Although Edgar Allan Poe is a writer we tend to haul out only on Halloween, we’re glad that the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is featuring his work for this spring’s One Book/One Community program, in which residents are urged to read and discuss the same book. The idea, modeled on similar programs in other cities, is to encourage reading and civic engagement.

Poe is most famous as the author of macabre tales such as “The Pit and Pendulum” and equally dark poems, such as “The Raven.” He’s also credited with inventing the modern-day detective story with his sleuthing yarn, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” A tragic figure and heavy drinker, Poe died in Baltimore in 1849 at age 40, his life cut short before he could see the international fame that his work would attract.

Of course, in addition to being significant, Poe’s poems and stories can also be a lot of fun, and they can be appreciated at many levels by young adult readers and grown-ups alike.

Poe anthologies are available at library branches across Baton Rouge, and readers can learn more online at The library has stocked up on copies of “Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe,” an anthology that offers a nice survey of his work.

We urge readers to get involved in this latest One Book/One Community program. Be prepared for thrills and chills.