Friday, October 9, 2009

Five Great Things Friday

Today I'm recommending five great Halloween reads. I feel I'm especially well suited to do this as I am a weenie when it comes to the scary stuff and, therefore, won't be recommending anything too errie or dark.

1) Dracula by Bram StokerI just finished this book and I am obsessed with it! It was so very different than I thought it would be and even hotter than I expected. Recommendation: read "sex" into pretty much everything that transpires between the humans and the vamps and you won't even believe this thing got published at the turn of the century! Well done, Victorians, well done. NOTE: If I'd had my choice and a little extra cash to burn, I would've read Jae Lee's illustrated version of the book, (its cover is seen here in the picture); it's magnificently done.

2) Frankenstein by Mary ShelleyPrepare yourself, this is a slow read but the rewards are great. You have to wade through a lot of mental meandering (not all of which is absolutely necessary) but you'll notice as you're wandering around the rich, well-written prose that all the sudden stuff starts happening. This is a wonderful science fiction piece, in its essence that was so far ahead of its time it's not even funny. If you want to really do your homework, check out the circumstances under which this story of a modern Prometheus was written.

3) In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteWhat's spookier than a true story? This is the story of a cold blooded murder of the Clutter family in Kansas. Super, who wants to read that? Consider the author. Truman Capote had just had raving success with his short novel Breakfast at Tiffany's and wasn't being taken seriously by his cohorts in the NYC literary society so he and his bestie Harper Lee (of To Kill a Mockingbird) headed to the midwest so Capote could write his harrowing piece about the grisly murder that forever changed the town of Holcomb. The book is spooky on many levels, the stories of the murderers before they committed the crime, the crime itself, the town's reaction, and Capote himself as he observes the whole event cooly, envoking emotion at will and arguably exploiting the murderers (they're just a couple of killers, right? What else are they good for besides wringing the story out of them, it's not like they're people...).

4) Wicked by Gregory MaguireI actually really enjoyed this book, for all its hype. It's a lot more twisted than its on-stage counterpart and it's an adult read with regards to language and vocabulary (keep the dictionary by your side!). This book makes you feel like The Wizard of Oz conspired to only give you part of a much richer, more politically charged story.

5) The Turn of the Screw by Henry JamesThis little read is freaky! It's short, so it packs a punch; one of the original psychological thrillers, this book is scary (or is it all in your head?). It was brilliantly interpreted for film and renamed The Innocents starring Deborah Kerr, HIGHLY recommended even if you don't make time to read the book.

Other good Halloween Reads:
For a shorty, read The Lifted Veil by George Eliot
The play, The Crucible is absolutely fantastic by Arthur Miller
If you want to play it really tame, check out Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and get wrapped up in this gothic romance.
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter is a great collection of retold fairy tale stories that are quite twisted, don't read if you're not a little weird yourself.
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is always good
Finally, read at least one Frank Peretti novel in your life; this Christian thriller author manages his craft if not brilliantly then at least with skill as a writer balancing spirituality with the horror genre. When you contemplate the spiritual world, the two are not so distantly related as we might like to think.

1 comment:

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