Aurora Public Library Blog

Welcome to Aurora Public Library’s blog. A place where our library staff share their thoughts, insider knowledge and overall love of all things book and community.

Feel free to comment on posts, re-blog and enjoy. To ensure a civil and focused discussion, comments will be held for a brief period before being published.

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October 2020 - Posts
Game on!
Game reviews by Elizabeth, Kristin and Stacy.

Hello everyone! To celebrate fall and the season of all things spooky, we hope you’ll enjoy these reviews of our favorite horror video games!

Today's theme
Games that intend to frighten, scare or disgust – if we’re lucky, maybe all three!

Game 1
We Were Here
Available on PC
We Were Here
“Now, I don’t mean to rush you. Take your time. I might be dying, but it’s fine.”

We Were Here is an escape room that taps into that truest of horrors: trusting other people. Do you want to survive a room filling with water, get out of a locked tomb, or avoid freezing to death in the bitter cold? You’d better communicate with your friends! One of you is locked in a series of dangerous rooms; the other is locked in a room with clues. However, the clues are cryptic – even more than the typical escape room, and I say that as a fan. As you progress through the puzzles, new rooms unlock for each of you, until (hopefully) you’re standing in the entrance hall, looking out at the snow and freedom once more.

Most of this game isn’t horror. Spooks lurk at the edges of this escape room. You walk past old tombs and rattling chains, hear faint shrieks from the walls. Most of the time, you’re far too focused on surviving the next puzzle to worry TOO much about the terrible Things out there that might get you. But I promise, there is an intensely spooky scene. During one puzzle, a horrifying monster with glowing eyes inches closer and closer to the player while tinkling bells play in the background. Will you survive? That depends entirely on your partner, who is probably stammering over how to direct you as the lights flicker on and off.  During my first time through the escape room, the terrifying creature definitely did catch up with the puzzle-solver: a shriek over the mic let everyone know exactly what had happened.

We Were Here is free to play on PC. If you like it, it’s the first of a series. - Elizabeth

Game 2 
The Open House
A browser-based game available

The Open House

This quick browser-based horror game went low-key viral in March of 2020 when a handful of streamers played it live. The game starts by masquerading as a generic real estate listing that offers a 3D tour, but don't be fooled--the home has a gory history bleeding through the seams. The Open House depends on atmosphere, ambient noise, and some jump scares to entertain, but it's still a fun ride. All said, the game takes about 20 minutes to complete, and that's factoring me getting lost at the end trying to figure out how to progress (hint: hit tab).

While not the scariest game on the planet, this game is above all free and browser-based, so if you're looking for a quick scare to get you in the Halloween spirit, give this a try. It's especially great to play in the dark with friends for some good laughs.  – Kristin

Game 3
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Available on Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4 & Xbox One

Resident Evil 7

New to Resident Evil? Haven't played games 1 through 6? Worried you won’t know what's going on? No worries! Resident Evil 7 is almost entirely unrelated and unlike the previous games in this series. For new players, this is great news! This self-contained story makes it fairly easy to just pick up and learn the story as you go. There aren’t any repeat or important main characters you’re supposed to know that randomly show up to move the story along. Honestly, the only benefit I could see to having played the previous games beforehand is that it might make you a little bit more prepared for what the overarching storyline is.

If you are a returning player to the Resident Evil series and want a game more similar to the first few games – this might not be for you. However, if you are looking for something scary, intense, and appetite losing, than look no further! This is the first and only Resident Evil game to play through a first person perspective rather than an over the shoulder 3rd person perspective, making it feel more similar to games such as Outlast. Rather than focusing on solely horror, this game focuses a lot of its attention on world exploration. This is also one of the few games that doesn’t reference the previous games and characters, making it truly an outlier in the Resident Evil series.

I highly highly highly recommend this game to fans of first person horror video games. This game is both interesting in story and plot, the game mechanics are so smooth, the exploration never feels tedious – and for those of you with VR, you can even experience the horrors of Biohazard as if you were actually there! Well, for those who are brave enough to go through THAT ordeal. - Stacy

Tell us what you think!
Played one of these games we listed? Know of another horror game we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Posted by  at 9:48 AM
Read It!
APL Reader's Corner
with Tessy & Elizabeth

Welcome to Reader's Corner! This month we're exploring fantasy/science fiction with the book "Gideon the Ninth" by Tamsyn Muir.Available with your library card from our OverDrive & Hoopla collections here.

GIDEON THE NINTH: The Emperor needs necromancers. The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines and no more time for undead nonsense.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won't set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon's sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead.

Discussion Questions
- What did you love about this book?
- Who is your favorite minor character?
- Which of Gideon the Ninth's nine houses would you be assigned to?

Posted by  On Oct 23, 2020 at 8:18 AM
He never wanted to hurt anybody. He never wanted any of this to happen. But now what does he do? How does he stop this? Is it even him – or are there other forces at play? Just how far is the reach of The Long Arm?

Leave the comfort of your book covers this Halloween as we share haunted tales right here on your computer screen. Every Thursday at 8 p.m., tune into Facebook for new spine-tingling tales!

