Tag Archives: John Connolly

Books I’d Love to see Made into Movies/TV shows

Inspired by (or, rather, shamelessly ripped off from) this rather fabulous post on the Middle Grade Strikes Back blog, I’ve been thinking for the past while about MG and YA books which would work fantastically well as movies and/or TV shows. Some of my choices, naturally enough, will overlap with those featured on the MG Strikes Back blog (because the choices there are amazing), but some of them are new and fresh. (Rather unlike me at the moment, it must be said. I’m just back from the doctor’s, where I was diagnosed with a ‘mild upper respiratory tract infection’. Well, that’s all well and good, doc, but it didn’t seem so ‘mild’ last night at 2.37 a.m. when I was awake, coughing up a lung.

But I digress).

So. My first choice of a MG/YA book which would be a fantastic movie or TV show is:

The Predator Cities series, by Philip Reeve

How amazing would these books be on the big screen? I think they’d be best as movies, because there’s just too much spectacle for the small screen. Mechanised moving cities, reanimated corpses, girls with half a face, airships, scavengers, fights to the death… wow. These books have it all, and more. I’d love to see a movie adaptation of this series – and I haven’t even read all the books yet!

The Chaos Walking trilogy, by Patrick Ness

It’s strange how I haven’t reviewed these books on my blog yet, because they’ve been among my favourites for years now. Telling the story of Todd and Manchee, his beloved and faithful dog, as they struggle to overcome tyranny and injustice in the settlement of Prentisstown (where only men live, and where thoughts are audible to all, rendering privacy and peace impossible), and how their lives change when they discover Viola – the first female creature Todd has ever encountered – the books are masterpieces. The strength of the characters, coupled with the scope for fantastic settings, means these books would work incredibly well on screen. I could see this being a successful TV series or a movie. Either way it’s high time I re-read the books!

Image: everydayisa.wordpress.com

Image: everydayisa.wordpress.com

John Connolly’s Samuel Johnson books

John Connolly is one of the world’s most successful crime/thriller writers, and I love his Charlie Parker series of books for grown-ups about a private eye with a supernatural side. However, his books for MG readers, which tell the tale of Samuel Johnson and his struggle to avoid the clutches of Hell (after a wormhole to that fetid dimension is opened up, accidentally, by his neighbours) are a laugh a minute. Between crazy characters and icky creatures, these books would be a fab TV show. I’d love to see them on a screen.

Emma Pass’ ACID

A heart-thumping blockbuster of a book with a great heroine and an adrenaline-fuelled storyline, this YA novel would make a fantastic movie. It has everything: technology, a futuristic setting, excellent conflict, great characters and enough action to keep everyone happy. I hope Hollywood comes calling for this story, sooner or later.

Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co novels

Ghosts! Ghouls! Murder most foul! Rapiers! Elegant clothing! Fantastical set-pieces! Adventure! Derring-do! Talking skulls! Banter!

Yes. The sooner the better the Lockwood books get a big or small screen outing, in my opinion. I’d love to see raffish Lockwood, bristly Lucy and clever George translated into three dimensions. Not to mention the spirits who share their lives…

Jeanette Winterson’s Tanglewreck

I’m torn between this one and Winterson’s other MG work, The Battle of the Sun, as my choice for a movie/TV adaptation. Ultimately I plumped for this one due to the fact that it’s about time, and the wrangling and rippling thereof, and the struggles to control it – and I’m always a sucker for that sort of thing. It’s peopled with some of the most fabulously named characters (Silver River, Abel Darkwater, Mrs Rokabye) and incredible creatures (including but not limited to a mammoth), and its sheer cleverness means it would be an amazing movie, in the right hands.

Image: jeanettewinterson.com

Image: jeanettewinterson.com

Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Arthur novels

Crossley-Holland’s evocative, beautiful, multi-layered stories about Arthur de Caldicot and his attempts to become a knight – while dealing with the legacy of the long-ago heroic King Arthur who shares his name – would be a fabulous TV show. I would love to see the books’ beautiful settings and gorgeous ideas about heroism and growing up translated to a screen.

