Would You Rather…? The Spooky Edition

Happy Halloween everyone! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading some spooky books this month, and learning about even more spooky books on Twitter thanks to all my new book blogger friends! I even wrote a creepy short story this month called ‘Pointing Fingers’ that I am super proud of. I went on a ghost tour of the Tampa Theatre and watched a lot of creepy movies. It definitely was an inspiring month! I hope y’all have a creepy and safe Halloween!

Thank you to The Belgian Reviewer for tagging me in this fun post!

Thrillers or Supernatural(s)?

Thrillers because they are so realistic. I absolutely love psychological thrillers with a good twist. The scariest things are ones that can actually happen.

Ghosts or Zombies?

Ghosts, for sure. I’ve always been obsessed with ghosts. Ghosts can be people you have known in your life, and that is super creepy.

Vampires or Werewolves?

Vampires because they are better dressed and less hairy.

Witches or Demons?

Witches because they are intelligent and have powers. Demons are pure evil with no real reason behind it.

Would you rather read a book with 13 chapters or a book with a black cat on the cover?

I do occasionally judge a book by the cover, and I doubt if a black cat on the cover would be intriguing enough for me to pick it up. I would rather read a book with 13 chapters.

Would you rather read a spooky book in the dark with only a candle for light or by yourself in a locked brightly lit room?

Reading a spooky book in the dark with only a candle for light is the ultimate way to read a spooky book! That would be so creepy, and it would enhance the spookiness of what I am reading.

Would you rather face your worst fears or be trapped in the mind of a killer?

I would rather be trapped in the mind of a killer. How people can be so evil is a mystery to me. I’d be curious to explore the nature vs. nurture argument.

Would you rather watch a scary movie or read a scary book?

This is a really tough one, since I LOVE watching scary movies and reading scary books. Scary movies visualize the creepiness really well, and can make you jump up in your seat and scream. Scary books tend to be a slow, creepy burn that settle in your mind and won’t let you go.

Would you rather read spooky books during the fall time or all year?

I love spooky books all year round. However, the Fall is a particularly fun time to read spooky books. Cooler temperatures in the air makes reading so inviting. And I do love a cozy reading nook.

Would you rather read 10 spooky books in October or 10 spooky books all year?

I would rather read 10 spooky books in October, of course!

Here are my top 10 recommendations for spooky novels:

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Bag of Bones by Stephen King

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Troop by Nick Cutter

The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike (Translated by Deborah Boliver Boehm)

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

And if short stories are more your thing, check out these gems:

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

The Visitors Book by Sophie Hannah

Bookish Fangirl

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#1 Fangirl

Several years ago, I was fortunate to receive an email advertising the author of The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, coming to a local high school that day to do a talk/book signing. I immediately called my mom and told her to cancel any plans she had that evening, because we were going to meet the author of one of our favorite books! It was an evening I’ll never forget. We listened to this incredible man talk about his inspiration for the book, and stories of him growing up in Australia. He was funny, and his stories were entertaining and laugh out loud hilarious! His Australian accent just added to the entertainment, and I was enthralled and inspired by his genius. He told a memorable story about pranking his brother by switching out the boiled egg he ate for lunch everyday for a raw egg, causing his brother to break a raw egg on his own face. Zusak was making a point in that telling a good story, you need the key elements of humor, detail, and suspense to keep the readers engaged. He set the bar high for author talks, and I was slightly disappointed when I met other authors after him, as they weren’t as entertaining or gregarious. That evening we waited in line for over an hour for Zusak to sign our books, and the personalized, signed edition of The Book Thief is still one of the most treasured books on my bookshelf.

Fast forward to a week ago, when I was browsing Facebook (actively procrastinating from doing actual work), and saw the magic words, “Markus Zusak in Kissimmee.” I could not contain my joy when I realized I could easily drive there and back in an evening. I had heard he had a new book out called Bridge of Clay, and of course was excited to read it. I read some recent interviews with him and found out it took him 13 years to finish this book. As I am currently struggling through the 6th year of my never-ending PhD journey, I felt I could relate to Zusak’s struggle to write. He might be able to teach me a thing or two about work perseverance.

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Proof of the fb conversation.

Before attending the event, I wanted to make sure it was more than just a book signing. Remembering how entertaining his talk was, I was only going to the event if he was also going to speak to the entire group and not just sign books. So, I decided to post a message on the facebook event page asking, “Will Mr. Zusak be speaking at the event or is this only a signing?” I waited patiently for an answer from the event’s sponsor, Books-A-Million. A day or so later, I saw they had replied, and clicked on it. It was Markus Zusak himself who replied with a humble, ” Hi Danielle – I will be speaking and then signing. Hope you can make it.” EEEEKKKK! Fangirl freakout! I definitely HAD to go to the event now, and was even more excited. I couldn’t disappoint my favorite author.

Super nervous to meet him again, I walked into the Books-A-Million and saw a small group gathered at the back of the store. I was surprised at the small crowd, since the last author event I attended for Zusak was a large room of over 100 people. Didn’t people know this was THE Markus Zusak, genius of the written word, who wrote an entire book narrated by death?? A small, humble crowd of about 20 people had gathered. These were the most devoted fans in Central Florida, I was sure of it. My electronic ticket was scanned, I was handed a book, and as I turned to the first page, I was so excited I couldn’t even read the words on the page. The girl sitting next to me had also traveled 1.5 hours to see him in person, and was equally starstruck/mesmerized.

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One of the best public speakers ever. If you get the chance, go see him in person. Amazing!

Zusak was just hanging around the bookstore talking to people before the event started. He was casually introduced and stood in front of the table, not wanting to use the microphone. Immediately, he was telling jokes and putting the audience at ease. He told various stories about how small details from his life made it into his latest book. One story was about how his mother dropped a basket of colorful clothing line pins on the ground one day after his siblings had played another raucous game of tennis in the backyard. He spoke about how he became a father after he wrote The Book Thief, and how that changed his writing. He said it took him this long to write Bridge of Clay because it took him that long to get the story and writing perfect, exactly how he wanted it. He gave up on the story twice, missed deadlines with his publisher, and changed narrators multiple times. You could tell he worked hard on this book and was proud of his work. He is an author that clearly values quality over quantity.

He spoke for 45 minutes, which was too short for me. If he did a podcast, I would listen to it everyday just for his storytelling and fun accent. Because the audience was so small, I only needed to wait in line for 15 minutes for him to sign my new copy of Bridge of Clay and pose for a photo. There was a guy in the audience who had a tattoo inspired from Zusak’s first book, I Am The Messenger, an intricate design of a deck of cards. There was a girl sitting in front of me with a well-loved copy of The Book Thief full of colorful, neon post-it notes. Turns out she wrote her thesis on the book, and knew it inside and out. See, I told you. His biggest fans were assembled in that Books-A-Million that day.

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Even Ella is excited to read Zusak’s latest book! Or more realistically… she will sleep while I read.

I left the event feeling inspired. Inspired to persevere and finally finish my PhD after dragging my feet for months. I felt inspired to write a book someday that would be meaningful to people. It was another evening I’ll never forget. I will read Bridge of Clay soon, and absorb every detail of Zusak’s writing. No doubt it will be another treasured book on my bookshelf.




Find Markus Zusak’s books on Amazon: