Why I Read Ghost Stories At Christmas

Ghosts

Now it is no secret that I read scary things all year around but when it comes to Christmas I just want one thing: ghost stories. Now I know it is a bit odd, images of ghosts really don’t mesh with jolly old Saint Nick and Christmas trees, but is it really that strange? …..Historically no. In fact one of the most popular Christmas songs even references it. In the lyrics of The Most Wonderful Time of the Year it has the line:

There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories

And tales of the glories of the

Christmases long, long ago

Now this song originally came out in 1963 but painted the image of the perfect Victorian traditional Christmas. It probably isn’t a surprise that the Victorians had this Christmas tradition, it was the era of the ghost story, but why at Christmas? Well, that explanation for that is older than the Victorians.

Fact Alert: Christmas originally wasn’t Jesus’ birthday. I am sorry if that bugs some people but it is the historical truth. We don’t actually know when Jesus’ was born. They didn’t have birth certificates back then and they certainly didn’t have Facebook so we cant do a sneaky date check like you do every year when you want to make sure you didn’t forget your mum’s birthday. We just don’t know. The date for Christmas was set at this time to include the various non Christian religions (aka pagan) around at that time. Christians wanted to encourage them to convert so they set their holidays around the same time as theirs, and it isn’t just Christmas, the same goes for Easter and All Souls (aka Halloween). All of those festivals are older than when Jesus popped up.

So, what does this have to do with ghost stories? Well, it is to do with the Winter Solstice. Christmas is close to the darkest day of the year and that was a day when people thought the dead could come back more easily and pay us a visit. Doesn’t that sound a little like another Holiday we all love:

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Naturally this belief started the practice of telling ghost stories during the Christmas period.

Fast forward a few thousand years to the Victorians and their creation of the modern Christmas and you have ghosts worked into almost every Christmas story from that time. It wasn’t just to be creepy either. Christmas is the perfect time to think about dead loved ones and Christmases past, and to the death obsessed Victorians those thoughts led to the creation of more ghost stories.

People would even have parlour games where seances would be held or they would take turns at trying to think up a story and see who can scare their friends the most. This is how Frankenstein was created.

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Sadly the tradition of the Christmas ghost story died out in the modern era. People are only interested in the shiny happy side of Christmas rather than trying to balance it out with a side of scares. It makes me a little sad because on a cold dark night there is nothing better than a good ghost story. The nights in winter are even darker than they are on Halloween so it is a perfect time for it. So this is why I keep the tradition going.

What are your thoughts? Would you like to see this tradition come back? Also I am tempted to write more history based posts like this, what do you think?

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Waiting for Wednesday: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Book Synopsis:

“Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge—and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them.

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.”

Why I need it:

The cover of this book was the first thing to catch my attention. It is gorgeous! I love the magical shade of blue and multi-toned images and font. As a designer it caught my eye. The second thing was the first sentence of the blurb, “Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic”, two films I love.

I haven’t read a book set during the Salem Witch Trials. I have read plenty of non fiction about the witch trials but I haven’t read a fiction book set during that time.

The witch trials were a bit of an interest of mine as a kid so I used to collect books on the subject. I have even visited a few witch burning locations in parts of Belgium. I was originally visiting battle fields and it somehow turned into a European witch trial tour at the same time.

Anyway, this sounds like a pretty cool book with a pretty cover, set during a dark and interesting period of history. I can’t wait for it to come out.

The Wicked Deep is scheduled for release on March 6th 2018

Waiting for Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Break the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases, and continued by Wishful Endings

Also don’t forget, I am still open to questions for my upcoming 300 Follower Q&A.

Reading 23 Books in a Month? (Week 1 wrap up & week 2 TBR)

black-cat-clipart-halloween-hanging-bat-10It is week 2 of my attempt to read 23 books in a month.

If you dont know already: I was challenged to read 100 books this year and life got in the way so I fell horribly behind in my reading. Now to beat the challenge I have to read almost a book a day for a month.

