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This & That: The Best Spooktober Reads
Also, the family's September favorites.
Hi there, readers!
Today’s edition of This & That is jam-packed with great lists: my favorite spooky stories for October, our family’s favorite reads of September, and a handful of great links. Let’s jump right in.
The best spooky stories
I’m probably missing some titles from earlier in my reading life, but these are what stand out in my memory from the last few years. Besides dipping into horror, traditional murder mysteries are also great — Agatha Christie and Louise Penny can’t be beaten.
Civil War Stories by Ambrose Bierce. This haunting, sometimes jaw-dropping collection has stayed with me.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Perhaps the finest example of psychological horror . . . it’s a slow build that really delivers.
The Hunger by Alma Katsu. Mixing horror with history? Count me in!
‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. Really, any Stephen King title could be on this list. ‘Salem’s Lot is the most Halloween-y.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. One of my all-time favorites.
Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay. A unique, memorable riff on the zombie sub-genre.
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. Follows in Stephen King’s footsteps, but takes things in a new and awesome direction. I was as invested in this story as anything I’ve read in years.
The Anderberg family’s September favorites
Jane — Tom Lake was an Ann Patchett classic — not real heavy on plot, but loaded with rich characters and enchanting prose.
Graham (8 years old) — Percy Jackson stole the show in September. Graham just started book three this week.
Willa (5 years old) — Through the first few weeks of school, Willa has regularly been coming home with a Who Would Win? title. The Ultimate Showdown edition was her favorite so far.
Bo (2 years old) — Little Bo is definitely starting to enjoy being read to more and more. Just as all of our kids have been at some point, he’s really into The Pout-Pout Fish.
Links to peruse
“I Was Wrong About the Death of the Book” — The title of this one says it all. Great piece from The Atlantic.
“Maybe the Book Doesn’t Need to be Disrupted” — Related to the above. Being in tech, I’m constantly aware of companies trying to “disrupt” every possible industry. Most bookish startups fail rather quickly; maybe it’s because books are perfect as is.
Football Morning in America — If you’re a fan of football, Peter King’s Monday morning column is the best single thing you can read from week to week.
Why Your $7 Latte is $7 — Most of my java consumption consists of home-roasted, French-pressed coffee made in the comfort of my own kitchen. When I go out, though, I’ve been shocked to find that a cup of black coffee is $3-$4, which is double from pre-pandemic days. Thankfully, prices for unroasted green coffee beans from coffeebeancorral.com haven’t changed.
“Booksellers Stock Up on Genre Fiction” — BookTok has made genre fiction (basically, anything not “literary” fic) immensely popular. Booksellers are taking note and pivoting.
Thanks so much for reading!