Archive for October, 2011

Give a fright this Halloween with a scary BOO-k as part of All Hallows Read. The book-gifting event was dreamed up last year by Science Fiction and Fantasy writer Neil Gaiman in his blog post, A Modest Proposal (that doesn’t actually involve eating anyone). “Spread the terror,” he explains in his video below.

Since then it has started to spread through the UK, the US, and Canada. This year there were several organized book drops to get books to school children. Countless tweets are streaming to #AllHallowsRead on Twitter. You can join in by giving a child or friend a scary book for Halloween. No you don’t have to skip the candy.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said horror master Stephen King. “It can be one of mine but it doesn’t have to be. Have a great Halloween!”

Check out the links below for All Hallow’s Read Book Recommendations

All Hallow’s Read Website Book Suggestions

Creepy but Gore-Free Halloween Books for Kids (USA Today)

Dreadful Tales Month of All Hallow’s Reads

Murder, Monsters, & Mayhem from Jenn’s Bookshelves

No Tricks Just Treats in These Halloween Reads

Spooky Reads for Halloween (CNN)

Spooky Reads from a Librarian for Teens and Grown-Ups

30 Spooky Story Suggestions for All Hallow’s Read by The Mary Sue (Classics, Contemporary, Comics, Kids & Adult)

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Both these stories left me aching and unsettled, marveling at what could be done with so few words. Each is spooky, not in the traditional sense, but visceral and devastating. Perfect reads for this week leading up to Halloween.

The Pines by Alan Heathcock
Beautiful may seem an odd word to use, but this is a beautiful, alluring ghost story that stayed with me.  Alan Heathcock’s short story collection, VOLT, is available now in bookstores.

Daisy Chain by Eugene Cross
This deft mercurial story at once had my heart racing and my emotions twinging. Eugene Cross has a short story collection, Fires of Our Choosing, forthcoming from DZANC Books in March of 2012.

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This Saturday, hundreds of readers worldwide will participate in the Dewey’s Read-a-thon. The event starts at noon GMT, which is 8:00 am EST in the US, and runs for 24 hours. That’s right … 24 Hours of READING!  Ok, you are allowed to take breaks, say for sleep. Though some of the prizes are eligible only to those who read straight through … and many people do!

If you can’t swing the reading, consider participating as a Cheerleader, like me. You just need to guarantee at least one hour, and you can pick which hour or hours are best for you. Cheerleaders post encouragement on the Readers’s blogs and also tweet, if they’re on twitter.

If you simply have no time, you can support by volunteering a book or other cool swag for one of the many giveaways to the participating readers.

You can follow on Twitter @readathon and/or via the #Readathon hashtag.

Sign Up to READ in the Dewey’s Read-a-thon.

Sign Up to CHEER in the Dewey’s Read-a-thon.

Donate a book or swag  to the Dewey’s Read-a-thon.

Dewey’s Read-a-thon Start Times Worldwide.

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I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the
copper sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the
taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of
holes, new beautiful things come in the first spit of
snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go,
not one lasts.

Originally Published in Poetry Magazine October 1918

Carl Sandburg Biography, Poems, & Articles

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My review of Touch, by Alexi Zentner is a guest post as part of Murder, Monsters, & Mayhem.

“Stay off the ice,” wrote Alexi Zentner, as he signed my copy of Touch. I hadn’t yet read the book, so I didn’t understand that loaded and ominous warning…

Each day in October, Murder, Monsters, & Mayhem at Jenn’s Bookshelves features a chilling new post or book review to get us spooked for Halloween.

Click over to read my review of Touch and don’t forget to register to win a free copy!

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I don’t know why, but scary books freak me out more than scary movies. Maybe because the imagination conjures up the worst, but when you see it played out on film, you start to rationalize. That can take the thrill out of it. I remember gripping the armrest during one of the Jason films, as he started to impale someone  from under a bed. A sort of spear thing poked up out of the guy and blood spewed like a geyser … but then half the theater burst into laughter. Debunked (sorry for the pun).

Likewise, the mysterious earlier deaths in The Ring felt much creepier than the final scene. Spoiler Alert: the swamp creature thing didn’t work for me. “The Master of Suspense,” Alfred Hitchcock, was a big proponent of the unseen out spooking the visual. Even his famous shower scene in Psycho was a montage of cutaways (ouch, another one) of Janet Leigh’s grimacing face and blood running down the shower. Hitchcock wanted us to imagine the really gory stuff in our own heads. Just like when we’re reading.

For Spooktober, I’m taking part in Murder, Monsters, & Mayhem (Mx3)—a group read sponsored by Jenn’s Bookshelves. Mx3 is a celebration of spine-tingling books that include: ghosts, magic, monsters, suspense, murder, mystery, the supernatural, thriller plots, or anything just plan scary!

Every day, Mx3 features a chilling new post or book review to get us in the Halloween spirit (argh, not again). I especially liked reading about the lore of monsters and the human condition by Chelsea Quinn Yasbro, a Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award winner and author.

On Twitter, follow #Mx3 hashtag for spooky links and suggestions.

Book bloggers, add your scary and Halloween-themed posts to the Mx3 linkup.

I will be chosing among the books below to celebrate Mx3!

The Book of Lost Things—John Connolly

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton—Edith Wharton

Hallowe’en Party—Agatha Christie

The Mysteries of Udolpho—Ann Radcliffe

The Night Circus—Erin Morgenstern

NightwoodsCharles Frazier

Touch—Alexi Zentner
Reviewed as a guest post at Jenn’s Bookshelves.
What are your Halloween reads and scary suggestions?

Check out scary posts at Murder, Monsters, & Mayhem (Mx3)

Add your own scary post to Murder, Monsters, & Mayhem (Mx3) linkup.

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It’s National Poetry Day in the UK, with all sorts of readings, events, and fetes honoring the poem. Oh, how I wish today were all about poetry love in the US. Ok, so it’s technically the 57th Annual Poetry Day, founded by Robert Frost in 1955. But despite intense googling, I have only been able to find one event, albeit it’s a doozy.

Outgoing US Poet Laureate and 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner W.S. Merwin will read today at 6 pm in the auditorium of the Harold Washington Library, in Chicago. Admission is free and open to the public on a first-come basis. Anyone in Chicago, or in Illinois for that matter, should beat a path there fast.

Sponsored by The Poetry Foundation, the Poetry Day reading series has featured such luminaries as T.S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Carl Sandburg, W.H. Auden, Anne Sexton, John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich, Gwendolyn Brooks, Billy Collins, and Seamus Heaney. Still, I can’t help wishing that there were also corollary events in schools, libraries, and communities across the country.

Though perhaps perceived by some as one of the more elusive forms of literature, poetry is still relevant, engaging, and, I would argue, much-needed in today’s society. In August, when Philip Levine was named the new US Poet Laureate, his books of poems completely sold out in bookstores and online. (His inaugural reading is set for Oct. 17). Just last month, Britain’s Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy compared poetry to texting and encouraged school teachers to do the same. Today, the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Swedish Poet Tomas Tranströmer, the first time someone has won for poetry since 1996.

We do have a National Poetry Month in April, to which I am greatly looking forward. Still, I wish there were more fanfare and participation in Poetry Day founded by American legend Robert Frost.  Just saying, couldn’t we all use more poetry in our lives?

3 Great Sites to Get Your Poem On
Each features a poem-of-the-day and searchable databases of poets, poems, and all things poetic.

Poetry Foundation/Poetry Magazine

Poets.Org/American Poet Magazine

The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor

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