Monday, May 23, 2016

...#Readathon2016 with a scary book twist...

If I cannot inspire love,
I will cause fear!'”
~ Mary Shelley

Reading to a bunch of ghouls and boys
On Saturday, I resurrected Mrs. Jeepers, the Transylvanian teacher who begins teaching at the Bailey School in the book Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots for #Readathon2016. Even better, I participated with the RVA Horror Book Club and Red Vein Army by being a reader inside the Fort of Fear, a giant blanket fort. With the raining days continue, I cannot imagine a more perfect time to be inside.

Keeping it thematic! My drink after reading ;)
I enjoy reading to young people partly because before becoming a professor I was a K-12 teacher. Fortunately, I still teach adolescent literature to future teachers so I get to keep up with some of the reading but actually reading to young people has become much rarer.  This was a super fun event. Not only did I get to read to young people but by the afternoon the tent became a PG17 (okay, that reads a bit too ominous) locale as the stories got a bit more scary. Although, I will note that Neil Gaiman’s Hansel and Gretel is pretty darn scary.

When was the last time that you were read to? Think about it. When was the last time that you sat on the floor, possibly inside a blanket fort with flashlights, and were actually read a scary story? 

It reminded me of middle school sleep overs when we would whisper tales and urban legends, and try to stay up for the entire horror movie. Unlike many of my friends, my dad worked night shift so he was always lurking (literally sometimes and figuratively others) in the corners. Once while my friends and I were watching a really scary movie, my dad had gone outside most likely to get wood for the wood stove, my family’s main source of heat. A really frightening scene in the movie happened while we heard fingernails scraping the window screen. My friend was so scared she *literally* peed on the floor. She seriously never lived that one down. Oh, Dad! He was always doing that.

Most of my childhood included my father rolling his eyes in the back of his head with his arms outstretched like a cross between Frankenstein’s monster and a Romero ghoul. I would squeal and run only to come back for more. Like those darn zombies, my dad just never stopped; he always kept coming.

Reading and telling scary stories in the dark, I hadn’t realized how much I actually missed that. I wish we had been able to set up a tent outside and continue reading into the night.
Listening to Mr. Scream Freak!
One of my favorite parts of the day is meeting Mr. Scream Freak himself! The group actually had to conjure him into the tent. This was the first time that I have met him and I have to admit with his demonic nature and a bit of a Southern accent I have a bit of a professional crush ;)


  1. So cool to come in out of a dark rainy day to find "adults lolling on pillows quietly reading horror stories.

  2. I love how you put the Skellington heads on the kids haha.

    Wow, conjuring a demon to read scary stories! What an event!

  3. Oh, this sounds like SO much fun!! Wish I could have been there! And I love the Skellington heads, too, very clever! :-)

  4. I often go to author events; last time I was read to was by fantasy author Joe (Godlike) Abercrombie. Once I stopped gazing at him in utter girly fandom bliss it was rather lovely to hear him read one of his short stories. My husband found the whole event a hoot - as he says, I'm not really the giddy fan girl type but I completely fell apart on meeting Gorgeous Joe.

    I often read to my husband. My own stories, Neil Gaiman & Poe shorts etc. He loves being read to, though he never picks a book up himself.