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Spooky Season Stories

We have once again come to that delightful point of the year heralded by equal parts Mother Nature changing her sheets from green to gold, and popular coffees becoming inescapably infused with pumpkin spice. As we enter Halloween weekend, or Samhain in my Irish culture, there is a magic that lingers on the brisk, autumnal air daring us to ask if bones really could rise to dance in the light of the moon; whether vampires might masquerade as bats with toothy grins, even for just one night a year. The frosty wind that lifts the hair from the back of my neck seems to thrive on the question of "what if?" sending a thrill down my spine.


With the changing of the seasons in the Midwest, we have had a damp, cold front move through our small town in Southwest Ohio. Summer has ended, and winter is on the way. For now, we live in the liminal space of magic opportunity. Join me this weekend in some of my favorite reads of the season as we throw open the windows, light the fire, and sip some warm apple cider (or any festive beverage of your choosing!) to welcome in the creative spirits.


Feeling daring in your reading adventures this Halloween? This year we get a special treat (if you have not read her before, there are plenty of tricks as well!) in Edith Wharton's posthumous publication of "Ghosts" released just four days ago! This is a collection of her thought-provoking, hair-raising short stories reordered by her, in her words, "in no particular order at all."


If you manage to devour Wharton as quickly as I ,and some of my colleagues, do on our less-than-close-read days, you might turn your attentions to the queen of Halloween herself, Lesley Bannatyne, one of the foremost experts in North America on the subject. Jump into one of her short stories such as "A Corpse Walks Into a Bar" or take on "Halloween Nation" to learn more about how our cultural customs came about.


As the leaves continue to change and hunker down in our cozy homes, I encourage all readers to return to those books that (ironically!) make us feel so enthralled to be alive. Jump back into a favorite Stephen King novel, or head back to childhood with R. L. Stine "Goosebumps" or contemporary Jonathan H. Reynolds "Carnevil" or "Monster Street." Whatever your spooky flight of fancy,, make some time for you, the words, and that invigorating spark of creativity that comes but once an autumn. Happy reading!


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