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials

Yes, I know there was a movie made based on the first of these majestic books already, and – for some crazy reason – it didn’t do well enough for the other stories to be filmed. Sometimes I wish for a Kickstarter to be set up to fund the making of the second two movies in this series, because I, for one, would love to see how they would turn out. Sadly the young actor who played Lyra so very well in the first movie has long grown up, so the part would have to be recast – but I would give anything to see Nicole Kidman reinhabit her role as the villainous Mrs Coulter. If ever there was an example of perfect casting, that was it! These books are among the best in the world for young readers, and it’s such a shame the movies don’t exist beside them.

Frances Hardinge’s Cuckoo Song

Image: panmacmillan.com

Image: panmacmillan.com

Frankly, I think all of Frances Hardinge’s books would make wonderful films and/or TV shows, and I live in hope that BBC or ITV or some other UK-based network will pick up on this, and immortalise her words for the screen. When thinking about this post, though, it was Cuckoo Song which struck me as being the most immediately suitable for adaptation, perhaps because of its war theme (which is relevant now) and perhaps because of the sheer power of the story. It’s less fantastical than some of her other works (so, possibly, easier to film) but no less impactful. It’s an incredible story which I’d happily pay to see on film.

The Hounds of the Morrígan, by Pat O’Shea

Image: hierath.wordpress.com

Image: hierath.wordpress.com

This book is part of my DNA. I love it passionately, even though it’s been well over twenty years since I last read it (and, come to think of it, I have no idea where my copy is). It would work fantastically as a TV show or a movie, though it would have to be sensitively handled to avoid becoming too ‘stage Oirish’; a clever Irish filmmaker could probably do a lot with it. Telling the story of Pidge and his sister Brigit, who become wrapped up in ancient Celtic myth when Pidge comes across a book which contains the spirit of a long-slumbering evil, it’s one of the finest books for children to have come out of Ireland. What a shame its author passed away before completing her sequel – and a bigger shame that this gem of storytelling has largely been forgotten.

So, there you are. No real surprises there! What would be your top 10 MG/YA books – or indeed books from any genre or age group – which you’d love to see turned into movies or TV shows?

EDIT: I remembered last night (midway through a coughing attack) that I’d forgotten one of the books I really wanted to mention in this post. I was going to subtly swap one of the choices above for this one, but then decided I’d prefer to just add it on here instead. That choice is:

Siobhan Dowd, A Swift Pure Cry (or Bog Child, if people prefer)

I love both these books by the late, much-mourned Siobhan Dowd. A Swift Pure Cry, telling the story of a young girl pregnant out of wedlock in an Ireland which is, hopefully, passing into memory, would make an excellent screenplay. Bog Child, linking Ireland’s ancient past with its painful ‘present’ (the book is set in the 1980s, at the height of the Troubles), would also be incredible to watch on the big or small screen. I don’t think either of these stories has ever been adapted for TV, but they really should be. Relevant, punchy, full of guts and heart and emotion, they’d really work well. They’re also fantastic stories, with just a touch of magic and a deep, compassionate humanity at their core. The very best sort of writing, in fact. Someone get on this?

Flash Friday – ‘Tears of the Clowns’

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library. Image sourced: flashfriday.wordpress.com

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library.
Image sourced: flashfriday.wordpress.com

Tears of the Clowns

‘Even the gosh-durn dog looks terrified, Walter.’

‘Sure. Sure. But just give them a second, okay? These are my best guys.’

‘They’ve had ten minutes already! If they coulda made the kid laugh, he’d be laughin’ by now. Kickin’ up his liddle feet. Clutchin’ his liddle sides.’

‘Aw, you’re too hard on these guys, Jasper, I mean – hey! Wait!’

‘What? What?

‘The kid! He’s cracking a smile. He is!

‘Hm. Looks like gas, to me.’

‘No way, man. It’s Teddy’s ‘Vanishing Apple’ trick. Never fails.’

‘Vanishing Apple, huh? Ends up in the kid’s ear, right?’

‘Ah – well. Usually, someone’s rear end, actually.’

‘Sounds… unsanitary.’

‘They don’t eat the apple afterwards, Jasp.’

‘Small mercies. Kid’s still not smilin’, though, Walter. And now the dog looks distinctly uncomfortable.’

Dang it.’

‘I’m calling it, my friend. Joke Death: 08:17:23. Pull those guys out. Oh, and someone contact a veterinarian? Ask ’em if they’ve ever surgically removed an apple from a dog.’


This week’s Flash! Friday challenge involved a picture of clowns – which, of course, you’ll see from the image I’ve reproduced above – and we had to include ‘surgery’ as the other prompt. Like a lot of people who watched ‘IT’ at an impressionable age, I don’t have a high opinion of clowns, which is sad in a way because they’ve been an inextricable part of circus life for thousands of years. There are some fantastic dark, scary short stories written about clowns, none better than John Connolly’s ‘Some Children Wander by Mistake’ (included in his anthology Nocturnes which I would highly, highly recommend), and so I decided (unusually for me) that I was going to try to write something funny. The first thing to strike me about the image was the tiny dog, and the expression on its face, and the narrators’ voices – I imagine them observing proceedings from behind a one-way glass screen, like in an old cop movie – told me what was going on, and so I wrote it down.

My schedule, and my brain, have been all over the place for the past few days. I haven’t been myself. I hope I have a handle on things again, now, and I’m glad to have completed a story for Flash! Friday with relatively little struggle; it’s a good sign, I think, that I’m getting back up to speed. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my small tale about the clowns and their little dog, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for a book review, and let’s hope it’ll be all systems go next week. Alley-oop!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Almost Put Down (But Didn’t)

Last night, about 2 a.m., our fire alarm started to go bip every thirty seconds. Just out of the blue, you know? Like it was lonely, and wanted to sing itself a little song. Anyway, it dragged the Husband and I out of a sleep which was, until that point, deep as oblivion. There followed nearly an hour of trying to figure out what the heck was wrong and how to fix it without setting off either a) the fire alarm proper or b) the house alarm – which wouldn’t have made us very popular with our neighbours or, indeed, each other.

So, we woke this morning feeling rather worse for wear.

Artist: Charles M. Shulz Image sourced: biblioklept.org

Artist: Charles M. Shulz
Image sourced: biblioklept.org

As a direct result of this (and the fact that all the writing I’ve done over the past twenty-four hours has either been on social media or in preparation for the Date with an Agent event this weekend, which I’ll be attending), today’s blog post is a Top Ten Tuesday, hosted as ever by the fine folks at The Broke and the Bookish.

The theme this week is:

Top Ten Books I Almost Put Down (But Didn’t)

1. The Divergent Trilogy (Veronica Roth)

I wrote a bit about these books on the blog when I read them and I went through the issues I had with them, particularly with book one, Divergent. While the books did improve a bit as they went on, I found the voice (or rather ‘voices’, because there were supposed to be more than one) in book three (Allegiant) to be a challenging read. Some of the illogical bits in the first book did get explained by the end, but I found myself no warmer towards the characters at the end than I was at the beginning. I finished these books because they’d been blockbuster smash hits and I wanted to see if I was missing anything, but also because they were a birthday gift. I feel awful including them in this list because of that fact, but there you have it.

Image: yabookreviewer.wordpress.com

Image: yabookreviewer.wordpress.com

2. The Maze Runner Trilogy (James Dashner)

I don’t want to say too much about these, because I’ll be reviewing them on Saturday. Let’s just say I was challenged to read them, and that was one of the main reasons I didn’t fling them against the nearest wall.

