It’s #FridayReads with Albert Whitman Staffers! Today, our Creative Manager, Jordan Kost, tells us all about her current spooky reads:
When the leaves begin to change and a chill starts to creep into the air, I want my apple cider warm, my sweaters cozy, and my stories extra scary. So, you can imagine how pleased I was went I went over to the to read stack on my bookshelf at the beginning of October and found not one, but two novels from one of my favorite supernatural and spooky authors, Neil Gaiman.
The first novel I picked up was The Graveyard Book. The story centers around a boy named Bod who lives in a graveyard. Bod, who is very much alive, is being raised by the graveyard’s residents who are very, very dead.
Ghosts, ghouls, werewolves, witches, and vampires all play their own part in a story that is magical, surprising, delightful, and creepy.
But not only is this a wonderful story—The Graveyard Book is also illustrated by the fantastic Dave McKean. Gaiman and McKean have teamed up many times before (Coraline, The Wolves in the Walls, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish…the list goes on) and once again, the duo does not disappoint. I had to pause several times while reading The Graveyard Book to dive into Mr. McKean’s wild, scratchy ink illustrations. The endless hidden details contained within each illustration were as complex and beautiful as the story itself. This novel is perfect for both young readers and adults on a dark and stormy night.
The second novel, The Ocean At the End of the Lane, surprised me. I brought it with me on a recent flight to San Francisco and once I dove in, I could not put it down. I was completely smitten. So very smitten that when my flight arrived, I had to be gently nudged by the flight attendants that it was time to get off the plane because I was completely lost in the story. Once in the airport, I had to sit down in one of the lounges so that I could finish the chapter I was reading before gathering myself and heading into the city.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is filled to the brim with everything you want in a Halloween read: magic, humor, good versus evil, suspense, mythology, and of course, kittens! Yes, kittens! The scenes that are scary are downright terrifying, and the magical world in this novel is so new and original, it practically knocked me over.
“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. I was a child, which meant that I knew a dozen different ways of getting out of our property and into the lane, ways that would not involve walking down our drive.” ―Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I don’t want to give away a single spoiler. All that I will say is once all of the trick-or-treating is done for the evening, this is the book you should reach for before curling up under a blanket with a sleeping cat on your lap. And, if for some reason you do not happen to have a cat around, I suggest you head out and gather one up the “normal way” just like the Hempstocks do. Want to find out what this normal way is? Then hurry up and read The Ocean at the End of the Lane.