Monday, October 26, 2009

Good time to revisit scary stories

I will admit, Halloween is not my favorite holiday. However, it is a good time to revisit all those scary stories I read many years ago. Below are some of my favorite scary, and, perhaps thought-provoking stories.

Edgar Allen Poe wrote some of the scariest short stories I’ve ever read. My personal favorite is The Cask of Amontillado, in which a man is buried alive behind a brick wall. This one is not for the claustrophobic! Another good Poe story is The Pit and the Pendulum, a story about a man imprisoned and tortured during the Spanish Inquisition.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, best known for his haunting novels such as The Scarlet Letter, also wrote many short stories. Two of his most disturbing stories are The Minister’s Black Veil and Earth’s Holocaust.

Another scary short story is Stephen King’s Battleground, found in the Night Shift anthology. It tells the story of Renshaw, a professional hit man who is attacked and killed by an army of toy soldiers.

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s books Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone are frightening in a different way. From the points of view of two very different teenagers, one in Pennsylvania and one in New York City, the books tell of an asteroid hitting the moon and the devastation this causes on earth.

Finally, my all-time favorite ghost story is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It may not be very scary, but it always makes me think and reflect on what is important in life. I hope you enjoy these selections, and Happy Halloween!

Vicky @ Warrenton

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting into the Halloween spirit

Halloween has always been my daughter’s favorite holiday. She seems to love the spooky, magical, be-something-that-you’re-not atmosphere. Many of us, however, might need a little help to get into the spirit of the season. Below are some reading suggestions for getting into the Halloween spirit.

If traditional mysteries are your cup of tea, try Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie or Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman. For something out of the ordinary consider Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore or The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.

Deborah Grabien’s Haunted Ballad series combines an interesting ensemble of characters with English traditional music and haunted historic buildings in London and the English countryside. The first title in this series is The Weaver and the Factory Maid.

For a new telling of the Dracula story, try The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (also available on CD, in large print, and in Spanish). Leslie Klinger’s New Annotated Dracula provides lots of interesting information about Bram Stoker and the continuing fascination with his literary creation.

Finally, this is the best time of the year to re-read the American classic The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving in multiple formats. From the headless horseman to Hercule Poirot, reading can add to the enjoyment of the season. Happy Halloween!