Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween reads!

Happy Halloween!

I thought about doing the scary book covers post for the Tuesday Top Ten but I couldn't think of any. Not in an obnoxious "Oh I don't even SEE book covers. I really go for what's in the story" because that's lame, and people who say they're color blind to race are lying liars.* It's more like "I am pretty oblivious so unless the cover really wows me I have already forgotten it". BUT I still wanted a Halloween post and I figured this would be a good opportunity to link to a bunch of old posts I wrote about horror stories. It's like the blogger equivalent of a clip show**. Cos that's how much I care. To make up for that, please enjoy the Nightmare Before Xmas gifs.

Not-so-scary/mostly-funny options
First up, there's a bunch of Christopher Moore.
Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore When I went to one of his book signings he said he was told you could mix horror with any genre except whimsy. And his response was "well fuck that" and wrote this

Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story by Christopher MooreYou Suck: A Love Story by Christopher MooreBite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore These three are his vampire love story. Think of how bad Twilight was. This is the exact opposite of that.

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore What happens if a beta male becomes death (not big d Death, but sort of a worker for the guy)? I like Moore's books. A lot. And this is one of his best ones. PLUS it takes place in the same universe as the vampire stories. There's even a scene that shows up in both books, but from different points of view. So yeah, you should probably just read them all and be covered.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion It's all about zombies BUT it's not a scary story. I mean it's a zombie love story and I KNOW, I can hear the eye-rolls but it's well done.

 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith This isn't exactly a funny story. It's written straight. BUT I mean, it's still Lincoln, the president, slaying vampires. So yeah, I'm gonna keep it in this category.

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks Another borderline book is this survival guide. Again, it's written straight and there is some actual general survival tips here. But still, bookstores categorize it as humor, so I will as well. Though I know in an interview Brooks said he disagrees with this organization.

Classic horror stories 
The House of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle This one is all about atmosphere. Be warned, there's is way less Sherlock than you're probably expecting.

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells The other Wells made this a perfect Halloween read when he caused mass panic reading this on the radio.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson Admittedly, this would be a lot better/scarier if you didn't already know the twist. But you do, so you'll just have to enjoy the fact that it's also well written. And short.

All about atmosphere
"The Adjustment Team" short story by Philip K. Dick I'm pretty sure I'm one of the few people that liked The Adjustment Bureau movie. The short story isn't quite the same, but it's an interesting peek-behind-the-curtain story.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield The narrator was annoying and whenever we had to listen to her wax poetic about pencils or something I lost interest. But the story she's being told about the twins that blink in unison and the strange house and the secrets. Gothic style atmosphere.

Zone One by Colson Whitehead A brainy (haha) zombie book. A literary zombie story all about clearing part of Manhattan with lots and lots (and lots) of tangents.

The Thriller-y-est
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane A thriller. An insane asylum on an island. A missing patient that couldn't have possibly gotten off. That strange section of the hospital where all the really nuts patients end up. And a hurricane to strange you there.

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson The main character in this one annoyed me. A lot. He's sort of a dick. But then again, he is the last man on earth and there are these vampire/zombie hybrids running around everywhere, so I guess he sort of has an excuse.

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig Miriam can see exactly how you're going to die just by touching you. Then one day she sees a vision where the man says her name with his dying breath. What's this mean for her? Can fate be changed? Bonus, this is one of the book covers I remember. Because it's beautiful.

So Much King
I could fit King into the different categories, but I've apparently read a lot of him (and I left out the non-horror stories) so why not give him his own section
Dreamcatcher by Stephen King There are fart alien things. You know, it's cool if you want to skip this one.

Everything's Eventual by Stephen King Don't skip this one though. It's a collection of short stories, and even if you don't find yourself a short story fan, give King's a try. Some in here are very scary, some will keep you on the edge of your seat, some will make you laugh. If you can only pick one, "1408" is one of my favorite short stories ever. So yeah, I recommend it.

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King Another collection of King short stories. Not quite as good as the Everything's Eventual group, but still good. And like EE it's a mixture.

Pet Semetary by Stephen King Horror. Straight horror, done well. Sure it's about a pet semetary and zombie pets. Kind of. I mean technically sure. But it's about so much more. Like how sometimes dead is better.

Under the Dome by Stephen King People being terrible when cornered. He sort of paints himself into a corner so the end can't help but be a let down. But honestly, the book is roughly a million pages long so the percentage of good to bad is acceptable.

Creepy, unsettling, prepare for nightmares
Horns by Joe Hill Sort of supernatural, sort of good vs. evil, sort of thriller tense crime drama. It has gruesome moments and funny moments.

World War Z by Max Brooks I really love this book. I've read it twice. I've listened to the audiobook twice. I just finished listening to it for the second time this year, and I was very tempted to start it over again when the last track played. I had more zombie nightmares when I read it. Not sure if reading is a more personal experience or if by the time I listened to it I already knew the stories so well they didn't affect me in the same way.

Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates This goes in the same pile as American Psycho for "books I wish I could Eternal Sunshine out of my head". It's not about zombies as in the undead (or reanimated) that hunger for brains. It's about a serial killer. And he's trying to make his own sex zombie via transorbital lobotomy. JCO can get under your skin.

So there you go. Halloween reads that probably would have made better suggestions if I had made them before Halloween. So just keep them in mind for next year.

*Not actual color blind people. They're probably not lying.
**I'm sure I've made this joke before too. This whole post is full of recycled bits. Consider it earth friendly.