3. Anansi Boys (Neil Gaiman)

Well. Isn’t this a surprise? Did you think a Neil Gaiman book would turn up on a list like this? I bet you didn’t.

Image: genreforjapan.com

Image: genreforjapan.com

Now, nobody who reads this blog is unaware of my adoration for Neil Gaiman. However, it is the truth that Anansi Boys was a challenge, and the only reason I finished it was (of course) because it was a Neil Gaiman book. I didn’t like the characters, I think – it’s been almost ten years since I read this book, and I only read it once. Something about the sheer nastiness in the story put me off. I appreciate it’s about a trickster god and, common misperceptions about Loki aside, they’re not generally very nice individuals, but still. I might give Anansi Boys another go in a year or two and see if I’ve grown into it.

4. The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Diana Wynne Jones)

I had never heard of this until one day, while looking up a Diana Wynne Jones book for a customer in the bookshop in which I used to work, I came across it. I read the title out in surprise, and the customer said ‘Oh, haven’t you read that one? Give it a go, it’s great.’ I immediately ordered it for myself (this was the only drawback to working in a bookshop, for my bank balance at least), and when it arrived I was delighted.

Image: books4yourkids.com

Image: books4yourkids.com

However, I began to read it as soon as I got home and – bleh. The humour didn’t grab me, the concept behind the book (a sort of spoof travel guide to a generic ‘Fantasyland’, which pitilessly lampoons the conventions of fantasy writing) left me cold and I found it boring. So, I did put it down – for a while. I came back to it a few months later, though, possibly in a better frame of mind, and read it cover to cover with huge delight.

The customer was right: it is great. I’m glad I gave this one another chance.

5. Red Shift (Alan Garner)

Have I taken leave of my senses, I hear you ask? A book by my all-time literary hero Alan Garner is on a list of books I almost didn’t finish?

Well, yes.

Image: freebooknotes.com

Image: freebooknotes.com

Alan Garner is an immensely intelligent man, and he brings that intelligence to his writing. His books can often be twisty, complex, filled with scientific, cosmological and philosophical ideas. All this is wonderful, of course, and I’m normally all over it. But, somehow, in Red Shift it’s just a little too much for me. I have read this book four times, with difficulty, and I don’t think I’ve ever understood it. It tells a time-slip story where three periods of history are interconnected through a Stone Age axehead, an artifact which is important to all the characters despite the fact that they are separated by hundreds of years. It’s a marvel of imagination and language, and I have been meaning to give it another go. Perhaps I’ve finally grown a big enough brain to finally be able to read it all, start to finish, without stopping.

6. Gold Dust (Geraldine McCaughrean)

I love Geraldine McCaughrean, too. She’s a legend in children’s books. I feel almost like I’m letting off fireworks in a church just by saying that I came within a hair’s breadth of not finishing one of her novels, but I cannot lie. Gold Dust just didn’t work for me. I didn’t enjoy the voice, or the story, or the characters. I’m sorry about it, though, if that helps.

7. The Last Four Things (Paul Hoffman)

I picked up this book because I thought, stupidly, that it would be about ‘the four last things’ – Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell – of medieval eschatology. It’s not, of course. It’s about a character named Thomas Cale and his induction into a shady secret society whose aim it is to bring the world to an end. I finished it only because I bought it on honeymoon and it has sentimental value; if this wasn’t the case, it’d have ended up in a second-hand shop a long time ago.

8. The Vision of Piers Plowman (William Langland)

Image: hachette.com.au

Image: hachette.com.au

Right, so this is a text I had to read for college; I fought it all the way, though. It’s possibly my least favourite of all the books (technically, it’s a long poem) I had to read for my studies and I freely admit I only finished it because I had to. Having said that, I appreciate it as a masterwork of allegory and symbolism, but holy heck is it hard.

