Sometimes you just need to have your spine tingled.

Or maybe you're curious. Curiosity killed the cat, right, and it can lead to dark places. I read Stephen King's It because I had to know what kind of book could be so terrifying that my fearless mother would toss it under the bed to collect dust rather than read to the end. I pulled it out, dusted off the cover and scared myself silly. Curiosity also accounts for my penchant for true crime novels. What could make people so terrible?

October feels like the right month to consider scary, creepy, chilling reads. Obviously, we're leading up to Halloween. But as the air gets cooler and the nights fall faster and the trees grow barer, curling up in a warm lighted room with a frightening book just feels right. (Of course, this assumes traditional fall weather, not the endless summer we're experiencing in my part of the world, but nonetheless ....) That's why we're reading a book by Shirley Jackson, a master of the literary horror novel, for this month's Make America Read book discussion, and I've rounded up some more spine-tingling reading recommendations: 
After I read a scary book, I almost always read something comforting. This year, I'm craving Anne of Green Gables thanks to this quote I keep seeing: "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." I do feel that way, and Anne's chatter and optimistic outlook will be the perfect antidotes to all this creepiness.

— Hillary 
More creepy reading

Shirley Jackson's literary ghost story, The Haunting of Hill House, is our next selection for the Make America Read book discussion. We'll compare our favorite chilling details at 8 p.m. EST Oct. 30.

We chat on Slack. Email to be included. 

Free ebook of spooky stories! 

Melanie Nelson grew Annorlunda Books out of her love of short stories. Like me, she likes short stories because they fit easily into our lives and let us try out new authors and genres. Small but powerful, short stories often distill some aspect of the human condition to its absolute essence

Melanie is offering Make America Read subscribers a free ebook copy of one of Annorlunda's "taster flight" collections of classic short stories! To get your copy of Small and Spooky, visit the GumRoad page for the book, click "I want this," and enter the code, "makeamericaread." 

(And you might want to join Annorlunda's mailing list. One subscriber each month wins a free ebook!)

What I'm reading

The favorite: Goodbye, Vitamin, Rachel Khong 
The moment this book won me over was when the main character says everyone wants a sandwich after flying. What a weird and accurate observation. Khong is excellent at describing and recognizing small but poignant everyday moments. I'm not sure the turn to second person near the end was necessary, however, it wasn't distracting enough to hurt this light, satisfying read. 

Up next: When I Was A Child I Read Books, Marilynne Robinson 
The title made me pick it up, and Robinson quoting Walt Whitman in the preface made me want to read all the essays in this collection. I'm leading a discussion series this spring at the Mercantile Library — Cincy folks, you should join! — focused on new American literature and its classic influences. Among the books we're reading is Robinson's Lila, discussed in conjunction with Whitman and Willa Cather. 

Read Harder: Check out my complete Read Harder list here

Reading links
I've been looking for books to give me context for topics in the news. Maybe you have, too.  And I've also needed some lighter reading:  And finally, a case for reading classics: 
Until Lewis Carroll wrote about Alice's adventures, phrases like "Off with their heads!" weren't part of our lexicon. When you read classics, you get more jokes. I've often teased my husband that he's missing half the jokes on The Simpsons, and so many other movies and TV shows reference classic literature. (Two of my favorites: Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You.)

Housekeeping note: I use Amazon affiliate links for books throughout this newsletter.
If you purchase books through these links, I will earn a small commission, which I probably will spend on books. 
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