The Mountains of Instead

Championing fiction as an escape from pandemics, politics and bad TV.

This is Halloween! Some Terrible Treats for the Weekend...

I love Halloween, I always have.  I think anybody who is a reader, or who spends a lot of time on their imagination can't help but be entranced by an evening so driven by stories.  Even as a very young child, I liked the sharp thrill of fear, found between safe pages and each year, I ferret out my favourite scary stories to read and re-read in front of the fire, surrounded by the deep gloom of October evenings.

This year, we were lucky enough to receive not only new editions of two all time favourites, but also a rather special book that offer both a Halloween challenge and a lot of fearsome fun.

Firstly, Alma Books were kind enough to send us two of their Young Adult Classic series:

I read both of these books as a teenager and they have remained close to my fearful heart.  I was actually rather obsessed with Hounds of Doom as a child.I was convinced that a werewolf regularly stalked the field behind our house. Really. So of course, I read The Hound of the Baskervilles. It terrified and thrilled me in equal measure, feeding both my desire to see an aforementioned Hound of Doom get his just deserts and my innate love of a good mystery.  The story did both and continues to do so. It is a tale that stands up well to repeated re-reads and sends a shiver down the spine every time.

Dracula is, while similarly Gothic in tone, an altogether different kettle of fish.  It has the most tremendous sense of forboding from the very first page and Stoker maintains an atmosphere of malingering, yet highly seductive, murk to the last. The story is frightening, the setting ominous and the fate of all those drawn towards the titular Count highly uncertain yet Dracula sits, like a spider in the heart of his web, horribly and terribly attractive.  That, of course, is where the true horror of the story lies.  For those who have experienced vampires only through Buffy and the CW network, this is the genesis of all those characters you hate to love.

These new editions from Alma  not only have fantastic new covers courtesy of illustrator, David Mackintosh, but also have great sections at the end of each story exploring the authors and books that might be excellent next reads for those who want just a little bit more darkness in their light.  All in all, both the stories and Alma's new take on packaging them are highly recommended.

For those of you who want a little more fun on fright night, Dandy's Horrorgami is the book for you!

This is an excellent introduction to the art of paper-cutting via the medium of, well, every horror story you care to think of. The book is beautifully produced and comes with cut-out-and-make sections to help you on your way to some truly terrifying spooky scenes. I have yet to take scalpel in hand and try these out but I certainly will be this weekend and have already invested in a few copies to hand out at Christmas.  As you can see below, they should keep even the most avid horror afficianado pretty happy.  If not covered in band-aids (that may just be me):

I am sure that mine will look EXACTLY like those when I am done hacking away at the pages.  Possibly.
Thanks very much to the folk at Midas PR for sending this unusual and challenging project our way!

Now that we've hopefully got your collective Halloween read on, don't forget to take part in the Neil Gaiman created All Hallow's Read.  Any of these books would be fantastic to pass on to the nearest fan of spooky stories.

Happy Reading and Happy Halloween - don't have nightmares....

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