Books for Halloween – My Favourite Spooky Reads

As autumn bleeds into winter, my thoughts tend to turn to dark and scary things. By five at night, we’re already starting to lose the light and by six it’s pitch black outside with the street lamps throwing pockets of orange light into the shadows. Inside where it’s warm and light, I like to sit by the window and read about ghosts, vampires and the monsters under the bed (although given all the other stuff under ours, it would be a very small monster, pocket sized in fact). I don’t really have Halloween movies, although I do tend to like watching Sleepy Hollow and the Nightmare Before Christmas around now, instead I have Halloween books that I pull out and scare myself with.

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So in no particular order here they are:

Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

Fair enough, this isn’t particularly scary but feeds into my love of vampires and witches. Plus humour helps dilute the fear a touch.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub

I first read this as a young girl, maybe early teens but I suspect a bit earlier and was terrified by it. One particular part left a lasting impression on my mind and it’s now one of my favourite books for snuggling up under a duvet and reading, assuming of course I’m not alone in the house.

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

I read this for the first time during High School French. My teacher at the time apparently had better things to do than teach us and so I and the girl I shared a desk with spent our fourth year reading our way through Stephen King. Reading under the bright classroom lights was one thing, but walking the mile and a half home in the dusk another altogether. Instead of taking my usual short cut through the park and along the river bank, I almost ran the long way under street lights just in case.

IT by Stephen King

I still make sure my hair is safely tucked out of the way before I lean over any plug hole thanks to this book. The idea of anything being able to see our darkest fears and use them against is terrifying enough but somehow King manages to make it extra frightening right from the first few pages.

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman

Whilst I like the all novels in this particular series, the first one stands out perhaps because it was the first one I read, anyway you can’t go wrong with a spin on the Dracula story.

The October Country by Rad Bradbury

Nothing beats creepy short stories for those quick bursts of heart pumping fear between chores.

From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury

In all Bradbury’s stories about the Elliott family, I can’t shake that feeling of familiarity. No, my nearest and dearest aren’t mummies, ghosts or vampires but they are eccentric, strange and oddly fond of once living animals now stuffed and inanimate. Somehow the family dynamic is similar although my Grandmama doesn’t just come out at Halloween.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

This is the book I always imagined reading to my children on Halloween, when their sated with sweets and the candle burns low in the Jack O’Lantern.

The Mistletoe Bride by Kate Mosse

The first story in this collection reminds me so much of the ghost stories of my childhood, whispered undercover of darkness by my Grandmother and my Great Grandmother.

 

There are others, books which somehow catch the edge of what frightens me, the darkness inside not out, that send a tingle of fear tripping down my spine but these are my favourites. That said, I’m always on the look out for more books that make me curl up by the light so any suggestions of spooky things to read would be appreciated.

Distracted

My leisure time is decidedly lacking at the moment and what few moments I do have are somewhat divided.

Reading

books

My current reading list looks something like this. I’d definitely recommend Heavenly Bodies to anyone else fascinated by the skull beneath the skin, the illustrations alone are worth the price and from what I’ve read so far, it’s the left me with the nagging desire to go wandering across Europe visiting Catacombs.

Gaming

I am still playing WoW albeit with that numbness which comes with the doldrums before an expansion. It’s hard to focus on any one activity when you know that a massive change is en route, so I do a spot of pet battling or play an alt but there is no driving force behind my gaming at the moment. I want to tick more items off my to do list and of course level my little Warlock by wandering around exploring and questing but that’s an hour here and there.

Thanks to Ironyca, perhaps too much of my time is currently being taken by an evil little browser game.

I’m also still playing Candy Crush although my rules are still the same. No cash will be spent on the app and if I run out of lives, then I just have to wait. So far I’m at level 123 and it’s a great way of killing time whilst commuting.

Hearthstone

I got my Hearthsteed but I’m still dabbling.

