The Hallowreadathon really snuck up on me this year! It feels like just a couple of days ago that we were posting the announcement and challenges, and somehow the readathon is this weekend? I have no idea how it happened! So what am I planning to read?
For our Trick or Treat prompt, the book that has recently joined my lair (and one that I’ve been saving just for this weekend) is The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik. I loved A Deadly Education, the first book in this dark academia magic trilogy, and think that this is perfect spooky season reading. It’s been a real struggle not to read it! But it is a game of chance…
I’m not sure I totally thought through how I would do the book that’s been haunting my shelves the longest since I cleared out my Goodreads shelf in a moment of digital decluttering. Luckily, I have a blog! And with that comes years of talking about books, including this haul from 2015! It’s always a little cringey reading out posts but it did remind me that I have a very long boxset of Penguin Little Black classics. And I haven’t read any of them in a good while. So, I dusted them off and pulled out the one I felt was most halloween-y; The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
It’s that time again everyone! The leaves are changing, the weather is turning and all I want to do is bake cookies and curl up under a quilt. And, of course, read. So without further ado, the eighth Hallowreadathon! This year will run from Friday the 29th to Sunday the 31st (the big day!) and both I and my co-host Asha will be over on the Hallowreadathon twitter to cheer you on. We’ve also concocted a few prompts for you to fill, if you want to.
1. Trick or Treat!
Our first interactive prompt! We want you to toss a coin for this one; (pumpkin) heads means it’s time to pick up a book that has recently joined your lair, whereas (forked) tails means you have to dig up the unread book that’s been haunting your shelves the longest.
2. Read a book with white on the cover!
Nothing fills me with dread more than a white cover, as someone who tries to keep their books nice and clean. But we were also thinking of ghosts and ghouls, bare bones and the cool quiet moon on a cloudless night. Pick a book with a white cover, spooky or not, to fill this prompt.
I’m back with some more books that will fill the Hallowreadathon 7 prompt: a book featuring an important house. I gave you ten options last week and now I’ve got seven books that I’ve personally read and recommend!
Starting with classics of various genres and ease of reading!
Despite it looking average sized, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James is actually a short novella. It’s about a governess that goes to look after two children in a house in the countryside. Only to find the house comes with some surprises. This is also the basis of The Haunting of Bly Manor, the follow-up to The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix.
The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey is a golden-age crime novel about two women who live in a huge house in the English countryside. They’re then accused of kidnapping a teenage girl and trying to make her their servant. It’s a good example of the crime novels that inspired modern-day ‘cosy mysteries’, and a great option for a slightly less creepy read.
Will I ever be able to forget Cathy’s ghost at the window in the beginning of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë? Absolutely not. If you’re feeling confident with your time management for the Hallowreadathon, this is a great chunky option for you. The old house on the barren moors is the setting for this toxic love story.
Next we have Young Adult books…
If you’re after vampires, I think Glass Houses by Rachel Caine is a great option. Not only does it have house in the title, our main character ends up living off-campus in a mansion described as “Gone With the Wind meets The Munsters” with an… interesting array of roommates!
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson was actually one of my Hallowreadathon reads last year. The important house is broken down and abandoned, and where our main character does her witchcraft. Only to bring her friend back from the dead! I love this one.
If witches are your thing but you want ghosts, instead of zombies, How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather is for you. The story of a girl that moves into a old, slightly-haunted house in Salem… Only to find that the local descendants of witches aren’t thrilled with her being a Mather.
And finally, my slightly oddball pick for those of you that like strange…
The 2020 debut, Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas. I couldn’t explain this and do it justice but I originally described it as ‘Wuthering Heights meets Skins’. Not sure if that helps but this is a must-read for anyone who likes weird books.
Have you read any of these? Will you be reading any for the Hallowreadathon next weekend?
When I posted the prompt list for this years Hallowreadathon, I had one book in mind for this prompt. Therefore, it was only when I was putting my recommendation list together (coming soon!) that I realised… this is slightly more specific than usual and it might be quite tricky to find a book that fits! So here are ten options that fill the prompt of a book featuring an important house. These aren’t books that I’ve personally read but they all look wonderful. I can tell some of these are going to make their way onto my shelves at some point. Some are scary, some are charming, hopefully there’s something for everyone!
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
When glamorous socialite Noemí Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it’s clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but her claims that her husband is poisoning her and her visions of restless ghosts seem remarkable, even for her. Noemí’s chic gowns and perfect lipstick are more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing, but she immediately heads to High Place, a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside, determined to discover what is so affecting her cousin.
