Every autumn I pick out a few books related to the season and challenge myself to finish reading them before Halloween. This year I’ve read Bram Stoker’s Dracula (which I absolutely LOVED) and am halfway through Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In between these bigger more famous novels I decided to take a break and read a kid’s Halloween story. Let me tell you what a absolute joy and surprise it was to stumble upon James Crowley’s Monsterland! What I had expected to be a cute simple story turned out to be a wonderful epic adventure I won’t soon forget.Continue reading
I’ve often questioned why the works of Edgar Allan Poe are so creepy. Was he a strange recluse with a secret dark side that found its way onto the pages of his writings? Probably not. The answer is that I really didn’t know much about him at all. Sure I knew that he was the author of “The Raven” and that he had written other gothic fiction. But what were the reasons behind his taste for the macabre? I decided to investigate and maybe read some of his works again.
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;”
~ From “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
Sounds cool, huh? Edgar Allan Poe wrote tales, poems, and other works of fiction for various genres that included satires, humor and comedy. It wasn’t all just horror. Although he seemed to excel at telling stories of horror and mystery. Some of his most famous works are considered part of the dark romanticism genre. I found a website called Complete Collections of Poems by Edgar Allan Poe where you can read poems like The Raven for free. Many people at the time had interests in reading about mystery, macabre and the supernatural and Poe obliged by writing for the masses. Of course he must have reflected his own interests since he wrote so well and his works were so well received.
Any fan of Poe will want to read his most famous tales like “The Mask of the Red Death”, “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”. Many of these stories have been made into classic horror films starring the legendary actor Vincent Price. “The Light-House” is the unofficial title of Poe’s last literary work. Actually he died shortly after he began it. But it sure sounds like it could have been an awesome story! It begins with diary entries written by a lighthouse watchman. Only four entries were written by Poe. Well, actually only three entries exist from Jan 1-3. Jan 4th was written but there is no text for that entry. Although Poe never finished the work, he laid the foundation for a story theme that involved loneliness, isolation, and fear.
I think it’s safe to say Poe had some issues. Maybe some dark ones. But there was nothing I found that directly pointed to why he was so good at writing spooky stuff. I think I’m OK with that though. It won’t prevent me from just enjoying the literary works he gave us.
Haven’t read much of Poe’s works? Try reading some of his poems or one of his famous tales. I think I’ll reacquaint myself with the works of Poe. Lucky for me Halloween is the perfect season for reading.
In every city and town in America there are scores of unique Halloween events during the month of October. As I was throwing out some of my never-ending junk mail I saw an upcoming event that looks really cool. This year El Camino Community College in Torrance California will be celebrating the bicentennial celebration of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein in an event called Frankenstein 200. There will be music, panel discussions, an art exhibit, a screening of the 1931 classic film and even a ghost story writing contest! Sounds like a blast! Keep reading to get all the juicy details for this one of a kind event. Continue reading
You know what really gets me in the mood for the Halloween season? Taking a trip to the local library to check out Halloween books. Most of the time I find at least one adult sized book that will take most of the month to finish. Then I check out a few children’s books. That’s right don’t laugh. I read children’s books. Of course, not all the time. Only during the Halloween season. My reasoning is simple. I have very fond memories of reading these types of books in grade school. For example, the book titled The Monster Ring was one of my absolute favorites. Now if books like that exist then there must be so many more I haven’t had the chance to read yet. I was so impressed by a book titled The Best Worst Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson that I decided to share it with you as the first book review of the 2016 Halloween season. Continue reading
If you grew up on Disney cartoons like I did, you are probably blissfully unaware of the more sinister original versions of fairy tales. A true old fashioned fairy tale is gothically dark. Rape, incest, mutilation, monsters…that was the stuff of real fairy tales. These stories were not meant to entertain 5-year-old little girls (like the Disney movies do), but instead to stir the thoughts and emotions of older readers who are just becoming aware of the existence of evil in the world around them. In an early version of Cinderella, the story begins with a king whose dying wife has a baby girl. After 15 years, the king is lonely and can’t find anyone to marry. So he decides to alter the law and marry his own daughter. (Ewww!) The 15 year-old girl decides to run away from home and find’s refuge in a merchants home were the Cinderella story as we know it begins. Not exactly something you would want to share with your young child right? So I guess I can applaud Disney for cleaning up these stories for younger audiences, but as an adult it’s fun to explore the darker grittier stories of the originals. Continue reading