It is October! The month of spooky happenings is upon us and it will soon be time to crack out the Halloween reads and curl up by the fireside as the nights darken around us. So many thanks to Danni at For Books Sake for tagging me in this seasonally appropriate book tag, as created by Leafing Through Time!
Friday the Thirteenth: What is a superstition you believe in?
I’m a fairly rational person but there are certain superstitions I just follow because they were such a big part of my childhood, such as ‘see a penny, pick it up, and all day long, you’ll have good luck’. I also call black cats ‘lucky’ and avoid walking under ladders.
IT: What scares you the most?
I tend to be more scared of things happening to people I love than to me. In terms of personal fears, I’m really not fond of spiders. They’re fascinating creatures – and amazing for keeping the nasty bugs away from the garden – but the way they move just gives me the shivers! My compromise with spiders is that they get left alone if they stay outside – if they’re in my house I’m afraid they get served with an eviction notice sharpish!
Scary Movie: What’s a book or movie that made you laugh?
Anything by Bill Bryson tends to make me laugh – he has such a wry sense of humour and a great eye for the absurd. His two books about Britain – Notes from a Small Island and The Road to Little Dribbling – always make me howl, although his book about houses, At Home: An Informal History of Private Life is probably my favourite book by him as it is packed with interesting bits of social history.
Frankenstein: Who is your favourite monster?
I’m not sure that ‘monster’ is the right word but I think the story of Medusa is really interesting. For a long time she’s been known as the woman with the snakes for hair who can turn people to stone, but – as with many female figures in antiquity – her story is much more complicted than that. According to Ovid, Medusa was seduced (read: sexually assaulted) by the god Poseidon in the Temple of Athena. This act of sacrilige angered Athena who, for some inexplicable reason, decided to punish Medusa by turning her hair into snakes (instead of, I don’t know, taking the matter up with Poseidon maybe?). The Medusa myth is long overdue a re-write and I’d love to see an author such as Natalie Haynes or Madeline Miller provide Medusa’s own persepctive on her experiences, in the manner of A Thousand Ships or Circe.
Paranormal Activity: You’ve turned into a ghost! What ghostly thing are you going to do?
Haunt people I don’t like. There’s a few world leaders in need of a good old-fashioned haunting right now!
Scream: What is the scariest book/movie you’ve ever read/seen?
Definitely Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black! I read the book on one dark and stormy October evening when I was curled up in a caravan with the wind howling around the van and rain lashing on the roof – it made for a very atmospheric read and I didn’t sleep a wink! It’s an exemplary ghost story, filled with atmosphere and with one of the most malevolent ghosts to grace the pages of a book. The film, whilst not an exact adaptation, does an excellent job of rendering the atmosphere and the scares, whilst the stage play adaptation is suitably terrifying!
Zombieland: The zombie apocalypse has begun! What will be your weapon and hideout of choice?
I’m going to follow the guidance given in Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide – a long-handled melee weapon and a remote location (because everyone knows that, in the zombie apocalypse, human survivors are going to be the real enemy). So its a nice weighty golf club and a remote house (preferably moated) for me. Although no hiding for too long – the secret to survival in the zombie apocalypse is to keep moving!
Dark Shadows: What is your favourite book or movie featuring vampires?
You can’t beat a classic so I’m going to go with Dracula by Bram Stoker. Whilst Stoker wasn’t the first writer to turn to vampires, he did create a lot of the traits we associate with them today and the book remains a riveting read today.
Hocus Pocus: You are now a witch. What would be your first wicked act?
As with the haunting, I think there’s a few world leaders, global businesses, and lukers in dark corners of the internet who are in need of a good hexing in the world right now!
The Nightmare Before Christmas: You get to plan Halloween this year! What will you do to make it an unforgettable day?
I’m not a big celebrator of Halloween – as a Brit, I find the decorations and the trick and treating to be overly commercialised. I prefer to think more in terms of the Gaelic tradition of Samhain, which marks the end of Harvest and the coming of Winter – so this time of year is all about bonfires, ghost stories, and cosy winter food and drink!
Thank you again to For Books Sake for tagging me! I’m going to tag Drew at The Tattooed Book Geek, Stephen at Stephen Writes – and you! If you decide to give this tag a go, please link back to this post as well as to the tag’s original creator!
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