood, they can be an important plot element. So before you go off and clean your room or procrastinate about cleaning your room, you might just want to read through this list about our top 8 books that feature dust as an important element in the story.

 

 

8-Amelia Bedelia

 

Amelia Bedelia

Image Via Banres & Noble

 

Before we get dark, let’s start with a happy children’s book. Starting in 1963, Amelia Bedelia stars, well, Amelia Bedelia, which started this hit children’s series. Funny, brilliant, this stories often follow Amelia Bedelia, a maid in the Rodgers family, who often misunderstands various commands of her employer by always taking figures of speech and various terminology literally.

 

Dust The Strawberries

Image Via Teaching College English

 

Notably, she takes the command “dust the furniture” literally and, well, mayhem ensures.

Lucky, after a series of comic misunderstanding and general mayhem, Amelia Bedelia is usually able to the win the family over with a delicious pie or cake. After a while the Rodgers family becomes astute enough to realize that Amelia Bedelia takes everything they say literally so, instead of firing her, they give her more specific commands such as “undust the furniture”.

So remember: You shouldn’t ‘dust around the house’, you should ‘undust the house’. Or you can dust the house. I don’t care, you do you.

 

7-Cinderella

 

Cinderella book

Image Via Amazon

 

With that out of the way, let’s get dark. Dust can set a scene, set a mood, and you know that things are dark when this story opens with a little girl dusting the house while her step-mother and step-sisters are lounge around the house.

 

Cinderella dusting

Image Via Your Keyword Basket

 

Since her father’s death, Cinderella’s has been left in the dust, left in the squalor of her step-mother’s tyrannical rule. We all know where the story goes from here, either from the Disney movie or Grimm’s Fairy Tales, with her rising from the dust and into the arms of someone who loves her.

6-Infinity Gauntlet

 

Infinity Gauntlet Comic Book

Image Via The Wrap

 

Before the monsters of movies, Infinity War and Endgame, hit theaters, comic readers knew since 1991 that there was a chance our favorite heroes might get dusted. Though we weren’t sure if Disney was going to go through with it, we sat back in awe as our favorite characters, including Spider-Man, bit the dust.

If you want to see where this plot point came from, we’ll buy this comic and listen to Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” as you see characters you know and love and characters you don’t know but will love get dusted. Be warned:

 

 

It’s some heavy stuff.

 

 

5-Howl’s Moving Castle

 

Howl's Moving Castle

Image Via Hero Complex Gallery

 

Published in 1986, Howl’s Moving Castle is a fantasy novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones. A runner-up for the annual Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, the book was adapted into in 2004 was adapted as an animated film of the same name in 2004 and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

 

Young and Old Sophie Hatter

Young and Old Sophie Hatter / Image Via Fairlight Books

 

The importance of dust cannot be understated. After her father dies, Sophie Hatter takes over her family’s hat shop but encounters some trouble when she meets a witch who believes Sophie is doing some magic in her territory. In the book Sophie’s guilty as charged, so the witch curses her into looking like an old woman.

She runs away and, cold alone, sneaks on board a moving castle. But she’s found out!

This is when dust comes into play. See, Sophie’s cover story is that, since the castle is old and dusty, she’s the new house keeper! A quick look around and everyone is satisfied with her story, and Sophie ends up actually cleaning the castle.

The story goes on from here, but the most important moral of the story is this: Dust is helpful.

 

4-The Help

 

The Help

Image VIa Amazon

 

Published in 2009, Kathryn Stockett’s The Help is about African Americans working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early 1960s.

A story about oppression, prejudiced, and hope, this story utilized dust to symbolize the hardships people go through and the impossibilities in cleaning away hatred.

 

3-Les Miserables

 

Les Miserables

Image Via VisitLondon

 

You might know the film, the play, or Victor Hugo’s magnum opus, this story shines a lighter on the misery and the pain of poverty and finding redemption in a cruel world. From the grimy streets of Paris to the dirt of the taverns, this story is known best for this image:

 

Les Miserables image: Cosette sweeping

Image Via Pinterest

 

There’s a reason for that. A young girl cursed to poverty, to survive and not thrive in a dirty world, she’ll have to work hard and, with a little luck, she might be given a new start and a clean slate.

