I saw this tag done by the Orang-utan Librarian back in 2018 (before I was brave enough to do tags – can you imagine?!) Created by Anthony of Keep Reading Forward, I thought it’d be a fun one to do today to celebrate the start of the Wyrd and Wonder mini event Spooktastic Reads … Hurrah! Hurray! Let’s get spoopy!
Witch: A magical character or book
At the risk of being repetitive and thus boring, the only answer I can give here is Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown and its sequel The True Queen. They’re magical books, with magical characters, set in a magical world and I frigging love them!
Werewolf: The perfect book to read at night
Ha! Reading at night? I’m asleep. (I love being in my forties, no one expects me to stay up all night anymore).
But I read before bed, and I try to keep my bedtime reading light or non-fictional. At the moment I am rereading the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde and The Five by Hallie Rubenhold.
Frankenstein: A book that truly shocked you
Naomi Alderman’s The Power shocked me. There are some pretty grim scenes in there that I won’t forget in a hurry. Perhaps the most upsetting thing about reading this book was that I know I’d abuse this power if I had it, because I’m really no different from the people I’d want to punish.
The Devil: A dark or evil character
The Other Mother from Gaiman’s Coraline always seemed pretty dark … I think it’s the black buttons for eyes. Or maybe it’s that she keeps the souls of dead children. Hmmm …
Grim Reaper: A character that never should have died
Levitas should never have died in Temeraire. He should have been loved and cared for all his days and it kills me that he wasn’t.
Zombie: A book that made you hungry for more
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson made me want to read everything ever written by her and learn all about her too (I have Ruth Franklin’s biography of Jackson to pick up soon). I love her creepy, weird take on things.
Gargoyle: A character that you would protect at all cost
Dear, gentle Kippa from the ongoing Monstress series by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. You are a fluffy ball of adorableness who’s fallen in with a dark and dangerous lady, Kippa. Please don’t get eaten!
Vampire: A book that sucked the life out of you
Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky – soooooooooooooooooo bleak.
Ghost: A book that still haunts you
Beloved by Toni Morrison. Everything about this book will haunt me forever, because how could it not.
Demon: A book that really scared you
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. One of the few ghost stories I’ve read and it scared me silly. My husband, Thumbs, and I went to see it at the theatre on a trip to London a few years ago, and that scared me silly too.
Skeleton: A character you have a bone to pick with
Darian Frey. You annoy me. I’m worried about reading the final Ketty Jay book because of you. For all that I enjoyed the first three books, I remember you and your misogyny. And, yes, I remember too that you were getting better from book to book, but what if, when I return to your world, I can’t stand you, because I’ve, you know, grown and stuff? I want to say it’s not you it’s me, but, dude, it’s totally you. Please don’t be an arse in that final book, I need to know that Jez will be OK.
Mummy: A book you would preserve throughout time
This is the cruellest question. I have so many! Jo Walton’s The Just City and Corrag by Susan Fletcher, Ten Million Aliens by Simon Barnes and The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, People of the Book of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, Katherine Swift’s The Morville Hours, everything by Diana Wynne Jones and Robin McKinley, The Butterfly Mosque by G Willow Wilson …
… but, if there can be only one it would have to be Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. I carry Connie in my heart and I need her to survive.
Creepy Doll: A cover too scary to look at
Ha! This is such a real thing! As a kid I didn’t used to be able to touch any page that made mention of something scary or disgusting because I genuinely thought I might get infected by it and terrifying covers were even worse. The book cover that I remember most clearly being afraid of is the cover for the hardback edition of Del-Del by Victor Kelleher. It was a library book and I took off the plastic-wrapped jacket and hid it while I was reading it. I can’t even tell you why I found it scary.
I also feel deeply uncomfortable about book covers with big faces looking out of them. I find eye-contact difficult IRL anyway, without an unblinking face staring out at me whenever I put a book down. That’s pretty close to a deal-breaker for me, but fortunately it’s not a fashion in cover art right now.
Thumbs is a big horror fan and he has a handful of books by Clare McNally, all Corgi editions with this creepy-ass artwork on them of kids staring out at you (I can’t find any details about the artist) and they make me go nope-nope-NOPE! I’ve never been so grateful that books are stored on bookcases spine outwards.
What was the creepiest book you read when you were younger? What books or characters haunt you? Which book would you protect throughout time? Consider yourself tagged, or comment below.