Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Writers Gotta Read, Right? Halloween

It’s October— the nights are getting longer and colder, and thoughts turn to ghosts, pumpkins (pies or Jack-o-Lanterns or headless horsemen), and the great beyond. If you are looking for a season-appropriate book to snuggle up with on Halloween, keep reading for places to start your exploration.

Online mystery lists are a great place to find Halloween-themed stories, from the cozy end of the spectrum to the dark and devious:

The Mystery Fanfare blog, run by mystery aficionado Janet Rudolph, offers a looooooong list of Halloween crime fiction (what is it about mystery writers and Halloween, I wonder?).

Head over to the not-entirely-cozy Cozy Mystery List to find Halloween-themed mysteries to fit your mood, from BEDEVILED EGGS by Laura Childs and VAMPIRES, BONES, AND TREACLE SCONES by Kaitlyn Dunnett, to THE WITCHFINDER by Loren D. Estleman and TRICKS (87th PRECINCT) by Ed McBain.

Nightstand Book Reviews offers up a list of 55 Halloween mysteries, some brand new and some classics.

Other Halloween-themed roundups abound as well:

Goodreads Listopia provides lists galore, including “Best Books to Read for Halloween,” “Historical Ghost Fiction,” “All Hallows Reads,” and “Best Halloween Picture Books.”

Speaking of Halloween books for the younger set, Working Mother weighs in with “20 Halloween Books for Kids That Are Scary and Fun.” I have to admit that STUMPKIN by Lucy Ruth Cummins (“a story about acceptance and a reminder to children that everyone belongs somewhere”) and GO TO SLEEP, LITTLE CREEP by David Quinn (“a holiday inspired story for children who always ask for five more minutes before bedtime”) caught my attention. If only my children were younger…

Decorations = done! Now, what to read???

If the above is not enough, you can turn to the article “120 Books to Read for Halloween” in BookBub. The recommendations run the gamut from ghost stories to thrillers to true crime.

I'll add my two cents here, and say that THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW by Washington Irving (who is credited with being the first “professional writer” in the United States) falls into my oldies-but-goodies category. While noodling around on the internet, I found an interesting analysis of the tale on enotes.com, suggesting that the character Ichabod Crane embodies “Manifest Destiny.” Hmmmm. You can read all about it here.

Faster, Ichabod, faster! (The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane by John Quidor (1801–1885) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible in part by the Catherine Walden Myer Endowment, the Julia D. Strong Endowment, and the Director's Discretionary Fund.)

Your turn. Do you have any favorite reads for this time of year? Let us know!


Ann Parker authors the award-winning Silver Rush historical mystery series published by Poisoned Pen Press. During the day, she wrangles words for a living as a science editor/writer and marketing communications specialist (which is basically a fancy term for "editor/writer"). Her midnight hours are devoted to scribbling fiction. Visit AnnParker.net for more information.

9 comments :

  1. Sleepy Hollow is one of our family favorites for Halloween and Mystery Writers of America will keep my TBR list toppling for years. October is also a great month for paranormal thrillers and horror. So many books, so few days.

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    1. Hi Diana! - I *do* love October as well... a good reading month! However, November and the holiday season have moved in. Less time for reading now. Glad to find another Sleepy Hollow fan! :-)

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  2. Sleepy Hollow as political track? No!! Generally Halloween is not a favorite holiday, and ghost or horror stories are not go-to genres.Somewhat to my surprise, however, I've enjoyed most of Casey Daniel's ghost series.

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    1. Hi Liz! I know... Sleepy Hollow and politics... odd isn't it?? :-) But interesting! You are not alone with not particularly liking Halloween. I have a few friends who are right there with you. I haven't read Casey Daniels' books, but they look to be on the light side and a lot of fun...

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  3. I've never been one for ghost stories or supernatural-themed novels, and yet my series is just that, including the fourth book that has, yes, a ghost or two. I did enjoy The Legend of Sleepy Hollow back in the day. Waaay back.

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    1. Hi Polly!
      I'll bet we all read Sleepy Hollow back in elementary school (or maybe middle school)? As for books and series, sometimes they just call to you, and away we go! :-)

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  4. My mom loved the horror genre in books and television. We were raised on Night Gallery, Night Stalker, Vincent Price movies. My girl child and I continue the family tradition. We get together one weekend in October for a "fright night" binge.

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    1. Hi Diana! "Fright night binge" sounds like fun! I had hoped to see Young Frankenstein sometime in October, but alas...

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  5. Ann, thank you for all the great suggestions. You also reminded me how very much I enjoyed The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Time to read it again.

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