Wednesday, 29 October 2014

All Hallow's Read. My Autumnal Reading Materials.

Inspired by the tradition (which I have only just discovered) of 'All Hallow's Read', the Neil Gaiman promoted idea of giving someone the gift of a scary book for Halloween, I am going to share my Halloween reads, and the bookish gifts I will be giving.

I already give books as gifts to all my nearest and dearest every Christmas, whether they like it or not (often with something else more showy!), and very much like the idea of sharing my obsession and giving my family a gift that I know is good for them (even if they don't know it yet), on Halloween too. I actually don't have that many people to buy gifts for at Christmas (discounting secret Santa nonsense) and plan on only harassing my parents with a Halloween book for 'All Hallow's Read'. The more opportunities to spread the book love, and offer some solace for the soul (in the form of bookish medicine) the better.

Firstly, my own selfish bookish needs.
As it is half term where I am, and I am gloriously free for 9 days, I have decided to take part in a self imposed reading challenge for Halloween week. I am not usually such a nerd for this particular holiday, but I think I have Christmas hysteria already, and am placing my excitement wherever there is space. I am actually relatively excited about the combined forces of extra books/spookiness/chocolate/freedom and a good old challenge.

I accidentally got into the seasonal spirit early last week, by reading the first three Poirot books in one day, like some sort of lunatic. Generally I like to slowly work my way through Poirot and Marple books, by Agatha Christie, in between other books, as I find that they act as a equaliser/amuse bouche, to avoid the worlds of other books seeping into each other. I also enjoy murder mysteries immensely, and Christie is the queen. I assume my Poirot weakness was my brain anticipating the freedom of half term and the onslaught of bookish enjoyment. I made an apple and cinnamon pie, and a pumpkin pie, on the same day too come to think of it, imagine what I will do when I finish work for Christmas.

Anyway......this week I would like to read a book each day, in no particular order, ramping up to Halloween night when me and my partner have a spooky movie night planned. I will need Saturday to recover (hopefully). 

My Halloween week reads:
Mort by Terry Pratchett
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Coraline By Neil Gaiman
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Halloween Party by Agatha Christie
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I think my list is a nice mix of short, snappy reads, and spooky tomes - perfect. I am not exactly setting myself a competition, as I don't care how many of my little list I read, but having the list, and the pile of books, does make me excited, both for the joy of reading a scary book in my comfy chair, and for Halloween itself. Christmas and Halloween are possibly the only times I wish I had children so I could divert a bit of my seasonal energy into them!

As I am a bit late posting this, I have already read 'Mort' and 'Coraline' (both re-reads), and am starting on 'The Turn of the Screw' tucked up in bed tonight. It is odd how autumnal and Halloween themed food is so warm and comforting, when the theme of the day is so cold and dark. Somehow, the more comfortable and happy I am, the more joy is sucked from the spooky-ness of the books and movies overall. I suppose that's the point though isn't it? No-one would actually want to be in the scary situations, but inexplicably revel in reading about the plight of other (fictional) people. A mug of cocoa and a piece of pie with my blood and gore you say?

My plans for 'All Hallow's Read':
I have chosen a book for my mum and dad for this new tradition, so hopefully their Halloween weekends will be full of dread and despair.

Mum - 'Dead Until Dark' by Charlene Harris.
Mum doesn't read that often and, when she does, the books has to be simple, straight to the point, and entertaining. She does not get that much joy from the writing itself, but rather prefers a good story with little effort on her part. Previous books she has enjoyed have been: Twilight by Stephanie Meyers, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and various World War Two romance novels - she is basically a 15 year old girl trapped inside a 54 year old woman's body. She likes magic, mystery, romance, short chapters, and nothing over 250 pages - Sookie Stackhouse it is!

Dad - 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn.
Dad reads pretty consistently in his old (ish) age, though finds anything other that crime and thriller novels a bit trying and silly. Books he has previously enjoyed: The Rats by James Herbert, anything by Lynda La Plante. I am hoping a modern thriller, with lots of hype and a decent twist, will inspire him to read my offering this weekend.

So, as I listen to Miranda Richardson narrating Matilda by Roald Dahl, and drink my eighth cup of tea of the day, I wish everyone a horrible Halloween and a safe Bonfire Night. I CAN'T WAIT until Christmas already.


  1. Neil Gaiman is great and I love the idea of All Hallow's Read. :)

    You have an awesome Halloween reading list! The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters is especially good. It's so well paced and the character development is excellent. Fantastic story and very scary!

    I also think Daphne du Maurier's short story collections are really spooky. Don't Look Now is my favorite.


    1. Daphne du Maurier is a good shout! Rebecca is pretty disturbing. I will give her short stories a look.

      There were so many more I would have liked to add once I really thought about about it too. I think Dickens has a scary short story collection as well which I overlooked.

      I am reading The Turn of the Screw at the minute - if only it was thundering and lightning out!

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