Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Seeking Advice

So...October looms.

I love the month, of course. I love being an English teacher during October. I love the camp, the cobwebs, the creepiness of it all. For one month, overwrought horror tropes are okay: spiders and skulls and moldering tombs...

I've rearranged my teaching schedule to squeeze in a little more of the macabre this year. We always read a little Poe, a bit of H.P. Lovecraft ("In the Vault" is pretty accessible to high school students), and the occasional monkey's paw, but I need a few more stories, nothing which might find me out of a job, but something the kids might like to read.

So...suggestions? Anyone have a great ghost story we should tackle? Something delightfully dark yet more camp than vamp? Maybe I could throw in a little M.R. James or E.F. Benson. Public domain works tend to be a little less risky (because of their age, not the copyright status). Of course, I'm always open to something a little more contemporary...what are your favorite short works of terror and the supernatural?

10 comments:

Laurita said...

A Change of Aunts by Vivien Alcock is a great ghost story for that age. The Kit-Bag by Algernon Blackwood is another good one.

brady said...

I've only read one MR James anthology, but his stories didn't strike me as having a whole lot to discuss. Maybe I'm wrong.

What about some of Henry James's ghost stories, like "The Romance of Old Clothes?" Or would that be too dry?

Maybe Ambrose Bierce's "The Damned Thing?"

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "Yellow Wallpaper?"

Man, I'm probably going to be thinking about this all day.

Angie said...

"Yellow Wallpaper" is definitely freaky. That's a good suggestion. I don't read a lot of horror, so I can't think of any more. Sounds like fun, though.

Milo James Fowler said...

Poe's the way to go. Maybe throw in some Kafka too, just for the cognitive dissonance.

October already? Ah, yes. That's why I have hundreds of papers on my desk to grade...

Daniel W. Powell said...

I like Stephen King's "Rainy Season," not only for the seasonal appeal, but it's also a sweet homage to Jackson's "The Lottery."

Al Sarrontonio wrote a fancy little halloween creeper called "Pumpkinhead" that is unsettling.

http://www.slideshare.net/search8819/al-sarrantonio-pumpkin-headpdf

Natalie L. Sin said...

"The Mangler" by Stephen King, is (in my opinion) one of the best shorts ever written. It really wowed me as a kid, and I still love it! The movie sucked.

brady said...

True to my word, I spent most of today thinking about this, and I came up with a suggestion: how about one of Ray Bradbury's October Country stories? Thematically appropriate, fun and easy reads, and they have the added bonus of being by one of the all-time masters of the short story form!

Danielle Ferries said...

What about some Shirley Jackson - We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Not a short, but I think that would be a great camp read.

Aaron Polson said...

All great suggestions--and we have copies of The October Country. Perfect.

Bobbie Metevier said...

Harvest Hill! Plenty of camp and good times in Harvest Hill.