Books to Read During Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching and you may be in need of something to read. This usually is the time of the year to pick up some horror books. But, as I haven’t read that many books among that genre, I decided to list some of those that I consider appropriate for this time of the year instead of choosing favourites. The books mentioned below all feature either dark, twisted or spooky elements which intend to leave the reader feeling uneasy.

 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Even if you have never read Frankenstein, you may be familiar with the story it tells. Victor Frankenstein manages to animate lifeless matter, but the creature born of that experiment is nothing like what he had expected. This is a book about how a creator deals with the destructive actions of his creation.

 

The Dumb House by John Burnside  

A dark story is conveyed using beautifully crafted prose in The Dumb House. The main character, Luke, is obsessed with the issue of life and death, the existence of a soul, and questions if language is either learnt or innate. This leads him to a twisted experiment performed on his own children. Continue reading

Books I Would Like to See Adapted to Screen

I may be wrong, but I am under the impression that an increasing number of the films and TV series being released lately are adaptations of books. Although sometimes I wonder if that stems from a lack of new ideas, I think this adaptation frenzy can be a good thing, since more people may become interested in the books that were the source of inspiration and then starting to read more.

There are some books, which haven’t been adapted yet, that I feel have the potential to be either great films or TV Series. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan is one of them. It tells the story of Serena Frome who is recruited by the MI5 after graduating from the University of Cambridge in the early 1970’s. Her assignment is to select young writers with anti-communist views whom will be offered financial assistance. This spy story becomes more complex when love is added to the mix. Someone should hire Joe Wright to direct it, as he did a fantastic job with Atonement.

A book I also think could be turned into either a fantastic film or TV series is The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis in the original Portuguese) by José Saramago. This is one of my favourite books by a Portuguese author. The main character of this novel is Ricardo Reis, one of the many heteronyms created by Fernando Pessoa. Saramago transforms Ricardo Reis into a real person who returns to Lisbon after the death of his friend Fernando Pessoa. He discovers a Portugal living under the shadow of dictatorship. Continue reading

‘Tinder’ by Sally Gardner

My rating: 4 stars

When I was a little child, all the books I owned had drawings accompanying the words I had been learning how to read at school during the day. But as I grew up books with drawings almost completely vanished from my shelves. They have now made a return with Tinder by Sally Gardner and illustrations by David Roberts. This is a fairy tale retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Tinderbox, a story I made sure to read beforehand. Themes such as war, love and the fear of the other are present in this book which was an entertaining and, in some occasions, frightening read.

Otto Hundebiss, a soldier who has had enough of war, narrates in the first person the story of his adventures following his meeting with a mysterious half-man, half-beast, who helps him to regain his health and gives him a set of dices which reveal the direction he must take. Along the way, Otto is followed by a cloaked man who can turn into a wolf. While trying to hide from him, Otto meets the brave Safire and falls in love with her. However, they end up being separated and Otto takes as his mission to reunite with her.

As he tries to achieve that undertaking, Otto meets the Lady of the Nail and discovers the power of the tinderbox, as well as acquires quite some gold. What follows involves dark magic, werewolves, violence, blood, dreams and nightmares. But there is also a pinch of references to current real themes, for example when some villagers are quick to blame the one they see as the outsider for some of the incidents that take place. Continue reading