 

 

2-Series of Unfortunate Events

 

Three orphans cleaning with toothbrushes because life sucks and then you die

Three orphans cleaning with toothbrushes because life sucks and then you die / Image Via Fast Company

 

In this series the Baudelaire orphans can’t catch a break. While they are bounced around to guardian after guardian, they are met with increasingly dire circumstances and squalor beyond repair. From a greedy man who just wants them for this vast fortune to a man engulfed in smoke who keeps them (including the baby!) working in a lumber mill, the orphans are no stranger to dust, grime, filth, and dusty things.

Thankfully, they never seem to catch a case of the sniffles, so I guess they’re lucky in that regard.

 

Count Olaf

Image Via Pinterest

 

Darkly funny and disturbingly horrific, this series is certainly something that’ll make you thankful because, even though dust seems to follow you everywhere you go, at least you’re not being chased by a villain.

If you are in fact being chased by an evil villain, considering calling 9-1-1.

 

1-His Dark Materials

 

His Dark Materials

Image Via The Verge

 

Does dust follow you everywhere you go? Well, that might be a good thing. In the His Dark Materials trilogy, dust are elementary particles associated with consciousness and are integral to the plot. Everyone is chasing dust.

In the first book, young Lyra is bombarded with adults who claim that dust is evil, a terrible particle that causes all the misery in the world. Even her father, Lord Asriel, tells her that

Somewhere out there is the origin of all the Dust, all the death, the sin, the misery, the destructiveness in the world. Human beings can’t see anything without wanting to destroy it, Lyra. That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die.

In the first book, Lyra believes this wholeheartedly, but at the end of the novel her eyes are opened up to the wonders of dust when her daemon, Pantalaimon, asks her:

We’ve heard them all talk about Dust, and they’re so afraid of it, and you know what? We believed them, even though we could see what they were doing was wicked and evil and wrong…We thought Dust must be bad too, because they were grown up and they said so. But what if it isn’t?

From there, Lyra realizes:

If Dust were a good thing…If it were to be sought and welcomes and cherished..

‘We could look for it too, Pan!’ she said

The moral of the story? Don’t dust your house, because dust is magical.

 

 

Featured Image Via RZIM

10 Fictional Schools Even Worse Than Ones We Went To

The back to school season is always difficult for those of us still enrolled in the education system, however we really don’t have it all that bad. And there’s nothing quite like books to make our lives feel just a little less sucky in comparison.

Here are ten fictional schools that we would never want attend, in order from least bad to the absolute baddest.

 

 

10. Wayside School (Wayside school Series)

Wayside School is Falling DownImage via Scholastic

 

There is no way in hell that Wayside School is up to OSHA code. It’s literally falling down.

Plus, none of the kids in this school learn anything. Sure it’s fun to muck around in class every once and a while, but these kids are learning math without numbers and being turned into apples by evil witch teachers.

Call me old fashioned but that environment doesn’t seem very conducive to learning.

 

9. Rosewood High (Pretty Little LIars)

Rosewood HighImage via Pretty Little Liars Wiki

 

Rosewood High has all the average high school stressors. There’s sexuality to figure out, eating disorders to cling to, and teachers to be assaulted by.

But what really puts Rosewood on the map? The blackmail and murder. A lot of it. So, so much.

 

8. Thomas Ewen Consolidated High School (Carrie)

Carrie at promImage via imdb

 

This particular school is a bit different. It’s not Carrie’s school that’s awful, it’s her fellow students. Carrie’s peers relentlessly cruel, and the teachers don’t really seem to give a damn.

If you were to attend this school you might get a couple tampons chucked your way, which is pretty mean, but not deadly.

Definitely stay in on prom night though…

 

7. Pencey Prep School (Catcher in the Rye)

Catcher in the RyeImage via Amazon

 

If you’ve ever toured at a boarding school or college, you might be familiar with schools like Pencey Prep. The website is sleek, the brochures are long and convincing, and the images all show students having the time of their lives sitting in class or enjoying their extracurriculars.

Then you get there and it’s raining, the classrooms still have those televisions on rolling carts, and there’s no clubs to speak of.

