Bitten: A History of Vampires

Long before the age of Stephanie Meyer, vampires were a horrific fixture of our culture. Movies, art, and literature have almost turned them into an obsession within the horror genre. For almost two hundred years, the lore behind these mystical beings has evolved, but many of the core facets–blood, sunlight, garlic, etc.–remain the same. And if you are truly serious about exploring these fascinating characters, you can get a great overall sense of what makes a vampire in the shelves of Wells Library.  

Where better to start our evil inquiry than Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula. To be sure, it is the definitive vampire novel, popularizing many of the qualities familiar today. It introduces a mysterious aristocrat taking up residence in London, only to prey on victims for their blood. The story also establishes Abraham Van Helsing, possibly the first example of someone who has made a career of vampire hunting. Drawing heavily on a short story (John Polidori’s 1819 “The Vampyre,” which can be read here, in print or online), Dracula can absolutely be credited with bringing the horror icon into popular culture.

Let’s turn to film: two classic, early entries to the vampire saga are F.W. Murnau’s silent 1922 film Nosferatu and the 1931 film Dracula (available at our Music Library here) featuring Bela Lugosi as the Count. Both films hold up incredibly well, and are in many ways just as terrifying as modern horror films. These films continue the tradition of a mysterious Transylvanian gentleman who is more than he appears. In these films, we also witness two means by which these monsters can actually be vanquished–sunlight and stakes to the heart.

Nosferatu Shadow
The iconic scene from the 1922 film. Notice the creepy angles and shadows!

When you’re ready to make a long-term commitment, you can dive into the 90s television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a story that tells just as much about being a teenager in the nineties as it does about vampires. We follow a young girl as she deals with the day-to-day mundanities of high school, followed by a nightlife of hunting and killing vampires. And don’t forget to start the spinoff, Angel, when it’s time (somewhere around season 4 of Buffy).

Buffy and Angel
Sigh. High school.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I did not mention several modern choices of vampire literature. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles is one such example, adding new themes to its characters and blurring the lines of their moralities. I also have to mention what is probably my favorite Steven King novel, Salem’s Lot, an incredible story about a town overrun by monsters after a pair of strange men set up an antique shop. Finally, there is a rule on the Internet:  If it exists, there can be romance (or something more explicit than that). At any rate, you are all familiar with the phenomenon of the Twilight franchise. Is it just me, or is the popularity of these books and movies finally slowing down?

If you consider yourself even a passing fan of horror, then you already have a grasp on one of the most famous villains of the genre. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t dig a bit deeper into the legend. It is truly a fascinating journey.

-joseph wooley

Classic Frights for Dark Autumn Nights

Every year in mid-autumn, as the weather takes a turn for the cold and the leaves begin to fall, people become obsessed with the emotion of fear. They flood theaters to see the newest iterations of a crazy killer going wild. But some of the most truly satisfying scares come from classic stories–those that have been around for decades. With Halloween being today, it is a great time to get lost in some of these excellent heroes of horror.

No one does it better than the original.

For an entry to the dark mystery genre, you cannot look past the original: Edgar Allan Poe. There is a reason the annual award for most engaging mystery is named after him. His stories are so pervasive, they are seemingly eternal; chances are good you are familiar with some of his work. They remain popular today, over 150 years after his death, because they are so exciting. In the Wells Library, you can find his best works contained in The Portable Edgar Allan Poe, and even a lot of his stories online with Volume One and Volume Two of his tales. You can start with his most famous stories like “The Tell-Tale Heart” or “The Pit and the Pendulum.” “The Black Cat” and “The Masque of the Red Death” are also highly recommended.

This guy.

About fifty years after Poe’s death in the early twentieth century, the horror genre was further refined by another east-coast American writer, H.P. Lovecraft. Combining the terrifying aspects of Poe with the fascinating science fiction components of H.G. Wells, Lovecraft has been influencing modern fantasy and fear for decades now. Most famous for his creation of the titular monster in “The Call of Cthulu” (you can come face-to-face with it in Necronomicon), Lovecraft’s stories are always good at being eerie. His novella, At the Mountains of Madness, is also very much worth a read.

'Here's Johnny!' in one of the most iconic scenes in film history.

For more recent frightening authors, Stephen King has emerged as the obvious choice for contemporary-classic status. King launched into popular culture in the mid-seventies when several of his novels became hits in Hollywood, most notably The Shining. While his novels are certainly good fun, some of his most chilling work lies in his short stories. Particularly his first collection, Night Shift, features some highlights. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend that you read these in the dark.

