This is my 2018 Halloween Bingo Card for the reading challenge in Booklikes. Categories are called daily from 1st September to 31st October. I can mark off a category once I’ve read a book that fits the category.
I’m not sure I’ll get through twenty books in two months but I’ll give it a try. I’ve selected my books from my TBR pile and it’s already re-engerised me to read books that have been sitting there, neglected, for some time.
Here are the books I’m targetting.
Doomsday is anything related to the end of the world, doomsday cults, or a post-apocalypse world.
“Z for Zachariah” by Robert C O’Brien sounds like a good fit. Maybe, once I’ve read the book, I’ll see the movie. I’m rather taken by the old-fashioned cover on my recorded books version.
Spellbound covers books containing witches, warlocks, sorcerors and witchcraft.
I’ve been meaning to read Alice Hoffman’s “Practical Magic” since I saw the movie way back when. Then I saw that she’s written a prequel: “The Rules Of Magic” so I thought I’d start there. This is another great cover.
Murder Most Foul is all about murder mysteries.
The choice here, even from my TBR pile, is huge but I wanted something classic and something that has a different flavour to Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers. Who better than the remarkable Josephine Tey and what better example than Brat Farrar. I’m looking forward to this one.
Diverse Voices is “”Basically, any book that fits under any of the other squares, but which was written by an author of color.”
I’m using this as an opportunity to read Octavia Butler. She’s been highly recommended to me many times but “Dawn” has been languishing in my TBR pile for way too long.
Relics and Curiosities covers books concerning magical, supernatural or haunted objects, such as spellbooks, talismans or swords.
I’m using this as an excuse to read Joe Hill’s collection of four novellas (although possibly only the first one, “Snapshot” fits the category. I’m interested to see how man who writes such long books deals with novellas.
Southern Gothic is mysteries, supernatural, suspense or horror set in the Southern part of the United States.
I read a lot of these, especially the supernatural/urban fantasy ones. I wanted a standalone novel with a strong southern flavour so I picked Michael McDowell’s “The Elementals” which has been in my TBR pile since it came out in 2016.
Terrifying Women is any mystery, suspense, horror or supernatural book written by a woman.
That must be more than half of what I read. I picked Michelle Paver because she’s new to me, her work seems to be very Brit (I’ve seen it compared to M R James) and “Dark Matter” has been highly recommended to me, especially as an audiobook.
Darkest London covers any mystery, suspense, horror or supernatural book set in London.
I picked Barbara Nadel’s “A Private Business”, set in London in 2012, the year of the Olympics, because I wanted to see how well Nadel moves from Istanbul, where the Inspector Cetin novels are set, to her native London, If I like it, I have a whole new series to read.
Fear The Drowning Deep was the category that had me scratching my head. It covers mysteries, suspense, supernatural or horror books with sea-related elements: sea creatures, ships, shipwrecks, and/or sharks.
I didn’t think my TBR pile would have any of these, then I remembered a murder mystery on the 2016 Man Booker Prize Longlist, set on a ship bound for the Arctic Circle in 1859 and Ian McGuire came to my rescue with “The North Water”. This is another one where I love the cover (at least this version).
Deadlands covers stories with elements of the undead – zombies, wights, vampires and other revenants.
I spend a disturbingly large part of my reading time in the often dreary Deadlands so I set myself the challenge of finding something that would make me laugh while I visited. “Pride Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith should do the job. I loved the movie. I’m sure the audiobook will be better.
Creepy Carnivals covers horror/mystery/supernatural/suspense books, set in or concerning a carnival, amusement park, or other party/festival.
I’ve always found carnivals creepy. Even the name sounds predatory. So who better to go to than the master of creepiness, Stephen King and one of his 2013 offering “Joyland”?
Genre: Suspense is self-explanatory. Unfortunately, it’s a genre infested with me-too versions of original ideas which has made me picky about what I read.
I wanted something with a spooky atmosphere, a mystery, more than one timeline, female leads and great writing. I think I found it in Jennifer McMahon’s “The Winter People”.
Ghost Stories is a category that calls me back to the roots of modern spooky stories, the subtly spine-chilling, the ones that, with a light touch and impeccable manners, find your fear.
My TBR pile offered me Wilkie Collins’ “Mrs Zant and the Ghost” read by Gillian Anderson. Victorian spookiness at its best, turning death and grief into something haunting.
Baker Street Irregulars covers mysteries that involve children/teens in crime solving.
I knew immediately that this would be my opportunity to visit with a very unusual sleuth, Kieran Woods, a boy who sees the world differently and is determined to get to the truth about the death of a homeless man in “Smart” by Kim Slater.
Modern Noir is modern mysteries (think post 1990) with noir elements, including authors like James Ellroy, Ian Rankin, anything that falls generally under the category of Nordic Noir, Tartan Noir, Granite Noir, etc.
I’ve gone with Anthony Horowitz’s “Magpie Murders”. I like the nod to Golden Age mysteries and the novel within a novel idea. I just hope it’s well executed.
New Release is anything on theme published in the last twelve months.
My choice “High Lonesome Sound” by Jaye Wells was published six months ago in February 2018. It’s one of the few on this list that I don’t have as an audiobook. I picked it because it’s a gothic horror set in the heart of modern Appalachia and it’s getting rave reviews.
Cozy Mystery here means “a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.” That’s the best definition I’ve seen.
I’m using it as an excuse to make my fourth visit with the now eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce in Alan Bradley’s “I am half-sick of Shadows” which is set at Christmas and has movie stars and, of course, a murder.
13 is any book that relates to bad luck, superstitions, including (but not limited to) black cats, ravens or crows, or the unlucky number 13, either in the title, series, book cover or page count.
I’ve gone the literal route and found a book in my TBR pile with 13 in the title: “13 Minutes” by Sarah Pinsborough. I’m embarrassed to say that I have no recollection of why I bought this but I will now be reading a Highschool mystery where the publisher says:
“Natasha is the most popular girl in school. So why was she pulled out of a freezing river after being dead for thirteen minutes? She doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal.”
Cryptozoologist covers “any crytpozoological or mythological creature that isn’t a vampire, werewolf, or demon. Or zombie.” (I love the “Or Zombie” addition – latecomers to the genre they are, yet they are so many.)
I’ve gone back to the source and taken the second book about a family of cryptozoologists “Midnight Blue-Light Special: InCryptid, Book 2” by Seanan McGuire.
Shifters covers books that “involve werewolves, skin-walkers and all other therianthropes” (yeah, I had to look up therianthropes too. Looking forward to using that in a sentence.)
I’m using this for my tenth visit with Mercy Thompson in Patricia Briggs’ “Silence Fallen”, which I hope won’t be the last in the series.
Amateur Sleuth covers books that have a main character who is not a member of law enforcement.
I’ve gone for “Orphan X” by Gregg Hurwitz which introduces us to Evan Smoak, “a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn.” I’m hoping it’s better than the publisher makes it sound.
Classic Horror is what is says on the tin: horror stories we still like that have been around for longer than we have.
This was the only category where I had to buy a book but I was happy to do it once I realised that Edith Wharton had written ghost stories.
A Grimm Tale is any fairy tale or retelling of fairy tales, folklore, legends, etc.
The best my TBR pile had to offer was “The Bear and the Nightingale” by Katherine Arden, which I suspect I will either fall in love with or DNF at 30%.
Genre: Horror is any book classified as “Horror” that isn’t also classified as a Classic.
I’ve gone with “Fellside” by M R Carey. I was deeply impressed with “The Girl With All The Gifts” and meant to read “Fellside” as soon as it came out but life happened and it’s still in my TBR pile – but not for long.