Welcome to the Virginia Book Club!

Welcome to OCN's Virginia Book Club! Join us each month as we read a book that is either set in Virginia or written by one of our very own Virginia authors! We'll reveal the book on the first Thursday of the month on OCN and then review the book on the last Thursday of the month. Join the discussion in the comments! It’s online, it’s free, and it’s fun!

June's Selection:

The Murders in the Rue Morgue | Edgar Allan Poe

For our June selection, we chose The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, one of the many great short stories by the great Gothic Virginian writer himself. 

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Let's get down to some detective work, everyone! This book will have you enveloped in the dark and mysterious world of Poe's mind, no matter where you read it. Poe opens The Murders in the Rue Morgue with an unnamed first-person point of view, where the narrator meets C. Augustine Dupin, the crime detective hell-bent on solving crime through logical reasoning.

The true sign of a good book is one where the writing reaches out and drags the audience in – when the black and white view of the page disappears and all that is left is the story coming to life in the reader's imagination. We hope that even if you're lying on the beach, The Murders in the Rue Morgue will convince you that the beach is no more and the Rue Morgue is.

Courtesy of poemuseum.org

A little bit about the author:

Edgar Allan Poe is a well-known Gothic American author. He was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, but after the death of his parents three years later, he was adopted by a wealthy tobacco merchant in Richmond, Virginia. Although reared in the way of a gentleman, Poe ignored his training and aspired to be like his role model Lord Byron, the British poet.

in 1826, Poe went to our very own University of Virginia and did fantastic at his classes and took up the hobby of gambling for money for school. He eventually returned to Richmond and found that his fiancee had fallen in love with another man. 

Not only was Poe a citizen of Richmond and a scholar of UVA, but he actually performed in Norfolk! Yes, you read that right! Also, Poe's mother was an actress that traveled the East Coast and also performed in a theater in Norfolk where she met her first husband Charles Hopkins, Edgar's father.

Why I chose this book:

Well, it's Poe. Poe is one of the greatest writers of his time and an amazing part of the literary canon. Reading Poe is a must, truly. The Murders in the Rue Morgue was part of a small series centered around the detective C. Auguste Dupin, an eccentric Frenchman who solves crimes. These short stories inspired many other criminal detective stories in literature, such as Sherlock Holmes.

Where can this book be found?

Pretty much anywhere, actually. This made me very happy. I found a copy on Amazon for less than $15. The copy I am currently using is from The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe from Barnes and Noble. You can also find a copy of it at poemuseum.org along with Edgar's biography and other mind-boggling things about the author. Or you can visit your local library for a copy of The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

Things to consider while reading:

1. Have you read Edgar Allan Poe before?

2. Did you know he was a local author? Are there any interesting facts about Poe that you know?

3. What is your favorite Poe work? Is it a poem or a short story?

Come back on June 27 for my thoughts on The Murders in Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe.

Need more to read? Check out our May Selection: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.