Coffee and Contemplation: Studies in Supernatural Storytelling

As promised, I am changing up how I approach the weekly Coffee and Contemplation segments. Think of this as the introduction post. This will kind of be like reviews but focused on the spooky things. This may include films, television, and various other things. My main focus will be on books. As I want to be a writer of supernatural horror, speculative fiction, and magical realism, these are the kinds of books I’ve been reading for the past couple years. I plan to go through them one by one offering my opinion of the works, saying how spooky they are, and perhaps something I learned about writing in this genre.

I can tell you one thing I’ve learned already. The best supernatural horror stories have some real-life horrors included. I mean things that actually have or could happen such as genocide and rape. I will offer and overall rating of the work between one and five stars like so many other rating systems. I will also include a Spooky Spider Scale. I will rate the level of scariness in the book between one and ten spiders. I don’t scare easy. For example, a children’s book might have some scary bits for kids but not for adults. These might be one or two spiders. The average horror novel might get 5 or 6 spiders. It’s too scary for kids but teens and young adults won’t get too scared.

I may need to perfect this scale as I start writing about these different novels. I have read many and have many a book on my To-Read list. I try to keep my list updated on my Goodreads profile. Follow me or friend request me there to see what I’m reading now. And feel free to offer suggestions or comment on what you thought about whichever book I discussed on a certain week. These posts are intended to be a conversation and I want to hear from you all. I hope to have lots of fun with this new approach to my Sunday posts. I’m already excited. Will you join me on this journey into spookiness?

Coffee and Contemplation: A Change of Pace

I’ve made a few changes to my blog format to streamline my post scheduling and to, I hope, make things more interesting for you, my readers. By the way, if you’re a fan of mine, I will refer to you as Hellcats. Enjoy this new moniker. I’ve started the Snapshot Saturday posts to feature some of my photography. I have many photos to go through providing me with endless amounts of posts for Saturdays. I feel this is more interesting than discussing the different holidays each week. I will continue to talk about holidays on the Wacky Wednesday posts, but those will be the only posts featuring weird holidays.

Sundays will continue to feature posts like this one. The Coffee and Contemplation posts will have a more specific topic of discussion. Since the title came from the Netflix television show “Stranger Things,” it seemed appropriate to make these posts about supernatural storytelling. Starting on February 21, I will begin discussing the many books I’ve read in order to become better acquainted with the genre within which I wish to write. I’ve read many books. This is not intended to be book reviewing, but a discussion in what elements make for great supernatural storytelling. 

I may expand this to include films and television. But that is a lot of content to cover and I don’t want to put too much on my plate right now. There is also poetry, music, and video games to consider in supernatural storytelling and that is way too much to tackle. This endeavor may become more problematic than I’m expecting, but I will do my best regardless. Next week’s post will be a little more fun before I get into the serious dialogue of my reading adventures. That post was already planned for February 14, so I decided to put off my main goals a little while longer. I don’t think any of you will mind. I hope you’ll join me in these escapades into the supernatural. It’ll be spooky fun.

Coffee and Contemplation: My Favorite Books of 2020

I enjoyed many of the books I read during this last year. I read more books than I have in an entire year and I’m proud of myself for that. There were two in particular that stood out to me. It wasn’t so much the stories themselves but the writing and the way the stories captured my imagination. This isn’t a book review. Not really. I hope what I say will encourage you all to read these books, though one might be hard to find. These were both new approaches to old ideas. And there was something supernatural and magical about them.

The first book is “The Wolfman” by Nicholas Pekearo. Many have said this is the best werewolf novel ever written. I’m inclined to agree. It was tragic that Pekearo died before seeing it published. The story is about a man who is a werewolf and uses this condition to hunt and kill bad people like murderers, serial killers, etc… The main character reminded me of my father in many ways. Both his good and bad qualities. Copies of this book are online. Physical copies are more expensive. I don’t think it’s being printed for the moment. If you prefer e-readers, it’s still more expensive than others. Just fair warning but it’s worth every penny.

The second book is “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. The synopsis makes one think this will be a romance novel, but the romance is subtle. I didn’t notice the two characters were starting a courtship until half-way through. This could be because of the non-linear narrative. There’s no mushy stuff. There’s too much magic going on in the story. It has a little of everything and is well written. My enthusiasm for this novel overshadowed many of the others I read in 2020. This book is a little easier to acquire than the first one I mentioned. 

What were your favorite reads of 2020? I often stick with supernatural or magical realism type stories but please share any books that stuck out in your mind during 2020.