Friday, October 31, 2014

Drew and Melanie's Frightful Fall Reads

Halloween is upon us. While the trick-or-treaters beat a path to your front door for their sugar fix, what better time to curl up on the couch wrapped in that fuzzy blanket and bury your nose in seasonally frightful reads. 

Our review contributors Drew (of Raging Biblioholism) and Melanie (of Grab the Lapels) share their favorite reads for this time of year:

Drew's faves:

* Of Bees & Mist, Erick Setiawan - a lovely examination of romance and relationships, set in a vividly colored world where magic and the unexplained are commonplace.  Ghosts, fortune-tellers, witches, and more populate this charming (if a little over-long) novel and it's perfect for weekends under the trees with a mug of cider.

* 'Salem's Lot, Stephen King - tied with The Shining for the scariest thing I've ever read, but maybe a little more seasonally appropriate.  

* Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury - is there a better tale not just of the magic of adolescence or the relationship between a father and son, but of the October Country overall?  I say nay.  

* Horrorstor, Grady Hendrix - inspired by everyone's favorite Swedish furniture store and designed to look like a mail-order catalog, Horrorstor is a silly-scary delight.

Melanie's faves:

Fall—the best time of year. Smell the pumpkin everything? I don’t; a skunk lives behind my apartment, but what can you do. Fall means October, and that means Halloween! Here is a list of some of my favorite terrifying, yet unconventional, reads.

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
A total classic, Jackson makes you question what you know, and what you think you know. When Eleanor and Hill House do a little psyche dance, you know things just ain’t right. Literary horror at its best, Jackson makes scared in ways that you feel shouldn’t…because it’s not happening….guys?

2. Altmann’s Tongue by Brian Evenson
A sweet man and multi-talented author and translator, Brian Evenson is just the bee’s knees. But his first collection, the one that got him removed from the college where he was teaching, is just terrifying. He’s the new literary horror (I was assigned to read him in grad school). But if you think watching “torture porn” movies is bad, imagine being in the head of the torturer! Kitty’s just sleeping, right?

3. The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones
Of course SGJ is on this list. What kind of Halloween/small press fan would I be if I didn’t include him? The Last Final Girl is written like a movie script, one that changes points of view from the killer to the police to the victims, much like Halloween of 1979. Essentially reading a movie leaves room for the imagination, but helps spur it along, too. Check out SGJ’s newest collection, After the People Lights Have Gone Off, published just in time!

4. Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls by Lucy Corin
Every wonder why we’re so quick to call someone who cuts us off in traffic a “psycho.” So was Lucy Corin, and thus, Everyday Psychokillers was born. Corin follows along with a young girl who is constantly in danger from the crazies around her—not the normal kind, the cut-you-up-and-rape-you-when-you’re-dead kind. The Mansons. The Dahmers. The ancient psychokillers we don’t care to examine, but whom Corin shoves in our faces. How easy is it to slip from crazy to psycho?

5. Cruddy by Lynda Barry
Is Cruddy a horror novel? Not really. But if you can resist the fear that rises in your throat and clenches your breathing tube when “the father” threatens Roberta/Clyde, then you are a better reader than me. These characters are so broken, violent, and real that I’m fairly convinced I’ll meet one of them someday—and he/she will cut my finger off.

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