If any of my old students are reading this, disregard the last few sentences. I read this because it’s a work of genius and everything I told you in class about how great it is is completely, one hundred percent true. All right? Good.

9. Tristram Shandy (Laurence Sterne)

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is a crazy thing. Filled with exaggeration, digression, tangents which ramble on not for pages but for entire volumes, pages which are left blank, taking its sources from all over the place, and some of the most refreshing language of its age, it’s almost like a book that should have been written during the postmodern era. It’s insane. It’s hard to read. But it’s worth the struggle. It dates from the mid-eighteenth century and even the language is a challenge to modern eyes, but I’m glad it’s under my belt.

10. Every Dead Thing (John Connolly)

I am a huge John Connolly fan – now. At the time I first began to read his work, it was almost too much for me; too creepy, too scary, too gory, too everything. A friend recommended him, and so I bought the first four of his Charlie Parker novels, beginning with Every Dead Thing. It took me four attempts to finish it, but after that I was on a roll. I ripped through the rest of Connolly’s work, and I’ve been a religious collector of his books ever since. Genius. But scary.

Image: johnconnollybooks.com

Image: johnconnollybooks.com

So, that’s me. Care to share your own top ten list of books you almost put down – but didn’t?

Recommended Books (Vol. 1)

The other day on Twitter, a very kind lady named Steph asked me if I’d ever blogged a list of books I’d recommend. I thought about it, and realised that I hadn’t, really, ever written a post like that. I do random book reviews, and I’ve talked a bit about why I buy certain books and not others (which, no doubt, you’re aware of if you’ve been hanging out here for a while), but I’ve never put together an actual list of books I would recommend to others.

It’s been on my mind for a few days now, and I think I’ll give it a go.

It’s a bit scary, though, in some ways. It’s sort of like opening the door to your mind and showing people around, hoping they won’t turn their nose up at your choice of curtains or finger your upholstery in a derisory way, going ‘Really? This fabric? Couldn’t she afford anything better?’

'Well, I never! How *could* she choose that colour for the walls? Has she *no* decorum? You wouldn't see that at one of my candlelight suppers!' Image: politicsworldwide.com

‘Well, I never! How *could* she choose that colour for the walls? Has she *no* decorum? You wouldn’t see that at one of my candlelight suppers!’
Image: politicsworldwide.com


So, the list of books below are some of those which I found world-enhancing, life-changing, utterly wonderful in every way, and which I’d recommend everyone reads as soon as possible. Here goes. Be gentle.

The Silver SwordIan Seraillier. I first read this book in first class at primary school (so, I was about seven or eight); we were going through a World War II phase, wherein we read this book, ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank, and another book I adore called I Am David by Anne Holm.  Everyone in the world has heard of Anne Frank, but not everyone has heard of the others. So, that’s why these ones are recommended.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l’Engle. I brought this book on a family holiday when I was about ten, and I lost it. I almost lost my reason, too. The strop was almighty and unmerciful, and nobody escaped my wrath. I actually found it again years later, after I’d already bought myself two replacement copies, but I didn’t apologise to my family for the temper tantrum. So it goes.

Speaking of l’Engle, though – as much as I adore A Wrinkle in Time, I’m not completely sold on the other books in the series of which this book is the first volume. As they go on, they get a bit less interesting and a bit more ‘preachy’. But Wrinkle is definitely worth reading.

I’ve already wittered on about The Little Prince and Elidor before, so I won’t do it again.

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Moon of Gomrath, and The Owl Service, all by Alan Garner, are so amazing that I don’t have a word to describe them. Just read them, as soon as possible, and then read everything Alan Garner has ever written, including Boneland, Strandloper, Thursbitch, The Stone Book Quartet, The Voice that Thundersand anything else I may have forgotten.

I need to go and have a lie-down now, after thinking about Alan Garner’s books. They’re that good.

