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17 Days Until Halloween

I have another 2010 book to recommend for your Halloween reading: The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle. The novel follows fictional 11-year-old Tabby as she's taken to become a maid at the distant and dilapidated Seldom House. There she encounters her very dead predecessors and her very live charge, a precocious and wayward little boy, whom she tries to protect from the sinister forces around them, as well as his own ignorance and willfulness. As the two unravel the secret of Seldom House, they discover that peril comes from forces far older and much closer than they could have imagined.

Dunkle nests her story within the larger context of the Brontës. According to the novel, the fictional child (who has all the courage and tenacity of Neil Gaiman's modern-day Coraline) grows up to be the "real life" adult Tabby who serves as the Brontë family's housekeeper at Haworth, the one who reportedly told the Brontë sisters dark and imaginative tales -- some, Dunkle implies, from firsthand experience. The author suggests that the "heathen git" child that Tabby protects at Seldom House is none other than the "real" Heathcliff, whom Emily Brontë later immortalized in her masterpiece Wuthering Heights.

In short, it's ideal reading for a dark and stormy night. You can read my full review here at Goodreads.

Boston Cemetery by cookiefleck

Thanks to cookiefleck for today's spooky picture!

Text of the Day: Today's short story is perfect for the season, "The Little Black Train" by Manly Wade Wellman (1903-1986).

Teaser: A ghost train running on the High Fork Railroad. Spawned by a curse during a love quarrel that ended in the murder of the engineer of the train. The Little Black Train is destined to come back and take away the guilty.

Read the complete story here.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Abbie [wordpress.com]
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
Do you have a list of these Halloween reading recommendations somewhere? It would probably longer than my arm, but I'd love to peruse it!
Oct. 15th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
Oh gosh, I haven't really done anything systematic. This is the first year I've highlighted brand new releases, and thus far I've only reviewed two (this one and the 2010 edition of Verne's Castle in Transylvania). I'll see if I can't put together something more organized. ;) Thanks for your interest!
Oct. 16th, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
Here is a good one, if a bit loooong:

The Undying Monster

DO NOT wiki or google it (some of the 1970s paperback covers are especially bad) unless you want to ruin the mystery.

I first came across a copy on a revolving book rack in the local drug store c. 1970. My father must have bought it for me, because my mother took one look at the truly horrific (but spoiler-free) cover and took it away until I was a few years older. I still have that copy, and a hardback from 1936, probably the second edition, surprisingly its paper is less brittle.
Oct. 16th, 2010 01:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the recommendation (and the warning not to read spoilers). I'm definitely putting it on my reading list.
Oct. 16th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Jesse Douglas Kerruish wrote at least one good short horror story also, "The Swaying Vision" (reprinted in the Ash Tree Press 1997 Annual Macabre).
Oct. 15th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)
Yay, you used one of my photos! Those photos have been sitting in my computer for about 4 years and never saw the light of day until today. I'm glad your earlier LJ entry reminded me of them.

I looked it up online, and it appears I was at the Granary Burying Ground in Boston.
Oct. 15th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
These links are fantastic! Thank you so much for identifying the graveyard. If it's okay with you, I'll use one more of your photos later this month. Thank you!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )