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Natalie’s Picks of the Week

Autumn is here which means it’s time for pumpkin spice lattes, cozy socks by a fire, and scary stories. There’s something about the combination of cooling weather, ever shortening days, and the pretty autumn foliage that adds a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the ambiance of a scary story.

Scary stories, the literary version of a roller coaster, come in all varieties. In honor of “Spooky Season”, here are a handful of scary stories to help you find just the right book for these long, cold nights.

Girls and their monsters : the Genain quadruplets and the making of madness in America / Audrey Clare Farley.

Using the Genain quadruplets as a point of entry, Audry Farley discusses society in the 40s and 50s, creating a detailed history of mental illness, racism, and public policy. Using various throughlines in the quadruplet’s case, Farley highlights some of what it must have been like to be disenfranchised, a child, a girl, and/or a woman at that time. After reading something like this, it’s hard to imagine how one could be mentally WELL under these circumstances.

Slenderman : online obsession, mental illness, and the violent crime of two Midwestern girls / Kathleen Hale.

On May 31, 2014, two tweens from the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, Wisconsin, attempted to stab their classmate to death as a sacrifice to Slenderman. It was a case that shocked the local community and the world. Kathleen Hale uses court transcripts, police reports, individual reporting, and exclusive interviews to provide a true crime narrative of mental illness, the American judicial system, the trials of adolescence, and the power of the internet.

The United States of cryptids : a tour of American myths and monsters / J.W. Ocker.

In this fully illustrated compendium J. W. Ocker (travel writer and chronicler of the strange) uncovers bizarre stories of mysterious monsters lurking in dark forests, deep lakes, and sticky swamps of all 50 states.  Ocker investigates the various ways in which each community embraces and celebrates their local cryptids. With this fun, frightening, fascinating tour through American folklore and history, Ocker invites you to explore the stories we tell about monsters and what those stories say about us.

Stuff of nightmares : the monster makers / created & written by R.L. Stine ; illustrated by A.L. Kaplan.

If you’re a fan of Fear Street, Jekyll, and/or The Invisible Man, R.L. Stine has a graphic novel for you. The iconic Stine has collaborated with artist A.L. Kaplan (Maw, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller) to bring a twisted retelling of Frankenstein. If you’re looking for a little nostalgia with your horror, this is your book.

Wasteland : the secret world of waste and the urgent search for a cleaner future / Oliver Franklin-Wallis.

In the “truth is scarier than fiction” category, Oliver Franklin-Wallis takes readers on a journey inside the multi-billion dollar waste industry, which underpins the modern economy, quietly profiting from what we have left behind.  Some scary facts I learned reading this book: Americans generate an average of 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of waste every day; more than 480 billion plastic bottles are sold worldwide every year—approximately 20,000 every second; and much of the plastic we think we’re recycling ends up in landfills or dumped in developing countries. If any of those facts scare you to your core, you’re not alone! With this mesmerizing, thought-provoking, and occasionally terrifying investigation, Oliver Franklin-Wallis tells a new story of humanity based on what we leave behind, and along the way, he shares a blueprint for building a healthier, more sustainable world—before we’re all buried in trash.

Update: If you’d like to hear me and Michelle (@mdoshi23) talk about two of the books on this list, tune into the premier episode of NBR: Nonfiction Book Report, NBR Spooky Books, which premiered on Friday October 13th.

On the second Friday of each month, Michelle and I will talk about Noteworthy Newish Nonfiction for your reading pleasure. Tune into our next episode on Friday November 10th, when we’ll each share an Indigenous Story from our collection. You can find all episodes of Nonfiction Book Report on the Library’s YouTube Channel.

Categories: Books and More

Tags: Books and More

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