Slightly Spooky Reads // Letters to October (13)

Dear October,

There are many things I like about you. The way the leaves glint copper and bronze in the sun. How there are fewer bugs around. And the countdown to Halloween… to some extent. As fun as the anticipation and festivities are, I’m not so fond of the actually scary parts of Halloween. Anything that remotely looks like it might have a jump scare or a girl with hair dangling across her face and I’m done. (In this context, ‘done’ means my bags are packed and I’ve moved to the other side of the planet.)

So, as today is Friday the 13th, here are some slightly spooky (and some not at all spooky) books for my fellow scaredy cat readers.

1. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

This story is narrated by Katherine ‘Merricat’ Blackwood, who lives with her sister Constance and their uncle. Years ago, the rest of their family was killed in an incident involving arsenic and now, the Blackwoods are something like outcasts in society. Apart from necessary trips to the village, they manage to live in their little bubble until one day, an arrival from a distant relative starts to unravel their peaceful existence.

At the start of this book, you will likely get the sense that something is not quite right. There’s a sense of unease and tension from the very beginning, which only grows until the horrifying climax.

Spooky rating: 4/5 non-spooky ghosts
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A Quick Guide to Roald Dahl Reads

Happy Roald Dahl day! Mr Dahl was born on this day, 101 years ago. If you’ve been around here a while, you might know that I’ve found a friend or two in his writing, but if you’re still waiting to dive into his books, here is a list to help you choose the right book for the right occasion.

For an adventure, try…

James and the Giant Peach. If you’re in the mood to travel but feel too cosy at home, this is the book for you. Get ready for a wild journey with a tinge of magic, a series of mad schemes, and a very unusual cast of characters.

The BFG. The ingredients (magic… mad plans… unusual characters…) are the same, the story wildly different. But both books dare you to be brave, and to follow your dreams even if they take you in unexpected directions.

For an empowering read, try…

Matilda. It’s a story of mind over matter, sprinkled with moments of humour and hope. It encourages you to persevere, to believe in your abilities, and to stand up for what you believe in. It also makes a pretty good case for reading all the books you can get your hands on!

“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog.” — Matilda to her friend Lavender

For something uplifting, try…

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