Around New Year’s Eve, the man and I were exposed to Covid, and ended up quarantining at home for a couple of weeks. Aside from daily walks and trying our best not to spend all of our savings on DoorDash Delivery, we started going through some of the documentaries that have been on our list. One of them, for me, was Scary Stories, the documentary about Alvin Schwartz’ Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books. You know the ones. The illustrations, by Stephen Gammell, were horrifying, but being a kid that grew up on 1980’s slasher films, I loved them. I read every creepy story I possibly could, and my nights were usually filled with old school horror movies, or hours pouring over Stephen King. Probably not the best thing for a young girl to love, but to this day, I’d rather curl up with popcorn and some gory Halloween/Jason Voorhees/Cabin in the Woods gore than a chick flick.
Anyway, one of the authors featured in the Scary Stories doc was R.L. Stine. Author of hundreds of spooky Young Adult fiction books, Stine was my childhood addiction, and somehow, I’d completely forgotten about him. After seeing his face on the screen, I set off to re-read some of the series I knew as a kid, hence some of the books on this list:
99 Fear Street Trilogy by R.L Stine: Two girls, their little brother, and their parents move into a haunted house on Fear Street (oh no!!), leading, of course, to a haunting and the demise of one of the girls. She stays behind in the house to haunt the next owners (book 2), and when her sister comes back to the house (in book 3), to star in a creepy movie about their time there, well, things continue to not go so well. Fun, spooky, but not something I need to read again.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett: Also influenced by TV (we watched the movie one night), I pulled The Help off of my shelf for another read. I was always impressed with how closely the movie followed Stockett’s novel, and had forgotten how closely aligned they were until reading this one again. Set in 1960’s Mississippi, we watch Skeeter Phelan begin to question race relations in her hometown, where most of her girlfriends have married, had the appropriate 2.5 children, and hired a Black maid. Her observation of the difference in treatment among the races, fueled by the installation of an outdoor toilet, inspires her to partner with the help in her town to write a collection of stories that are sometimes sweet, sometimes embarrassing, and sometimes cruel. It’s a story of fitting in, standing out, and fighting for what’s right, regardless of being labelled an outcast.
The Fear Street Saga by R.L. Stine: This is one of the trilogies that I loved as a child. We venture through generations of the Fier/Fear family as they try desperately to escape revenge from the Goode family. It’s a fun ride through 3 centuries of rivalry, and serves as a “start” to the Fear Street books.
Fear Street Cheerleaders by R.L. Stine: Another trilogy by R.L. Stine, this one was set in present day. Two new girls move to Shadyside (I’m seeing a theme here) and try out for the high school cheerleading team. After a bus wreck *almost* claims the life of the team Capitan, the team is plagued with weird occurrences, possessions, and evil through three books.
Even As We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle: I had no idea what to expect with this one, but was pleasantly surprised. In 1940’s North Carolina, a Cherokee Indian named Cowney takes a job working at the Grove Park Inn (** real place, now an Omni, and beautiful!), which is housing diplomats and prisoners. He and his neighbor, Essie, are carpooling together each week, and when a missing child at the Inn causes higher ups to look at Cowney in suspicion, he begins to question his class in life, as well as the treatment of his race. I want to read this one again relatively soon.
When My Time Comes by Diane Rehm: Diane Rehm, noted NPR host, watched a few years ago as her husband willingly starved himself to death during his battle with Parkinson’s- a decision she supported. She’s lobbied since for the right to medical aid in death in every state in the US. This book is written in interview format with those battling life-ending disease, with medical professionals, and with Religious leaders, exploring the benefits- and not-so- of assisted suicide. It was a hard read for me, as I don’t do well with interview format, but the ideas and opinions therein were a great debate of a subject close to my heart.
Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott: I first read this one in summer of 2015. For a full review, click here.
** this post is not sponsored in any way. all thoughts and opinions are my own **