How phony is that…

 

6. Lowood Institution (Jane Eyre)

An interpretation of LowoodImage via WatchingJane

 

Jane Eyre is sent to Lowood Institution as a punishment from her cruel aunt, Sarah Reed.

If the starvation, cruel discipline, and threadbare clothes weren’t punishment enough, holding on to your best friend desperately as she dies of consumption probably fits the bill.

Students attending this school today are definitely gonna want to get vaccinated before the school year starts.

 

 

5. Prufrock Preparatory School (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

Prufrock PrepImage via Lemony Snicket Wiki

 

Prufrock Prep isn’t exactly… welcoming.

Among Prufrock Prep’s many dazzling features are the Orphan Shack where all orphans are forced to live, a punishment where being late to class means you are forced to eat your meals like a dog with your hands tied behind your back, and your grade in gym class is worth 51% of your overall grade meaning most members of Bookstr‘s audience would probably flunk out.

Ha ha, gotcha. Nerds.

 

4. Crunchem Hall Primary School (Matilda)

Crunchem HallImage via Sony Pictures Entertainment

 

While Crunchem Hall didn’t last forever, it certainly left an impression on every child who read Matilda. I don’t even like to wear my hair in pigtails because I’m so irrationally afraid someone will grab me by the braid and fling me into the air.

They also just don’t look that good on me. I have a big forehead.

Also this school is literally shorthand ‘Crunch Them’ Hall. Who did that.

 

3. Hogwarts (Harry Potter Series)

HogwartsImage via Penguin Teen

 

I know everyone wants to be a wizard or witch, and everyone wants to hang with Harry and his crew, but Hogwarts is dangerous.

Even prior to Voldemort’s presence on campus there was a giant lizard monster in the basement, murderous mermaids in the water, and a backyard so deadly they had to name it the Forbidden Forest to keep students from going in and getting killed.

Some people might think I should’ve put Durmstrang on this list instead of Hogwarts, but honestly Hogwarts seems way more perilous.

Hogwarts became a literally battlefield at the apex of a wizarding world war, Durmstrang is just emo.

 

 

2. Shiroiwa Junior High (Battle Royale)

Shiroiwa Junior High class photoImage via What’s on TV

 

Realistically, you wouldn’t want to be an eighth grader at any school in this universe. You probably also don’t want to be a eighth grader in any universe, to be fair.

However being an eighth grader in Battle Royale means you could be randomly selected by the government to participate in a Hunger Games style fight to the death that lasts over the course of three days.

Now I didn’t love my middle school classmates, but I don’t want to murder them, and I definitely don’t want to be murdered by them.

 

1. The Rachel and Leah Re-Education Center (Handmaid’s Tale)

Image via Abbey Research

 

This school is where handmaids learn how to be handmaids. The women attending have their hands chopped off, their eyes gouged, and their tongues cut out as punishments for misbehaving.

Definitely makes detention seem like a walk in the park.

 

 

 

 

Featured image via American Cinematographers

The Top 10 Most Mouthwatering Foods in Children’s Fiction

We’ve all craved a magical food that doesn’t actually exist, or we’ve read about a real food that didn’t live up to the hype of our childhood imaginations. Here are some of the foods (in no particular order) that still seem to appear in my dreams.

 

1. Everlasting Gobstoppers (Charlie and The Chocolate Factory)

 

Willy Wonka with an Everlasting Gobstopper

Image via iCollector

 

There are what feels like hundreds of candies within the walls of Willy Wonka’s factory, all of which sound absolutely mouthwatering. However, everlasting gobstoppers stick out to me because they actually exist. You can go down to your local corner store and buy a box right now if you really wanted to.

But you don’t want to. Because the real everlasting gobstoppers are flavorless little balls of cement. And the fictional ones are, well, fictional.

#JusticeForEverlastingGobstoppers

 

 

2. Fruit From the Toffee Tree (The Chronicles of Narnia)

 

An illustration of the toffee tree

Image via Citizen of Anvard

 

C.S. Lewis doesn’t do the most creative job of describing this treat. The fruit falls from a tree, and it’s described as being “not exactly like toffee – softer for one thing, and juicy – but like fruit which reminds one of toffee.

