With the nights turning cool and the stores busting out the fall decorations, I thought it was a good time for a post about scary stories. Not only am I way overdue for a Friday Firsts post, but the scary season is almost upon us!
I have loved books from a young age. There were always books in our home growing up. We had story books and early readers, chapter books, teen books, and young adult books. I remember Frog and Toad, Nancy Drew, and The Babysitter’s Club. My mother loved to read and passed this trait down to me. She was always reading when I was growing up. Of course, her books were much thicker and much scarier looking. My mom is a huge fan of Stephen King. For a while there she had read everything he’d ever written, and perhaps that’s true today, though I think she has a little catching up to do. 😉
I wasn’t a fan of being scared when I was younger. Some kids love monster stories and creepy movies and look forward to Halloween because it’s a time to get scared. Not me. I didn’t like monsters or ghosts or creepy things. I remember a couple of creepy movies we watched as kids, but they were Disney movies, not Stephen King. I remember hearing titles like Misery and Thinner and wondering why in the world my mom would want to read something so scary. They must be good, I reasoned, if she kept reading them. I started thinking that maybe I wanted to try to read a scary book. Enter Mr. R.L. Stine.
I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I first felt brave enough to pick up an R.L. Stine book or which title was my first. But I do remember that my sister, brother, and I devoured them. My brother opted for the Goosebumps series while my big sis and I became obsessed with Fear Street. My sister loved the Cheerleader books. I loved all things Fear Street but I also loved some of R.L. Stine’s other creepy books, mainly the Babysitter series. I loved them all! I’m not sure if it was the idea of reading something scary or the feeling of being more grown up because I was reading a scary book. Or maybe it’s because they were something new and fun. Either way, I couldn’t get enough of R.L. Stine’s books with their creepy images and bold titles splashed across the covers.
I continued to read R.L. Stine through my preteen and teen years. There was a book for every occasion. He had books set around Christmas (Silent Night), books set over summer vacation, and books that took place in Shadyside High during the school year. I was surprised at how much I loved scary stories, and I think part of my love for them was feeling a new kind of connection with my mom. I even attempted a Stephen King novel as a teenager but it was too much for me. Last year, at the tender age of thirty-five, I finally read my first Stephen King book, Revival. I know, I know…took me long enough! The Shining is on my TBR for October and you better believe that I’ll be reading it. I don’t care how busy I get or what else is going on. I’m going to finally read it. I’ve never seen the movie version either so it will be a totally new scary story for me.
Looking back, the thing about scary stories that stands out to me is that I was so scared to read one. But once I did, I found that I loved it, and I’ve gotten so much joy out of reading them ever since. I have a shelf dedicated to favorite books growing up, including several R.L. Stine titles. Just looking at these books, at their familiar covers, and smelling the old paperback book smell conjures so many memories. I pick one up every now and then for a re-read and a trip down memory lane.
So I guess the lesson here is don’t be afraid to read something new, to try a new genre. Maybe it won’t be for you, but maybe you’ll find that you like it and discover some new favorite authors.
Do you like scary reads? Do you have any favorite authors from the scary genre? Please feel free to share in the comments.
As always, happy reading! – Kait
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