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Trick or Treat or Scary Book? Scary Book, Please

I know Halloween is not traditionally a bookish celebration, but I have fond memories of scary reading in my youth. Ever since I became too old for Trick-or-Treat, I’ve preferred staying in on Halloween. I like to see the costumes and hand out candy. I like to eat the candy myself. And I like to scare myself with a good book.

In the latter years of elementary school I discovered Stephen King and scared the bejeezus out of myself reading Carrie and Cujo under the covers. Stephen King was my favorite scary author during the junior high years, though I also dipped into “true” stories like The Amityville Horror. I’m still haunted by those black flies.

At some point I stopped reading the really gruesome stuff, but I remained drawn to the darker tales. After reading Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” in English class (I can’t recall which grade), I hit the library and read every story she’d ever written. In many ways, Jackson’s stories were even scarier than King’s. They just seemed so possible.

Today, I don’t often browse through the horror genre section at the local bookstore or library, but I still enjoy a good scare. Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam series is full of terrifying revelations. William Gay’s dark characters and spooky, familiar, backwoods settings send my heart racing.

I don’t have any spooky reading on my bedside table today, but I think a trip to the bookstore may be in order. I miss that spooky, lonely, on-edge feeling that occurs when you are left alone in a dim house with nothing but a good book and the possibility that the doorbell will ring just as you get to the good part.

Happy Halloween.

About Tiffany Quay Tyson

Tiffany Quay Tyson is a writer living in Denver, Colorado. She was born and raised in Mississippi. THREE RIVERS, her debut novel, was a Colorado Book Award finalist and a finalist for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for fiction. She is a 2016 Amtrak Resident. She is currently working on her second novel.

4 comments on “Trick or Treat or Scary Book? Scary Book, Please

  1. Terry Everett
    October 31, 2012

    Happy Halloween to you, too, Tiff. I’m always glad when it’s over. All best, Terry

  2. Laura
    October 31, 2012

    I am not familiar with “The Lottery.” I may have to give that a read sometime! Enjoyed your comments on Trick or Treat vs Scary Read.

  3. gary s
    October 31, 2012

    Doesn’t get much scarier than the Harrikin, does it T?

  4. Alisa A. Gaston-Linn
    October 31, 2012

    I remember when I was little reading about the Amityville Horror in the newspaper as it was happening. One night I was on the floor in front of the sliding glass doors reading the part about the red pig eyes and I looked up into the darkness and just started shaking. That kind of scary is just freakish.

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This entry was posted on October 31, 2012 by in Good Books and tagged , .

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