In a season where the theaters are dominated by terrifying films (and sequels…and sequels), some of the best scares can still be found in the pages of books and stories. There is something truly rewarding about being chilled by a classic piece of science fiction or mystery. Of course, these are just the three most famous writers; you could spend hours perusing lesser known authors and their forays into horror. Or if you are looking to save time, a quick search for “two-sentence horror stories” can satisfy your desires for the macabre. However you spend your Hallow’s Eve, whether it is going for a night bike ride through the woods or watching a movie about a homicidal scarecrow, all of us from the Wells Library wish you a fantastic and spooky holiday!

–Joseph Wooley

Fall Back into Nature

Fall is officially here and you couldn’t be in a much better place to see it in all its glory. As midterms, papers, and projects continually weigh you down, we suggest taking a day and experiencing fall in the Bloomington area! There are many beautiful places to visit, and all within an hour of Bloomington. Since there are an overwhelmingly large amount of choices, here are three great options to get you started:

Let’s start with McCormick Creek State Park. Located in Spencer, Indiana, it provides plenty of places to sit by the creek with a good book (which you can get from the Wells Library) for an hour or two and recharge your batteries.

McCormick Creek in Autumn
McCormick Creek in Autumn

Next is Morgan Monroe State Forest. Morgan Monroe is located just up the 37 a little ways around Martinsville. It offers scenery like this:

Fall in Morgan Monroe State Forest
Fall in Morgan Monroe State Forest

Finally is the world famous Brown County State Park. It is located east on the 46 in and around Nashville, Indiana. As you can see from the image below, it is world famous for a reason.

Fall in Brown County State Park
Fall in Brown County State Park

What does the Wells Library have to do with the beautiful fall foliage? First of all, we have some great resources to help you plan your trip. We have maps of Brown County State Park and a map of the Tecumseh Trail, which is 42 miles long and begins in Morgan Monroe State Forest. We also have a Fall color guide and for those not wanting to go outside of Bloomington, we have a Bloomington Parks and Recreation Trail Guide. You can find all of these materials and more in IUCAT, the Libraries’ online catalog!

So come to the Wells Library to prepare for your trip, grab that good book, and head on out to see some of the most beautiful Fall colors in the country.

-David Kloster

To Run or Not to Run

With the crisp autumn breeze running through campus, a favorite season is starting for many recreational runners. Fall is abundant with 5ks, 10ks, fun runs, and marathons galore. The Chicago and New York Marathons were just last week but the fun doesn’t stop there. If you haven’t tried it out, maybe you should see what that “runner’s high” is all about! Whether you’re thinking about starting or if you’re a seasoned runner, we have tons of resources for you in the library.

For a list of races coming up in Indiana check out this list from Runner’s World!

All of these books are available in either the Herman B Wells Library or the Public Health Library (formally HPER Library). Just click on the title to look at the IUCAT record.

For Beginners:

Fitness Running By: Richard Brown

The beginning runner’s handbook : The proven 13-week walk-run program By: Ian Macneill

For Any Level:

Runner’s world complete book of women’s running : the best advice to get started, stay motivated, lose weight, run injury-free, be safe, and train for any distance By: Dagny Scott Barrios.

Going Long : Legends, oddballs, comebacks & adventures : the best stories from Runner’s World By: David Willey

Runner’s World complete book of running By: Amby Burfoot

Daniels’ Running Formula By: Jack Daniels

For Runners Looking to Improve:

Run Less, Run Faster : Become a faster, stronger runner with the revolutionary first training program By: William James Pierce

Runner’s world performance nutrition for runners : how to fuel your body for stronger workouts, faster recovery, and your best race times ever By: Matt Fitzgerald

For Marathoners or Long Distance Runners:

The Complete Marathoner By: Joe Henderson

Marathon Training By: Joe Henderson

Running & Philosophy : a marathon for the mind By: Michael W. Austin

Advanced Marathoning By: Pete Pfitzinger

Better Training for Distance Runners By: David Martin

Check out Runner’s World Magazine in the Reference Reading Room too! or electronically here!


A Virtual Cornucopia of Thanksgiving Tradition

For most college students, Thanksgiving symbolizes a much-needed break in a long Fall Semester, trips home to visit friends and family, football, and perhaps most importantly, food. Most of us went through elementary school hearing romanticized stories about pilgrims, Native Americans, and the first feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. However, it is less likely that we have considered the actual origins and practices of the first Thanksgiving. Curious about the historical origins of the Thanksgiving holiday? Wonder why we eat turkey instead of chicken or pork on Thanksgiving? Interested in knowing where many of our favorite Thanksgiving foods come from? Then check out these resources to learn more about our Thanksgiving dinner traditions and how they have evolved over the years.

