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This week I’ll try to put the Halloween-themed links up first; if you’re psyched for them, they’re easy to find, and if you’re sick of everyone telling you to read Stephen King and Stephen King telling you to read Peter Straub,  then they’re easy to skip. And I totally don’t blame you – I’m getting a little bored with people reading Frankenstein and Dracula and pointing out the ghosts in Shakespeare and Wuthering Heights.

Seriously, I love Shakespeare, but Caesar’s ghost just does not make Julius Caesar a good Halloween read.

HALLOWEEN-THEMED POSTS:

My own scariest reading experience of recent memory was reading Stephen King’s Carrie. (It doesn’t help that, regardless of Stephen King’s description of an overweight Carrie with bad skin and thick glasses, I can only ever imagine super creepy and skeletal Sissy Spacek covered in blood.) It was nighttime and a couple of friends were over for the weekend. I wasn’t feeling well, so I didn’t go to dinner with them, which left me alone reading in the bedroom. I was looking forward to curling up all alone with a scary book until… it got scary. Before I knew it, my brain was screaming “This is not the fun kind of scared anymore! Abort! Abort!”

The A.V. Club staff shares their scariest reading experiences here.

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The Guardian has been examining some creepy stories for Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The New Mother” by Lucy Clifford demonstrates the ridiculous horror and creepiness of fairy tales.

“‘Let you see!’ she said slowly. ‘Well, I am not sure that I can. Tell me, are you good?’ ‘Yes, yes,’ they answered eagerly, ‘we are very good!'” But this turns out, for once, to be the wrong answer: only naughty children are allowed to peep inside the box. So the children begin a campaign of bad behaviour, much to the sorrow of their angelic mother, who warns them that if they can’t return to their better selves, “I should have to go away and leave you, and to send home a new mother, with glass eyes and wooden tail”.

Also see discussions of Paul Bowles’s “A Distant Episode” discussed here, Robert Shearman’s “Granny’s Grinning” here, and Roald Dahl’s “The Landlady.”

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13 (more) literary Halloween costumes, but this time it’s how to dress like your favorite dead author.

If you go the Lord Byron route, I suggest keeping a hot cousin on one arm at all times.

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Things we can do with books for Halloween

Or with Halloween for books!

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NOT TOO BLATANTLY HALLOWEEN-THEMED POSTS:

Vernon God Little will be a movie, as will Animal Farm. As a family movie. Sweet Jesus.

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Margaret Atwood is at work on a serial zombie novel, on Wattpad, with Naomi Alderman.

First, there’s a lot of angst from publishers and writers about the young “not reading”, which may mean they aren’t reading what older people want them to read. My college teacher, Northrop Frye, said you should let the young begin with whatever interests them; and millions of them are interested in Wattpad.

True story. The first person I had ever heard of using Wattpad aside from Margaret Atwood was one of my students. That is, one of my English Language Learners. Badass, right?

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The Hernandez Brothers on thirty years of Love and Rockets and more.

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Try out this adorable MFA Mad Lib.

You look across the room and you see your MFA-crush. She is dressed as a somewhat scandalous version of Maya Angelou.

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“The Tell-Tale Heart” in (sort of creepy) Pictures

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Denny’s The Hobbit menu will make you laugh or weep – either one – uncontrollably.

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Robert Gottlieb uses not the most sensitive language to reminisce about The Best of Everything, and especially, it seems, the top editor’s secretary at Simon & Schuster.

The first best-selling novel I ever edited was Rona Jaffe’s notorious “The Best of Everything.” That was back in 1958, and it’s just made a comeback—as the basis of a slick and even touching stage version at a small downtown theatre. Who’d have thunk it? Not even Rona (alas, dead), despite her literary aspirations.

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At the risk of Colson Whitehead shooting himself in the face, here’s a cute examination of the genre of literary fiction.

If you aren’t sure what kind of literary novel to write, I suggest starting with an English professor who has an affair with his (her?!) student while the wife (husband?! life partner?!) sculpts and flails at home. Abortion plot-line optional.

See also: It’s Genre. Not That There’s Anything Wrong With It!

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The new “Mo Yan Culture Experience Zone.” Oooh yeeeah.

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Joe Queenan’s love of the printed word is crammed sort of haphazardly into this essay, but the best part of the essay is right here:

Winston Churchill supposedly read a book every day of his life, even while he was saving Western Civilization from the Nazis. This is quite an accomplishment, because by some accounts Winston Churchill spent all of World War II completely hammered.

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A mini-celebration of 20 years of Sherman Alexie.

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I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s definitely in my future: how Honey Boo Boo is like a Flannery O’Connor character.

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Seven Notable Literary Deaths

If you’ve never read American Psycho and you’re wondering why it’s been in the Jordan Is Reading list for months and months (I’m considering starting a Jordan Is Struggling to Read But May Very Well Shoot Herself Before Finishing list, inspired by this book), then you can start with the “notable death” in the article. It’s just the tip of the iceberg – not sure what makes that one the notable one. Kind of like saying Snorlax is the notable Pokemon.

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Taylor Swift Analogies, In Order of Incomprehensibility

9. Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer.

Yep. And that’s only #9.

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According to Book Riot, Fuck Yeah, Book Arts! is awesome. I’m following it!

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The Facebook generation – that’s me – is still reading up a storm and has a definite love of the printed word, though they apparently don’t buy into the whole e-reader thing.

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Because Neil Gaiman is awesome, he will tell you a scary story for free to benefit charity. I’m pretty sure he gets wings for that one.

You can go straight to “Click Clack the Rattlebag” here.

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At the annual benefit for the Norman Mailer Center, the acclaimed writer Joyce Carol Oates received a lifetime achievement award for her fiction. Her remarks about Norman Mailer and what he represented as a transgressive, rebellious, sympathetic writer who wrote exactly what he wanted are reprinted here.

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Also in my list o’ stuff to read is this essay on the difficulties of adapting Wuthering Heights to film. My guess: it’s hard to create a movies about characters who are all shitheads. Every. One of them.

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Editors’ Note: When we received this anonymous nonfiction submission it caused quite a stir. One staff member insisted we call the New Haven, Ct., police immediately to report the twentieth-century crime it recounts. But first, we figured out by the mailing address that the author was someone whose work had been solicited for TriQuarterly. Other questions remained. What animal was this? A memoir? Essay? Craft essay? Fictional autobiography? Should we publish it with an introduction, a warning—and what should we say? The author later labeled it “meta-nonfiction.” We thought it was worth publishing for the issues it raises. We realize that because the piece refers to sexual assault, it might trigger a trauma reaction in some people, and for that reason certain readers may choose not to continue reading. For others—please do read it all the way through, including the ending note from TriQuarterly and the author. We welcome your thoughtful reactions.

Seriously, when an essay starts with a note like this, how do you read it? But also, how do you not?