Thursday, November 01, 2007

Book Through Thursday: Oh, Horror!

What with yesterday being Halloween, and all . . . do you read horror? Stories of things that go bump in the night and keep you from sleeping?

Anjin and I ventured out to a local restaurant last night at the nearby plaza. A stage had been set up in the quad area, and there were children in various costumes running about. My favorite was the little girl of about four in a kimono who had to stop every few steps to do the twist. Maybe not really the twist, but what looked like her version of it. A miniature Winnie the Pooh made several passes by our table, usually not on his own two feet. There was also a little Strawberry Shortcake who brought back memories of days gone by.

As we were leaving the restaurant and crossing through the quad, the winners of the costume contest were being announced. Everyone was a winner. That brought to mind the costume contest I once entered when I was a child. There had been winners and runner ups back then. Those were the days when everyone was not a winner. Hey! I'm actually of an age now where I can annoy young 'uns by saying "Back in my day . . . !" Is that really a good thing?

Where was I? Oh, Halloween, yes. Being as it is just my husband and I and our sometimes rambunctious animals who will not tolerate costumes, Halloween is pretty much just another day for us. Wake up with the alarm, groan and moan and remind the cat what the meaning of nine minutes of snoozing really is supposed to be about, and finally to wake up and drag myself through the steps of getting ready for work. Of course, I completely forgot the Halloween candy sitting in the chair by the kitchen door. The candy I was supposed to bring for the afternoon potluck. Oh well. I managed to remember to take it today. Just what everyone needs too. They all are bringing their leftover candy to work so they will not be tempted to scarf it all during a moment of weakness. I am not sure bringing the candy to the office where we all spend the entire day really helps. What if Susie over there brings something rather tasty? Cee sure was going after those whoppers I brought in. Too many bowls of candy lying around does not help one's diet.

Halloween was not completely an average day. There was the office potluck and the pumpkin carving contest. Other than that, it was business as usual. I started singing Christmas carols towards the end of the day to drive my coworkers mad. It could have been worse. I could have danced down the aisles.

I suppose I should answer the question, shouldn't I? Do I read horror? Yes, actually I do. I am not a huge fan of the slasher, gory type horror, but I do love a good psychological thriller.

I decided a couple of years ago that I needed to read some of Stephen King's books and a few by Dean Koontz just to see what the fuss was about. While I doubt I will read all of King's books, I do plan to read a few more than just the two I have read so far.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's books have been labeled as horror by some (I tend to think of them more as thrillers), and the three I have read by them, I really enjoyed. Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series was a favorite of mine for a while there. Does that count as horror? The Witching Hour by Anne Rice is one of my favorite horror novels. I know not everyone likes Anne Rice's writing style, but I am really drawn to her books. I have only read a handful, but I would like to read more of her books eventually (if I had a quarter for everytime I said that, eh?).

I enjoy subtle creepiness like the kind in Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian and Bram Stoker's Dracula. John Harwood's The Ghost Writer is probably one of my favorite ghost stories. A gasp, sitting on the edge of my seat or pacing the room, are all reactions I welcome when I read a book that offers up a taste of fear or suspense.

Horror novels themselves do not keep me from sleeping at night. I have no compunction about reading them before bedtime. It is not unusual for whatever book I have been reading, regardless of type, to seep into my dreams at night, however. Perhaps if I lived alone I might be more affected by a horror novel. Fortunately, that is not the case and so I can read to my heart's content.

I thought about asking you about whether you were participating in NaNoWriMo, but I asked that last year. Although . . . if you want to answer that one, too, please feel free to go ahead and do both, or either, your choice!

I told my husband over dinner last night that I had started writing a book. When I say that, I mean it very loosely. I am not really writing a book. Well, maybe eventually it will turn into one, but probably not. That is not my goal at this point in time anyway. He told me that I was not supposed to start until the next day, the start of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). While I may not be participating in NaNoWriMo, Anjin surprised me by saying he is giving it a try. Unofficially. I have not grilled him yet on what he has in mind, but I sure want to!


  1. I loved your little digression before getting back to the question!

  2. I also wondered about the Anita Blake books since I read those too. There seems to be a trend among many of the BTT answers today that horror is too wide of a term to correctly classify many books. So, I'm going with yes, Anita Blakes do fit into the horror genre.

    Also, will you be posting your novel? Or, at least, what it's about? I'm curious. :)

  3. Terri - Yeah, I kind of got carried away there. :-)

    Trisha - Yes, I am getting that impression too. There seems to be quite a few sub-genres of horror out there as well as crossovers.

    I had to stop and pause when you asked about my novel because my first thought was, "Novel? I'm writing a novel?" I'm not sure I'd go so far to call anything I'm writing right now a novel. I've had a particular story idea running through my head for several years now and during a slow moment at work, I started putting it to paper (computer screen, really). I'm sure it'll end up in the recycle bin soon. Aspiring author, I am not. At least not right now.

    My husband is the real writer in the family. I'm not sure if he's decided on just what he is writing yet for NaNoWriMo. I don't know if he knows.

  4. I loved "The Witching Hour"! I enjoy Anne Rice's books although I have never read any erotica. Just the horror stories. I have "The Historian" is sitting on my TBR shelf so I will get to it sometime.
    Christmas carols?