The Documents Behind Thanksgiving
Check out this blog post, courtesy of the Government Information and Kent Cooper Services Department at the Herman B Wells Library, which provides links to historic documents explaining how Thanksgiving became an official national holiday.

“Give Thanks, all ye People”
The song “Give Thanks, all ye People” celebrates President Lincoln’s declaration of Thanksgiving as an annual national holiday in 1863. Courtesy of INHarmony: Sheet Music from Indiana and the Indiana University Digital Library Program.

Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday
For an in-depth history of Thanksgiving from the days of the Puritans to the 21st century, read this e-book, available free online for students from IU Bloomington, Columbus, IUPUI, East, and Southeast.

Thanksgiving Maps and Posters
Librarians from the Geology Library have created a list of maps using a Geographic Information System (GIS) program to illustrate which U.S. states produce the largest quantities of some of our favorite Thanksgiving foods.

Drake Cookbook Collection
For recipe ideas to help create your own Thanksgiving feast, check out the Drake Cookbook Collection, available in the HPER Library.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America
Use this database to find information about Thanksgiving or about the origin, history, and use of individual food items.

Thanksgiving feast

With all of these resources, the next time you sit down with your family to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast, you’ll wow them by telling them where sweet potatoes come from and astound them with your knowledge of why pumpkin pie is the traditional Thanksgiving dessert! Even if you choose to keep this knowledge to yourself, at least you can give thanks for the library’s virtual cornucopia of information! Have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the break!


The Fall Semester is Here!

The summer has finally come to an end and the new school year has started. For some, this is their first year at Indiana University. Soon enough, the first papers of the semester will be assigned, so now is the best time to explore the IU Bloomington Campus and learn about all of the different activities available to students. Because students are traditionally strapped for cash, here is a list of different activities that are either free or very low-priced.

Always a favorite on campus is the IU Cinema. Many of their showings can be seen for the low price of $1.50! There are also other movies that cost a little more, but those are typically newer releases. A full calendar of the movies playing can be seen at the Indiana University Cinema Website.

Tree of Life

If you prefer live performances, you should check out the IU Auditorium. This year, the auditorium has an amazing line-up that starts with Jon Stewart. Shrek the Musical and Bernadette Peters are also among the great performances scheduled for this year. To see more of the scheduled events, visit the IU Auditorium Event List.
Also coming up very soon is the annual Lotus Festival. The Lotus Festival is a music and arts festival that has been held for the past 17 years in Bloomington. The 18th festival will be held this year from September 22-25. For more information on events, visit The Lotus Festival Website.
Lotus Festival

These are only a few of the different events that happen in Bloomington, but they are certainly among the best. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you enjoy the 2011-12 school year!



For me, and I suspect many others in Bloomington, August is the month for moving. First-year students will be moving onto campus while many others will be moving into new apartments or returning from a summer away. Whether or not you are moving or just starting to get settled in for the fall semester, you may be surprised to know that the library has a number of resources that may be useful to you in setting up your place.

From decorating your new room, apartment or house to setting up an indoor or porch garden, the library has a little bit of everything. A selection of titles available from the Herman B Wells Library include:

Interior Design Handbook of Professional Practice
By Cindy Coleman
Available electronically through IUCAT

Design in the USA
By Jeffrey L. Meikle
Available electronically through IUCAT

An Introduction to Feng Shui
By Ole Bruun
Available in the Wells Library Folklore Collection
BF1779.F4 B79 2008

American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening
By Christopher Brickell
Available in the Wells Reference Department
SB450.95 .A45 2003

Better homes and gardens
The most current issue can be found in the Kent Cooper Room on the second floor of Wells library
TX1 .B5

Moving into a new place can be exciting, but it can also be stressful, especially for those of us who share our spaces with roommates. Never fear, the library comes to the rescue with a number of books on conflict resolution that can help you deal with various difficult situations that you and your roommates might encounter:

Getting to Resolution: Turning Conflict Into Collaboration
By Stewart Levine
Available electronically through IUCAT

The Conflict Resolution Toolbox: Models & Maps for Analyzing, Diagnosing, and Resolving Conflict
By Gary T. Furlong
Available electronically through IUCAT

And finally, don’t forget that the library is a great place to bring your parents after they’ve finished helping you move in. Whether or not you imagine spending most of your free time in the library, your parents will certainly appreciate the image.