It has been bloody good reading week this week, and if you cant tell by my little bat friend, I have been playing with Photoshop again. He needs a name! What will I call reading bat?

The Wrap Up

This week I finished a grand total of 7 books!

That sounds scarily impressive until you find out that a lot of them were graphic novels. I am using this week to catch up on my Marvel and DC graphic novels because I am behind.

I finished:

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien

As I mentioned in my last reading challenge update, I am currently in a huge Middle Earth mood so I have decided to reread all of The Lord of the Rings. I did plan to finish all three this week but I got a little busy so I will have to finish them next week. I am currently half way through The Two Towers.

If you haven’t read Lord of the Rings yet you should. Also I am pretty sure you have been living under a rock if you havent read Lord of the Rings.

Goth Girl and The Sinster Symphony by Chris Riddell

I have mentioned this series quite a few times on this blog. Goth Girl is a children’s series that is wonderfully addictive and full of Chris Riddell’s beautiful illustrations. I am so hooked on it that I now pick up new Goth Girl books every time they come out.

To read my review of the first Goth Girl book click here

Batman No Man’s Land Volume 3

I originally planned to read all of the volumes I own of No Man’s Land but I ended up procrastinating by reading other comics instead.

This is a very popular Batman story arc, and is considered one of the classic, must-read Batman arcs if you are a fan of the dark knight. I enjoyed this volume particulary because some of my favourite characters made more of an appearance, namely the extended Bat-family.

Loki: Agent of Asgard volumes 1-3

I may have read this entire comic series in 2 days. I ended up a bit addicted.

I have been planning on reading these graphic novels for a while. This series is entirely about the trickster god Loki (I assume you know who he is), and he has decided that he doesn’t want to be a villian any more so he starts working for the goddess Freya, rounding up gods who are hiding on Earth.

This was a pretty fun read and it will stomp all over your feelings. You have been warned.

I also think I enjoyed this series so much because my boyfriend pointed out that I look like female Loki. What do you think?

I think I might have to start adding some green to my wardrobe.

The TBR

The books I am going to read this week are:

  • The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien
  • The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Ice Man volume 1
  • Batman No Man’s Land volumes 4 and 5
  • Possibly a random Goosebumps book. I havent decided which one yet.

So what did you read this week?

Also I am still gathering questions for my 300 Follower Q&A so dont forget to ask me questions if you have any.

 

The Blogger Recognition Award

I have been nominated by the brilliant Kiersten @ Once Upon a Spine. (Go check her out, you wont regret it) The Blogger Recognition Award is to highlight bloggers who put a lot of time and effort into their blogs, gives them a chance to share some tips and share their favourite blogs with their readers.

Once you are nominated, if you wish to accept your nomination, you must follow these rules:

  • Generate a post about the award.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a brief story about how your blog began.
  • Provide two pieces of advice to newbie bloggers.
  • Select 15 blogs to nominate.
  • Comment on each nominee’s blog and provide a link to the post that you created about the award.

I am going to break the 15 tags rule. I will just tag people until I cant think of anyone else to tag.

How The Spines Cracked

Once upon a time there was an odd little girl who was on the hunt for a horror novel to read. She loved book blogging and followed all of the famous book youtubers but alas she could not find a single creepy book to read. What was she to do? No one read the books she liked. Sure she liked a lot of the popular books but when Halloween or the urge to read something scary rolled around there were no books to be found. And the last thing she wanted was to read a book about vampires kissing boring teenage girls with no personalities, because that is the sort of monster books the blogs and youtube videos were offering her. So, since no one else was doing it, she decided to start reviewing them herself. She did her homework, scrolling through hours of Goodreads recomendations until she found a pile of books to read and review. She would fill the hole in the blogging world, and maybe she would read a few fun books along the way too.

And she lived creepily ever after.

Tips for New Bloggers

Dont Blog to be Famous

I know we live in a world of professional youtubers and internet fame but don’t start a blog expecting the followers to roll in and for you to be walking the red carpet the following week. That doesn’t happen, and that sort of existence isn’t fun. It is stressful and you end up producing poor quality content. Enjoy blogging for the sake of blogging. You will make lots of friends and you will have a platform to share all of your interests and opinions.

