I'm sure most of you are voracious readers like I am. Let's take a look at some of the exciting new dark titles being released this autumn!
Dark Books for Babies
If you haven't seen Cozy Classics before, they're board books for babies, photographed with little knitted dolls and dioramas created by talented fiber artists Jack and Holman Wang. They're a set of twin brothers. Les Miserables is their new book for babies this autumn, due out September 6. This is totally hitting my bookshelf even though I don't have any babies!
Bizzy Bear's Spooky House is a gentle way to induct babies into the dark and lovely mysteries of Halloween!
Here's another way to insert a little dark festivity into the autumn season: Carry and Play Pumpkin board book for babies.
Dark Books for Tweens
The younger set may find The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel an enjoyable, quirky read.
"The morning Nora Ratcliff finds a baby in the flowerpot on her front steps her life changes forever. She had always wanted a child, but after her husband passed away, Nora never thought she would have one, but her flowerpot child was a miracle and she decided to name her Mabel. As Mabel grew up, she showed a distinct talent for magic.
"When Mabel is accepted to the prestigious witch school, Ruthersfield Academy, she excels at the magic curriculum but is constantly in trouble for experimenting and inventing her own potions. One day she is asked to write a paper on her magical roots and discovers the truth about her birth after a mean classmate blurts out what everyone seems to know except Mabel. Mabel is shocked but the revelation does explain a lot. In rebellion, Mabel changes her name to Magnolia and tries to understand why she was left in the flowerpot and who her birth family might be."
Through the Looking Glass - The Little Folks' Edition is a lovely reprint of the original 1907 edition. It's hardback, smaller than other editions, and features red cloth binding, foil on the front cover and spine, and gold-sprayed page edges. It might make a nice Christmas gift for darkly-inclined early teens. It will arrive in stores on November 1.
Dark Books for Young Adults/Teens
"Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation...and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can't trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin." This could very well be a nice witchy autumn pageturner!
My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier.This creepy YA book's premise is "What if the most terrifying person you know is your ten-year-old sister?" Che Taylor is quite certain that his sister Rosa is a diagnosable psychopath. He strives to keep her under control. First published earlier this year in Australia, the US version of the book comes out on November 15.
"Audrey Rose is a proper Victorian with the unladylike aspirations of understanding crime scenes, blood spatter, the brutality of murder, and exactly how a killer tears into his victim. Luckily for her, Jack the Ripper is on the hunt, and Audrey Rose—alongside Thomas, a handsome aspiring coroner—is determined to catch him."
"London 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory with nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in London Hospital. Evelyn wanted to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut away from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred, who does not recoil from her, and who understands her pain.
"When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper's dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity's worst nightmares, in which the real monsters are men."
And the Trees Crept In comes out September 6. Who can resist the creepy premise of this book: "A stunning, terrifying novel about a house the color of blood and the two sisters who are trapped there."
"No one thinks twice about the friendship between Miel, the Latina teen who fears pumpkins and grows roses from her wrist, and Samir, the Italian-Pakistani boy who hangs his painted moons all around town and brought Miel home when she appeared from inside a water tower as a child. They are linked by their strangeness and bound to each other by their secrets—those that transgender Sam shares about his body and his name and those that Miel keeps about her family and her past. But just as the pair’s bond expands to passion, the Bonner girls, who are rumored to have the power to make anyone fall in love with them, decide that Miel’s roses are the only thing that will repair their weakening influence over others, and the four white sisters will leverage every secret that haunts Miel and that could destroy Sam to get what they want."
I'm intrigued - I want to know why a girl would be afraid of pumpkins, and why roses grow out of her wrist! This book comes out in early October.
"Free us or join us." This book sounds perfect forreading on a rainy Sunday afternoon or on a dark stormy night. Check out the summary:
"Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother's voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations."
