Chillers, Thrillers and Beasties

Horror Stories, Horror Books

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Darkness shrouds the night about me. I clutch at the blankets and burrow deeper into their fleeting comfort. Then a scratch at the door pierces the stillness. Thrusting a hand out, I grasp desperately for my sleeping protector. What is prowling just outside the door? Is it a fanged monster perhaps or some troubled poltergeist?

Setting my Horror novel aside, I discover kitty playing with a discarded rubber band. The heart stopping tension stays with me, however, as I crawl back in bed. Why do I read scary stories before bed time or at all? Heart pounding, shiver inducing tales of horror have been told around campfires of centuries. We humans love the thrill of being scared. Here are a few of my favorites:

Classic Horror Tales

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Modern Horror Favorites

  • The Stand by Stephen King (So many others!)
  • Relic,The Cabinet of Curiosities and other Agent Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Just about any story by Dean Koontz
  • True Blood series by Charlene Harris
  • The Narrows by Ronald Malfi
  • Bird Box (the book not the movie) by Josh Malerman
  • The Woman by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee

Have I missed one of your favorites? Please share in the comments. I’d love to add a good book to my reading list.

Chilling Links

Goodreads Horror Book Lists

Horror Writers Association(Proud to be a member)

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

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Classic Novels Are More Than Book Report Assignments

Books, Reading

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Unless you’ve developed your “reader chops” growing up with the Classics, the very mention of this far ranging genre may cause your eyes to glaze over. We’ve all been tortured with the obligatory book report on Moby Dickor Lord of the Flies. Sigh. I sometimes wonder if this academic approach discourages rather than encourages a love of reading.

I was one of the lucky kids who grew up with an appreciation of the awesomeness to be found in great works of literature. Raised in a knowledge desert on the outskirts of a military base in nowhere America, I took every opportunity to visit my little local library. Devouring everything I could get my anxious hands on, I developed a love for classic tales of adventure, sacrifice and unrequited love.

No movie, Netflix short or TV series can compare to a story written about a certain time and place in history by someone who actually experienced it.

Beloved Books I Discovered in My Youth

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

No Time for Sergeants by Mac Hyman (The movie is hilarious too.)

Books That Make You Think

The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and The Sea or pretty much anything by Ernest Hemingway

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (I know what you’re thinking! The Woman in White is covered in a future post.)

Books for The Adventurous

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Books That Rip Your Heart Out

Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason

I’ve just scratched the surface of this amazing genre. Many other novels and short stories hold a special place among these favorites, but I had to end the list somewhere. Did I miss your favorite? Let me know in the comments section. I’m always looking for book suggestions.

Here is the Goodreads.com list of popular classics. How many have you read?

Happy Reading!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

 

MURDER, She Read

Books, Reading, Mystery

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Footsteps echo against the crumbling walls of a deserted alley. Heart pounding, I take tentative steps into the suffocating passage. Then I see blood spreading across the cold stone before me. Sucking in deep gulps of frigid air, I’m pulled toward the lifeless mass. Dead fingers reach out into the dark unknown. What happened? I won’t stop reading until I find out.

I’m obsessed with murder mysteries. My book shelves are lined with dog eared copies of detective stories. This fascination doesn’t stop at the written word.  My Netflix, Amazon Prime, Britbox and AcornTV queues are filled with brilliant mystery series.

Why am I and others like me so enamored with this genre? Our brains love puzzles. We put on our deer stalker caps and pit our intelligence against the author’s seasoned detective. Sharing the main character’s anxiety to solve the case, we also compete with the clock.

Warning Dear Author! While I love competing with your detective, woe be it for you if I solve the mystery before they do. This is an unforgivable sin to a mystery lover. I’ve thrown books in the used book bin a time or two and vowed never to read anything by the offending author again. Stump me and I’ll be your loyal fan forever.

All Hail the Queen of Murder

Prolific author and master of the mystery genre, Agatha Christie tops the charts of my all-time favorite. In researching this week’s blog, I discovered discrepancies in the number of books she’s credited as having written in her lifetime. It’s definitely over seventy. Here are my top three:

  1. Murder on The Orient Express
  2. And Then There Were None
  3. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

More Top Puzzlers

Scanning my book shelves, I tend to favor classic British Mysteries like the Sherlock Holmes Adventures by Arthur Conan Doyle or the Father Brown series by G. K. Chesterton. In this post, I’d like to focus on some of my favorite American Authors.