The tree formed when a toffee candy was planted in the ground in the moment of Narnia’s creation, and it grew at an incredible rate because the song that brought Narnia to life was still clinging to the world.

Must taste pretty good, with an epic backstory like that.

 

3. ‘Eat Me’ Cookies (Alice in Wonderland)

 

'eat me' cookies from Alice in Wonderland

Image via Amino Apps

 

There are a couple of bad side effects when you snack on these magical cookies. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice takes a bite of one these and grows to be about the height of a one-story house.

Yet somehow, that just makes them more tempting. What’s life without a little risk of becoming gargantuan?

 

4. Pasta Puttanesca (a Series of Unfortunate Events)

 

Pasta Puttanesca inspired by 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'

Image via Fiction-Food Café

 

Pasta puttanesca is a very real dish, and something you can order at most Italian restaurants. However, sometimes the way something tastes in reality just can’t compare to the way it tastes in your imagination.

In A Series of Unfortunate Events, the pasta puttanesca serves as a small amount of comfort in the bleak world that the Baudelaire children have found themselves in after the death of their parents. Something about the warm, homey feeling that it provides makes it an absolutely crave worthy dish.

 

5. Green Eggs and Ham (Green Eggs and Ham, obviously)

 

The cover of 'Green Eggs and Ham'

Image via io9

 

Sam-I-Am was pretty insistent about this dish. If someone follows you from a house, to a box, to a tree, to a train, to the dark, to the rain, to a boat just to get you to try a bite of their food then they’re probably insane.

But they probably also have some pretty good eats.

 

 

6. Leek and POTATO sOUP (Coraline)

 

Potato and leek soup

Image via Food Network

 

Coraline isn’t particularly excited by this dish, choosing instead to stick with her frozen mini-pizzas. However, considering the themes of family and parental love in this novel, this soup dish gives off a cozy and homey sort of vibe.

And if someone hands you a warm pot of homemade soup, that someone must love you an awful lot! Certainly more than your eyeless, soul stealing, puppet mom.

 

7. Saffron Tea (Kiki’s Delivery Service)

 

A moment from 'My Neighbor Totoro,' another Studio Ghibli film

Image via Studio Ghibli

 

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio, has a knack for animating foods in the most delicious looking way possible. This particular gif is from My Neighbor Totoro, as the saffron tea from Kiki’s Delivery Service didn’t make it’s way out of the book.

In the book the tea serves as a reminder of Kiki’s home while her travels become too much to handle. The smell and the warmth remind Kiki of her mother, and the memory helps keep her spirits high while she’s speeding around on her broom.

 

8. Unicorn Blood (Harry Potter Series)

 

A bleeding unicorn from 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'

Image via Sci-Fi Stack Exchange

 

This one is a bit macabre, but there’s something undeniably intriguing about the unicorn blood in the Harry Potter.

The golden trio (plus Draco) are serving detention in the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid, when they stumble upon a pool of shiny silver goo. When they see a shadowy figure knelt over the body of the unicorn, the kids all run away screaming, except for Harry who stumbles over a tree root.

He’s saved by a centaur, the story moves on, and no one even asks for a sip of that shiny, magic goop.

Maybe this is why I never got my Hogwarts letter.

 

9. Magic Beans (Jack and the Beanstalk)

 

Some perfect beans

Image via Tourism Currents

 

If a bag of beans is worth selling your family’s only source of income, they better be some damn good beans.

 

 

10. Giant Chocolate Cake (Matilda)

 

The moment where Bruce Bogtrotter must eat a whole cake in 'Matilda'

Image via Giphy

 

Bruce Bogtrotter is one of literature’s bravest heroes. He’s punished for his humanity (what child wouldn’t try to sneak a piece of cake?) and still emerges triumphant despite all odds.

While this scene can be a bit nauseating, there’s always something enticing about the thought of having a triple layered chocolate cake plopped down directly in front of you.

Plus, you get to dive straight into that sucker fork first.

Might not be such a punishment after all.

