Friday, December 11, 2015

gothidays & books...scary ghost stories and tales of the glories

*MY* Ideal Bookshelf commissioned by Jane Mount
On the fifth day of Gothidays (check out the logo! Participate!), I’m writing about holiday stories—ghost stories and Christmas stories. 

As an English Literature professor, I love a good book. "Good" is actually pretty relative. When I first heard about the Ideal Bookshelf, I immediately commissioned one for my fella. This was the perfect type of tangible gift that I could give him. It turns out that it was one of his first Christmas gifts before we switched over to giving the gift of time. We both loved his Ideal Bookshelf so much that I decided that I had to have one too. When I selected my books for my *Ideal Bookshelf*, I chose the books that touched my heart. There are tons of books that I love; these eight have personal meaning. A few of these even saved my life.

Nearly every holiday, I attempt to make some type of reading connection because nothing sets the tone like a good book. 

Last year I mentioned the lyrics of Andy Williams’ classic “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” that acknowledges the tradition. “There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.” Many of you have read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. In fact, I think you might even want to plan a gathering to listen to Neil Gaiman read A Christmas Carol just as Dickens read it. My fella and I did that last year during Christmas and it was a great deal of fun.

For years, I have read a Christmas book during the season. From David Baldacci’s The Christmas Train to Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel to Richard Paul Evans’ Lost December to The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries ed. Penzler, I love a good Christmas story. This year for my horror book club, I read Michael Dougherty’s  Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas (2015).  Dougherty is the writer/director of Trick r’ Treat the Krampus movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  
Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas
Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas is the prequel graphic novel which tells four separate but sort of related Krampus tales. There are four chapters that revolve around a “bad Santa”, a sister’s death, a homeless family seeking shelter in a rich person’s home, and the fourth chapter that is an attempt to connect the three stories. Honestly, I would have been fine if the stories had been left completely separate but as with     Trick r’ Treat this seems to be Dougherty’s style.

Because the graphic novel was a quick read, I also picked up Brom’s Krampus: The Yule Lord. I just started this last week but I'm pretty sure that I will finish the entire book before this post is scheduled to be published. [Follow up: yep, I finished it on 12/09/2015). I have really enjoyed it and unless the ending is completely off the point I highly recommend it. 

If you’re not the reading type or perhaps you’ve caught on the bandwagon with the coloring book craze. Thank goodness my personal reader aka my fella pulls out articles for me to read. The Atlantic’s November 2015 article “The Zen of Adult Coloring Books” explains how this has become so popular. Albeit, I believe the author’s argument veers away from mindfulness i.e. if you aren’t paying attention to the television show, why not do something else? And, if you have a coloring book in front of you, shouldn’t you be paying attention to it? Anyway. The book that started the craze, "Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book," has sold over 2 million copies. Even my mother is coloring. I wouldn’t even mention this trend if it weren’t for these two books. The first is Richard E. Todd’s Cemetery Coloring Book: A cemetery inspired coloring book for taphophiles (September 2015).  The second, which is only available for pre-order for May 2016, is Abigail Larson’s Alice's Wonderfilled Adventures: A Curious Coloring Book for Adults.


  1. I love Neil Gaiman's poem "Nicholas Was", too - a bit of extra holiday creepiness!

    1. Cool! Thanks. I don't think I'm familiar with that poem. I'll look it up :)

  2. I'm excited about the Alice in Wonderland colouring book ... I'll probably buy that one! The ones I've seen in the bookstore so far didn't make me want to take up colouring again, although I did buy one for the youngest. I think she finished a few pictures before losing interest. :)

  3. I want to read Brom's Krampus, have you read The Child Thief? It's so good!

  4. We do the same thing with movies! My reading basically consists of art history, printing history, design history, and art history ... did I mention art history? Oh and American history! UGH