High on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the loss of Lily, mother of twins Eliot and Miranda, and beloved wife of Luc. Miranda misses her with particular intensity. Their mazy, capricious house belonged to her mother’s ancestors, and to Miranda, newly attuned to spirits, newly hungry for chalk, it seems they have never left. Forcing apples to grow in winter, revealing and concealing secret floors, the house is fiercely possessive of young Miranda…
In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, its owners – mother, son and daughter – struggling to keep pace. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret. Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
Rolf Rudolph Deutsch is going die. But when Deutsch, a wealthy magazine and newpaper publisher, starts thinking seriously about his impending death, he offers to pay a physicist and two mediums, one physical and one mental, $100,000 each to establish the facts of life after death. Dr. Lionel Barrett, the physicist, accompanied by the mediums, travel to the Belasco House in Maine, which has been abandoned and sealed since 1949 after a decade of drug addiction, alcoholism, and debauchery. For one night, Barrett and his colleagues investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townfolks refer to it as the Hell House.
The home that belonged to Angela Toussaint’s late grandmother is so beloved that townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington, call it the Good House. But that all changes one summer when an unexpected tragedy takes place behind its closed doors . . . and the Toussaint’s family history – and future – is dramatically transformed. Angela has not returned to the Good House since her son, Corey, died there two years ago. But now, Angela is finally ready to return to her hometown and go beyond the grave to unearth the truth about Corey’s death. Could it be related to a terrifying entity Angela’s grandmother battled seven decades ago? And what about the other senseless calamities that Sacajawea has seen in recent years? Has Angela’s grandmother, an African American woman reputed to have “powers” put a curse on the entire community?
Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has. In his notebooks, day after day, he makes a clear and careful record of its wonders: the labyrinth of halls, the thousands upon thousands of statues, the tides that thunder up staircases, the clouds that move in slow procession through the upper halls. On Tuesdays and Fridays Piranesi sees his friend, the Other. At other times he brings tributes of food to the Dead. But mostly, he is alone. Messages begin to appear, scratched out in chalk on the pavements. There is someone new in the House. But who are they and what do they want? Are they a friend or do they bring destruction and madness as the Other claims?
In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado
For years Carmen Maria Machado has struggled to articulate her experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship. In this extraordinarily candid and radically inventive memoir, Machado tackles a dark and difficult subject with wit, inventiveness and an inquiring spirit, as she uses a series of narrative tropes—including classic horror themes—to create an entirely unique piece of work which is destined to become an instant classic.
At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, is the Finch House. For years it has remained empty, overgrown, abandoned. Soon the door will be opened for the first time in decades. But something is waiting, lurking in the shadows, anxious to meet its new guests… When best-selling horror author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in one of the country’s most infamous haunted houses, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won’t be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt will become a fight for survival. The entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them a part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek.
When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss–a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten–by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare–one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
I can’t believe this is the seventh Hallowreadathon! And the second with my lovely co-host Asha! And, for the first time ever, a three-day readathon rather than two days. This is for a couple reasons; Halloween is on a Saturday so we thought it would be nice to have Friday to get excited, Saturday to enjoy the best day of the year, and Sunday to wind down and extend the vibes that little bit longer. Plus, y’all voted for this! Make sure to follow us on Twitter to keep up to date on all that.
So how about some prompts…
1. Read a book featuring an important house!
Of course, we have no idea how the world will be by halloween but personally I’ll be staying home. And how better to make sure my socially-distanced halloween is as scary as possible by reading a book where the house is an important part of the story. This can obviously range from a cosy closed-room mystery, to the kind of gothic horror that will make you jump at every creak of a door and scratch at the window. Is it just a branch in the wind? Or something more nefarious? Curl up under a blanket and read instead of going out to check!
2. Read a book that’s been haunting your TBR!
You know the book. It’s been sat there and every time your eyes pass over it, there’s a shiver up your spine because you know it’s been there for way too long. Maybe you’ve picked it up a couple times and never made it past the prologue. The way this book is haunting your TBR is up to you, this is your push to read it!
3. Read two books!
Despite extending the readathon to three days, we still want it to be a relatively calm experience. It’s been a weird year! Curl up with some cocoa, a cat on your lap, and eat all the candy yourself while you lose yourself in two wonderful stories.
So make sure to join us from the 30th of October to the 1st of November, using the hashtag #hallowreadathon and keep checking back for lots of recommendations to fulfil those prompts. See you then!
The nights darken, the sweets are ready for the trick-or-treaters and the sixth Hallowreadathon approaches. So I’ve piled up truly too many books that fit the challenges so I have lots to choose from! Hopefully if you’re taking part, this might give you a few last minute ideas. Don’t forget to follow the official Twitter and use the #Hallowreadathon to be in with a chance of winning a spooky care package!