 

 

 

Featured image via Simplemost

Top 10 Most Fearsome Evildoers in Literature

There’s something fun about bad guys. A memorable villain is just as much a key ingredient of literature as the hero, acting as the antagonist and obstacle in the way of the heroes goals. If done properly, a villain will be just as remembered and often as beloved as the hero, hailed for their command of evil minions, nefarious lines, and the threatening situations they put our plucky main characters in. But who are the best? Who are the cream of the crop among literary bad guys? Well, here are the top ten best and darkest villains in literature!

 

10. Annie Wilkes- ‘Misery’ 

 

A closeup of Annie Wilkes from 'Misery'

Image via Stephen King wiki

Annie Wilkes is a cautionary tale, showcasing how mentally unstable being a ‘superfan’ can make you. When writer Paul Sheldon breaks both legs in an accident, Annie takes him in and begins to nurse him back to health. But slowly, she reveals she’s obsessed with the Misery series Paul writes and the latest book kills off Misery. Annie Wilkes snaps at this and forces Paul to write a new novel that undoes Misery’s death. She subjects him to multiple horrors within her house, such as slicing off Paul’s leg with an axe and stabbing a state trooper who tries to rescue Paul before running him over with a lawnmower. Annie Wilkes grows increasingly psychotic over the course of the novel and just as Paul does, the reader becomes increasing desperate to escape her presence. Annie Wilkes was played by Kathy Bates in the 1990 film adaptation, winning an Oscar for bringing the character to life.

 

9. Patrick Bateman- ‘American Psycho’

 

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman sits in a business suit on a cell phone

Image via Variety

Debuting in 1991 in the novel American Psycho, Patrick Bateman is a deeply, deeply disturbed man. A young investment banker living in Manhattan during the 1980s, Patrick Bateman is a serial killer who begins the novel in semi-control of his killing urges but spirals completely out of control as the novel progresses. Told from Bateman’s POV, the novel paints him as a racist, a homophobic, a narcissist, and a psychopath. However, Bateman may not even be a serial killer, as the novel frames his crimes as possibly not even having happened after he confesses at the book’s end. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Bateman is a deeply disturbed man and one whose mental state is at rock bottom, even if he’s a serial killer or not.

 

8. Count Olaf- ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’

 

The villainous Count Olaf stands with two crows perched on his shoulder and arm

Image via Lemony Snicket wiki

Children’s novels often have brought to life some of the most iconic villains in pop culture and Count Olaf is no exception. The main antagonist for the majority of the series, obsessed with claiming the fortune of the Baudelaire orphans. Over the course of the series, he appears in each location the children find themselves in, from steel mills to a reptile zoo to a carnival. Each time, Count Olaf assumes a new disguise in his pursuit of the kids, fooling everyone but them with his distinct personas. He may be a murderer with a flair for arson but Count Olaf is always a lot of fun, hammy and over the top in his villainy. Yet, at the end of the series, he manages to become a sympathetic figure and even allies with the children against a worse evil before he meets his demise, showing perhaps that he was more complicated than we thought.

 

7. Big brother- ‘1984′ 

A portrait of the dictator 'Big Brother' in a propaganda poster

Image via Wikipedia

Less a character than a symbol of tyranny and oppression, Big Brother is nonetheless the ruling leader of Oceania in 1984Never seen in person, Big Brother might just a symbol of the tyrannical Party but that doesn’t matter. People believe he exists and the Party reinforces this belief to the oppressed populace. Posters decorate the city that bear the now famous slogan ‘Big Brother is watching you’. The message is always clear: Big Brother sees all and if there is dissent, he knows. Big Brother becomes akin to God, a portrait of a tyranny realized at its terrifying conclusion.

 

6. Mr. Croup and Vandemar- ‘Neverwhere’

 

 

Croup and Vandemar, two brutish thugs of inhuman disposition stand next to each other in victorian dress

Image via Pininterest 

 

Croup and Vandemar are a double-act, a pair of villains who are hired to track down the heroes in NeverwhereIt is not made entirely clear what they are but they’re not human, that’s for certain, as they have a habit of eating live animals and sometimes, chunks of furniture! Croup is a small fat man who is possessed with a verbose style of speech while Vandemar is his brutish partner who barely speaks and specializes more in killing things. The pair certainly make a memorable impression whenever they’re onscreen, serving as an excellent and terrifying pair of evil thugs who can’t be stopped by regular weapons.

