Episode 103: Horror

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We will picking a random commenter to win the scariest  puppet we’ve ever seen! Her name-tag says she’s Sven’s Grandma, but clearly in some terrifying dimension! It will be perfect for some puppet fan, or for a collection of puppets in a library. (A scary library!)


Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This is our book group podcast, where we discuss different genres of books each week, while we sit in our comfy chairs and drink our beverages. And you are, of course, an important part of this book group. So if you do not already have a nice beverage please go get one, so you can join the experience of our book group.

This is a very inclusive book group. There are not “right” or “wrong” books to read and chat about for our book group. We love books, and want to talk about them – and we want you to share your books. All of us will take away at least a title or two that we want to read at the end of our time together!

Who is joining us this week? Our regular hosts Angie and Mary are here.

This week we are sitting in a pretty dimly lit room room, with monsters covering our walls, orange lights, and jack lanterns all over the place. We are ready to enjoy some good thrills and chills – so we are glad you are here with us. If you feel someone grab your hand, that’s probably just us being scared. Probably.



We have guests, we have our genre. We just need our beverages. Fortunately, we all came prepared with something to sip while we talk about our books. Each week we like to connect the theme of our books with our beverages. Each beverage will have a recipe or a link on our episode page, so you can try them yourself!  Obviously, feel free to sip your coffee as you listen; and everyone needs more water – whatever is right for you. Just join us in celebrating books, and discussing books!


 Dark & Stormy

  • Combine 4 oz. gin,
  • 2 oz. pomegranate juice, and
  • 1 oz. simple syrup in a large shaker.

Add ice to the shaker, and shake for at least 30 seconds, and serve. For an added stormy effect, add a small cube of dry ice to each glass



Zombie Apocalypse

In a mixing glass, combine

  • 1½ parts Absolut Madrin,
  • ½ part Malibu,
  • 1 part passion fruit puree,
  • ½ part white grapefruit juice,
  • ¾ part cinnamon schnapps, and
  • 2 dashes Perno Absinthe.

Pour over crushed ice in a clear glass. Top with ½ part Cappalletti. Garnish with plastic spiders and bloody fingers for added effect.


Post image for Halloween Party Drink Recipes – Vampire Kiss MartiniVampire Kiss Martini

  • 3 oz. Chilled Pinnacle “Whipped” Vodka or Vanilla Vodka
  • Strawberry Sundae syrup
  • Plastic vampire teeth as a garnish



The Blackbeard // HonestlyYUMThe Blackbeard

A spirit forward spiced rum cocktail dyed black naturally with squid ink


  • 1 oz spiced rum
  • 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
  • 1 1/2 oz crème de cacao
  • 1/8 teaspoon squid ink (optional)
  • 1/2 oz chocolate stout



Genre Suggestions

You can find all kinds of horror stories out there. Some of them are on the front pages of newspapers, but we want to talk about the fictional kind of horror this week. True crime has been a popular genre (Helter Skelter is a good one; Stranger Beside Me started Ann Rule’s career) – scary, but too scary to discuss today

These books are the ones that you might not be able to stop reading at bedtime – but you spend the rest of the night hearing every weird knock and rattle. Was that an eerie footstep? Tell yourself it probably wasn’t, and let’s talk about scary books!

One thing I find about horror books, as I review my favorites, is that they are really dependent on the situation I’m in while I’m reading them. Some books seemed extra scary because I was in the right place, or situation, or frame of mind. So not everything we discuss here is strictly “horror” books – but as with all of our genres and chats, it’s what you think it is. So if a book was scary to you, or has the potential to be scary: that’s horror.

There can be horror elements to all kinds of books, including mystery, literary fiction, and Western.

Some specific types of horror books;

  • Body horror
  • Splatterpunk
  • Erotic
  • Gothic fiction
  • Southern Gothic
  • Psychological Supernatural / paranormal
  • Cosmic (Lovecraftian)
  • Vampire fiction
  • Werewolf fiction
  • Occult detective


Creepypasta fiction:

  • Creepypastas are horror-related legends or images that have been copy-and-pasted around the Internet. These Internet entries are often brief, user-generated, paranormal stories intended to scare readers. They include gruesome tales of murder, suicide, and otherworldly occurrences…. The term is a portmanteau of the words “creepy” and “copypasta”, a word used on 4chan in 2006 to describe viral copy-and-pasted text.”
  • In the mainstream media, creepypastas relating to the fictitious Slender Man character came to public attention after the 2014 “Slender Man stabbing”, in which a 12-year-old girl from Waukesha, Wisconsin, was stabbed by two of her friends; the perpetrators claimed they “wanted to prove the Slender Man skeptics” wrong.[1][4][5] After the murder attempt, some creepypasta website administrators made statements reminding readers of the “line between fiction and reality”
  • Urban dictionary: “Creepy stories that float around on the Interwebs.
    • Kate: I heard that if you say “Bloody Mary” 3 times into a mirror, a hook will appear on your car door.
    • Rob: No, dude. That’s just some creepypasta.”
  • https://www.creepypasta.com/
  • http://www.creepypasta.org/


Scary podcasts:

