TTT Tuesday: Halloween Freebie – Witches

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a Halloween freebie, and I’m choosing to focus on books and movies about witches.

America is gearing up for Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, and many of my Wiccan friends are getting ready to celebrate Samhain. As many of you probably already know, there are very little similarities between those who are Wiccan, and the stereotypical ways that witches are often portrayed in books, television and movies. They may be downright funny, and sometimes a cult classic, but often Hollywood portrays a witch in one of three ways:

  1. An evil hag.
  2. Sexy evil.
  3. Suck the life out of children evil (can anyone say Hocus Pocus).

When witches appear in supernatural or fantasy fiction alongside vampires, werewolves, and other fantastical creatures, it may be easy to forget that unlike the other characters in the story that are purely fictional, so many real women have suffered over the centuries under the label of witchcraft. And to this day, loads of stereotypes abound in regards to those who follow pagan religions, especially Wicca.

“What a culture has to say about witchcraft, whether in jest or in earnest, has a lot to do with its views of sexuality and power, and especially with the apportioning of powers between the sexes. The witches were burned not because they were pitied but because they were feared.”  ~ Margaret Atwood, in her review of John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick.

None of this is to say it is wrong to enjoy books and movies about witches! As you will see in the list below, books and movies involving witchcraft is one of my favorite sub-genres. I do, however, believe it is wise to read critically, with an awareness of when a story is pulling out all the stops on witchy stereotypes and turning a witch into a caricature.

Top Five Books with a Witchcraft Theme

Books based on historical fiction and witch trials:

  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • The Witch of Cologne – by Tobsha Learner

Books based on supernatural or fantasy elements

  • Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) by Deborah Harkness
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
  • The Witching Hour (Mayfair Witches series) by Anne Rice

Top Five TV/Movies with Witchy Elements

  • Just Add Magic – Reminds me of Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch. An Amazon original series, this is currently M’s favorite TV show.
  • Charmed – I loved this series when I was younger!
  • Hocus Pocus – a completely ridiculous, yet hilarious cult classic, that pulls out all the tropes on witchy caricatures.
  • Practical Magic – so much better than I thought it would be when I watched for the first time. Of course, Nicole Kidman can do no wrong in my eyes.
  • The Craft – another cult classic I adore.

Are you ready for Halloween? A read-a-thon update.

I happen to live in a country that celebrates Halloween, and it is one week away!! I love Halloween, and all of its creeptastic, spooky accompaniments. Halloween…and all the side dishes at a Thanksgiving feast, were the things I missed most when I have lived outside of America (sorry to my family and yes, I missed Halloween more than I missed you, LOL), and I embrace it wholeheartedly every year!

When I say we love Halloween, what I mean is we go so overboard on our Halloween decorations that our neighbors think it is freaking amazing. Or…they think we’re freaks but are too nice to say so. Either way, it’s a fun time.

Just take a look at my reading companion this morning…

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I can tell him all about my reading adventures of the moment and he listens so sweetly. He’s a pro at the whole active listening thing. It’s just too bad that his brain found its way outside of his cranium…

With one week to go until the end of the month, I thought it would be a great time to update my progress on the Halloween Read-a-thon, hosted by Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews!

Update Time!

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I am right about where I thought I would be for this challenge. I picked out six books, but I would be amazed if I finished six that fit into the theme. You can find my original challenge post right about here.

Costume Party: Read a Book with a Creepy Cover

  • Original selection: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. While I have read a few selections from Scary Stories during read-aloud time with M, I have decided to substitute…
  •  What I read: Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty. It was spooky and mysterious, and I will never look at forests around Asheville the same way again.

You can find my review here.

Haunted House: Read A Supernatural or Paranormal Book

  • Original selection: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • What I read: Nothing yet. But Neil Gaiman’s graveyard mystery is up  next on my reading list, just as soon as I finish my ARC of The Gilded Cage by Vic James. Which I will hopefully wrap up today!

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Urban Legends: Read a Horror or Thriller Book

  • Original selection: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 
  • What I read: I finally, finally got around to reading Jekyll and Hyde! This book has been on my TBR shelf for years. Dark secrets in the Victorian era? Yes, please!

You can find my review here.

