October 25, 2011

All Hallow's Read Celebration and Book Giveaway

Last year, Neil Gaiman started this thing. This thing that is about giving away books. It started on Twitter, as the best ideas do. He suggested making Halloween a book giving holiday: All Hallow's Read. On October 31st give a friend, co-worker, lover, teacher, any combo of the above, or a total stranger a scary book.  If you want to go crazy, stock up on some classics and give them away instead of candy (that's the adult in me, the kid says pass a book out with candy please). Share reading, especially with someone who you think may not be receptive. Not sold? Learn more from Neil Gaiman in this video with zombies:

I gave away a book last year, and this year I'm giving away two. I believe books and words are some of the most precious gifts a person can give, and well, why wouldn't I share that if I'm able to do so.

You'll actually get your book a few days after Halloween, but I'm guessing you won't mind. Sometimes it's the thought and not the timeliness (try that line on your next important anniversary!).

How to Enter
1. Leave a comment telling me about a book that scared you BEFORE 9pm PST on Friday, 10/28.
2. Leave a valid email address in the comment (or just choose to receive replies when others comment).
3. Ideally be able to reply by Saturday morning with a shipping address if you're the winner. You'll also need to let me know what level of scary you like. Because if you're like me, you'd want a scary book made for a five year old. I don't judge.

Because I want to play, I think one of the most creepifying books I've ever read was I Am Legend (Richard Matheson). Then there's the diner issue of The Sandman (Neil Gaiman). It left a mark. In the past year, I've been disturbed by in a very raw way by The Road (Cormac McCarthy) and the recent Animal Man comics (written by Jeff Lemire, art by Travel Foreman).

Follow the #allhallowsread hashtag on Twitter for scary book recommendations!


  1. The books I can remember scaring me the most are "The Dark Half" and "The Stand", both by Steven King. I haven't re-read "The Dark Half", but I've read "The Stand" several times. When I'm reading it and I hear anyone sniffle, I have a minor freakout.

    It's all good though.

  2. Very cool! I'm giving a few books to my friends as well for it (already gave one, the other's in the mail).

    Book that scared me--probably the scariest ever was It by Stephen King, which I couldn't even finish. :( I made it a few chapters in and freaked out.

  3. I think "Silence of the Lambs" did it for me; I read it in bed, in one go, the day I bought it. Maybe it was just the sleep deprivation, but it was much more sinister than the movie adaptation.

  4. Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (the book that inspired the movie) gave me the creeps when I read it: it's way stranger than either movie versions.

  5. I think the book that scared me the most has been House of Leaves. I loved the mystery, I loved the way it completely messed with your head, and I loved the way that it made the dark really scary again. A night home alone suddenly was terrifying.

    wolfsamurai at gmail.com

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  7. Alvan Schwartz' "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" had this terrifying story when I was little about a singing dog and a man's head falling through a fireplace in a haunted house called "Me Tie Dough-ty Walker". I still get shivers thinking about it.

    Most recently I read Joe Hill's "Heart-Shaped Box". A story has not given me nightmares in years, but this one frightened me to read at night.

  8. To remember a book that truly got under my skin and scared me, I have to go way back to childhood. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I read all 3 "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" books (the ones with Stephen Gammell's illustrations) one weekend. I had to sleep with my closet light on for a week.

  9. The book that scared me the most was Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill.
    A very creepy and unsettling ghost story.
    Beautiful, beautiful stuff.

  10. Most recently, I read Sister by Rosamund Lupton. I'm not usually easily scared, but that book creeped me right out - maybe because I was reading it alone in a strange house. Seriously. Chills.


  11. I read Stephen King books way too early in life because my reading skills always surpassed my age, so when I was still in middle school I read The Shining. The dead-woman-in-the-bathroom scene nearly had me running upstairs to my parents' room! Lol. I still am a little cautious about pulling back the shower curtain...

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  13. I remember as a teen reading Pet Sematary and not being able to sleep with the book in my room! What a wimp! I totally love this idea and have embraced it also. This year and every year forevermore, my kids and hubby are receiving scary books from me (the Goddess of the house). To start my 8 year old daughter off in the scary genre I bought Coraline and for my 5 year old, a zombie book (he LOVES zombies). Hubby gets a SK classic "The Shining". You are awesome to give a stranger a scary book.


  14. I don't really get "scared" reading but Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box is fantastically creepy. And Rotters by Daniel Kraus took me to some dark places.


  15. I think the book that scared me most was Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Doll's House. The guy hanging on the wall freaked me out, the picture of him (both mental pictures, and obviously the actual picture from the book) was stuck in my mind for months afterwards.

    The Sandman series, in general, has some scenes that has scared me quite a lot. As you mentioned, the diner story is pretty disturbing, but I also got a couple of nightmares from the guy with teeth instead of eyes.

    I feel my post is getting very Gaiman-centered (he is my favourite author, excluding Tolkien), but I'd also like to add that his Coraline was the first scary book I ever finished. I always thought there was something scary about dolls, and that book didn't exactly help...