A feast is worth a thousand words

Pumpkin pie and whipped cream dreams from

Thanksgiving…it’s just a few weeks away and I can already  smell the pumpkin pie. Whether you’re looking forward to a traditional turkey dinner, or this is the first time you’re experiencing our American tradition of eating too much and being thankful for it, we have some appetizing books to get you ready for the big day! Forget all those deadlines looming just around the corner and take a few minutes to remember all you have to be thankful for…family, friends, the Internet and food!

These titles can all be found in the IC Undergraduate Collection on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Wells Library West Tower. If they’re not on the shelf, try finding them in the special features display across from the IC Reference Desk…this month, it’s all about the food! Last, but not least, find all these books and more on our great list of cookbooks and foodie reading on Worldcat.

An Edible History of Humanity (GT 2850 .S73 2009): The bestselling author of “A History of the World in 6 Glasses” brilliantly charts how foods have transformed human culture through the ages. (WorldCat review)

Food Matters (RA 784 .B55 2009): From the award-winning guru of culinary simplicity and author of the bestselling “How to Cook Everything” and “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” comes a plan for responsible eating that’s as good for the planet as it is for the waistline. (WorldCat review)

In Defense of Food (RA 784 .P643 2008): “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” These simple words go to the heart of food journalist Pollan’s thesis. Humans used to know how to eat well, he argues, but the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused and distorted by food industry… (WorldCat review)

Righteous Porkchop (TC 930.2 .N56): Part memoir, part expose, “Righteous Porkchop” offers a searing account of the factory farm industry–and the effects the techniques have on health and well-being–by an engaging crusader who finds love and purpose along the way. (WorldCat review)

Food: the History of Taste (TX 353 .F668 2007): Traces the history of food from the hunters and gatherers to the modern consumer age and a new landscape for gastronomy.

From Hardtack to Home fries (TX 360 .U6 H33 2002): As any cook knows, every meal, and every diet, has a story — whether it relates to presidents and first ladies or to the poorest of urban immigrants. From Hardtack to Home Fries brings together the best and most inspiring of those stories, from the 1840s to the present, focusing on a remarkable assembly of little-known or forgotten Americans who determined what our country ate during some of its most trying periods… (WorldCat review)

Cooking Green (TX653 .H49 2009): The foods we eat and the ways we buy, store and prepare them are significant contributors to global warming. This information-packed volume, from cookbook author and founder Heyhoe, provides detailed guidance for those looking to make their cooking and eating habits earth-friendlier. (Publishers Weekly)

American History Cookbook (TX 715 .Z36): This book uses historical commentary and recipes to trace the history of American cooking from the first European contact with Native Americans to the 1970s.  (Abstract)

The New Taste of Chocolate (TX 767 .C5 P74 2001): Presilla, a marketing consultant for a Latin American chocolate producer, explains the history, science and production of what many consider the world’s most delectable snack.  (Publishers Weekly)


Give back to Bloomington

Walking around Bloomington in the Autumn brings out a sense of amazement and thankfulness.  Something about the vibrant leaves, brisk mornings, and the addition of apple cider on local menus induces feelings of gratitude. Bloomington is a beautiful city!  Why not take a few hours to give back and channel these warm-fuzzies into action?    By volunteering, you become an important resource to the community; plus, you can develop skills that are directly relevant to your major or future career.  A resume booster and community booster in one! 

Some Bloomington and nation-wide volunteer networks keep up-to-date postings: 

City of Bloomington Volunteer Network

Herald Times Online: Volunteer Opporurtunities in the Bloomington Area

Indiana University Bloomington Community Connection


Volunteer Match

If you are looking for more volunteer ideas, check out the Career Reference Collection.  Located in the IC, many volunteer books offer suggestions for cool volunteer vacations or professional-building volunteer opportunities.  Browse the HN call number in the Career Reference Collection for ideas.



Why are there so many ladybugs in the library?

Asian Lady Beetle(from

If you’re been in Wells Library lately you probably noticed hundreds of small ladybug-looking insects on the light fixtures. Every year between mid-October until late autumn, Asian lady beetles also known as the  Halloween lady beetles or the Japanese lady beetles reappear and congregate around windows, doors, etc. They are harmless but they may emit an unpleasant odor if you smash them.

In the fall each year, the beetles look for cool, dry places to hibernate during the winter.

According to an article in Purdue Extension ( Asian Lady beetles are attracted to among other things:

  • longitudinal color contrasts on buildings
  • southwest-facing sides or windows
  • buildings close to trees

All of which makes Wells Library very attractive place for the beetles to congregate!

For more information on Asian Lady Beetles see: