All Hallow’s Read 2013 (Day 1)

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Click on the picture above to get your own AHR posters from Introverted Wife!

Ahhh, All Hallow’s Read.
A wonderful celebration of scariness and wordiness, brought to you by the inimitable Neil Gaiman and his crazy hair – no doubt the Samson-like power center for his creativity and scheming prowess.

Regular readers will remember our 2011 stint with AHR, and the 31 suggestions we bombarded you with that month. We went the distance and threw out suggestions for everything from what to give your favorite student, to what to give your mother in-law for AHR. And you know what?

We’re gonna do it again!

Starting today (a day late… shush), we’ll post a suggestion every day for a book you could give to someone in your life for All Hallow’s Read. Some of them may be for the people you love, and some for may be for the people you hate, but we can guarantee all of our books with come highly recommended, and will be sure to leave an impression upon the reader – good or bad.

So without further ado, Dreadful Tales welcomes you to All Hallow’s Read 2013, and would like to recommend October Dreams for the AHR newcomers in your life!

chizmar04If ever there was a book that was so perfect and so dead on with its subject matter that nothing could ever top it, it’s October Dreams – A Celebration of Halloween.

Edited by Richard Chizmar and released by Cemetery Dance, this collection of short stories not only reeks of Halloween spirit and terror, but it also includes select remembrances by some of the authors, of their favorite childhood Halloween memories.

Our absolute favorite here is the last entry in the collection – Pork Pie Hat by Peter Straub – a genuinely haunting story that speaks volumes in terms of darkness, wonder, and fear. If you weren’t a fan of Straub before, this one story will make you a fan for life.

Colum reads Pork Pie Hat (a novella) at least once a year. And that’s saying a lot, since he doesn’t like to re-read things often.

This one can be found in bog box stores and online, and it’s definitely a must-have for any horror fiction fan.

 

Click-Clack The Rattlebag by Neil Gaiman

Happy Hallowe’en!

It’s also All Hallows’ Read, a festival that Neil Gaiman thought up 2 years ago, which proposes that on Hallowe’en, or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books.  In the spirit of such a fun literary holiday, and also in an effort to suck up to my beloved Gaiman by doing everything he tells me to, I have listened to my very first audio book.

I know, I know.  Some people LOVE audio books; they save time, and they’re portable, and blah blah blah.  But they’ve just never been my thing.  I like to feel and smell and see the words, even as they paint a picture in my mind.  It took me ages to come around to e-books, and even then it was only to allow more room in my suitcase for shoes when I travel.  But my main problem with audio books is the voices.  If the narrator has a particular way of speaking (i.e. annoying), or a strange accent, or even if they just have too much POW! BANG! SLAM! during the exciting parts, it completely distracts me from the story.

All that being said, if anyone could have made me listen to (read?) an audio book, it was Neil Gaiman.  He is my absolute favourite author, whether it be novels, graphic novels, short stories or kids books. So, when Neil announced on his blog that he had teamed up with Audible to release a new, unpublished short story, (for free!), I was willing to give it a shot.  Especially considering it’s also narrated by Neil Gaiman, so I can’t be mad about the voice.  As an added incentive, Audible will donate $1 for every download through Halloween to the education charity DonorsChoose.

 “‘What kind of story would you like me to tell you?’ ‘Well,’ he said, thoughtfully, ‘I don’t think it should be too scary, because then when I go up to bed, I will just be thinking about monsters the whole time. But if it isn’t just a little bit scary, then I won’t be interested. And you make up scary stories, don’t you?'” So begins this sweet, witty, deceptive little tale from master storyteller Neil Gaiman. Lock the doors, turn off the lights, and enjoy. (Audible)

As mentioned, this is a short story, which Neil read at the George Mason Award evening, and it will be published in a forthcoming anthology.  The whole thing is only about 12 minutes long, and starts off with a brief introduction about All Hallows’ Read and the charitable donations.  Around the 2 minute mark, we get into the story, which is being told from the point of view of a guy taking care of his girlfriend’s little brother.  The boy requests a bedtime story, one that’s just the right amount of scary, while they walk through the big, old, and very dark house.  The boy specifically asks for a story about Click-Clack the Rattle Bag, because those are the best kinds of stories, and “Click-Clacks are the best monsters ever”.  They’re even scarier than vampires.

