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Halloween Reads II: The Re-Ordering


Last year I blogged about Halloween movies that were inspired by books. This year, as I ponder what costume I would like to wear, in a season that promises to be rife with Lady Gagas and “The Situation”s, I thought I’d mention a few books that could be (very loosely) interpreted to inspire your own costume selections.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
Costume suggestion: astronaut
Mary Roach has a really fun, offbeat approach to her nonfiction topics. Her previous books, Stiff and Spook, also make excellent Halloween reads. She explores all the bizarre things that make people (or animals, in some cases) uniquely qualified to travel to space, and may even bring you a bit closer to understanding the Lisa Nowak saga.


Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross
Costume suggestion: the classic Planters Mr. Peanut
This book is not for everybody. It’s densely packed with allusions to everything from Alfred Hitchcock to M.C. Escher. It starts out with alternating chapters about two men: a videogame designer who may have killed his wife, and the detective who is investigating the case. Supposedly, if you hang in there for the third part of the novel, some more viewpoints are woven in and the novel gets really good. I did not make it that far, but I’m including it here because it received some really stellar reviews and in the hope that I may someday come back to it.


Boardwalk Empire by Nelson Johnson
Costume suggestion: rum runner or boardwalk entertainer
The nonfiction book behind the HBO series directed by Martin Scorsese details the rise of this working class attraction from mosquito-infested swampland, thanks to a mix of train routes, marketing and illegal alcohol.



The Fall (Strain trilogy, book #2) by Guillermo Del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Costume suggestions: vampire or parasite exterminator
Since I blogged about the first in this trilogy last year, the movie The Town based on a book by Chuck Hogan came out. This series is firmly rooted in the mythos of the horror comic as blood parasites continue to take over human hosts. No romantic vampire love triangles here. Savor it, it will be another year before the final installation, The Night Eternal, comes out.



Talking to Girls About Duran Duran or Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
Costume suggestion: any ‘80s or ‘90s rocker of your choice
Rob Sheffield has analyzed and dissected pop culture and new wave groups with a fervor that I could never hope to attain. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is quirky and funny and had me laughing about groups I had never even heard of.
For more inspiration, check out Entertainment Weekly’s slideshow of rockers in horror films.


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What a cute post idea!

Granted, I'm paying more attention to the books than the costumes since I haven't actually dressed up for Halloween in ages. But if I DID dress up, a parasite exterminator would be very cool. My copy of The Fall just arrived (I was a big fan of The Strain, too). Boardwalk Empire looks like a good option for a future read since I'm a big fan of the TV show. And because of your suggestion I'm checking out Mr. Peanut, but I'm going to let my mother try reading it first since she has more patience and time than I do. If she can get through it, then maybe I'll give it a try.


I was sure the Strain trilogy would be great material for a film. Alas, Guillermo says this is not so, except maybe as a cable series ( My struggles with Mr. Peanut had less to do with the text than with the not one, but two, potential wife murders in the first hundred pages. I would like to know what your mom thinks of it. I just found myself a little ticked off at it, and I think this reviewer was in agreement with me (,,20394474,00.html). On the other hand, Stephen King, on what he's reading now, wrote: ''It's by Adam Ross. It's coming from Knopf in June, and it's the most riveting look at the dark side of marriage since Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It mixes true crime (the Sam Sheppard case), fictional crime (Rear Window), and dream crime (the main story, dealing with a maybe-wife-murderer named David Pepin) into a stew that's sometimes a little too chewy but always fascinating. And it induced nightmares, at least in this reader. No mean feat.'' Of course, Stephen King has been accused at times of lending his name to pull quotes of books he hasn't read, but the above seems a lot meatier than his "Nora Roberts is cool".

No Mr. Peanut for me, I'm afraid

So I asked my mother what she thought of the book. Her answer was that it started off well, but soon it became very weird and confusing. She then followed that evaluation up with "... so I didn't finish it" which is a highly unusual thing for her to say. She can get through intimidating books like Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter and Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past with no problem whatsoever. But THIS book she had to put down. And if she couldn't finish it, then there is absolutely no way that I could get through it!

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