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Although I have to admit I haven’t gone back to playing actual people since I won the mount, instead I’m having fun taking on the computer. That said though, I didn’t actually mind the “pvp” games either, it’s when people feel the need to emote that I get nervous. I love the art work, the cards themselves and their descriptions are amazing.

Dragon Age

Yep, I’m back playing my 10th Mage through her Harrowing and hopefully beyond. There is something addictive about that Mage Tower! This time the plan is seduce Leliana and make Anora marry Alistair but then that’s been the plan before. Usually one of two things happens, I either get distracted writing fan fiction and before I know it, my Mage has fallen head over heels for Alistair which never ends well or even worse, I get into a rut around Ostager and just make a new Mage. I could actually do the Harrowing in my sleep and I’ve been yelled at by the Knight Commander so many times, I’ve explored all the possible dialogue options without having to go back to previous saves. I’m not a hundred percent sure what this says about me, but I suspect it’s not particularly positive.

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I’d also forgotten just how pretty Dragon Age is, even Ostager looks beautiful.

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Possible Temptation – Games I’m fighting the urge to purchase or play

Wildstar

I haven’t pre-ordered but I’m definitely tempted to try the game. After all it has “tree-huggers”, which sounds close enough to Elves to work for me. I’ve read quite a few reviews and whilst I’m not sure it would hold my attention for long, it’s definitely struck a cord or two.

Windborne

I found this whilst browsing Steam and there is just something about it which draws me in. I’ve always loved sandbox games where you can just wander around building and exploring.

Crafting

At the moment I’m sewing together a cat cushion but have so many ideas of things I wish to try dotted around the house. Matty introduced me to this and I can’t resist to the temptation to turn it into a little lavender pillow or similar.

nurikabe

I also found a book on salt dough when I visited the library last which brought back a lot of childhood memories so I’d like to give that ago sometime soon. Then of course, there is my Warcraft tarot cards to be finished, with the Worgen Harvest witch as the Hermit and of course Tyrande as the High Priestess.

I also need to assemble and find a place to put my Edward Gorey “Dracula” theatre. I picked this up years ago and it’s been sitting in a box just waiting for a home every since.

Finally I’m in the process of  re-organising my button shelf as I think it’s getting a bit out of control.

Essentially as with everything, there are far more things to do than there are hours in the day. That said, I’m always on the look out for new and shiny distractions, so feel free to make suggestions.

Miscellaneous Monday

Today is my first day at my new job so I’m slightly terrified and rather distracted, thus this is a miscellanea of the various things I’ve been working on in the last few weeks.

Warcraft

In WoW, I’m steadily crossing things off my to do list. I’m finally exalted with the Netherwing, Puppy dog people, the Darkmoon Faire and the Timbermaw. The gold is pouring in nicely, certainly enough for purchasing all shinies come MoP and in fact, if the expansion hit tomorrow I could live with my current progress. I’ve even got a rough plan of what I’m going to do once Pandaria opens up.

I also got Navispammed!

New additions to my reading list

Competitions

You have until friday to enter Neri’s August  transmogrification contest. The theme this month is Faction Pride so go go go!

Other games

Botanticula

I got sucked into this by Eva from Image Heavy who did a blog post highlighting just how beautiful this game is. Then I played their free demo on the website and fell head over heels. There is even Jack O’Lanterns….

I still have no idea what I’m meant to be doing but there is something therapeutic about running around clicking on leaves.

I also got a new phone and have managed to get pulled into the dangerous world of game apps. Who would have thought that breeding dragons or running a virtual bakery could be such fun.

After watching the Olympic show jumping, I really want to get back into riding but need to wait until our move is complete before finding a suitable stables, therefore I’m also playing MyHorse (my user name is Erinys if anyone else is playing).

