The Sunday Salon (July 3): R.L. Stine put monsters under my bed

The Sunday I know! It’s Monday. Just pretend it’s Sunday– I had a migraine for most of the day yesterday, and so I couldn’t post. I hate having migraines, as I can’t do anything when I have them, not even listen to an audiobook. I actually probably made my migraine worse because I refused to stop reading my R.L. Stine omnibus. I made it through two out of three books before the pounding in my head got to be too much, though, so I guess that’s an accomplishment (or just rampant stupidity).

R.L. Stine is probably my favorite kids horror writer. I was never really into the Christopher Pike or Lois Duncan (or Caroline B. Cooney– remember The Face on the Milk Carton?) when I was younger, probably because they were a little bit too scary. R.L. Stine, while not super fabulous at keeping away from dialogue tags or varying up his characters (they all seem to be white middle class kids in midwestern suburbs), is simply great at atmosphere. And twist endings, for that matter.

His books are scary without being pee-your-pants terrifying. They’re fun to read because spooky things happen and sometimes the kids may get away or win against the spooky thing– but sometimes (most times?) they don’t. The fact that the heroes may actually lose, that they aren’t actually safe from the spooky thing after all: that’s the scariest part of a Stine book, don’t you think? It sure kept ME up at night when I was younger. The thing under my bed? That thing could EAT ME and I wouldn’t even be able to make a heroic escape at the end. Horrifying.

If you’re too old for Stine’s books now (which is a farcical idea), you still might enjoy the TV shows based on his books. You may remember the Goosebumps TV series from the mid-late 1990s; if you never have, it’s sort of like a version of Are You Afraid of the Dark, except aimed at elementary/middle-school kids instead of high school. (If you haven’t seen AYAOTD you’re missing out on a lot of awesomeness and you won’t get my reference, besides.) The TV show was actually scarier than the books because it had the atmospheric music and people screaming and frickin’ scary monsters and stuff. It was great!

Turns out there’s a new R.L. Stine show now: The Haunting Hour, which I managed to catch an episode of yesterday. It’s basically like the old Goosebumps show except not as 90’s and with slightly less scary monsters (or at least that one episode’s monsters were less scary. Or, at least, one monster’s acting wasn’t very good). According to Wikipedia, The Haunting Hour is “much darker than its aforementioned predecessor [Goosebumps], and some episodes serve as very dark morality tales.” So that’s fun!

The kids were good actors, though

One last thing I wanted to talk about: back in 1998 Stine wrote an autobiography titled It Came from Ohio. You know Stephen King’s On Writing? Well, It Came from Ohio is like a version of that, except aimed at kids and with more “here’s how I became a writer” stuff. It’s actually really funny as well as informative, and if you know a young aspiring writer you may want to give them a copy of that book (especially if they like horror).

What’s your favorite R.L. Stine book? Mine’s probably A Night in Terror Tower, because it’s got time travel and medieval stuff.

(Because I can’t stop myself from babbling: R.L. Stine was also a writer on my favorite “nobody else remembers this” kids show: Eureeka’s Castle! I so wish it was available on DVD.)

Weekly Book Stats

Books read this week:
59. Blink & Caution – Tim Wynne-Jones [rating: 4] R
60. Janitors – Tyler Whitesides [rating: 3] B
61. Decline & Fall – Evelyn Waugh [rating: 4.5]
62. Don’t Forget Me – R.L. Stine [rating: TBD]
63. Locker 13 – R.L. Stine [rating: TBD]

Books reviewed this week:
53. The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses – Ty Drago [rating: 4.5] B
57. Wanderlust – Elisabeth Eaves [rating: 4] e T

Books acquired this week:

Currently reading:
I’m nearly done with Assassinating Shakespeare, which is getting ever worse with the author’s lack of insight into himself/his situation/anything beyond “and then I stumbled into a war zone.” I’m also going to read the last book in the Stine omnibus: My Name is Evil. Should be fun!


See that ad in the top left sidebar there? From now until the end of July Revolutionary Party will be up there looking vaguely dangerous and exciting. Woohoo!

Also, I’ve got books for sale at and info about tons of free and cheap books posted at Free (& Cheap) Reads! Yay!