Also people can tell when you are trying too hard. It is off putting and a little embarrassing.
Think Outside the Box

Don’t read the books everyone else is reading, don’t create the same content as everyone else and don’t post things just because they are popular. Be yourself. Sure that other stuff might have an audience but it already has an audience. Create your own thing. Sure it’s ok to like the popular things but don’t be frightened to show the weird stuff you like too.

Life is like Tetris, if you fit in you will disappear.

Be yourself, be weird, and write it down.

The Blogs I’m Nominating

Beware of the Reader

Introverted Book Nerd 

Confessions of a YA Reader

A Reader’s Journey

Bionic Book Worm

Birdie Bookworm

This Is My Truth Now

The Past Due Book Review

The Alternative Girl Tag

Not book related but I saw this tag floating around Youtube and the blogging world and I thought it looked fun. I am not going to tag anyone in this so if anyone wants to give it a go feel free.

1. Describe your style

Trad goth with a hint of Victorian. 80% of my wardrobe is black and everything else is either deep red, purple or that one tweed coat I own. I wear a lot fishnet, band shirts, ripped jeans and long flowing skirts. I am also a big fan of layered jewellery.

 


2. How did you start wearing different clothes, hair, piercings, etc…

10-11. I started very young. I began wearing all black at the end of primary school and when I was given my first cd player around that time I also received a pile of The Cure cds. I was an odd kid. My hair has been dyed black since I was 11. And I used to do all of my clothes shopping in the Tammy Girl Halloween range.

Does anyone else remember Tammy Girl?

3. Do your parents accept your style

I have goth parents so they would be a bit hypocritical if they hated my style, wouldn’t they?

I did butt heads with my dad over clothes a bit when I was a teenager. It wasn’t because I was goth, it was because I was wearing hardly any clothes. Life tip: Dont buy clothes from sex shops when you are 16.

4. Have you ever suffered bullying for being different?

Nope! I was bullied for everything but that funnily enough. Mostly homophobic bullying.

5. What was the most outrageous look you’ve ever had?

My most outrageous look would probably be the one I currently wear to clubs. I go to a lot of goth, alternative and 80s nights so I dress for the occasion. Lots of backcombed hair, ripped clothes, eye makeup and my trusty patch jacket.

6. Do you have or had any tattoos or piercings?

I have 7 ear piercings and I am getting a tattoo sleeve done next year for my 30th birthday. I am also planning on getting a David Bowie tattoo on my chest before 2017 is over, so that will be very soon.

7. What would you say to people who are suffering or being judged for the way they look right now?

Alright, baby bats, sit down and I will give you a few pointers. These are things I have picked up from my 20 years on the scene:

1.Listen to your parents. It might suck and they can be dumb but listen to them. Talk to them to find out exactly what it is they don’t like. If they don’t like satanic symbols, don’t wear them. If they are worried about you falling into the wrong crowd, let them meet your friends and do well in school. Find out exactly what they have an issue with and work on it together.

2. School ends. You might get bullied now for being a bit odd but school will end. You will grow up and never see those people again. Just focus on being successful.

3. Sometimes life happens. It might seem cool to dress weird all the time but sometimes that just isn’t possible. You will have to tone down your look for work or job interviews but that doesn’t make you any less who you are. It just makes you a more wealthy version of you who can afford awesome clothes to wear on the weekends.

4. Have a sense of humour and don’t take yourself too seriously. If someone says you look like a vampire laugh because guess what, you are dressed like a vampire. Not call comments are mean. Make friends with people who are not alternative and learn to take a joke. I come from a family of alternative people and they still make jokes about how I look dead. Lighten up.

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Do you like when I write about this stuff? I have been tempted to do the occasional post on music or fashion. If you have any questions or any requests please let me know.

