A Reader's Respite set aside much of October for holiday themed reading. For some reason, Halloween is our favorite reading season. Perhaps it's the arrival of cooler weather and a roaring fire in the fireplace. Whatever it is, there are certain books that beg to be read this time of year.

Our favorites this Halloween?

Last year, around this time, A Reader's Respite was fortunate enough to win a copy of Erika Mailman's astounding historical fiction novel, The Witch's Trinity. Erika was kind enough to send an inscribed copy to us and we greedily tucked it away, waiting to savor it this October.

It was so worth the wait.

Set in a small German hamlet in the 16th century, Mailman uses sparse, beautiful language to recreate the conditions in a town that is slowly starving to death, filled with neighbors who have laughed, loved and grieved together for years,who suddenly turn against each other in their desperation.

The Catholic Church, limited understanding of the world around them, and lingering superstition of the Dark Ages come together in a perfect storm and give rise to the trails of witchcraft that swept through the continent.

Mailman has the gift of making the reader feel as if you are there, facing the same excruciating decisions. Would you do the right thing, even if it meant certain death? What lengths would you go to in order to protect your children? All this in less than 300 pages. Wow.

Can you tell how much we loved this novel?

Another book we had shelved away was Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. We told ourselves that we were waiting for Halloween to read this one, but if the absolute truth be known, A Reader's Respite was reluctant to read it because we were worried we'd be disappointed.

We weren't a huge fan of Coraline, Gaiman's other hit children's novel that was recently turned into a gorgeous visual smorgasbord on the big screen.

Perhaps that our expectations for Gaiman were simply too high.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The Graveyard Book was the perfect Halloween read. Gaiman creates a magical tale of a boy raised in a graveyard by kindly ghosts. Bod (short for Nobody) is the only survivor after his family was murdered when he was just a baby.

Taken in by a wonderful cast of spooks at the local graveyard determined to protect him, he grows up learning lessons that only the underworld can teach him, while the murderers who killed his family relentlessly pursue Bod to finish off the job.

This one was filled with uncanny observations on the human condition and characters you will fall in love with. Is anyone really surprised that this book, too, is headed for the big screen?

So if you're a list person like we are and you haven't read these fabulous novels, you might want to jot them down and put them on your Halloweenie reading list for next year.

So go forth and have a fun-filled Halloween, everyone. Stay up late, eat all the kid's candy, and curl up with a spooky book in front of the fire.


  1. Loved both of these books! Have already started the kid's candy. Hope not too many come to the door! LOL!

  2. Fire my tuckus. I think we broke a heat record yesterday and it is making me grumpy. Sweating at Halloween is just wrong. We will be candy gathering tonight (in our summer clothes), then partying with friends by eating Ipswich clams and lobster, and drinking beer. The kids and I loved The Graveyard Book, and your first book sounds really intense! Great spooky reading!

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Graveyard Book because I'm really looking forward to reading it. At the rate I'm going, maybe I'll read it for next Halloween!

  4. Ooh, The Witche's Trinity sounds good. I'm all set to dig into a Mary Stewart mystery for the day.

  5. Ah yes, "The Graveyard Book" is amazing. I'm actually a big "Coraline" fan, but I think I liked "The Graveyard Book" a bit better (though I'm not sure it's fair to compare them, seeing as they're so different!). It really is a great book to read on a windy fall afternoon; good to know you liked it too.

  6. I've never read Gaiman (always meant to but just never got around to it), and I've had The Graveyard Book on my pile for some time now, not sure if it would really be my thing. But your review has sold me. Must read this one soon!

  7. I'm glad to know THE GRAVEYARD BOOK exceeded your expectations. I haven't yet read any Gaiman, but I'll put it on the list for next October.

  8. I'm a bit "meh" about The Graveyard Book (which isn't to say that I disliked it, just that I had hoped for better). So far, I much prefer his books for adults. Anansi Boys is my favorite, and I'll always have warm fuzzies for his Sandman series for showing me that graphic novels and comic books could be about more than just superheroes.

  9. The Witch's Trinity sounds really really good! What a premise!!!!

  10. Happy Halloween to you too! Lucky that you need a fireplace. I need a ice bucket; it's melting hot here!

    Graveyard book is the perfect Halloween book, isn't it?

  11. I just posted my review for the Graveyard Book as well! I saved it for an entire year because I was worried I'd be disappointed....glad to see that you weren't either =)

  12. Did you know you can shorten your long links with Shortest and get cash from every click on your short links.


Fire away!