With everything that’s going on in my life right now, I really doubt I will have enough time to knock down a chunk off of my GoodReads Reading Challenge.
Not to mention, October is usually a difficult time of the month for me; every year in October I go into a very dark place and find it nearly impossible to get out of bed without wishing I had died. I am still not sure why this only happens around this time of the year, but ever since I realized I have been trying to pay attention to myself and my needs.
Strange as it seems, I managed to take care of myself quite a bit during 2020, and so far this October, I am doing well enough. There’s been a few extreme lows in the past two weeks; just last night I nearly broke down in tears and couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so much pain when I had so many things to be grateful for. It made me feel like a selfish, spoiled brat, and that made things even worse.
But I understood that whatever I was going through meant that I needed to take care of myself, and treat my pain as if it was a physical illness. And so I did what I would normally do when I am sick: I went straight to bed and played Sims 4 for hours until I felt well enough to sleep soundly the rest of the night. I know it’s not therapy, and it’s a bit like putting a bandaid over a hemorrhage, but I did what I could and I feel much better now in the morning.
Anyway, as I was saying, October is a tough time of the year, and so I want to take it easy on myself while also doing the things that I know will bring me joy. Reading is without a doubt one of them, Given my workload this month with Halloween coming up, and my mental health at the moment, I do not want to set a long reading list for myself. Instead, I want to read just a little bit every day and enjoy whatever story I am diving into.
And so this year I only have two books on my Halloween reading list to get me into that spooky spirit the world over is celebrating.
1. These Deathless Bones by Cassandra Khaw
I first heard about Cassandra Khaw when I read Kal’s review on Nothing But Blackened Teeth, and I knew I had to get my hands on her stories too! Unfortunately, Nothing But Blackened Teeth isn’t available in my country just yet, but I did manage to get a copy of These Deathless Bones, which is a short horror tale about a witch bride and the second wife of a king, and her relationship with her stepson.
This story was unlike anything I have ever read. Cassandra Khaw is a brilliant storyteller, and from the very first few lines, she had created this atmosphere of fear and impending horror that had me hooked. Although These Deathless Bones was only a short novella, I remember holding my breath wondering what terrible thing would happen next. I loved the way she built up the suspense and slowly, carefully unveiled the plot and the motives of the characters. In only 19 pages, she had created two terrifying characters and an epic standoff between the queen and her stepson, and I loved every minute of it.
Another thing that I loved about this story was how Cassandra Khaw took the trope of evil stepmother and queen that is used in almost every fairy tale and flipped it around. You will start the book fearing the witch bride, but as the story unravels you will be more scared of her 11 year-old-stepson than of the woman who could call on dead spirits.
I strongly recommend this book to anybody who is looking for a chilling and haunting story. These Deathless Bones may be short, but it is guaranteed to give you goosebumps when you dive in.
2. The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters
The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters was on my most anticipated July book release list, and I am so happy I finally have the chance to read it this month. The book follows the story of two young women, one who is in the search of her missing sister and another a witch whose mother may be responsible for the disappearance.
Haunting and emotional, The River Has Teeth is the kind of story that is more than just another horror or fantasy novel: it is dark and brutal and angry, and feminist in the way it explores the pain that our society inflicts on women just because we are perceived as weak and helpless. I am only halfway through the book, and I can already tell that this is a story that will stay with me.
That’s it for now I guess. If I can finish The River Has Teeth before the month is over, I might move on to rereading Unbreakable by Kami Garcia, which is one of my favorite Young Adult horror novels. A truly underrated gem, Unbreakable was unfortunately canceled after the second book which is a shame because it is hands down one of the spookiest horror stories I have ever read. I remember not being able to sleep alone for days because of how scary that book was.
If you have any spooky book recommendations, or TV show recommendations, feel free to shoot them my way and I will try to catch up on them if I can this month. Let me know in the comments below!