Also I am still gathering questions for my 300 Follower Q&A

Reading 23 Books in a Month? (Update & Week 1 TBR)

So I have to read 23 books to meet my yearly GoodReads reading challenge goal of 100 books. This was originally 24 books but since my last post on this subject I finished another book. I am normally very good at reading constantly but this year I bought a house, adopted a cat and been very busy with work and socialising, so I haven’t been reading as much as I normally would. Apparently 2017 was the year I became stupidly popular. I am usually not that bothered about meeting reading challenge goals but my mum set me this target and I cant let her down.

So I have decided to write a To Read list every week this month to update you on my progress and how I plan to tackle such a high number of books in a month.

This week I will be reading:

The Lord of the Rings (All Three Books)

I hear you: “Spine Cracker, if you have 23 books to read why tackle something huge like Lord of the Rings?”

One word: Audiobooks. If I listen to books while I am working I can keep reading when I am not able to physically sit down and read. Realistically I should be able to listen to one of these a day…I hope. I managed the entirety of The Hobbit last week.

I have read these books before but I have been playing a lot of D&D lately and that has put me in a serious Tolkien mood. Right now I am at the start of the Fellowship of the Ring and they haven’t even left the Shire yet.

Graphic Novels:

Nightwing New 52 and Batman: No Man’s Land (volumes 3 & 4)

These are some graphic novels that I have been wanting to get to for a while, so much so that Nightwing appeared on the TBR for a challenge earlier in the year. Graphic novels are perfect for reading challenges because you can get through one in a single sitting. Both of these have been on my TBR shelf for a while so it will be great to see them finally read.

Also, who doesn’t love Batman?

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I read this book EVERY December without fail! It is also perfect for this challenge because it isn’t very long.

In my mind it isn’t Christmas until I have read a Christmas Carol. It is an odd tradition I came up with for myself years ago. I absolutely love this book and if you haven’t read it yet you have to. It is the holiday season after all.

So my plan is to read 7 books this week. Do you think I can do it?

It doesn’t seem that difficult. I might even throw another book in if I feel like I have the time. I will let you know how it goes next week. I will run out of short books eventually and that is when things will get trickier.

Waiting for Wednesday: Cadaver & Queen by Alisa Kwitney

Book Synopsis:

“When Lizzie Lavenza enrolled at Ingold as its first female medical student, she knew she wouldn’t have an easy time. From class demands to being an outsider among her male cohorts, she’ll have to go above and beyond to prove herself. So when she stumbles across what appears to be a faulty Bio-mechanical–one of the mechanized cadavers created to service the school–she jumps at the chance to fix it and get ahead in the program.

Only this Bio-mechanical isn’t like the others. Where they are usually empty-minded and perfectly obedient, this one seems to have thoughts, feelings…and self-awareness.

Soon Lizzie realizes that it is Victor Frankenstein–a former student who died under mysterious circumstances. Victor, it seems, still has a spark of human intelligence inside him, along with memories of things he discovered before his untimely death…and a suspicion that he was murdered to keep that information from getting out.Suddenly Lizzie finds herself intertwined in dark secrets and sabotage that put her life, and the lives of Victor and their friends, in danger. But Lizzie’s determined to succeed–even if that means fighting an enemy who threatens the entire British Empire.”

Why I need it:

I was scrolling through the upcoming releases list for 2018 on the hunt to for something to look forward to and then the genre this was listed as caught my eye. “Goth YA Retelling”? What the hell is that? I’m goth and I have never heard of this genre in my life. So I looked into it and discovered that it is a retelling of one of my favourite novels: Frankenstein, with the usual sappy YA twist.

Even though I am not a fan of YA retellings I am looking forward to this book. Anything to do with Frankenstein will catch my interest. Also I used to work in a morgue so I find the main character’s career path interesting. She seems like a pretty cool character.

Also, what is the information Victor remembers? I must know.

Cadaver & Queen is scheduled for release on February 27th 2018 

Waiting for Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Break the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases, and continued by Wishful Endings

Also don’t forget, I am still open to questions for my upcoming 300 Follower Q&A.