October 30, 2013
All Hallows Read
All Hallows Read started a few years ago, but I didn't find out about it until last year. Neil Gaiman wrote a blog post in 2010 about how there aren't enough holidays in which people give books as presents (hear, hear!) and he proposed that everyone spread the love of scary stories around Halloween. It caught on, and soon became known as All Hallows Read.
While I'm a wimp for really scary stories, I do enjoy a good spook and I wanted to share the love with all of you! Here are some of my favorite scary stories. Some are new favorites and others scared the heck out of me when I was younger. Ahem, Dracula.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Since I just called Dracula out, let me start with this one. For some unknown reason I decided to read this towards the end of elementary school…and so began several weeks of sleeping with the light on. I wonder if the ultimate vampire story would still scare me as an adult?
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
James' story of a governess who begins to see ghosts shortly after taking a position at an estate outside of London is a classic in "is it supernatural or a mental breakdown"type of horror stories. I read this years ago, but there are still vivid pieces of the book that stand out in my mind-all chilling.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
The story that has inspired countless retellings, TV shows and movies (anyone seen the new show? I caught one episode and it didn't seem that bad-worthy of a little good natured mocking but enjoyable nonetheless). Superstitious schoolmaster Ichabod Crane fights local tough for the hand of a wealthy heiress and encounters the spirit of a headless horseman. Is the ghost real, or just a trick? I'm in the middle of this and I'm surprised by how modern and easy the reading is for a book written nearly 200 years ago. It's short, entertaining and not too scary…just about perfect for me!
The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
This story is set just after WWI in England. A young woman who works for a temp agency is assigned to help an enigmatic ghost hunter with the ghost of a angry young woman who was terrified of men in life, and continues to be in death. The story is a much deeper mystery than whether the ghost is real or not, and St. James is a master story teller. I can't put this down, but it is NOT before bedtime reading for me. Terrifying in the best way. (St. James has another book out now and one due out in April. Both have similar romantic themes in the context of a spectacular paranormal event. I'm really looking forward to both!)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
You should really turn the computer off and go read just about anything by Neil Gaiman right now. His short stories, Coraline, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Stardust…but this is almost certainly my favorite. It's not horror, but there are creepy moments. It's a young adult book though, so those moments aren't keep you up at night creepy. Nobody Owens is the sole survivor of the tragic event that begins the book and when he toddles unawares into the local graveyard the ghosts there realize that they can protect him better than the mortals. So they raise him as one of their own. He has amazing adventures walking the line being living and dead and struggles to find his identity while staying safe from the forces that wish him harm.
What are your favorite spooky stories? Are you reading anything special this week for Halloween?
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