Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Reads

Hi guys. Can you believe it’s October already? I see people worrying about how time flies, but let’s not panic.

When I lived in Wisconsin, I loved to see the seasons change, and the aroma of hot chocolate in the air when I walked by the cafe on my way to class, and it was so exciting to watch everyone getting ready for Halloween. I’m in Brazil now, and to my grief we don’t celebrate Halloween here, but I thought I should drown my sorrow in a scary wave of Halloween(ish)-themed books. Some of these I’m going to reread, because I love them, others I’ll read for the first time. Feel free to join my book marathon. Some of these are MG books, just so you know.

1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

I don’t think Harry needs an introduction. But, in case you haven’t read the Harry Potter series yet, you don’t know what it is to feel bewitched. I read this one when I was twelve, and since then have been hoping to go to Hogwarts. When Harry turns eleven, he finds out he is a wizard and goes to a school of wizards to start his training in witchcraft and wizardry, embarking on adventure after adventure to master magic and the art of making friends. On top of that, he learns that his parents didn’t die in a car crash like his uncle and aunt told him his entire life. An evil wizard killed them, and is now after Harry to finish what he started.

Don’t read this book when you’re hungry. The scenes about the many feasts will leave you grumpy.




2) Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman. In fact, I think I have a crush on him. Don’t tell it to him, though. Coraline is one of the best Halloween(ish) books out there. It’s not YA, though. It’s MG. But I’m twenty-four, and the things in this book creep me out. You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for a creepy reading experience.

Coraline finds a mysterious door in her new house, and steps into a parallel world that looks eerily familiar. There’s a mother and a father who look just like her parents, the difference is that they have buttons for eyes. The Other Mother suggest she should stay with them forever, as long as Coraline allows buttons to be sewn into her eyes, which she doesn’t accept. Upon her return to the ‘real world’, Coraline finds out her real parents have vanished, and she realizes the Other Mother kidnapped them as punishment.

If you have koumpounophobia, don’t read this book.


 
Video uploaded by CoralineFilms on YouTube.
If you're interested in the movie, 
visit Coraline.com for more information.
Isn't Neil Gaiman handsome? 

3) The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

Another of Neil Gaiman’s amazing books. I still haven’t read this one. A great thing about it is that Neil read all chapters and posted them online for everyone to watch / read. He is a great storyteller, and it’s always interesting to see the authors’ interpretation of their work, the way they emphasize certain words, the way they pause here and there, showing us important clues to figuring out the plot.

Nobody Owens, Bod, escaped his murderer as a toddler, and the dead inhabitants of a graveyard raised him. He is in danger in the graveyard, where adventures abound, though probably safer than he would be if he were outside, where the man Jack -- the man who killed his entire family -- still lurks.

Many people who read this book say they cried when they read the end. I don’t know why. Knowing this makes me a little nervous. We’ll see what happens!

4) Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman

Okay, if you haven’t watched the movie, go ahead and watch it. You won’t regret it. It’s one of my favorite movies, and Stevie Nicks' Crystal certainly is a catchy song ("Do you always trust your first initial feeling?" Okay I'll stop singing now). The movie was based on this book by Alice Hoffman, and I don’t know how similar they are. I hear they are very different, actually, but I suppose the essence is the same. This is a case of ‘watched the movie first’, but I still am curious about the book.

Sally and Gillian are raised by their aunts when their parents die. The fact that their household is of witches, however, is no secret to the town where they live, and the girls grow up feeling ostracized by the other kids and the rest of the community. When they get older, the ways the find to escape their sad past is by getting married (in Sally’s case) and running away (in Gillian’s case). The sisters’ lives are brought together when Sally becomes a widow and Gillian accidentally kills a man. They try to build a peaceful, normal life together, but a ghost haunts them. The only weapons they have against it is to embrace the powers they neglected for so long.

Although it probably doesn’t show in my quick, lame summary, this book also is about falling in love. And family bonds. If you feel like falling in love this Halloween, read it!

5) Witch Child, by Celia Rees

This one I read in Portuguese a few years ago. I want to read it in English now. If you like epistolary novels, read this one. One of the things I love about this book is how it makes you feel like you really are reading Mary’s journal. I almost felt guilty, and at the same time very curious to keep reading it.

In 1659, Mary’s grandmother is hanged. Accusation: witchcraft. In order to escape a similar fate, Mary runs away to the New World with the Puritans, disguised as one of them. But Mary is a witch, and she has healing powers she constantly finds a need to use, and the gift to see the future. It’s really difficult for her to hide her identity at a time of such strong religious intolerance. It also doesn’t help that many girls in the community start spreading rumors about Mary -- at that time, rumors most certainly could kill. Rumors sent Mary’s grandmother to her execution, after all.

I warn you, the book is left with an open ending. It will leave your breathless.

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Have you read any of these books? What other books do you suggest?

Happy October,
-- Becca 
:)

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"I turned around and the water was closing around me" -- Stevie Nicks







6 comments:

  1. One of my favorite Halloween reads is "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury. I recommend it to anyone!

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  2. I liked the Graveyard Book, but honestly don't remember crying at the end. Good stuff!

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  3. Thanks Jolene. I'll add it to my list. Yeah, I don't know why, but many people say they cried at the end of the Graveyard Book. I'm glad you didn't, Kristine. :)

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  4. Great list and great books! I will admit to crying at the end of Graveyard Book, but it isn't for the reasons you think! :)

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  5. Some great picks, Rebecca!! LOVE Practical Magic. : )

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