Friday, October 30, 2015

Spine-Chilling Books for Halloween

Just a few selections from my library.
People love to be scared. Whether it's going on a roller coaster ride, jumping out of an airplane, or telling ghost stories around a campfire, most people love the occasional skin-tingling feeling of fear.

Horror flicks are among the most successful movie genres out there, which explains the proliferation of sequels of the most successful ones: ten movies in the Halloween franchise, a dozen Friday the 13th flicks (you know at least one more is coming, right?), nine Nightmare on Elm Street films in the series, five Paranormal Activity sequels (so far), four Poltergeist films, etc., etc. There are no shortage of films about vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts or monsters, either.

There is nothing like the building tension of an Alfred Hitchcock film, the suspense of watching the protagonist being followed, or the impending doom of knowing something that the next victim doesn't.  Whether it's a horror flick, a suspense, a good mystery or the thrill of the chase, what they all have in common is the intense emotional experience of fear.

But what's even better than the movie, of course, is ... the book!  There is just no comparison to the level of detail, the character development and the emotional content of the inner film your imagination creates when you read a book.

Edgar Allen Poe was my first taste of terror, of course.  I found him in the school library, along with Frankenstein and Dracula, witches and warlocks, ghost stories and paranormal encounters of every kind.  I devoured every title they had during those highly impressionable years.

I was a huge Stephen King fan as a young adult.  I read one novel after another, as quickly as I could get my hands on them.  I even read a couple of his wife's, Tabitha King's, books, as well.

I finished reading The Amityville Horror in the middle of the night (very bad planning on my part) when I was young, and was so spooked, I knocked on my brother's bedroom door and asked him if I could just sit with him for awhile.  I just couldn't be alone.  I had been truly terrified and needed to calm down before I could go back to my own room and go to sleep.  (Yeah, he thought I was pretty weird.)

So, this Halloween, I hope that besides the usual list of scary movies on tv, that you'll treat yourself to a spooky book or two, as well.  There's nothing quite like curling up with a blood-curdling book on a dark and cozy, candle-lit All Hallow's Eve.  It will set the mood so perfectly, it may become your favorite way to observe the holiday.

In fact, you may want to have a couple of books close by for your reading pleasure, because you may not be able to get much sleep that night!  Did something just go thump in the night?

Spooky reading!

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