Right. Next, move on to Susan Cooper, and her magnificent The Dark is Rising sequence of books; once you’ve read them, try Victory for size, a story which links the modern day to the Battle of Trafalgar, and which is one of the most moving stories I’ve ever read. I read the last fifty pages of it through a veil of tears. Just a fair warning.

Then, there’s Jenny Nimmo, and her Snow-Spider Trilogy, which is fabulous.

There’s also John Connolly, who has written for children (beautifully), but who also has the marvellous Charlie Parker detective novels, all of which are worth reading; my favourite is Bad Men.

I’ve spoken before on this blog about Jeanette Winterson. To be honest, I’d find it impossible to recommend one of her books above any of the others, but if I had to, it’d be Sexing the Cherry. Or The Passion. Or The Power Book. Or Written on the Body. Gah! I can’t choose. Read them all, and you decide.

Margaret Atwood. What can I say about her? Read The Edible Woman, and follow it up with Surfacing, and then let me know if your mind is blown. Because mine was when I first read these books. I was the same age as Atwood had been when she’d written them, and I went into a funk of ‘what on earth am I doing with my life?’ that lasted about four years.

It’s pretty unfashionable not to read and love Neil Gaiman these days; I’m no exception to the rule. Pick anything he’s written and give it a go, and I’m pretty sure you’ll love it. I recommend all his novels (perhaps not Anansi Boys as much as the others, for some reason), but my absolute favourite Gaiman is Sandman, his graphic novel. Genius.

I love Garth Nix. I read The Abhorsen Trilogy several years ago, and was astounded. Those books inspired me to write more than (I think) any other young adult/children’s book I’ve ever read. Give them a whirl, if you haven’t already.

When it comes to Ursula le Guin, everyone recommends The Earthsea Quartet. Of course, I do, too. But there’s so much more to her than that. The Left Hand of Darkness, The Lathe of Heaven, and The Word for World is Forest are also amazing.

I’ve just finished reading A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, and I couldn’t recommend it more highly, either. I took a chance on it, as I’d never read anything by the author before, and I was richly rewarded for it. A beautiful, completely unique book, it’s great and should be widely read.

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando changed my life when I first read it. It showed me what a novel can do, by breaking every single narrative rule in the universe and then making a brilliant story out of the shards. Incredible.

Also, Sylvia Plath’s Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, which isn’t a novel (it’s a collection of stories). This book left a lasting impression on me. Everyone has read The Bell Jar (also wonderful), but not as many people have read Plath’s stories. So, do it.

I reckon that’s enough for one day. I have a feeling I’ll revisit this topic, because I’ve really enjoyed taking a stroll through my bookish memories.

Have you read any/all of the books I mention here? What did you think? Would you agree that they’re worth recommending to others, or am I off my trolley?

All Hallows’ Eve…

Happy Hallowe’en! As I write, it’s dark as pitch outside and the rain is battering the windows. It’s the perfect setting for writing about this, the scariest time of the year. I hope you like my blog’s ‘new look’ – thanks to my wonderful husband who redesigned the colour of my banner image, and added the cutest… I mean, most terrifying bat I’ve ever seen. It’s my little celebration of the day when the worlds begin to slide into one another, and you never know what’s waiting for you around the next corner…

