7 Spooky Bookies for Seasonally Appropriate Bibliophilia

A question to the mental_floss editorial team: What Scary Book Haunts You To This Day?

mental_floss magazine editorial director Ethan Trex appreciates both the creepiness and the wit of The Green Man by Kingsley Amis.

The Green Man by Kingsley Amis is my favorite spooky novel, in part because it's also incredibly funny. Amis' descriptions of life around a haunted British inn and the hard-drinking exploits of its owner can be terrifying, but the dialogue and situations are laden with the writer's trademark wit and appreciation of absurdity. How can you not love the story in which the antagonist is a monster made of trees? Even though I read it as an adult, it still has me just a little nervous any time I'm alone in the woods.” Buy it now, if you dare!

For younger (but super brave) audiences, mentalfloss.com deputy editor Erin McCarthy can’t seem to shake the sheer spookiness of Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz.

“As a kid, I loved being scared, and when I was in elementary school, no books did it better than the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. I would frequently check them out of the library and read them on the bus home, after I was done my homework and under the covers at night. Then, when I was too terrified to read any more, I would put them down and try to sleep. (The key word is try.) Alvin Schwartz's takes on classic scary stories haunt me to this day. Among my favorites: 'The Red Spot,' 'The White Wolf,' 'High Beams,' 'Cat in the Shopping Bag,' 'The Little Black Dog,' 'Wonderful Sausage,' and, OK, all of them.” But it now, if you dare!

More For Your Little Boys and Ghouls With These Fun, Monstrous Parodies:

For those who enjoyed: Try this spooky version:
Madeline features: Frankenstein features:
Twelve little girls in two straight lines Twelve ugly monsters in two straight lines
Little girls who were sometimes sad Monsters who tried to devour your dad
Miss Clavel Miss Devel
An emergency appendectomy An emergency cranial replacement
A tummy scar Some neck screws
For those who enjoyed:

Try this spooky version:

The Runaway Bunny features: The Runaway Mummy features:
A little bunny A little mummy
A trout and a fisherman A serpent and a sea monster
A crocus and a gardener A revenous plant and a monstrous gorilla
A carrot treat A loving, rotten mummy cuddle

And In Spooky Self-Help:

How to Survive a Horror Movie by Seth Grahame-Smith

This book offers sage advice for horror-movie survival. The author starts with advice on determining whether you are in a horror movie and, if so, what kind of horror movie is it (a slasher flick, one with a satanic bent, an onslaught of the undead or, oh no, gasp, a sequel)?  He then lays out the seven deadly sins of horror movie behavior (doubt, machismo, independence, and curiosity, to name a few). The book goes on to offer more specific survival advice given particular horrific scenarios like “What to Do If You Did Something Last Summer,” “What to Do When An Evil Vehicle Wants You Dead,” “How to Tell If You’ve Been Dead Since the Beginning of the Movie” and “What to Do If Your Corn Has Children In It.” A foreword by Wes Craven serves as an apology from the mastermind behind so many horror movies for the many fictional lives he’s cut short—from buxom babysitters, to doubting cops, to well-intentioned boyfriends. Buy it now, if you dare!

The Monster Hunter’s Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Saving Mankind from Vampires, Zombies, Hellhounds and Other Mythical Beasts by Ibrahim S. Amin

A critical reference book for hunters of mythical creatures of any kind, this book presents descriptions, illustrations and killing methods for 30 creatures you may encounter on your many mythical quests.

 Did you know, for example, that…

+ Centaurs are highly vulnerable to flank attacks?

+ To destroy an attacking mummy, fire is likely your best choice—but, due to their slow, lumbering pace, you might also elect to simply walk briskly away?

+ A gorgon’s snake hair and tusks are not to be feared nearly as much as her petrifying stare?

+ Should you encounter a hellhound like Cerberus, you may elect to capture and domesticate the beast rather than destroy him?

In Part II of this display-worthy, hardback tome, the author introduces readers to the little-known field of cryptohoplology, the study of weapons and armor considered by the world at large to be mythical, and includes entries on such weaponry as Aeneas’s Arms and Armor, Excalibur, Hades’ Helmet and the Spear of Destiny. Buy it now, if you dare!

