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!
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 acquired this week:
- Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day by Ben Loory (publisher).
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!