I’ve always loved Hallowe’en, even in the years that have passed since I grew too big for ‘trick or treating’. I didn’t have much imagination back when I was young enough to be able to get dressed up and go around terrorising the neighbours, I’m afraid to say. I was usually a witch, because there were always long skirts and spooky-looking scarves lying around at home, so it was a very easy costume. We didn’t even call it ‘trick or treating’ when I was young – I’m not completely sure whether we even had a name for it. I have a feeling it rejoiced in the name ‘going around for Hallowe’en’, which definitely has less of a ring to it! I just remember it being great fun, and I recall the frisson of terror that would run up my spine every time we rang a doorbell, particularly when we didn’t know who lived there. We would be ushered into living rooms and kitchens and urged to do a dance or a ‘recitation’ of poetry in order to get a few coins, or a handful of nuts, as a reward. It was rare that we got things like sweets or chocolate – we would be far more likely to come home with our swag-bags laden down with apples than with sugary treats. It makes sense, as Hallowe’en probably has roots in harvest festivals and celebrations relating to the goddess Pomona (the goddess of fruit and/or fruitfulness, and possibly apples – I’m not completely sure any more!), but I didn’t have this scholarly perspective when I was a kid, and I often felt short-changed as I munched through my pile of Granny Smiths. It’s funny, now, that I’m on the other side of the whole ‘trick or treating’ thing, that I make such a big deal out of it. I spent nearly an hour yesterday making up little ‘treat packs’ for our local children, ready to be handed over when we are, inevitably, deluged with visitors as soon as darkness falls. I’m really looking forward to it. Nothing is more lovely than seeing the local kids all excited and dressed up. I’m just hoping I have enough packs to cover everyone – a couple of years ago, we ran out of goodies and my husband and I had to cower in the kitchen with the lights turned out until the doorbell stopped ringing. That was fun.

I’m thinking about scary things today, of course, and I wanted to muse a bit about frightening films versus frightening books. I’m not sure if anyone else is like this, but I find that I’m completely unable to watch scary films. I have zero tolerance for them. One of the best photographs of me as a child is one that was taken during my first viewing of the movie ‘Jaws’ – I’m basically clutching a pillow to my chest and peering over the top of it, regarding the television with an expression of pure terror. ‘Jaws’ is a film I consider to be scary, but it’s not a ‘horror’ film, as such; when we get into the territory of horror, I just can’t do it. You might remember a few weeks back I mentioned that I’d watched ‘The Woman in Black’ and almost lost my life in the process – all this, despite the fact it’s generally considered a film so un-scary as to be funny. Even my mother, who normally shrieks at shadows, laughed her way through ‘TWIB’. I, however, could not sleep afterwards, and had to leave my bedroom lights on all night, much to the amusement of my family. I’ve seen ‘The Exorcist’ because a friend basically forced me to, and I watched ‘Poltergeist’ when I was younger before I really knew what I was getting myself in for. However, that’s about it for classic horror movies. I particularly can’t handle anything that involves possession, or demons, or monstrous psychopaths (Freddie Krueger, for instance), and I also can’t cope with anything that involves young children coming to harm. (Now that I think about it, I’ve also seen ‘The Others’, which nearly made me lose my mind because the little boy in it looks just like my brother did when he was young, so I can’t help but feel the movie is about my brother – yes, I’m weird).

Well, my brother was a bit less pale and strange-looking, but the general outline is similar. Anyway.

However, when it comes to scary books, I’m a different animal altogether. Scary books, I can usually handle. I’ve read all of John Connolly’s novels, which are pretty spooky, and feature not only murder but also a lot of supernatural goings-on, including ghosts and fallen angels and the lot. I can read Stephen King, but I can’t watch adaptations of his work. The book I’m currently reading, ‘Kraken’, is full of scary bits, which I have no problem with. If I even wanted to get picky about it, one of my favourite books is Henry James’ ‘The Turn of the Screw’, which is similar to ‘The Others’ in so many ways; I love the book, but can’t handle the film. I’m wondering why this is, and I think the secret lies in control. I feel, when reading a scary book, that I’m in control of the images being created in my mind – I can make them as scary as I’m able for, and if I want to, I can focus on something in the background of the scene instead. I also know I can close the book and walk away at any stage. I’m not completely sure about this logic, though, because usually when a person reads, the mental images are more intense, because they’re so extremely personal. Hmm.

It’s a puzzle, and no mistake. Has anyone else experienced this? Is there a secret trick to being able to watch frightening films that I’ve just never been exposed to?

Happy Hallowe’en – have a wonderful day, whether you’re trick or treating, or doling out the tricks and treats. And stay safe out there!