The Zen of Zombie: Better Living Through the Undead by Scott Kenemore

Who knew that one could learn so much about living from the living dead? No, this book is not a manual on brain-eating and graveyard landscaping but, rather, gleans more general advice for good living based on the 24 habits of highly-effective zombies, advise such as:

+ “Be Adaptable.” Shoot, zombies had to adapt to a stranger set of circumstances than any you’re facing when their decaying corpses were reanimated.

+ “Slow Down! (You Move Too Fast).” The distinct “ponderous tread” of a zombie offers low-anxiety, blood-pressure-reducing benefits and also allows one to be more observant, analytical and opportunistic.

+ “Strength in Numbers.” Take a lesson from the evident ability zombies have to bond and join together into zombie armies. Ghosts, vampires, abominable snowmen and other spooky creatures just don’t seem to have the same team spirit. Buy it now, if you dare!

STORE.MENTALFLOSS.COM—Do NOT Abandon all hope, ye who enter here—Henceforth, all orders of $60 or more ship free! And be sure to follow the store on Twitter; we tweet fun stuff and sometimes give things away for nothin'.

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Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Sylvia Plath's Pulitzer Prize in Poetry Is Up for Auction
Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Nate D. Sanders Auctions

A Pulitzer Prize in Poetry that was awarded posthumously to Sylvia Plath in 1982 for her book The Collected Poems will be auctioned on June 28. The Los Angeles-based Nate D. Sanders Auctions says bidding for the literary document will start at $40,000.

The complete book of Plath’s poetry was published in 1981—18 years after her death—and was edited by her husband, fellow poet Ted Hughes. The Pulitzer Prize was presented to Hughes on Plath’s behalf, and one of two telegrams sent by Pulitzer President Michael Sovern to Hughes read, “We’ve just heard that the Collected Plath has won the Pulitzer Prize. Congratulations to you for making it possible.” The telegrams will also be included in the lot, in addition to an official congratulatory letter from Sovern.

The Pultizer’s jury report from 1982 called The Collected Poems an “extraordinary literary event.” It went on to write, “Plath won no major prizes in her lifetime, and most of her work has been posthumously published … The combination of metaphorical brilliance with an effortless formal structure makes this a striking volume.”

Ted Hughes penned an introduction to the poetry collection describing how Plath had “never scrapped any of her poetic efforts,” even if they weren’t all masterpieces. He wrote:

“Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy. The end product for her was not so much a successful poem, as something that had temporarily exhausted her ingenuity. So this book contains not merely what verse she saved, but—after 1956—all she wrote.”

Also up for auction is Plath’s Massachusetts driver’s license from 1958, at which time she went by the name Sylvia P. Hughes. Bidding for the license will begin at $8000.

Plath's driver's license
Nate D. Sanders Auctions
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Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
New 'Eye Language' Lets Paralyzed People Communicate More Easily
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0

The invention of sign language proved you don't need to vocalize to use complex language face to face. Now, a group of designers has shown that you don't even need control of your hands: Their new type of language for paralyzed people relies entirely on the eyes.

As AdAge reports, "Blink to Speak" was created by the design agency TBWA/India for the NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute and the Asha Ek Hope Foundation. The language takes advantage of one of the few motor functions many paralyzed people have at their disposal: eye movement. Designers had a limited number of moves to work with—looking up, down, left, or right; closing one or both eyes—but they figured out how to use these building blocks to create a sophisticated way to get information across. The final product consists of eight alphabets and messages like "get doctor" and "entertainment" meant to facilitate communication between patients and caregivers.

Inside of a language book.
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

This isn't the only tool that allows paralyzed people to "speak" through facial movements, but unlike most other options currently available, Blink to Speak doesn't require any expensive technology. The project's potential impact on the lives of people with paralysis earned it the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity earlier in June.

The groups behind Blink to Speak have produced thousands of print copies of the language guide and have made it available online as an ebook. To learn the language yourself or share it with someone you know, you can download it for free here.

[h/t AdAge]

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