Monday, November 3, 2014

Books I Read in October


I had a massive reading plan for October. It included several books that I've wanted to read all year but had been 'saving' for Halloween. Then, two things got in the way.

Firstly, I decided on a whim to finally go back to a HUGE book after attempting to read it almost 20 years ago. That was pretty much the entire second half of October taken up. Secondly, I got Christmas fever halfway through the month and got the urge to make cross stitched stockings for the twins. I don't know if anyone else does cross stitch - but it's SO time consuming. You can stitch for 4 hours straight and have something the size of a small matchbox at the end. That pretty much ate into all of my reading time.

All that being said, I managed to finish 8 books this month, which was okay - considering my heart just wasn't in it. My original October reading list looked like this:

  • Natsuo Kirino - Real World
  • Mary Downing Hahn - Wait 'til Helen Comes
  • Patrick Ness - A Monster Calls
  • Joyce Carol Oates - Zombie
  • Shirley Jackson - The Haunting of Hill House
  • Katie Alender - Bad Girls Don't Die
  • Curtis Richards - Halloween
  • Stefan Kiesbye - Your House is on Fire, Your Children All Gone
  • Jay Anson - The Amityville Horror
  • Johan Harstad - 172 Hours on the Moon
  • Robin Hardy - The Wicker Man
  • Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights
  • Joe Hill - Heart Shaped Box
  • Peter Straub - Ghost Story
  • Kendare Blake - Anna Dressed in Blood
  • Norman Partridge - Dark Harvest
  • Shirley Jackson - The Lottery
This is what actually happened:

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
Every year, on June 27th, the 300+ villagers gather in the town square for the lottery. There are many preparations to do before people are allowed to draw from the box, and the story opens as the town is preparing. This was a ten minute read, full of suspense and tension, with a horrifying conclusion as the terror is slowly revealed over the last page. A fantastic short story!

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, Long Island was the scene of a horrific homicide in 1974, where Ronnie DeFeo killed his parents and four siblings. The house was later bought by the Lutz family, who were not superstitious and didn't mind the history - at first. A mere 4 weeks after they bought the house, they fled, fearing for their sanity and their lives. This wasn't scary at all, and there were far too many exclamation marks. A huge let-down.

The Doll by JC Martin
I found this for free on Kindle while browsing - it's a short story set around "La Isla de la Munecas" or "The Island of the Dolls". Joyce and her 6 year old daughter Taylor visit the island as part of a vacation. They are told that the creepy dolls that adorn every part of the island are in honour of a little girl who drowned there, and whose spirit is said to haunt the island. As Joyce and Taylor return home after their holiday, Joyce thinks that they may have brought back something other than souvenirs.......this really creeped me out (not only because the island is a real place) and it was a great Halloween read. It could have been an episode of "Are You Afraid of the Dark" back in the day.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
I read this because it was mentioned on a thread in a book group - and several people raved about it. I think Dracula is partly to blame for the disappearance of my reading mojo around the end of the first week in October - it was a hard read. The first part, documenting Jonathan Harker's journey to Transylvania to meet the elusive Count Dracula was amazing. Atmospheric, dark, filled with suspense - it was just brilliant. Unfortunately, that all went to the dogs and we were then treated to a couple of hundred pages of letters, meetings, and general waffling about how to catch Dracula. There wasn't nearly enough of the man himself, and the ending was boring. Not remotely scary and I wanted Dracula to burst in and eat the stupid men at the end.

Diane Hoh - The Wish (Point Horror Nightmare Hall)
I had picked up some Point Horrors at a boot sale earlier in the year, and only remembered them last month. The Wish was pretty much a Big rip-off, but with a 90s horror twist - Alex is unnerved by the scary fortune-telling wizard booth in the local pizza place. When her friends start making wishes and they begin to come true in terrible ways, Alex remains skeptical about the wizard.......until she becomes a target.

Diane Hoh - Truth or Die (Point Horror Nightmare Hall)
Parrie just started at Salem University and doesn't know anyone. She attaches herself to a group of girls and gets embroiled in a game of Truth or Dare that turns very dangerous very quickly. But who is responsible for the dares that go wrong? And can Parrie stop them?

Peter Lerangis - The Yearbook (Point Horror)
David Kallas is 17 and pretty much obsessed with classmate Ariana. After a mild earthquake brings them closer, David finds himself agreeing to join Yearbook Staff as a way to spend more time with Ariana. David is on his way to the printers one night when he finds a body.........and it won't be the last.......

All 3 of these Point Horror books were standard fare - the scene is set, the tension builds, something happens to throw us off the scent, and BANG, there's the ending. I devoured so many of these when I was a child - I do have a couple more to read and I will read them, it was a nice way to spend a few hours.

Stephen King - IT
I bought a paperback of this book when I was about 12 - it was definitely the summer before I started Secondary School. The main problem I had with the book back then was that the thing was like a weapon it was that big - over 1100 pages. Also, the print is TINY. It has moved with me along with my other books for the past 19 and a half years, and when I saw it on the top of my wardrobe I thought it was about time I finished it. I'm so glad I did - while I didn't read it every day, I did find myself wanting to go back to it. It's the story of 7 friends who encounter and defeat terrible evil one summer - roll on adulthood, where 6 of the 7 are no longer living in their hometown. The seventh is now convinced that the evil is back - and asks the other 6 to return to help him defeat it once more. The book is split up into different sections, and as with all King books reads flawlessly. Every character was unique and had their own story and history. There aren't many books that top a thousand pages but never get drawn out or boring. Stunning. It may have taken me the guts of two decades, but I got there in the end!

And that was pretty much it for October - I didn't get round to reading most of my intended list, but I'll be pulling the odd one or two from it over the next month if I can shake the Christmas obsession that seems to have set in!


  1. I found a copy of It in a hotel a few years back, started it and then had to leave it there when we went home. Since then I've meant to get a copy myself but still haven't gotten around to it so thanks for the reminder! I love King's writing so much, haven't read one book I didn't like.

    1. Nor have I, his new one is supposed to be a return to good old-fashioned supernatural horror so I'm looking forward to getting into it properly! Where on earth does the man get the time to write...

  2. I love seeing one or more of my favourites pop up in reviews! It and The Lottery are two of my most-read books/short stories, and I have to say I really enjoyed the Jay Anson book too. It wasn't scary, I agree, but I do love it.

    1. I love seeing things I've read or liked on blogs or sites too! I'm glad I read the Jay Anson one, another classic horror crossed off the list :)

  3. I read IT about the same age and loved it, I think it's time to revisit! The film scared the crap out of me though so I won't be revisiting that any time soon...

    1. It's so worth a re-read, there were things I had completely missed first time around. I saw the film once and never, ever again. Tim Curry is horrifying, I hated him in Home Alone for years because of that film!

  4. I actually bought IT on kindle too because the book looked so massive it was overwhelming, but I couldn't read it on the kindle - had to go back to the actual book! I've never read Catch 22, hope you got to finish it :)


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