In reverse order:
It goes to show the bounty and generosity of Rowling’s imagination (not to mention skill) that she can make room in her epic fantastical world for the Hogwarts annual Hallowe’en Feast, such as she does in this book (and a couple of the others). If you’ve not read the Harry Potter series yet, seriously, you should, no need to get snooty or superior about it. Embrace it! Like I did, when I went to the mad morning of the last book’s release (2007 – holy wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey flashback). Still don’t think you’ll like it? Read it to your kids. They will.
That’s an odd choice for Halloween, you’re probably saying. Why not put in more Stephen King, or add a Richard Matheson? James Herbert? And they are perfectly reasonable, even worthy, alternatives. But let me put this to you: In the novel, vain and narcissistic Gray does not age, although a portrait does, gradually becoming more and more disfigured and ugly as its subject becomes more and more depraved. Imagine instead that it was set in contemporary times, and the portrait instead was an Instagram selfie, going to ruin before the world’s eyes. Incidentally, that could be a gift Halloween costume idea – buy a photo frame just large enough to go over your head, take out the glass middle, stick it over, wear it a little like a necklace. Done. Or, you could be really creative and do some magic with canvas and glue and end up looking a little like Cassandra from Doctor Who.
It has been a number of years since I read Frankenstein, and going from my memory ‘fear’ or uneasiness aren’t what I remember. My biggest recollection is a profound sympathy and pity for the doctor’s creation, despite his committing violent acts (I’m trying to avoid spoilers). Still, as far as costume potential goes, the ghoulish elements of assembling body parts and reanimating them are pretty high.
Any number of King’s novels could be in this list. While I’ve read a few (The Stand, The Shining, Misery), any fan will tell you that there are many, many others I should get my hands on. And I agree – I’ve always wanted to read IT or Pet Sematary. But I chose Carrie because it is tight, suspenseful and – of course – has oodles of blood.
I read this while I was pregnant with Keira. Not my smartest move, and certainly not a book I’d recommend while gestating a foetus. It is excellent though, which is why I got so freaked out. At least I remember it as being good. That pregnancy was such a ‘brain fugue’ I’m lucky I remembered where I lived and what my name was.
1. The Exorcist
I still have the copy of The Exorcist that I read as a teenager. That’s how much I love it, I can’t get rid of it (same goes for my copy of Frankenstein, actually). Elegantly structured and paced, with strong characterisation, and that’s before all the really bad stuff starts to happen. I suppose the main reason why it made such an impact was because I read it around the time I was beginning to question the faith in which I’d been brought up, and so the similar struggles of Father Karras really resonated.
What are your scary reads?
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