 

5. Regal Farseer-‘The Farseer Trilogy’

 

The handsome Prince Regal dressed in kingly attire wearing a crown

Regal Farseer is a vain and cruel prince in line to acquire the throne in the fantasy kingdom of Buckeep. However, his plans of ascension are thrown into a snag when a bastard son of his father, Chivalry Farseer, called Fitz (the protagonist) comes to Buckeep. Regal is aware of Fitz’s heritage and plots to kill him. He eventually acquires the throne throughout the trilogy and Fitz is brought into conflict with his half-brother to get it back. Regal embodies jealously, cruelty, and arrogance, being one dark and vicious prince.

 

4. Randall Flagg-‘The Stand’

 

The dark, cloaked figure of Randall Flagg holding a playing card before a red backdrop
Image via Stephen King wiki

 

Described as Stephen King’s ‘ubervillain’, Randall Flagg appears through Stephen King’s multiverse to wreck constant havoc. He first appears in The Standas a demonic cult leader trying to establish a new society filled with his loyal followers after a plague has destroyed the Earth’s population. Flagg seemingly meets his end when his blown up by a nuclear warhead but reappears throughout further Stephen King works, revealing himself to be an immortal sorcerer who travels throughout space and time, his ultimate goal being to climb The Dark Tower to become a god. Assuming a vast number of identities, Flagg is always a manipulative, dark presence who strikes fear whenever he appears, no matter the setting or genre.

 

3. Professor Moriarty- ‘Sherlock Holmes’

 

Professor Moriarty, standing in a hunched stance while dressed in victorian apparel

Image Via Wikipedia

Even if you’ve never read a Sherlock Holmes story, you know this guy. Moriarty appears in The Final Problem, becoming famous as the antagonist who would (temporarily) kill Sherlock Holmes. There, Holmes has penetrated his criminal organization and is forced to flee across the country from Moriarty’s wrath. The pursuit ends on Reichenbach Falls, where the two fight and seemingly plummet to their deaths. Moriarty never appears directly onscreen, as the novel is narrated by Watson who never crosses path with the criminal leader but he is practically an overlord of the London underworld, just as brilliant as Sherlock but uses his mind for evil. It’s no wonder Moriarty was promoted to Holmes’s archenemy, he became such an iconic figure that adaptations see fit to use him as Sherlock’s ultimate enemy.

 

2. Dolores Umbridge- ‘Harry Potter’

 

The seemingly sweet Dolores Umbridge sips tea while dressed in pink

Image via Harry Potter wiki

Forget Voldemort, Dolores Umbridge is a far more evil character because of how real she feels. Seemingly a sweet little lady, Dolores Umbridge reveals herself to be sadistic, cruel, and hits all the buttons to make her hate throughout the series. She interrupts Dumbledore during the Feast, she speaks to the students as if they’re a bunch of small children, she punishes Harry for his misbehaving by making him carve the words “I MUST NOT TELL LIES” over and over again into his skin while she watches with a sweet smile. Dolores hides behind her position of authority to inflict her sadistic whims on Hogwarts and its a sigh of relief when gets what’s coming to her at the end, although some think it wasn’t enough for this woman.

 

1. Sauron- ‘The Lord of the Rings’

 

The black armored figure of Sauron stands tall

Image via LOTR Wiki

The titular Lord of the RingsSauron is unique among fantasy evil overlords in that he never appears directly in the trilogy but his presence consumes everything and he’s responsible for every evil act in one way or another. A former Maiar, a divine angel, Sauron turned away from the light in his lust for power and crafted the One Ring to rule Middle-earth. But the forces of men and elves fought against him, destroying his physical form. Sauron took years to establish himself again, confining himself to his tower in Mordor and building a dark army to conquer Middle-earth while searching to regain the One Ring to claim ultimate victory. Sauron is arguably scarier for how he never appears, only referenced by Gandalf, Saruman, and Gollum but the way they speak of him, how they describe what he is, leaves no doubt that he is one of the greatest villains in literary history. Sometimes, the imagination is more powerful than what we can see.