    E-mail: morning_star at hotmail dot com

  16. Without a doubt, It by Stephen King scared me the most. Pretty sure it's where my fear of clowns started!

    About half way thru the book, I came home from work one day to find my clown doll, a doll my grandma gave to me when I was little and which was buried away in a box, sitting upside down on my bed. Needless to say I was freaked out. Rationally I knew the apartment owners kid was in the apartment messing with my stuff (I moved out not long after) but seeing that clown scared me so much that I stopped reading the book for 6 months. I went back and finished the book, but whenever I see a clown I think of pennywise and shudder!

    I will be giving someone a copy of It this All Hallow's Read.


  17. I haven't read a lot of scary books, but one that did sometimes creep up in my dreams was World War Z - you know, the one about the zombie apocalypse as told via interviews by people that survived... it was soooo detailed you almost thought it happened! Kinda creepy, but a good read and some of the stuff in the book could come in handy if a zombie apocalypse ever did happen! Can't wait for the movie to come out - curious to see how they do it!

    email: rajohnson829(at)gmail(dot)com

  18. I love scary books. Recently, House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski and The Devouring by Simon Holt. House of Leaves is a post-modern haunted house novel that is pretty creepy. The Devouring is a surprisingly scary teen book that involves horrible creatures that take over your body and trap you in your worst nightmare inside your own mind. The first in the series is the best.

  19. First time really scared was 8 years old reading The Two Towers under the duvet with a flashlight. She-Lob scared me so bad I put the books away for 3 years..
    As an adult I have to admit that John Ajvide Lindquist second book scared me bad.
    And Coraline was unsettling in that it awoke the memory of some deep hidden nightmare I had as a child, where my mother turned out to be a monster.
    The monstrous and damaged humans in zombie apocalypse "The Walking Dead" (cartoon) also scared me for beeing all too realistic, like when children kill children.

  20. I don't really know much about the horror genre, outside of when I was about ten, and was terrified by a Sweet Valley thriller (*shame*). I don't know which one, nor can I remember what it was about, but it more or less turned me off horror forever (and then at 13 I saw Gremlins, [!] which scared me away from horror movies, too).

    So since then, I haven't read a book that terrified me, but I did find The House of Leaves to be quite disturbing. Creepy, jarring, and something like not being able to totally understand what was going on... When I finally finished, I really wasn't sure whether I should have read it or not. It stuck with me, in the corners of my vision, for some time afterward. Creepy.


  21. oops, my emailaddress:

  22. In 7th grade I picked up 'Misery' by Stephen King. I read it cover to cover without pausing-not even during the school day. (Teachers = not very happy.) I will never forget the shivering in my stomach and the cold feeling at the base of my spine when I turned each page.
    To this day, it's one of the books that still gives me the shakes.

    Email: dangerousangel113@gmail.com

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  24. The joker in me says Rush Limbaugh's "The Way Things Ought to Be", but really I would say the compilation of H.P. Lovecraft stories called "The Best of H.P. Lovecraft". Not only did it contain his better known Cthulhu stories, but it also contained (IMO) Lovecraft's most Edgar Allen Poe-esque story "Rats in the Walls" that freaked me out. It scarred me to the point I dreamt about it that night, and to this day still remember the freaky feeling of waking up feeling the rats walking on me as I tried to grasp waking reality that there were no rats.

    email: seanseger@gmail.com

  25. I tend to not read a lot of horror, as I have way too active of an imagination, so the scariest novel I've ever read has to be The Shining by Stephen King. So scary it took me too tries to make it through it. It's a great book that still gives me the shivers. It might be this novel that has kept me from reading more horror!


  26. I tried reading Brian Lumleys Necroscope series in 6th grade and was scarred by it. I had been creeped out by King, but his books weren't as visceral and disturbing. Kept me off horror for a while.

    Recently i picked up Clive Barkers "Books of Blood," and it scared me more than any book in my adult life. Debased, disgusting and wholly enjoyable.

    Adamgreeney at gmail

  27. The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker is wonderfully chilling and has a great female lead.

    Kai Charles

  28. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levine was the first truly "scary" book I remember reading. It's been a while since I've read anything that really terrified me (the kind of scared where you're too afraid to get out of bed to make sure the doors are locked). Now I'm wondering if the books I'm reading are less scary or if I've just become desensitized.


  29. Hm... a book that really stuck in my mind as being scary I guess because of how real it was was 'Gerald's Game' by Stephen King. But... I guess there were quite a few others but that's the first that comes to my mind. Also, it's been a while since I read it maybe that's got to do with it as well.

  30. It would have to be King's Salem's Lot. I was in grade school and stayed up all night reading it. I can remember finishing just before dawn, and feeling like the sun could not rise fast enough. I fell asleep in school the next day and screamed myself awake from a Salem's Lot induced nightmare. Now that I think about, I'm not sure which was more horrifying, the book or screaming like a lunatic in the middle of class.

  31. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub.

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