It’s my favourite time of year again. The leaves are turning orange, there are little black kittens scampering around as I type and pumpkin spice is being added to every food you can imagine. This is the sixth year I’m doing my little readathon and I’d be thrilled if you spent some time reading with me this holiday! The Hallowreadathon will run for 48 hours, from the 30th to the 31st of October and there are a few challenges too if you feel like creeping up your TBR.
1. Read a book with witches! There are a lot of really great books about witches coming out lately and I’m hyped about this publishing trend. Whether it’s fiction or a how-to guide, there’s a lot to choose from and a perfect way to honour Samhain!
2. Read a book with black on the cover! In honour of bats, cats and rats, pick up a book with black somewhere on its cover. 3. Read two books! It can happen! We can do it! I’ll be tweeting the whole two days with the #Hallowreadathon hashtag (you can follow me here) and I’ll be giving away a book and some halloween candy to a random person who uses the hashtag over the weekend.
It’s getting close to the best day of the year: Halloween! I still need to stock up on chocolate but considering we didn’t get any trick-or-treaters last year and I have an assignment due on the second day of my own dang readathon… it’s mostly for me. You can learn more about the Hallowreadathon and the challenges here, and here’s the pile of books I’ll be picking from!
2. Read a book with Green on the cover! Finding books with green on the cover is surprisingly hard! You’d think with grass, and trees, and just the fact that it’s the best colour (totally not bias) that there’d be a lot more green covers. But what did I manage to find? A Christmas Return by Anne Perry* dropped through my letterbox and it has so many things going for it: it’s short, it’s very green and the readathon lasts until the day after Halloween = Christmas. Bodacious: The Shepherd Cat by Suzanna Crampton* has to be on the list because not only is grass green, but this kitty has the prettiest green eyes! Curling up with whatever foster cat I’ll have at the time and reading about cats seems like spoopy goals. Persuasion by Jane Austen is also on the list because I’m a huge audiobook fan and since the audiobook is 9 hours, I can totally do that in one day! Plus, I’ve been in a real Austen mood lately.
Are you joining the readathon? What are your picks for the challenges?
I’m going to be hosting my annual halloween readathon again this year! It’ll run from the 31st of October to the 1st of November and it’s a pretty chill readathon. There’s no sprints, no failure, just a couple people spending halloween with their nose in a book or two! The challenges, just to spice up your TBR, are: 1. Read a book with a magic world! From Hogwarts to Narnia, Middle Earth to the Magisterium, this Halloween I’m going to be picking up a book that’ll take me into a world where magic exists and away from the reality of trick-or-treaters making my chocolate supply dwindle!
2. Read a book with Green on the cover! I actually picked this years colour before dying my hair bright green but if you can’t tell- green is my favourite colour, and I’m excited to get some of my green covered books down from my shelf! 3. Read two books! I believe in us! We can do this.
As for the giveaways! You can enter to win the Hallowreadathon Prep box, with two books fitting the readathon challenges and everything you need for two days of spooky reading, by going to this tweet and RTing! And anyone who uses the #Hallowreadathon hashtag during the readathon will be automatically entered into a random draw for a Christmassy themed box of goodies that will be picked when the readathon ends!
Another year, another Hallowreadathon over! It’s always really lovely to see people getting their spooky reading on, and this year was no exception. It’s hard for me to believe that this was my fourth year hosting my little readathon! Next year it’ll be half a decade of spooks. But what about my reading, eh?
Poison City by Paul Crilley As the readathon approached, I wasn’t sure if I was going to pick up Poison City or Carrie by Stephen King from my TBR pile. But Poison City won out, mainly because I’ve read Carrie before and I find re-reads to be a little slower for me. I really enjoyed this, I didn’t quite finish it but it’s so much fun and I can’t wait for the next book. It’s a similar type of thing as the Ben Aaronovitch books I’ve dabbled with in the past, but the world feels more- real. I loved it, and it ended up having ghosts in at as well as a red cover!
Dracula by Bram Stoker Oh boy. I don’t know why I thought I could finish a 20-hour audiobook in 48 hours. Even on 1.25x speed, I didn’t even get through half! But even a little Dracula was a relief to me, as I’ve not really been enjoying the gothic horror classics that I’ve been reading lately. Frankenstein? Didn’t like it. My Jekyll and Dr Hyde? Hated it. Dracula? Loving it so far. Finally, an actual scare with a red cover.
So I didn’t complete the challenge of finishing two books, but I’m still really happy with the reading I did and the spooks that came with it! If you want to see a more successful Hallowreadathon Wrap-up, check out Freya, who did great!
What did you read over Halloween? Have you read either of my picks?