As always, Gaiman does an excellent job of setting up the story, and detailing the surroundings in a way that put a vivid picture in your head.  The use of the first person narration, as well as the language and phrasing used by the little boy, manage to inject you into the conversation.  There are a bare minimum of sound effects here, but they are used wisely to mimic a creaky old house.  The story is obviously a more family-friendly kind of scary, but the description of what Click-Clacks “do to people” is icky enough to give kids pause.

All in all, this is a great little story, and a perfect Hallowe’en treat (to go with the mountain of candy I am currently devouring).  I am intrigued by how different it is to hear a story, as opposed to reading it; it was kinda like listening to a spooky story being told around a campfire.

So, in the words of Neil Gaiman: “Go to www.Audible.com/ScareUs to download it if you’re in the US or the rest of the world except the UK and www.Audible.co.uk/ScareUs to download it if you’re in the UK/Commonwealth. And then download the story. As I may have told you already, it’s free — absolutely, utterly, perfectly free.

The aftermath…

So…it’s November.  Halloween madness has come to an end.  All the crazy build-up to one night of horror-themed fun has reached its inevitable conclusion.

BUT!

This year, November 1st isn’t just about sugar crashes and cleaning up the chaos caused by a night full of trick-or-treaters.  This year, you get one more chance to extend Halloween by digging through the photos you took yesterday (or last year, or a decade ago!) and entering our KinderScares Halloween Kids photo contest!

We have some fun prizes for your little monsters and will be announcing the winners on November 6th (so we have enough time to sort through and agonize over the choices…it’s always so hard to pick a winner!).

So get cracking and hang onto the Halloween spirit just a little longer!  We love love love the entries we’ve received so far and can’t wait to see the rest!

All Hallow’s Read (Day 31) A scary book for…

 

 

 

that special ghost lover in your life.

 

Joe Hill’s brilliant debut is one of the best ghost stories ever told.  Heart Shaped Box is an all out rock n’ roll assault that will have readers jumping at shadows for a very long time.

 

All Hallow’s Read is a book-giving tradition thought up by author Neil Gaiman. We’ll be making book suggestions all month long in case you need ideas!

All Hallow’s Read (Day 30) A scary book for…

… a person who wants to think.

Of course, there are a slew of bizarro novels that will leave your brain in a knot but Andersen Prunty’s My Fake War explores the philosophy of war in a fun and very thoughtful way.  It is sure to give even the most jaded intellectual a mental workout.

All Hallow’s Read is a book-giving tradition thought up by author Neil Gaiman. We’ll be making book suggestions all month long in case you need ideas!

All Hallow’s Read (Day 29) A scary book for…

…your favorite student.

Kyle is a ordinary twelve year old who is coming of age under very extraordinary circumstances.  This is a story that every student should read as they try to hold on to the magic of youth while facing the trials of adulthood.  Midnight Rain is horror fiction at its finest.

All Hallow’s Read is a book-giving tradition thought up by author Neil Gaiman. We’ll be making book suggestions all month long in case you need ideas!

 

All Hallows Read (Day 28) A scary book for…..

………your favorite teacher.

Darkness, Tell Us tells the tale of Professor Corrie Dalton and a few of her best students. Professor Dalton may be one of Laymon’s most vibrant characters.  She is a total bad-ass and would be the dream teacher for any college aged kid.
All Hallow’s Read is a book-giving tradition thought up by author Neil Gaiman. We’ll be making book suggestions all month long in case you need ideas!