Friday 7 October 2011

All Hallow's Read

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What book will you give as an All Hallow's Read?

With less than four weeks to go until Hallowe’en I thought now would be a good time to bring this great ‘tradition’ to your attention as I am sure that many of my UK readers at least may not have heard about it. I am a huge, huge Hallowe’en fan and love the way it is celebrated in the US, and it is a shame that as a nation we don’t manage to do it in quite the same way over here. Thus, I was really excited when I read about All Hallow’s Read, and decided that it was something I would definitely be doing, and encouraging others to do, this year. 

All Hallow’s Read is the brainchild of Neil Gaiman, writer of one of my all-time favourite books, Neverwhere, amongst many, many others. His ‘modest proposal’ first saw light of day on his blog here and soon afterwards another website was set up to bring the idea to a wider audience. The principle is a simple one: in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book. That’s it. Brilliant isn’t it?! You can never have too many excuses to give people books in my opinion. The books don’t have to be new, this is more about ‘making a holiday tradition of book-giving’. I have a feeling this is going to grow and grow in the coming years, and I am already following the buzz on Twitter with the #allhallowsread hashtag.

As well as encouraging my work colleagues to take part I have also emailed a number of the authors and publicity people who have been so good towards The Book Zone over the past two years and hopefully I will be able to tell you what some of their All Hallow’s Reads would be, but in the meantime I have already decided on the books I am going to give to friends and relatives this year (yes… books plural, why limit it to just one?). Amongst them will be:

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

One of my favourite books of this year and a truly chilling read to boot. It may have been written as a YA book but this one will be going to a horror-loving adult and I know it will terrify her, and she will love me for it.

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

I came very late to horror and even later to the work of Stephen King. My good Twitter friend Lara suggested 'Salem's Lot as the ideal place to start. To say I loved it may be a little odd as I felt creeped out almost from the very first page, and it plagued my thoughts for several weeks afterwards, but for me it is one of the best horror books I have ever read.

Department 19 by Will Hill

Still my favourite book of 2011, a copy of this will be winging its way to my godson who loves action and horror. My other godson totally loved this book and keeps on asking me when the sequel is due out.

Mr Mumbles by Barry Hutchison

The first book in his brilliant Invisible Fiends series and perfect for my godson’s younger brother who is just beginning to show an interest in the horror genre.

Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire by Tommy Donbavand

I mustn’t forget the boys’ younger brother of course, and Tommy’s books are simply the best way to introduce kids to the classic movie ‘monsters’. If you have not yet discovered the Scream Street books and you have a 7+ year old boy then try Fang of the Vampire on him, and then be prepared to buy the next twelve books in this series.

and, of course, one of my lucky friends will be receiving a copy of Mr Gaiman's book The Graveyard Book. There is a reason this book has won so many awards - it is simply brilliant!

Unfortunately I only have so many pennies in the bank so I will also be scouring my local charity shops over the next couple of weeks looking for other classic or unusual horror books that will then find themselves with unsuspecting new owners come Hallowe'en.

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