Only one week left until All Hallows Read, a event that we here at the blog have been celebrating all month long, frankly because it’s worth celebrating for such a span of time. It’s also one more week until we’re able to open that trick-or-treat candy that’s been taunting us (also worth celebrating in my humble opinion)… but I digress. The South Branch has a “Spooky Stories” display up all this month to tantalize those of you with a ken for the macabre, creepy, supernatural, or just plain unsettling.
The display offers a wide selection of Halloween reads to suit plenty of tastes, from the gory and terrifying of blog favorite Stephen King, to the unsettlingly supernatural by Dean Koontz. We’ve got the brilliantly horrific Dan Simmons whose Drood I’ve already mentioned as a favorite of mine and makes for a great Halloween read. For a lighter side, Janet Evanovich’s Wicked (Lizzy & Diesel) series offers laughs with a witchy bent and Christopher Fowler’s Peculiar Crimes Unit books offer a lively take on impossible crimes.
Here are a few of the most recent additions to our collection’s spooky side:
Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories ed. by Audrey Niffenegger
This book is a delightful, eclectic collection of ghost stories old and new. Some reach back to the beginning of the genre, others turn the typical ghost story on its head and still others will make you quake with laughter rather than fright. Niffenegger’s own black-and-white illustrations are spot-on and add an extra level of creepiness to the stories. It’s easy to see why these stories are favorites of the editor’s and several may just become your new favorite ghost stories, too.
The Monstrous ed. by Ellen Datlow
Another collection of stories, this time pulling together 20 stories that examine what it is that makes something a monster. In this anthology, 10-time World Fantasy Award winner Datlow pulls together a collection of stories, all about non-human (though some are incredibly close) monsters, all of which are struggling to adapt to the modern world and encourage us to look a little deeper at what’s beneath our own skin. This anthology is also illustrated , but with sparse, almost icon-like drawings that give the pages a more atmospheric tone.
Organized into sections with headings such as: Negotiating Oblivion, Resisting Extinction and Best Before/After, Kilpatrick has collected stories that take a look at the expiration dates that surround us from the short and insignificant to the long and terrifying. Everything ends eventually, no matter how remote or dear, and that is the horrific truth behind these stories.
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Yes, this is technically classified as one of our children’s books and it’s certainly an easy enough read for kids who are enjoying chapter books, but like so many kids’ books that have depth and layers, this book has plenty of adult appeal as well. This new edition was just republished this year with amazing illustrations by Gris Grimly that give whimsy and depth to an already wonderful story. As seven boys go through time, space and the origins of Halloween celebrations to find their missing, sick friend, they learn how true friendship can involve sacrifice. Their guide is the delightfully named Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud and the journey, naturally enough, starts at a creepy, dilapidated old house. This book is reminiscent of A Christmas Carol and, much like the Dickens classic, deserves a read every time its eponymous holiday rolls around.
Till next week, dear readers, remember that it’s not too early to start preparing for All Hallows Read. After all, it would be difficult to decide what spooky story to share if you weren’t familiar with at least a few scary stories with potential…