Random Stuff on the Internet

As my new job involves a 20 minute daily bus journey and I can’t read on the bus, I’ve also been looking around for audio books. One of my new favourite things is now Libri Vox which proves free audio books of things which are in the public domain. It’s a bit hit and miss as to whether you like the voice of the person reading each book, but so far I’ve listened to Washington Irving’s the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and I’m currently putting Charles Dicken’s Little Dorrit on my phone which at a whopping 70 hours should last a while.

I’ve also been playing with my old friend, Wordle again. There is something addictive about it and I love the fact that both flowers and carrots made it in.

Outside games

I’ve been taking a bit of an advantage of the weather to sunbathe and generally relax.

Miscellaneous Monday

To borrow from the estimable Godmother, right now I’m mostly faffing.

In WoW

I’m mainly pvping and achievement chasing, with a side order of trade chat discussion. My Hunter has progressed a bit as well, spurred on by the idea of shared realm spaces and lots of other Hunters chasing “her” rare spawn pets and spirit beasts so the idea of me finishing 2012 in 2012 is still possible.

I’m also working on both my entries into JD’s Mogolympics and Neri’s “The Skills to Pay the Bills” July transmogrification competitions. If you haven’t already signed up/started thinking about your entries, what are you waiting for?

Gaming in General

I started a new game of Dragon Age: Origins, running my fifth mage through her Harrowing and yes, I am a total Harrowing expert by now but since “true tests never end”.. you never know.

This time the plan is to seduce Leliana but that’s been the plan before and Alistair with his goofy smile and Templar armour usually gets in the way.

I’m also probably the only person with a copy of Diablo III who still hasn’t finished it on any setting at all. My Monk is still working her way through Act 1 and whilst I found myself enjoying it for a period, I don’t have any great desire to pick it up and finish it.

I’d love fluttering moth shoulders as transmogrification option.

Books

This week I’m reading Kate Atkinson “Started Early, Took My Dog“, any book which uses Emily Dickinson to provide it’s title has to be worth reading right?

As well as “Das Leben der HochGräfin Gritta von Rattenzuhausbeiuns” mostly because I couldn’t resist the title. In English it translates to “The Life of High Countess Gritta von Ratsinourhouse” and so far I’m loving it.

Finally I’m reading “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” because my Mother told me not to, also I rather like sea monsters. So far Jane Austen has not risen from the grave to haunt me for this sin but never fear, the second it happens, I’ll blog about it assuming I don’t just die of fright.

Random Stuff off the Internet

I fell in love with this kitten creator a week or so ago and have spent many a happy hour “faffing” with it since. This is Mr Harpy’s Gnome Rogue reimagined as a kitten.

I also spend far too much time browsing The Graphics Fairy and the OBI Scrapbook Blog looking at old bookplates, labels and photographs.

My other favourite place has to be Project Gutenberg where you can lose yourself in things like this and this. I think it works a bit like my brain, I search for something completely random and then end up somewhere else, miles away. As  a plus point, some of the illustrations, especially in the children’s books are amazing. There are so many things out there that I never knew I wanted to read.

Back to the faffing!

 

Reading Material

I thought I’d take a leaf out of Navi’s book and share some of the new faces on my ever expanding blog list with you. I’m not going to go into any details about the blogs because that takes away the fun of discovery, however I think each and every one of them is awesome and definitely worth reading.

I’m also always on the look out for stuff I should be reading so if you feel I’m missing out on something amazing, feel free to mention it in the comments.

Also Neri of Neri Approves is holding a “Trashy Transmog” contest, the rules of which can be found here. You’ve got until the 31st of May (30th if you’re not in Australia) to show off your creations and as much flesh as you feel up to.

Finally, as Tome and Kamalia have already mentioned, Amijade of Warlockery is hosting a Warlock Transmogrification competition, the details of which can be found here. Failure to enter is likely to end with searing pain, hellfire and a spot of soul shattering so best not risk it!  You have until June the 16th to put together a suitably Warlocky outfit and submit it for inspection.

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