Looking After Yourself and the #25spookystories Challenge

I recently posted on my instagram about both my joining in with the #25spookystories challenge and the importance of looking after yourself. Particularly at this stressful time of year. With that in mind, here is a reading challenge post. I’m taking the chance to take a break from writing about work. I am enjoying a moment to write about something else I enjoy besides my art.

The challenge does link in with my Illustrated Ghost Stories project though. This is as in far as they both celebrate the Christmas tradition of telling ghosts stories. Popular in the 18th century, I wish it would return! I always seek out a good scary Christmas tale in the TV guide each year. It is as Christmassy to me as watching ‘Elf’ or ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’. In the Victorian times on Christmas Eve, families would gather round the warm fire on dark nights. Then each would tell a tale. What a dream evening, right?

The #25spookystories challenge is ticking these boxes for me this year. There is no chance to go to listen to any storytelling event, nor have new Christmas Ghost Stories been filmed this year. Bah Humbug 2020! I am using the challenge to revisit traditional authors like Dickens and find new ones too. 

The 12 Strange Days of Christmas, Syd Moore

I started with this read and I loved it so much I read 8 stories in one go. When I really did intend to spread them out! I stopped myself at a tale set on Christmas Eve. I can wait to enjoy that closer to the big day. This anthology of tales is an absolute delight though. It has the Christmas Ghost Story spirit (pun intended) in a modern setting. The stories are all different but complimentary. Moore tells them with such great humour. If there was one wish I had it would be that I would like them to be scarier. However, I have enjoyed all the ones I have read so far. There are definitely some spooky ones in there too. I enjoy Moore’s ‘Essex Witch Museum’ series anyway, but to me these were even better.

Ghost Stories for Christmas, Charles Dickens

Dickens is a traditional author for this sort of exercise which is why I have included him. I find his ghostly tales quite hit and miss personally. Of course, the most famous Christmas ghosts of all came from the man. I have recently treated myself to a rewatching of the 2019 Christmas Carol remake starring Guy Pierce. It is a brilliant retelling. I still hope to catch The Muppet’s Christmas Carol before Christmas too. Dicken’s short ghost stories are, of course, not exactly in the mood of the muppets. Of the handful I have read this year so far I enjoyed ‘A Madman’s manuscript’ the most. That one reads a bit like Poe. With less humour than some of the others, this one tries to scare and unnerve you which I enjoyed.

Illustrated Classic Ghost Stories for Christmas by Seth

This range of books by Bibliosis are a new discovery to me this year. They are wonderful. I am obsessed! They are a collection of short stories illustrated and release annual by Seth. They take classic ghost stories and illustrate them in small collectors editions in an exceedingly modern style. A handful are released each year. They are just so enjoyable though and the stories that have been picked are excellent. I have 3 more on my list for the rest of the challlenge but this weekend past I read ‘How Fear departed the Long Gallery’ by E F Benson. A wonderful tale and Seth’s illustrations added atmosphere and great design to the book. I will definitely treasure each edition I have picked up. I will no doubt pick some more up before next Christmas too.

Ooooh I do love a good Christmas Ghost story. The challenge has been created by @notebookofghosts and I am so pleased to take part. She has even compiled some free Creative Commons stories which you can access on her website if you want to join in without spending money. 

If you have recommendations, give me a shout. I would love to hear them. The spookier, the better!