Witching Hour: Read a Book After Sunset

  • Original selection: Nothing, really. I was lazy. In my complete defense, lots of reading happens after sunset, anyway. Especially in the fall and winter!
  • What I read: I am going to plug-in The Gilded Cage for this category. Mysterious, brooding aristocratic brothers with deep, dark family secrets? Alternate history and fantasy rolled into one? Yes, this fits the category!

You can find my review up on Wednesday or Thursday. And if you don’t read it, I will cast a spell on you! Mmmwwwwahahahahahaha!

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Trick or Treat: Scary Book You’ve Been Putting Off or Treat: Free Choice of Any Genre

  • Original selection: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It’s just not going to happen. I failed utterly and miserably. Back to the procrastination pile it goes. Till next October!
  • What I read: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. I read this on October 6, and I declare it a perfect match for this category. Woohoo for free choice!

You can find my review here.

All Hallow’s Eve: Read Six Books

  • Original selection: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • What I read: Yeah, this isn’t happening, either. It was tough to squeeze in six books with delicious, tantalizing, chilling fare. I did finish watching the first season of Stranger Things, which definitely fits all of the above adjectives. Does that count? Because the woman below…

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Only Eleven could mess with her.

Are you reading any Halloween themed books this month? What books would you recommend for a spooky October read?

 

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday: 12 October 2016

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Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday post, a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Don’t forget to go take a look at what everyone else is reading! You can post your own WWW in the comment thread here.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

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Leave Me by Gayle Forman. The verdict is still out about how I feel about this one. The storyline didn’t capture me at the beginning, but I am slowly warming to the characters and plot. Maybe.

Just Finished: 

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty. Such a good book, and there is a long queue at the library for the next one!

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Not what I expected, and not my favorite classic, but definitely thought-provoking and interesting.

Hopefully reviews for both of these books will go up on Thursday and Friday.

Up Next: 

Little Girls Can be Mean by Michelle Anthony. This has been sitting in my library book basket for a few weeks now, hopefully I’ll get around to reading it before it is due back!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. For the Halloween TBR challenge, and because I love to read spooky books in October!

What are you reading this week?

Halloween Read-A-Thon

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I always like to read spooky books during the month of October, so I have decided to join the Halloween Read-A-Thon, a challenge hosted by Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays – I love any excuse to dress up in costume! I also love any reason to participate in a themed read!

This year, we are doing a costume theme for the whole family, a first for us. Our theme is villains…villains often have the coolest outfits! My daughter will be dressing up as Harley Quinn and I will be Maleficent, and dear hubby is still deciding. Halloween is so much fun, especially in our neighborhood where some houses hand out treats for both the kids and adults! Our next-door neighbors have chili and beer, another house has margaritas, and we even have a neighbor that sets up a walk-through haunted maze in their backyard! It’s always a lot of fun.

Here is the info on the Halloween Read-a-Thon:

  • The read-a-thon will run from 10 October – 31 October.
  • You can join in at any time until the end of the read-a-thon.
  • You can read as many or as little books as you want!
  • The books have to be horror, thriller, and/or have some kind of supernatural element.
  • When posting your Halloween TBR list, link back to Lauren’ts Read-a-thon post.
  • Use the hashtag #HalloweenWR to share your progress on social media!

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz – I’m planning on going back to a few childhood favorites this month. M is really into spooky stories right now, so we will be reading these together in the weeks leading up to Halloween!

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I can’t believe I have never read this book, and Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors to read in October!

Blurb: After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

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51496 *A book where people are the ones who are causing all the scariness*

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. A scientist unlocking his inner evil? Yeah, this seems like the perfect fit for this category!

Blurb: In this harrowing tale of good and evil, the mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll develops a potion that unleashes his secret, inner persona—the loathsome, twisted Mr. Hyde.

 

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I do a lot of my reading after sunset, so most of these books would apply. Especially Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which I mentioned above. It just doesn’t seem right to read those books when the sun is up!

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18490Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I choose trick, reading a book that I have been putting off. I have been meaning to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for years! Our county public library chose Frankenstein as this year’s Community Read book in October, too. I take that as a sign that it’s time I read it.

Blurb: Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. It will be a miracle if I read six books for this challenge! But I had to add this to the challenge, as I do really want to start The Raven Cycle soon.

Blurb: Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

These are my selections for the Halloween Read-a-Thon! Are you participating? What spooky books are you planning on reading in October?