Reading With the Seasons: Halloween Edition

Oct 1, 2012

Have you ever read a book and upon finishing realized that, intentionally or not, you picked the perfect time to read it?

A couple of Aprils ago, I read The Secret Garden. I had not even connected the arrival of spring in Utah with the awakening of Mary Lennox's garden, but suddenly, while reading about tiny green sprouts poking through bare earth, I looked outside and the same thing was happening in my own front yard. I enjoyed spring like I never have before. The book enhanced my real life, and my real life likewise enhanced the book.

Contrast that with the time I read Backwater by Joan Bauer.  I read it in June, a beautiful June, I might add, with warm days full of sunshine and beauty. Unfortunately, the story took place on a freezing and snow-packed mountain. Ugh. Every time I sat down to read it, the sunlight streamed through the window, tantalizing me to come outside, and I was stuck in a frozen wasteland. Truth be told, I rarely enjoy freezing wastelands, but especially, I discovered, not in June.

Sometimes it's not a particular time of year but rather a particular time of life that coincides just right with a particular book. A couple of weeks after giving birth to Bradley, I read Being the Mom by Emily Watts. It didn't have any earth-shattering ideas in it, but for some reason, it was just what I needed as I adjusted to the challenges and joys of three children.

And so it is that more and more I find myself trying to time the reading of certain books with certain seasons or events. Of course, this could be taken to the extreme, and it would take away all the fun if you felt like you couldn't read a book unless it was just the right season or time of year. But I find that a couple of seasonal books makes me enjoy the holidays that much more.

I have been wanting to read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier for a long time. But one day, I realized that it would be the perfect read for October...just the right mix of Gothic and chilling and mysterious...and I have been saving it ever since. The time has finally come, and it is waiting for me at the library right now!

Also, for a wildly different flavor, I'm planning to read The Witches by Roald Dahl. And then of course there were be plenty of seasonal picture books to enjoy with the boys.

Now, I should clarify, Halloween and I, we are not close friends. I do not do the creepy, gruesome, frightening dead and undead. And so I do not want to read something that is creepy, gruesome, or frightening. But there are many things I love about this time of year, and so I want what I read to enhance it and help me enjoy it even more.

And if you think this is a little OCD, just wait for December. All I can read are sappy, sentimental Christmas stories. I just can't seem to help myself.

As part of this, I hope some of you will join in the fun. If you have a perfect October read, please share, either as a title or a link to your own blog in the comments. I know I don't have a lot of readers, but I'm hoping that enough of you will share that we can make up a pretty good list. Happy October!


  1. Have you ever read The Devil in the White City? It is a nonfiction by Erik Larson about the world's fair and some serial murders that happened during that time. It sounds gruesome and morbid, I know. But it is really interesting. It is a little bit morbid, but I don't like anything gross either. I didn't feel like it went too far, but it may not be your cup of tea. It just has a little bit of the spooky mystery thing that could be Halloweeny. Just an idea.

    1. Oh, I forgot. It also is about the guy who designed the 1883 World's fair and all the struggles that went into that. Lots of interesting history.

    2. My book club almost picked The Devil in the White City for this month. But the minute someone said "serial killer," everyone freaked out (me included). It sounds so fascinating...I want to read it...but I am a little worried it will give me nightmares! :-)

      Instead they picked "The Lace Reader" which I have only just started and which I'm not entirely sure I'll love. We'll see.

  2. I'm that way too.
    I LOVE sappy at Christmas.
    Snuggly in November.
    And witchy mildly spooky in October.

    1. Right there with you Juju!!!!

      And I've ALWAYS wanted to read Rebecca!!!

    2. Yes! You get it! That's exactly what I mean!

  3. I REELY enjoyed Rebecca. It made me a little crazy. And I think I wrote an essay about it. Then I watched the movie, and I was shocked. You'll understand when you read it and then watch the movie.

    Oliver Twist is spooky, too. Plus, I read it either right before or right after Rebecca, so I think I'm linking them somehow in my mind :). Love Dickens.

    ~Alicia (not Curtis)

  4. I can't wait to hear what you think of Rebecca- I first read that one in high school. Then a few years ago I got my book club to read it for the month of October... there were mixed feelings about the book. Which surprised me since I enjoyed it SO much! This October I'm reading "The Graveyard Book"... that's more on the ghoulish creepy side, not sure you'd be interested. BUT- I agree that it's great fun to read with the seasons!

  5. I definitely do this. I find myself saving books for certain seasons. I've had Winter's Tale on my shelf forever waiting for the right winter to read it. I want to read Chabon's Summerland next summer and I can't help but read a couple sappy books around Christmas. I hope you love Rebecca too, it's one of my favorites!

  6. I second Devil in the White City. It was fascinating. Disturbing but fascinating. This one is obvious, but I read Dracula a few years ago and loved it. Last night my writing class read some Edgar Allan Poe out loud and I was reminded of the richness of his language. His stories really are more fun when read aloud.


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