In honor of tonight's Halloween, I thought I would plug a great idea touted by Neil Gaiman, called All Hallows Read. His premise is outlined in a recent blog post and even has its own website now. The premise is frightfully simple - give a person a scary book to read for Halloween. Not instead of trick or treating mind you (perish the thought!) but as an opportunity to encourage reading (and we certainly need more of those!).
In Australia, Halloween is pretty much a non-event with hardly anyone bothering to decorate their houses and even less bothering to hand out candy. The American Women's Auxiliary here in Melbourne (of which I am the proud, if inept, secretary) holds an annual 'trunk or treat' event to provide the necessary Halloween candy fix. Basically about 100 cars roll up, open their decorated trunks and provide a kind of automotive neighborhood for kids to trick of treat along. My boys LOVE it and we now have enough candy to eat for an entire year. If only I had heard of Neil Gaiman's great idea, I would have suggested we hold an All Hallows Read event alongside it. That would have been pretty cool.
I also think the concept of All Hallows Read is a great one and it's got me thinking about the scariest books I've ever read. Given I have an exceptionally low tolerance to gore and horror, my 'scariest books' are pretty tame. Even my 6 year old sons would no doubt scoff at my cowardice...but I remember getting chills reading Rebecca as a teenager and the early Patricia Cornwall novels in my twenties. Last year Justin Cronin's The Passage had me pretty spooked (but in a more distant, cerebral way than the scream-out-loud variety).
Given I am such a wimp, I could do with your help and advice:
What book would you chose to give for All Hallows Read (could be either an adult or a children's book)
Which book was the scariest you ever read?
Has there ever been a book so terrifying that you couldn't even finish it?