  • Patricia Cornwell – Dr. Kay Scarpetta mysteries
  • Raymond Chandler – Farewell, My Lovely featuring Phillip Marlowe
  • Dashiell Hammett – The Maltese Falcon featuring Sam Spade

Mysterious Links

Have I missed your favorite mystery? Share the name below in the comments section. Stuck for good Mysteries? Check out the links below for suggested reads:

Goodreads Mystery Book Lists

Mystery Writers of America

Happy Reading!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

February Is for Book Lovers

Books, Reading

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It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Chocolate hearts, cupids and plush stuffed animals are everywhere. If you want to capture a book lover’s heart, however, you can skip the flowers. Nothing stirs their soul like engrossing tales told by powerful storytellers.

So Many Book Genres, So Little Time

I’m dedicating DTJ’s February posts to Book Lovers. Highlighting a different genre each week, I’ll discuss my favorite books and provide links to more great stories. Join me for the book chats!

Feeding the Addiction

I grew up in a family of avid readers. No stranger to the library, I rush to their “New Books” and “Recommended Reading” sections. Technology offers Book Lovers additional ways to discover their next great read. Here are a few suggestions:

Goodreads.com– Essential source to discover, track and discuss your favorite books

Bookbub.com– Sign up for the genres you enjoy. Bookbub sends daily emails with suggested reads on sale at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Rifflebooks.com– Similar to Bookbub, but may carry different books in each genre

Happy Reading!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

The Benefits of an Active Shelf Life

I’m a reader. Not just a reader. I’m a “must read the list of suggested books from my local library or online resource” type reader. Don’t try to limit me to only one genre. I’m interested in everything from books about local history to ghost stories to modern thrillers to classic tales. I will, on occasion, explore the works of foreign authors from diverse backgrounds. Why do I read everything I can get my little mittens on? I’m a reader, because I’m a learner.

The Benefits of Being a Reader:

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  • Reading is exercise for the mind – Your brain needs fresh knowledge to grow. Don’t stop learning just because you become an “adult.” Growth is essential for everyone regardless of age.
  • A well-read brain is a healthy brain, especially as we age – Staying active is important for a healthy body. Your brain ages too. Learning new things can help keep your mind sharp.
  • Reading promotes imagination – Movies, TV and video games are entertaining, but someone else is doing the imagining for you. Reading a book offers plots and descriptions of the author’s story scenes, but it’s your imagination building the world as you see it. You take away inspiration, encouragement and knowledge gleaned from what you’ve seen in your mind’s eye.

Read Often. Learn as Much as Possible. Share Your Knowledge.

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No Sweetie. Vampires Aren’t Sparkly

5 Reasons Why Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the Best Version of Himself

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Sparkly, but sullen teenage vampire hunks. Cutesy fanged monster toddlers. Friendly blood suckers who own hotels and throw parties. The entertainment industry has taken a classic horror icon and defanged him.

I’m a Dracula purist. Nothing evoked more fear in my childhood than the mere mention of the legendary vampire. Bram Stoker’s book haunted my imagination and inspired me to write tales of dark fantasy and horror.

Here are 5 reasons why Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the best version of himself:

 

  1. He is “The Count.” While Polidori penned “The Vampyre” decades before, Bram Stoker made Dracula an unforgettable classic character.
  2. His story is weaved with mysteries that keep the reader enthralled.
  3. Stoker’s book contains the common elements of Horror with a terrifying villain, elicits feelings of fear and dread, immerses the readers in a macabre world.
  4. His intelligence and power over his victims add a psychological terror element many of the other horror classics lack.
  5. Dracula is iconic. Put on a cape and fangs for Halloween. Everybody will immediately recognize your costume.

Dracula is my favorite monster of all time. If you’re looking for a horror classic to read during the Spooky Season, give it a try.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.Be Spooky. Be Gruesome. Be Goofy.

 

What Tales of Terror Are on Your Book Shelf?

The Spooky Season is upon us! It’s time for warm cider, pumpkin cookies and scary stories. Whether you indulge your ravenous appetite for ghosts and ghouls on the screen or in hard copy print, nothing is better than being captured in the pages of a book.

Looking for some “scare the pants right off you” ideas? Here are a few great places to check for suggested reading:

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Goodreads Lists– Here you can find a list of reader favorites for every genre. Try Horror and Paranormal in October for perfect Spooky Season suggestions.

Horror Writers Association– Why not look to the experts at Horror.org? As a member of HWA, I’ve had the opportunity to meet several of these gifted authors. You may recognize some of the Bram Stoker Award Winners on their website.

Grab a book or better yet, let a book grab you!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.