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by Meaghan Igel | LIT LIFE

GRPL and Schuler Books to Be Haunted by Night Strangers

spikes. After five years of living in that home, you finally muster the courage to wrench out the spikes and open the door, only to find that the room behind it is completely empty. When this situation happened to bestselling author Chris


Bohjalian, he knew that the mystery in the foundation of his house held not only dust and empty promises, but the begin- nings of a gripping psychological thriller. “We all love a good ghost story. When I was young, I loved

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist; those are my favorite novels of my childhood,” said

READING AND BOOK SIGNING WITH AUTHOR CHRIS BOHJALIAN GRPL Main Branch (co- sponsored by Schuler Books & Music) Oct. 8, 2 p.m.

FREE!, (616) 988- 5400

O YOU PURCHASE A BEAUTIFUL 1898 Victorian carriage house in northern Vermont. Naturally, you’ll want to explore the three sto- ries’ worth of rooms, staircases and passageways. However, when you get to the basement, you find a door that’s sealed shut with six-inch-long carriage

Bohjalian, who also cited Edgar Allan Poe as an influence in The Night Strangers. Bohjalian notes that his three-story Victorian, on which

the house in The Night Strangers is based, is the “archetype of the Great American Haunted House.” “If you were to deconstruct the house in The Night

Strangers, there would be multiple hints and suggestions of my own house. I hope that the house in which [characters] Chip and Emily lived is itself a character and deeply disturbing,” Bohjalian said. On a seemingly unrelated note is the story’s other influ-

ence, the Miracle on the Hudson, in which seasoned pilot Chelsey B. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger successfully landed US Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River following a disastrous impact with a flock of geese. What made the event remarkable is that all of the passengers survived the crash. Bohjalian’s character, Chip, was not so lucky; when he had to ditch his flight in Lake Champlain after a double bird strike, 39 passengers either died on impact or drowned. “Maybe it was the connection of the passenger jet door

with the door of my basement, but I knew precisely what I wanted to explore next, which was a pilot who wasn’t Sully Sullenberger,” Bohjalian said. After extensive research in a mock fuselage-filled dunk tank

which included drills run by members of the National Guard, the fruits of Bohjalian’s labor resulted in a pilot who must navigate a post-Sully world in which he is not Sully. He must also tackle his twin girls who become increasingly swayed by a

band of herbalist women, and a wife and mother who watches her family’s slow loss of its grip on reality. All of this exists with the threat of that mysterious door in their basement, sealed shut by 39 bolts, which happens to be the number of passengers Chip lost on his ill-fated flight. With these two intertwining plots, Bohjalian manages to take an empty, disappointing room and a real-life miracle and weave a chilling, suspenseful, good old-fashioned ghost story of an anti-miracle and a door that fulfills all of its suspenseful, spine-prickling promises. n

Other Literary Events | by Meaghan Igel Clarence Darrow’s Highly Political

Legal Career Oct. 10, 7 p.m. GRPL Main Branch, Grand Rapids, (616) 988-5400

Andrew E. Kersten, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, will present his new book about well-known criminal defense lawyer Clarence Seward Darrow. Darrow, noted as one of the most brilliant defense lawyers of his time, took on cases that would make even seasoned lawyers blanch, such as the Ossain Sweet case


(1925), Leopold and Loeb (1924), the “Scopes Monkey Trial” (1925) and other landmark cases. Darrow is truly one of the unsung heroes of civil rights and liberties, justice and the American Dream.

Book Signing with Dave Ramsey Oct. 14, 6-8 p.m. Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids (28th, (616) 942-2561

from the Trenches. Drawing from his impressive body of work as a financial self-help guru, Ramsey explains how to grow your business, create effective team leadership and eliminate debt. It’s definitely a must-read for anyone who wants to make and keep their finances healthy, and Ramsey is a must-see for anyone who aspires to being an EntreLeader.

Street location)

Dave Ramsey, champion of personal finances everywhere, will come to Schuler Books & Music to sign his newest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom

Cooking Demonstration and Book

Signing with Susan Clemente Oct. 20, 7 p.m. Kitchen Design Studio, Grand Rapids

Sponsored by Literary Life Bookstore, (616) 458-8418

Book signing events just got a whole lot sweeter. Author Susan Clemente, who has written Michigan’s Guide to Local Cooking, will not only be signing copies of her book at Literary Life Bookstore, but will give cooking demon- strations of recipes featured in the book, complete with Michigan food and wine selections. Clemente makes it easy to buy local and support Michigan businesses in the most delicious way possible.



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