Monday, October 5, 2009

Halloween Reading

Is anyone reading any special books for Halloween this October? I realized what month it was and decided I want to read one or two books that are fitting, but it's hard to pick those types of books when you're too much of an easily creeped-out wuss to be much of a horror fan (as a kid, just hearing the spooky Unsolved Mysteries music on TV kept me awake at night - and I saw the movie Aliens on TV when I was about six years old and was spooked out of my mind anytime I was alone for at least a year).

Last year I read a book that was not horror but was very fitting for Halloween - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. After looking through the bookshelves, I'm not sure what else I have that fits but came up with a few possibilities:

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due (which I was considering reading this month anyway)

The Good, the Bad and the Undead by Kim Harrison (Although it is shelved in horror, the first book was not horror, but it does have vampires, demons and witches so it may be somewhat fitting.)

The Duma Key by Stephen King (Confession time: I have never read a book by Stephen King, even though he's a local author - and someone just about everyone has read. So one of my friends who is a big fan loved this one and sent it to me for my birthday. It's the only book that I own that is definitely horror, but it also doesn't sound like "Halloween" season horror. Plus it's a little longer than I wanted to read right now with the amount of spare time I have.)

So, to anyone who has read those books... Are any of them good reads for Halloween? Or are there other books I should read instead?


James said...

I haven't read any of those books to comment on them. However, I will be doing some special reading this month. Thomas Ligotti's Teatro Grottesco is in the mail and I can't wait. If that isn't enough, I have Lovecraft, Poe, and M.R. James to fall back on.

Thea said...

I've read all the books on this list! That's a first! :)

If you haven't read ANY Stephen King before, I'd recommend you start somewhere else. DUMA KEY is good, but it's not the best intro to his work. I'd recommend going with the classics: THE STAND, IT, or goodies like 'SALEM'S LOT, THE TALISMAN, DESPERATION, or my personal favorite THE DARK TOWER (although I'd tell you that you'd have to read the first two books to form a full opinion). Or for short stories, I'd say read FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT.

I really like Stephen King, despite all his writing flaws. If you couldn't tell. :p

Karen W. said...

I've read all the books on your list too, and I enjoyed them all. I think I would recommend SUNSHINE as your Halloween read. :)

Kristen said...

James - Poe is a good idea. I haven't read Poe in a long time.

Thea - Are Sunshine or My Soul to Keep at all horror? I've seen some reviews that say they are, but a lot of others I've read just call them fantasy.

Honestly, I probably wouldn't read a Stephen King book if I didn't already have one that I'd received as a gift (with the possible exception of The Dark Tower). That's partially because I've heard he is so wordy that he can be rather boring and partially because I am afraid he'll scare the crap out of me and I'll never sleep well ever again.

Kristen said...

Karen W. - Thanks for the recommendation! I love Robin McKinley but have yet to read any of her books that aren't YA.

Joe said...

Duma Key isn't that good.

Haven't read the others, though I somehow own Sunshine and I want to read the Due.

Buuuut. If you want a Halloween book...go find a copy of Dark Harvest from Norman Partridge. It's absolutely perfect for Halloween (and I can't recommend it enough)

Kristen said...

Joe - The friend who gave it to me thought Duma Key was one of King's better books. Now that you and Thea both disagree, I'm even more nervous about reading it than I was. Guess I'll save it for some other time.

I just looked up Dark Harvest and that does sound spooky and interesting. It looks like my local bookstore doesn't have it, though, so it's on the wish list for next year (since I'm already waiting on an order from Amazon, although I can at least blame this one on my husband for a change).

Thea said...

Kristen, both Ana and I read and reviewed Sunshine about a year ago, with mixed feelings (Ana really loved it, I thought it started out strong but floundered in the later chapters). I really do love Robin McKinley's writing though, so it's worth reading!

As for DUMA KEY, I think it starts out slow but gains purchase later in the book. Though I have to agree with Joe that it's not one of my favorites. AND I have to echo the recommendation for DARK HARVEST.

Also, I'd recommend looking into some Dan Simmons too for horror reads. SONG OF KALI, CARRION COMFORT and SUMMER OF NIGHT are all solid. Also, there's THE TERROR which I still haven't read (though it's been on my TBR for over a year now), but is supposed to be fabulous.

Hmm...what else...I read a fantastic horror novel this year by Karron Warren called SLIGHTS, which is deliciously creepy in a subtle way. Another really different favorite is Mark Danielewski's HOUSE OF LEAVES, which you might like if you're feeling adventurous.