  5. Thanks for sharing with us, Wendy! :) I agree with Trisha that horror is too wide of a term to correctly classify the books. And I enjoyed reading Dean Koontz and Stephen King's books (although I can't say the same to their recent releases).

    NaNoWriMo is fun...although there are times that you feel you really need to pull your hairs out...LOL!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  6. Good luck with the writing. I would love to write a book one day but am lacking inspiration right now. Psychological horror books are definiately the way to go, way scarier just like the films.

  7. Hey! I'm actually of an age now where I can annoy young 'uns by saying "Back in my day . . . !" Is that really a good thing?

    Haha! That's half the fun of growing up, don't you know!

  8. I'm a NaNoWriMo participant (as you already know).

    I like the sound of how you spent your Halloween. I love seeing kids all dressed up. I saw the Scooby Gang. Too cute.

  9. Jaimie - Another Witching Hour fan! I haven't read any of Rice's erotica either.

    Yeah, Christmas carols. I love Christmas carols. :-)

    Melody - I need to head over to Heather's (Errant Dreams) because she has posted a definition of horror on her blog today.

    Watching my husband struggle with writing a book over the course of a year not too long ago, I know what you mean about feeling like you want to pull out your hair. He was at that point a few times.

    Rhinoa - I think the psychological ones are easier to buy into than the other kind for me. :-)

    Heather - Haha Yes, I guess so! I have to stop myself sometimes at work from breaking out the "in the old days" stories. I know how annoyed I get when a couple of the more veteran staff do that with me. While they are interesting the first time I hear them, and maybe the second, after awhile I just don't care and I wish they'd get on with it. LOL

  10. Niki - The Scooby Gang? I wish I could have seen them! It's so much fun to see all the costumes people come up with. :-)

    I am so excited for all of you participating in NaNoWriMo! I'm anxious to hear how you all progress over the course of the month.

  11. Well, first thanks for your comment on my blog, this is the first one. And I see you read Stephen King and Koontz too, but I prefer Koontz. Stephen King is more in the Sci-Fi genre whereas Koontz is more in the realistic, the psychological. I advise you to read Mr Murder, that's totally creepy;o)

  12. Virginie - I agree with you in that I like Koontz more than I like King. As you said, he leans more toward the psychological, which is what I prefer.

  13. Just curious, literary feline, why did you stop reading the Anita Blake series? I read it for a while there too, but I just got turned off around Cerulean Sins. Anita was not as likable a character as she used to be for me. I was wondering if you'd had a similar experience.

  14. J.S. - I actually still read the series, although it's no longer a favorite of mine. I keep reading because I like many of the characters and am curious as to where the author is going with the series. I think it was about the time of Cerulean Sins that my opinion of the series took a turn as well. I don't think it was so much Anita's character that has turned me off, but more the direction the author took the series. I first started reading the books because of the mystery element and when that started to disappear or at least become obscured by other plot lines, my interest waned. I haven't yet read the latest in the series, but I hear it's better than the last two. I guess I'll find out. If it doesn't start looking up, I probably will stop reading the series. I just haven't quite reached that point of no return yet.

  15. The only writings of Stephen King that I've ever read are his memoir/instruction book On Writing, which I really enjoyed, and his columns for Entertainment Weekly magazine. I realize they're not typical.

    My BTT post last week talked about my "abandonment" of The Historian; since you mentioned it here, do you think it's worth going back to finish it? I've been soliciting opinions, and so far no one's really encouraged it.

  16. Florinda - I like King's articles in EW. :-)

    I loved the book through and through--it was my #2 favorite from last year. I loved everything about the book: the atmosphere, the settings, the history, the characters, and the narrative. It was the type of book I had to be sure and make time for because it required all of my concentration.

    I know not everyone was quite as smitten with it as I was and so I hesitate to tell you to continue. If you haven't taken to it yet, it might not be a book for you.

  17. I love the way you always tell little stories when answering these questions :)

    Like you, I am not really a fan of gore, but I do enjoy psychological thrillers, creepy and gothic moods and of course, Anne Rice.

  18. I really need to read The Historian. I've heard so many good things about it.

    Some of Stephen King's books I love, and some I just can't figure out. There are plenty to cover, though! I doubt I'll ever get to them all, either.

  19. I have Dracula in my TBR pile and I think I should start on it ASAP. :D

    Good luck to your husband on NaNo!

  20. I enjoyed reading the intro before you answered the question. I like the bok recommendations too.

  21. Nymeth - Thanks! I was on a little rambling roll there, I think. :-)

    Breeni - I loved The Historian, but I do know it's not everyone's cup of tea.

    I'm right there with you with King. Some of them just don't interest me. Same with his movies.

    Alice - I hope you enjoy Dracula. It really is worth trying.

    Gautami - Thanks!

  22. I wish your husband good luck on Nano :)

    I have read Dean's books in the past. Just few thoughts and like what I read. Even though I read a little, I still can't find myself to read horror books :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you have a good weekend :)

  23. Thank you, Julia! I've passed on your good luck wishes to my husband. :-)


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