BOO! Here come my fave delicious horror classics for you, my spooky soulmates out there. – And a chewy, blackcurrant glazed oatmeal-and-cherries cookie recipe for all the scaredy cats. Boo!
Halloween reading is like any reading: you curl up with a glass of milk (rice milk for me, thankyouverymuch) and cookies, in your hands the magic gate to another world. Isn’t that beyond exciting? To shake up my monthly reading suggestions, this one comes with a recipe. Because not everyone cares for books. I KNOW! I KNOW!!!
HORROR CLASSIC: CARMILLA
I really don’t know why everyone (myself included) is so crazy for Drake.
Carmilla was the first charismatic vampire, beating Ze Bloody Count by 26 years.
But yet, how many Carmilla movies do You know? Exactly. So unfair.
That being said, I am so going to see the recent Dracula flick featuring the Bard the Bowman actor. (I totally don’t know the guy, but as the trailers appeared, I went: whatttt?)
Anyway, I digress.
So I have a soft spot for Irish authors, and Le Fanu is no exception. However, when I was small, the name mislead me into thinking the author was French. To make fun of myself, the Kindle edition of Camilla I’m currently reading is… in French.Et pourquoi pas, hein ? Carmilla is a simple story of deceit and seduction, but it’s absolutely fascinating and beautifully paced.
LYCANTROPY STUDIES: THE BOOK OF WERE-WOLVES (1865)
The author, Sabine Baring-Gould (dear German friends, it’s Mr Baring-Gould), was a Victorian priest and novelist. Thus, reading this book is like being a hero in a film like El club Dumas: it’s a ‘serious book’ about werewolves. It would be uber-dorky – wouldn’t it be so bloodcurlingly authentic.
The lycantropy studies expore the ancient sources, Norse traditions, Middle Age incidents, “known werewolves”, the Folklore. The author delves into the “natural causes of lycantropy”; investigates many ‘werewolf’ stories such as the terrifying case of chevalier Gilles de Rais (the French lord who was a Jean d’Arc companion, later convicted as a brutal serial killer – of children *gulp* – a case as mysterious as the Knights Templar trials; such were the days, ladies and gentlemen, such were the dark days)…
‘SHARP OBJECTS’, THE DEBUT (2006) NOVEL
OF THE AUTHOR OF ‘GONE GIRL’
This is not a horror book, it’s completely 100% mystic-free, but it’s one bloody well-written thriller. I enjoyed it both as a reader, and as somebody who’s a quill for hire, in the broader meaning. Okay, that was humble Complicatedish for “I’m a pro writer”. The book sent goosebumps up and down my spine. The story has it all: a damaged soul, a dangerous mother-daughter relationship, brutal murders… Words are scars. The book is piercing, terrifying, intense, and reminded me of the classic detective stories. Of course I loved that the protagonist is a female journalist. That goes without saying.
A BLOODCURLING HORROR CLASSIC
Last but not remotedly least on this month’s list is Mister Nameless Horror Himself:
H.P. Lovecraft, “Bloodcurling Tales of Horror and Macabre”.
Let me start off with a rant.
People who say “Lovecraft is not scary”, are you kidding me?
Are you kidding me?
Can you even READ?
Lovecraft has to be enjoyed with the historic context in mind.
Don’t compare his work to some trashy horror films you’ve seen lately. No. Go for tabula rasa, because Lovecraft calls for an attentive, rapt, devoted reader.
Offer yourself to an unknown, an other dimension.
Read with abandon. Read voluptuously. Feel the cold cosmic horror creep into your veins, listen to words you can’t grasp, take in the nameless fear and let it float through you.
His stories are written to get lost between the lines.
Yes, they are repetitive. Yes, we’ve seen it all already (because he came first, Sherlock).
Yes, Cthulhu has been made into terrific cute anime-style figurines (oh just look up “Chibi Cthulhu” on Etsy. You’re welcome).
Yes, the weird names can sound funny.
But they shouldn’t. Lovecraft is a game you willingly play. The subtle naiveté is a great frame to the author’s real phobias. Take off the cynic’s hat and give it a try.
True story – when I was a kid, my Dad used to tell me horror stories on Sunday strolls. They were long strolls in the woods. Mum could chat with her friends, and I would ask Dad for another story!.. And another! And another! 🙂
TIME FOR THE CHERRY & OATMEAL COOKIES! NOM!
What’s a good night’s reading without milk + cookies, right?
Here’s a vegan, gluten-free and (almost) sugar-free version. You need your fave porridge ingredients, chia seeds (to stabilise the cookies, otherwise they won’t be chewy, they will bend), and a few dollops of a very good blackcurrant jelly. Apart from jelly, I add no sugar and no sweetener. The cherry preserve I use is made of cherries and cherry juice with no additives.