When I was a younger person, I would be unreasonably disappointed by books and stories that had ‘ghost’ or ‘devil’ or ‘haunting’ in the title, but were really about metaphors and people’s pasts. I have become more tolerant in adulthood, but only a little.
I like to be utterly spooked when reading. I grew up in a cold fall/winter climate. Sometimes the heat would go out during our below zero winters (we in Wisconsin laugh when people complain about weather that is “below freezing”). I would hunker down under clothes and blankets, struggling to turn pages in a double layer of gloves and mittens, to read about women whose lovers crowned them with blossoms and had their life stolen away by the first frost, or rich people who locked themselves in warm, velvet-strewn rooms only to have the cold hand of plague sweep through their parties.
I read Jane Eyre this way, which is a story for another time, but I can never extricate my love of that novel from the freezing cold forever edging at my toes in low lamplight beside the broken art deco fireplace of my father’s old house. Now, in the apartment I live in, which is heated in only one room, and has windows that fail to block the wind’s breath, I’m reading White is for Witching, and before this finished Carmilla.
I would not call Carmilla a great piece of literature. It’s barely even good. However, women clasping hands and kissing on the mouth is done particularly well in the story, and doesn’t fail to thrill. On top of this, there is something delicious about reading a vampire novel that both predates Dracula, and would have Bram Stoker stroking in offense at the blatant sexuality.
I have been nearly unable to put down White is for Witching, thought I will probably have more to say about it when I’ve finished. Right now I will just say that it does not fail to disappoint when it comes to supernatural elements or story.
What are you reading for this spooky season?
P.S. I finished my novel and took up blacksmithing last week.