Coffee and Contemplation: Haunted Nights (Anthology)

For this week’s Coffee and Contemplation segment, we’re discussing an anthology of short stories from different authors. Sixteen stories focused around our favorite holiday, Halloween. Some stories even incorporate aspects of Samhain, All Souls’ Day, Día de los Muertos, and Devil’s Night. These stories include a little of everything including vengeful ghosts, trick or treating, urban legends, and jack-o’-lanterns. This is the best collection of Halloween themed stories I’ve read. Each story is a different tale. Some are suspenseful and dark. A couple have a little humor. It’s a fun collection for any time of year.

I found one story to be anti-climactic, but the rest were wonderful. Many of the stories include traditions that are not associated with the commercial Halloween. What some might call the old ways. I appreciated that some stories included the other holidays that occur around the same time as Halloween such as Día de los Muertos. The anthology felt world encompassing with the tales set in different countries and the different traditions many have never heard of. This was one of my favorite books I read in 2019. This is not light, fun reading. Some of the stories deal with the real darkness living in the human soul.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, but it is not for children.

Spooky Spider Scale (How scary was the book?): 8/10 spiders 🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️

Overall rating: 5 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Coffee and Contemplation: Horns by Joe Hill

This is the second novel of Joe Hill’s I’ve read. I enjoyed this one so much more than his first novel “Hear-Shaped Box.” You can read my opinion of that at This Post from back in March. The writing and the story in “Horns” was superior to Hill’s first novel and compared to most novels I’ve read. It is one of my all-time favorites. The was a movie adaptation starring Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple. The first time I saw the movie, I enjoyed it. When I saw it years later after reading the novel, I felt the movie was terrible. Don’t watch the movie.

I wouldn’t call this novel scary though it does deal with a lot of adult content. The horror aspects are more supernatural than gory. The monsters in the story are only humans. The story may give the reader a different view of the devil and its purpose. This novel was a lot of fun to read. It has a strong suspense, thriller vibe in some parts. If there were no supernatural themes to the story, it could have easily been film noir mystery. I am definitely looking forward to reading more by Joe Hill. 

I recommend this book to everyone. It may not be for younger teens or children.

Spooky Spider Scale (How scary was the book?): 7 spiders 🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️

Overall rating: 5 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Coffee and Contemplation: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

After a brief hiatus, we are returning to discussing supernatural fiction. Tremblay’s novel “A Head Full of Ghosts” was not what I expected. It was much better than it first sounded. It’s a kind of story where the reader isn’t sure what’s real or not. It’s open for interpretation but that was Tremblay’s purpose for the story. There are a couple of references to “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. That story is also open to a lot of interpretation. The reader will have to decide what kind of story they’re reading, and they have to decide if they want to believe the narrator. 

One of my favorite things about discussing stories is deciding on the validity of the narrator. Is the narrator lying? Are they projecting their own biases on the story? Are they telling their story or someone else’s? What gives them the authority to tell this story? Consider these questions after reading Tremblay’s novel. This is the only novel I’ve read by Tremblay so I can’t speak much on his style, but he makes everything feel rooted in the real world. Even the supernatural events have a way of being explained but the reader isn’t sure which parts of the story are truth and which are fiction. One of many reasons I enjoyed this book so much.

I recommend this book to everyone.

Spooky Spider Scale (How scary was the book?): 6 spiders 🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️

Overall rating: 4 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