Scary Bumps in the Night
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
October 26, 2019
At the end of the last book review I promised you “bumps in the night,” completely thinking I could do what a good reviewer needs to do, read a rash of scary ghost ridden books for the Halloween October review. However, I chickened out. I live alone and it seemed unwise to fill my mind with such scares, so I did the next best thing. I thought of every scary book I have ever read in the past.
The first that came to mind was the classic “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. Written in 1820, it’s been scaring readers for years, and honestly, I think the book is much scarier than any screen adaptation. Best read in the dark with a flashlight, out loud to a varied aged audience. Or totally alone with a flashlight under the covers!
Thinking of “bumps in the night,” one cannot help but think of an empty hotel, a car with a mind of its own, a clown, a high school dance, fire, a woman scorned, dead pets, crazed dogs and an epidemic that wipes out a whole population of people. Stephen King anyone? I did download King’s newest “The Institute” thinking I could speed read in time for this review. Alas, it’s too good to fly by. The scary part of this story is that children are stolen and held in the Institute, where they are being put through tortures, not unlike those in Nazi Germany. Shots and tests and surgeries. But why? The children are exceptional, either telekinetic, telepathic or of brilliant intelligence. So far, the kids (and I, the reader) do not know what the purpose is, taking these kids from their families, hiding them away in some mysterious buildings and torturing them with both medical tests and psychological horrors. I’ll have to let you know how I feel about the ending next time. Or, why wait? You can get the book and read for yourselves.
For our middle readers, R. L. Stine can provide hundreds of stories and numerous series that will curl your hair and make you scream in the dark. At 76 years young, Stine is still writing. His first Goosebumps book “Blind Date” was published in 1986. His latest is “The Dummy Meets the Mummy” which came out July 2019. Stine says he will not be retiring. I can see him eventually just fading into a scary night.
There are scary books for our youngest readers as well. They tend to be written to help them get through those bumps in the night. My favorites are “There’s a Nightmare in my Closet” by Mercer Mayer and the classic “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. Sometimes these books are a comfort to us adults, as well. Don’t feel bad about that. Indulge.
Which brings me to the scariest book I’ve come across this year. “The Mosquito” by Timothy C. Winegard. Did you know that of the 108 billion people ever in existence, mosquitoes have killed over 52 billion of them? Think about that and then sleep at night! I dare you to read this book and not birth a phobia about mosquitoes and start appreciating how fortunate we are we have (so far) survived! Good thing it is now Fall and those hot buggy days of summer are over. Phew!
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.