  • No Sleep Podcast “For the dark hours when you dare not close your eyes. Tales of horror to frighten and disturb. Join us as the sleepless hours tick past. Brace yourself… for The NoSleep Podcast. A multi-award winning anthology series of original horror stories, The NoSleep Podcast features a cast of talented voice actors, rich atmospheric music and sound effects to enhance the frightening tales.”
  • Deadly Manners serial fiction “It was a dark and stormy night in the winter of 1954 and the Billings family was throwing a dinner party when a murderer strikes — and all the guests are trapped inside.That’s the premise of Deadly Manners, a new 10-episode podcast in the style of a classic radio drama from Alex Aldea and Ali Garfinkel… features Kristen Bell, LeVar Burton, Denis O’Hare, RuPaul, Timothy Simons, and Anna Chlumsky.”
  • Lore “From an executive producer of The Walking Dead and the executive producer of The X-Files, this anthology series brings the Lore podcast to life and uncovers the real-life events that spawned our darkest nightmares. Blending dramatic scenes, animation, archive and narration, Lore reveals how our horror legends—such as vampires, werewolves and body snatchers—are rooted in truth.”
  • Spooked “The grandson of a seer, Spooked host Glynn Washington was born to a family haunted by ghosts. As a teenager, he witnessed his first exorcism — and began the process of whispering back to the shadows plaguing his nighttime. “I grew up feeling the veil between worlds was not as solid as I may have liked.” A student of magic, Glynn has traveled the world in search of the mystic, the strange, and the divine. “I can’t explain everything I’ve seen.” Washington admits. “I keep wondering, what am I missing? That’s really what this show is all about.”
  • Stuff You Missed in History (an inspiration for our “Linking Our Libraries” podcast!) Not always themed like this; but for October they have a whole series of spooky stories, including The Mystery of the Devil’s Footprints, Building Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, and Lon Chaney, Man of a Thousand Faces


Books Discussed

  • Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury
  • Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  • The Walking Dead: Compendium One
  • Darkly Dreaming Dexter
  • Northanger Abby, by Jane Austen
  • The Blood Confession by Alisa M. Libby “In this brilliant fiction debut, Libby resurrects the real-life Erzebet Bathory, a 17th-century countess who believed that bathing in human blood would preserve her looks forever.” DEFINITELY get this in paper!! Blood on the edges of the pages (read on airplane and freaked out my seatmate)
    • A spooky book recommendation! From Alisa last Halloween
    • Also The King’s Rose Life in the court of King Henry VIII is a complex game. When fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard catches the king’s eye, she quickly transforms from pawn to queen.
  • Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix “A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör comes packaged in the form of a glossy mail order catalog, complete with product illustrations, a home delivery order form, and a map of Orsk’s labyrinthine showroom.”
  • Frankenstein “We will each write a story,” Byron announced to his next-door neighbors, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley. The friends were summering on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland in 1816, Shelley still unknown as a poet and Byron writing the third canto of Childe Harold. When continued rains kept them confined indoors, all agreed to Byron’s proposal.
    The illustrious poets failed to complete their ghost stories, but Mary Shelley rose supremely to the challenge. With Frankenstein, she succeeded admirably in the task she set for herself: to create a story that, in her own words, “would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.”
  • Dracula – Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
  • In The Woods by Tana French is set in an Irish town where, in 1984, three children fail to come home from the woods one night. One is found holding a tree, with sneakers filled with blood and no memory of the day — the other two still missing. Twenty years later, that kid becomes a detective, investigating a case eerily similar to his own childhood mystery. (listened while hiking in a new trail in the woods)
  • Stephen King, obviously (The Shining! And I visited the Stanley Hotel in Colorado!)
  • Joe Hill: Heart-Shaped Box “The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.” NOS4A2 Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.
  • Simon R. Green The Dark Side of the Road A Country House Murder Mystery with a Supernatural Twist Ishmael Jones is someone who can’t afford to be noticed, someone who lives under the radar, who drives on the dark side of the road. He’s employed to search out secrets, investigate mysteries and shine a light in dark places. Sometimes he kills people. Invited by his employer, the enigmatic Colonel, to join him and his family for Christmas, Ishmael arrives at the grand but isolated Belcourt Manor in the midst of a blizzard to find that the Colonel has mysteriously disappeared. As he questions his fellow guests, Ishmael concludes that at least one of them not least Ishmael himself – is harbouring a dangerous secret, and that beneath the veneer of festive cheer lurk passion, jealousy, resentment and betrayal. As a storm sets in, sealing off the Manor from the rest of the world, Ishmael must unmask a ruthless murderer they strike again.
  • The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.
  • Annihilation is a 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer. It is the first in a series of three books called the Southern Reach Trilogy. The book describes a team of four women (a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor) who set out into an area known as Area X. The area is abandoned and cut off from the rest of civilization.[1] They are the 12th expedition. The other expeditions have been fraught with disappearances, suicides, aggressive cancers, and mental trauma. The novel won the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novel[2] and the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for best novel.[3]
  • The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson tells the controversial story of the paranormal events experienced by the Lutz family at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York — the Lutz family having moved in a year after Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed six of his family members there. [read this as a kid, and was terrified of flies, cold spots, and invisible pigs]
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious “U. N. Owen.” At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead. Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . as one by one . . . they begin to die. Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?



Thank you so much for joining us for this discussion! There are a lot of links to books you might like in this genre on our website; so go check that out.

We will be back next Tuesday with another genre, more book group hosts, and all kinds of books to share and discuss. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a single episode! And if you want to hear more about the work we do in libraries – which is surprisingly fun! – subscribe to our podcast Linking Our Libraries. Our next episode drops this Thursday.

Bring your book ideas, bring your beverages, and join us back here for more book discussion next Tuesday!


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