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Fresh Reads: Spooky Books for October

October 18, 2023

Fresh Reads is a stigma-free book collection explicitly designed for adults learning to read. These are great resources for native English-speaking adults who are developing basic literacy and adults learning English as a second language. 

The Fresh Reads book collections contain various reading media, including books, audiobooks, e-books, and Bookpacks (a paperback book + an audio version of that book). 

For this spooky season, pair these Fresh Reads picks with the film of the same title for a horrific Halloween evening!

Washington Irving Stories

As an allegory of wasted youth or lost time, the character of Rip Van Winkle supplies a different sort of horror during this spooky season. Take your time while reading Rip Van Winkle to feel the closest to this character as you go on his journey of self-discovery. Irving is able to create his own folklore with the character and provides a moral for early Americans to realize the importance of self-responsibility. 

Johnny Depp starred as Ichabod Crane and Christina Ricci as Katrina Van Tassel in Sleepy Hollow, directed by Tim Burton in 1998.  

Not only did Washington Irving create some of the first stories considered uniquely American, but October is the perfect time of year to sit back in a cozy spot and read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This Fresh Reads title boasts being one of the first American novels and can still captivate today’s modern readers as they follow Ichabod Crane’s battle to protect Sleepy Hollow from the likes of the Headless Horseman. This story is not the same light-hearted take as the 1949 Disney cartoon but is instead a darker tale. This is why Tim Burton’s 1998 film can provide the reader with additional imagery while reading.


Tales of Terror from Edgar Allan Poe

The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe remains one of the greatest works of suspense and psychological horror. This tragic tale follows the journey of a man afflicted with delusion, ultimately facing his own mortality. The narrator is caught between a rock and a hard place, forced to confront his deepest fears and accept that terror may be the only path forward. Through this tale, Poe explores the human desire for knowledge of our own fate, as the mortal protagonist is given a glimpse into his own demise, choosing between the pit filled with rats or the swinging pendulum. This literary masterpiece is also an excellent companion to the 1961 film adaptation featuring Vincent Price.

Vincent Price staring in the 1961 film The Pit and the Pendulum, directed by Roger Corman.

Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel

Each adaptation of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein offers a distinct perspective into the connection between Victor Frankenstein and his monstrous creation. This graphic novel interpretation presents an immersive and chilling experience that remains faithful to the initial narrative. Witness Victor Frankenstein's journey as he divulges why he sought to create an immortal being, superior to any human, and the moral ramifications of his actions. Learn how Shelley’s use of dark imagery and terror works to expose the depths of man's ambition and the lengths they will go to achieve what they perceive to be the key to saving humanity from our mortal fate. You can pair this Fresh Reads graphic novel with the classic Universal Monsters film Frankenstein for a frightful Halloween evening.

Victor Frankenstein (Ernest Thesiger) and the Monster (Boris Karloff) in the 1935 film Bride of Frankenstein, directed by James Whale.


Checking In at the Overlook Hotel

Stephen King's The Shining has become a cult classic and renowned as one of the most popular horror stories of modern literature. Originally published in 1977, it was adapted into a film three years later. The story follows Jack Torrance's descent into madness, leading the reader on an existential journey. Despite its horror motifs, The Shining is essentially a family-centered adventure. Join in as the journey commences with Jack endeavoring to reconnect with his family while serving as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, where he aims to complete his novel. As the hotel's sinister forces begin to consume the Torrance family, the audience is taken on a harrowing journey through the hotel's many rooms. For a more immersive experience, consider watching the 1980 film adaptation featuring Jack Nicholson while following along with this Fresh Reads pack.

Jack Nicholson starring as Jack Torrance in the 1980 film The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick.

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Cassandra Taylor received her Bachelor’s in English (Writing Concentration) and Master of Library Science from Middle Tennessee State University. She has worked in public libraries and higher education for the past five years and also taught General English for college. Cassandra is the Program Specialist for Adult Literacy at Nashville Public Library where her goal is to provide equal access and educate library patrons about the diverse resources available at NPL.