Ahh, Halloween. It's the best time of year :)

Angiegirl said...

Kristin, it's so funny you should list SUNSHINE as I re-read it every October! It's the perfect fall read and great for Halloween. I wouldn't classify it as horror, though. Urban fantasy for sure, a vampire novel, a take on B&B, but not really horror. It is one of my all-time favorite McKinleys and the second of her adult novels I read (after DEERSKIN). Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. :)

Kitten said...

I love Sunshine and while it's not super horror-y, I think there are moments in it that make it very autumnal for me. Either way, it's a fantastic book and one of my top ten of all time.

Anastasia said...

Tananarive Due is very good, and My Soul to Keep is considered horror. I'm bummed out that I read the sequel first (The Living Blood); it was excellent and fine as a standalone, but it spoils all the suspense of the first book. Still, if you get to the end and tell me that My Soul to Keep is worth reading, then I will.

You also get points for more diversity in your reading. Tananarive Due is one of the few black writers in sf/f field, and gets overlooked too often.

Michelle said...

Oh you should really read Sunshine. It is so descriptive and I swear I craved cinnamon rolls and gingerbread for weeks after reading this one. You'll love it - it's nice and creepy for the halloween season.

Kristen said...

Thea - Thanks for the further recommendations! That wish list is getting longer again. Dark Harvest may have to be an October read for next year if I actually remember to plan ahead then.

I've read the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons and rather liked it. Carrion Comfort in particular sounds interesting (if the blurb mentions mind reading ability, I'm usually sold on it pretty quickly).

I remember reading your review of House of Leaves and being very intrigued. It sounded unique but also like a lot of work to read.

Angiegirl - It sounds like October is the month to read Sunshine. How long have you been reading it every year for? Thanks for clarifying on it being horror - I didn't think it was really supposed to be but I've seen it tagged as horror often enough that I wasn't sure.

How did you like Deerskin? I've wanted to read that one for a while too since everything I've read by McKinley has been good so far.

Kitten - Thanks for the recommendation. It sounds like reading Sunshine this month is a good idea. What are some of your other top ten?

Anastasia - Ever since you first mentioned Tananarive Due, I've wanted to read one of her books. I'd never heard of her before. Since then, I've heard her mentioned a couple of times as a very good writer. Right now I'm leaning toward reading that one and Sunshine soon.

Michelle - Another vote for Sunshine! Sounds as though I'd better get started on this one. And thanks for the warning about wanting to eat baked goods - I'll have to make sure I have some on hand. Fall has made me want to bake something and gingerbread sounds awfully good...

Harry Markov said...

It's pretty much horror month over at TLR, so all my books are tuned in with the creepiness. :) Great picks though. I haven't read any of those however.

Anonymous said...

I've read Song of Kali by Dan Simmons - very good horror erotic stories.

House of Leaves, from people's descriptions and reviews, is genuinely scary. I don't think I'll ever read that.

On a sidenote, I read the free book I received from the Catherine Asaro interview - The Night Bird. It was very enjoyable, much better than I expected. I'll probably read the rest of that fantasy series now.

Anastasia said...

^ that was Anastasia btw

writtenwyrdd said...

Sunshine is probably a good pick. You might also like Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series or her new On The Edge book that just came out.

Since King is a local author, you must live near Bangor! I am a ways northeast of there, but that's local enough. (And I confess, I've read four of his books, none in at least twelve years. And I've never seen a movie based on his work that I liked.)

Kristen said...

Harry - You had the right idea - I think I might have to plan ahead and do a Halloween month next year (not necessarily horror because of the aforementioned wussiness but at least something fitting with the spirit of the season). I look forward to reading all your reviews, though.

Anastasia - House of Leaves may too much for me as well, but I am a little curious since it sounds very different.

Glad to hear you liked the Asaro book. I'd like to check out the rest of her fantasy series too after reading the first one but will probably wait until I'm done with the Skolian books since I like those ones better.

Writtenwyrd - Actually, I have the first Kate Daniels book on the TBR pile. I was wondering if that one would be fitting or not. It's short so it may be a good pick for if I start running out of October (which I'm sure I will).

Yes, I do live near Bangor and go there just about every day - I'm in Orono.

Harry Markov said...

@ Kristen: It's not all horror that I have, but the majority is on the darker spectrum of things. :)

Kristen said...

Harry - Oh good, I can't wait to see what you think of some of the dark books. I just love dark books.