Do you have a spooky story of your own? We're taking scary, terrifying or spine-tingling submissions! Staff will choose their top five favorite stories to read on Facebook the day before Halloween, and allow Facebook to vote via reaction! The winner will receive a prize from Aurora Public Library. Submissions must be 1,000 words or less, rated PG-13 and under, and must be emailed to by Sunday, Oct. 25.
Posted by  On Oct 22, 2020 at 5:35 PM
Draw It!

Grab a pencil and paper - it's time to Draw It! 📝 Our staff member Kristin shows how to draw whales!

Show us your whale in the comments and tell us what you'd like to draw next!
Posted by  On Oct 22, 2020 at 1:43 PM

National Novel Writing Month: APL Edition!
by Elizabeth

“Sorry, I need extra pie and an hour of silence! For, uh. Writing inspiration.”

As October comes to a thrilling close, we’re getting closer and closer to one of the library’s most celebrated holidays: a time when our patrons come in looking haunted, horror stories are whispered and recorded and candy is consumed at alarming rates. No, not Halloween, though I love October’s spooky spiders and skeletons! No, I’m talking about AFTER Halloween: National Novel Writing Month.

What is This Holiday?
National Novel Writing month

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is one of my favorite times of year. It was founded in 1999 by a group of friends who realized their lives seemed…kind of empty. When they were kids, they’d been wildly creative, but as adults, they went to work, came home and collapsed into sleep. Winter blues and the holidays were just around the corner. What could they do before then that would actually mean something?

Well…write a novel, of course!

The goal? Write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s as long as “The Great Gatsby”, which my English teacher always claimed was the Best Novel Ever Written. Sounds promising, right? (And kind of exhausting!)

Other novels around 50,000 words long include:
⦁    “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
⦁    “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
⦁    “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
⦁    “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury
⦁    “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks
⦁    “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk
And more!

Novels 50,000 words long

Okay, But…a GOOD Novel? (Short Answer: No.)
Most of the time, what you write for NaNoWriMo won’t be fantastic. Writing just under 7 pages a day is a ridiculously fast pace, even for the most experienced writers out there! If you’ve got the Great American Novel bottled up somewhere inside, this might not be the time to write your stunningly perfect masterpiece. Making a perfect story isn’t really the point! This is more about getting creative and adding one more life goal to your bucket list: climb Mount Everest, finally finish watching the Great British Baking Show, learn to juggle, write a novel…

Some books have been published after National Novel Writing Month, though; it isn’t entirely impossible!

From cute romances to wild fantasies and everything in-between, here are some NaNoWriMo novels:
⦁    “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer: cyborg Cinderella falls for the attractive Prince Kai and must save him when the Moon’s residents plan an assassination
⦁    “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen: an orphan joins the circus, befriends an elephant and falls for one of its star performers
⦁    “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell: a first-year college student balances new life experiences with writing her favorite familiar fanfiction
⦁    “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern: two young rival magicians at a mysterious one-night-only carnival fall in love
⦁    “Not Your Sidekick” by CB Lee: a high school student desperate to improve her college applications gets an internship working for a supervillain
⦁    “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” by Carrie Ryan: a girl in a mysterious fenced community discovers…zombies!

Published NaNoNovels

Check out more published NaNoWriMo novels here.

Some of these books are deliciously weird. Some are familiar and comforting. Some NaNoWriMo books get published; others (like mine) sit on a computer’s hard drive in a folder marked “Never Look at This Again.” Still, I’d say even those novels that never go anywhere are worth it. (Mine all were.)

Why Even “Failed” Stories are Worth It
My first National Novel Writing Month adventure was in high school, my junior year. Suddenly, my friends and I needed to get ready for the Real World. That meant applying for colleges, taking the PSAT, and staying up half the night with homework. It also meant no more time for hanging out. Every conversation with family members revolved around My Plans and Being Productive: had I aced this test, taken that class, filled out enough applications, figured out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life?

I missed my friends, so I started a campaign those last two weeks of October: who wanted to write a novel with me? It didn’t have to be good. It didn’t even have to be the full 50,000 words long. Who wanted to meet on Saturdays and write silly stories while we ate too much popcorn and candy? We could say we were writing novels for college and spend some time together.

They agreed.

Honestly? Almost none of us finished! The stories were terrible: teenagers storming Neverland, intergalactic emperors fighting space blobs, vampires quoting Hamlet word-for-word and swooning all over the place. We made terrible bets, joked about our stories, quit because there was too much homework, finished and danced around Walmart in victory.

I’ve tried NaNoWriMo 9 times since, and I’ve only “won” twice. Most of the time, I don’t come anywhere close to 50,000 words, but I still have a great time.

Save Your Thanksgiving (and Your Sanity)
So why should you try NaNoWriMo?
⦁    Want to finally finish something big?
⦁    Longing for something to brag about over those family holiday Zoom calls?
⦁    Wish you were as creative as when you were a kid?
⦁    Already watched everything good on Netflix?
⦁    Need to stay off of Twitter and stop obsessively checking the news?

Join the Aurora Public Library for National Novel Writing Month! We’ll have writing prompts, encouraging words, write-a-longs and virtual help all November for your virtual noveling needs. Whether you want to write about vampires, zombies or cyborg Cinderella, there’s a place for you here. We can’t wait to see you!
Posted by  On Oct 22, 2020 at 11:05 AM
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