Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Favorite books for Halloween reading

I am a seriously avid reader, and I thought it might be fun to pull together a list of some of my favorite Halloween books. I am not a huge fan of horror as a genre (I got the whole Stephen King thing out of my system as a teenager) but there are lots of books that I enjoy reading this time of year that aren't necessarily "horror" novels. Or if they are, then they're classsic horror. Here is a short list of some of my seasonal favorites:

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

I love Neil Gaiman. He seems so very hip to me (being British helps, I love British writers) and I love the way his imagination works. I think Fragile Things is my favorite of his books. It is composed of short stories and poems, most of which could be considered appropriate with Halloween approaching. My favorite story is "October in the Chair" which is dedicated to Ray Bradbury. My first experience with the book was with the audio version (read by Gaiman!) played in my car during my work commute two years ago. It took me a week to finish listening to it, and it was early October. It was really enjoyable to have Halloween stories read to me again--something that I hadn't experienced since I was a kid in grade school! It really set the mood for the season, too. Best of all, I had checked the audio book out from the public library, so it didn't cost me anything! My favorite story was (and is) "October in the Chair" which is dedicated to Ray Bradbury. Other favorites were "Fifteen Painted Cards From a Vampire Tarot", "The Fairy Reel", and "The Monarch of the Glen". Dreamy, surreal, and sometimes grim, it's definitely a favorite of mine for Halloween.

I also like classic authors who wrote horror and suspense: Wilkie Collins, Daphne Du Maurier ("Rebecca" is my favorite story by her..it's creepy any time of year! Did anyone else want the narrator to just kill that awful Mrs. Danvers already?!) Washington Irving, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and Edgar Allen Poe. I am just beginning to read HP Lovecraft...and so far I am not a fan. Though to be fair, I've only read a few tiny snippets of his work here and there one day on my lunch break at work. So I will have to give it a serious chance before I pass judgment. Lots of people that I consider to have good taste really like Lovecraft. We shall see.

One more book I thought of that seems appropriate for Halloween (you may have seen the movie) is Midnight In the Garden Of Good and Evil by John Berendt. It involves a murder in Savannah (it is based on a true story) and there are several scenes that involve an old black woman practicing voodoo in a graveyard and casting spells. Her character was based on a living person, that was married to a voodoo "doctor" from Beaufort, South Carolina. I grew up reading stories about them, so the book feels somewhat local to me. It is listed as a true crime novel, but it gets a bit spooky with the murder, the murder trial, and the voodoo lady. A fun read, too.

Those are all of the books I have come up with for now. I think Halloween reading/book suggestions will be a regular part of my Blog Party posts...maybe once a week? It seems like a fun topic to explore for the month of October!

What do you like to read this time of year?

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