15 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon (July 3): R.L. Stine put monsters under my bed”

  1. There’s a new R.L. Stine show?! What network is it on?

    I remember Eureeka’s Castle! Well, I remember that I used to watch it. I don’t remember a whole lot about the show though, haha.

    1. It’s on The Hub? One of Nickelodeon’s sort-of-Nick-but-not-really channels. I don’t know if you have Comcast, but if you do it’s in the 100s somewhere. πŸ˜€

    1. You know, the more I think of it I actually can’t remember actually reading a Pike book! I remember seeing them, and I remember maybe reading half of one, but I can’t remember finishing it. I can’t even remember the plot. Same with V.C. Andrews.

  2. I loved R.L. Stine when I was younger. I used to devour Goosebumps books, but my favorites of all of my R.L. Stine reading was the Fear Street Saga trilogy that was all creepy and historical and gave the 300 year old “dark legacy” that would one day lead to all the horrors on Fear Street. I think I would read them again if only I had them. πŸ˜‰

    1. Ooo, I remember the Fear Street books! They were kind of “adult” when I was younger, though, so I didn’t read more than one, probably. (Plus I was grossed out by all the boyfriend stuff, haha!)

  3. I don’t remember Eureeka’s Castle. I do remember loving Christopher Pike, Caroline B. Cooney, Lois Duncan but Stine’s books scared the CRAP out of me. When I look back at that, I’m really amazed since Pike wrote some stuff that should have scared the pants off of me but didn’t.

    Migraines are awful and I’m glad yours is gone. I think I want to listen to Stine on audio now. πŸ™‚

    1. Ha! Pike’s covers (and thus his books) were TOTALLY scarier than Stine’s! Pike’s had teenagers doing spooky things on them; Stine only had some clowns. πŸ˜‰

  4. It’s funny, I devoured tons of Lois Duncan books but steered clear of Christopher Pike and RL Stine because I thought their books would be way too scary for me. But Lois Duncan, I was all over that. I just reread Locked in Time this week, and I felt terribly fond of it, and amazed at how much less scary it is now than when I was nine or ten.

    As for Caroline B. Cooney, her scary books are just silly. She’s much better fun when she’s writing fun books, like Twenty Pageants Later and Camp Boy-Meets-Girl, which I still reread fairly regularly. The girls in my family have a thing for Caroline B. Cooney. We cannot help it. Indie Sister wrote her a letter at Christmas, but Caroline B. Cooney never wrote back. πŸ™

    1. I LOVE Caroline B. Cooney. She was an automatic borrow at the library. I was never scared of her books, they were just suspenseful for me. And Lois Duncan the same but less so. I have all her books from the Time Travelers Quartet!

    2. See, I haven’t read CBC’s fun books. I’ve only read her not-fun ones, and that scared me off her others. Now that I’m an ADULT, though, I can totally handle any and all of her books! I hope.

  5. I was totally into Christopher Pike when I was a young’un, but not so much RL Stein. Maybe because my sister LOVED RL Stein and I just had to be different πŸ˜‰

    I remember one Christopher Pike book about divers and the dangers of the bends. That summer I was extra careful when swimming to the surface of my grandparents’ pool. (I looked it up, I think it was Bury Me Deep. So good! Although I’d be a bit afraid to read it now only to learn it’s actually not so good.)

    1. I have that problem– what was good when you were a tween is no longer such when you’re an adult. It’s why I can’t really enjoy the Baby-sitter’s Club books any longer. πŸ™

  6. R.L. Stine creeps the heck out of me. And it still does. I used to watch the TV show and read the books and everything despite being a scaredy cat. The most memorable Stine-scare has to be the one about the dummies that come alive!! And, I had this audio version of Shocker on Shock Street which freaked the heck out of me and my brother. We would literally build a fort in our bedroom and then, I (the brave one) would press play on the casette player and run back into the fort before we got scared out of our pants haha

    1. It’s weird because to me Stine was scary but not AS SCARY as Pike/etc (like I said in the post). I don’t do well with thrillers/suspense, but killer dummies are apparently okay. I vaguely remember being spooked by my dolls after reading that book, but I definitely didn’t have nightmares like I did after reading Killing Mr Griffin. πŸ˜›

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