New Dark Books for Adults This Autumn
I've been waiting so long for Abigail Larson's The Cats of Ulthar to come out! This incredibly talented artist has illustrated this H.P. Lovecraft short story, graphic novel style. It arrives November 16. She seems really passionate about the project, too. Check out her posts on Tumblr and Instagram; and stop by her fabulous Deviant Art page.
Children of Lovecraft, edited by Ellen Datlow.
"Dark Horse teams up with Hugo and Bram Stoker award-winning editor Ellen Datlow to bring you this anthology of original prose stories that are “inspired” in theme and plot by Lovecraft’s mythos." I love short story compilations, and really enjoy delving into other authors' reinterpretations of Lovecraft mythos themes. Among the authors are Stephen Graham Jones, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Brian Hodge.
Here's another book of short stories that would be fantastic to read by firelight on a cold autumn evening: Grave Predictions: Tales of Mankind’s Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian and Disastrous Destiny. Edited by Drew Ford, it features depressing short stories by Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, Joe R. Lansdale, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, and other well known authors.
Penguin Classics is reprinting Shirley Jackson's acclaimed horror novel The Haunting of Hill House. If you don't already own this in your library, this might be the perfect opportunity to add it. This book will become available in late September.
The Jekyll Revelation, by Robert Masello. I have to admit, I'm intrigued, but this plot seems rather silly and perhaps convoluted to follow. I'll want to check over reviews carefully before spending money (and time) on this! See what you think.
"A chilling curse is transported from 1880s London to present-day California, awakening a long-dormant fiend. While on routine patrol in the tinder-dry Topanga Canyon, environmental scientist Rafael Salazar expects to find animal poachers, not a dilapidated antique steamer trunk. Inside the peculiar case, he discovers a journal, written by the renowned Robert Louis Stevenson, which divulges ominous particulars about his creation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It also promises to reveal a terrible secret—the identity of Jack the Ripper.
Unfortunately, the journal—whose macabre tale unfolds in an alternating narrative with Rafe’s—isn’t the only relic in the trunk, and Rafe isn’t the only one to purloin a souvenir. A mysterious flask containing the last drops of the grisly potion that inspired Jekyll and Hyde and spawned London’s most infamous killer has gone missing. And it has definitely fallen into the wrong hands."
Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula, by Valdimar Ásmundsson. This is apparently a newly discovered Icelandic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic gothic novel, Dracula - with a previously unknown original preface written by Stoker himself. Ok, that's nice, but what's the big deal? Well, read on:
"In 2014, literary researcher Hans de Roos dove into the full text of Makt Myrkranna, only to discover that Ásmundsson hadn’t merely translated Dracula but had penned an entirely new version of the story, with all new characters and a totally re-worked plot. The resulting narrative is one that is shorter, punchier, more erotic, and perhaps even more suspenseful than Stoker’s Dracula. Incredibly, Makt Myrkranna has never been translated or even read outside of Iceland until now."
Aha! Now I totally want to check it out!
New Dark Non-Fiction Books for Fall 2016:
"Colin Dickey is on the trail of America's ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and "zombie homes," Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places."
The author explores the way people interact with haunted spaces, and how we deal with stories about real ghosts. I'm intrigued by this - perhaps because of my long-ago college years studying psychology and sociology.
Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula, by David J. Skal. I always learn a lot from David J. Skal's research, and enjoy his writing. This might not be a page-turner, but I imagine I'll reach for it often this autumn when I want something mentally stimulating to read.
"Just as in his celebrated histories The Monster Show and Hollywood Gothic, Skal draws on a wealth of newly discovered documents with "the skills of a fine detective" (New York Times Book Review) to challenge much of our accepted wisdom about Dracula, Stoker, and the late Victorian age. Staging Stoker’s life against a grisly tableau of the myriad anxieties plaguing the Victorian fin de siecle, Skal investigates Stoker’s "transgendered imagination," unearthing Stoker’s unpublished, sexually ambiguous poetry and his passionate youthful correspondence with Walt Whitman―printed in full here for the very first time."
--Copyright 2016 Goth Shopaholic