Bookstore / Roundup

Bookseller Recommendations: ? Halloween Edition! ?

Bookseller Recommendations: ? Halloween Edition! ? — 10/09/2018

We are feeling the Halloween spirit here at Milkweed Books (have you seen our Trick or Treat display?), so to celebrate, here is a ? bonus round ? of book recommendations featuring the dark and scary stuff we think you might like to read this month. Whether you’re feeling like historical Midwestern gothic, a wacky German war satire, or haunting Urdu short stories, we have something for you to try. If you prefer to read something sweet rather than scary this season, we’ve also included a few gentler literary treats. Don’t worry, our devotion to spooky literature isn’t merely seasonal—you can count on our bookselling crew for creepy reads any time of year. Read on, but beware!

Halloween Recommendations

Wisconsin Death Trip
by Michael Lesy

University of New Mexico Press | January 2000 (originally published in 1973) | $34.95

As a morbidly-inclined Midwesterner, around this time of year I feel it is my duty to spread the gospel of perhaps the most unsettling book I know: Wisconsin Death Trip. This artful reframing of newspaper articles and photos from just before the start of the twentieth century exposes the undercurrent of madness at the heart of American society, and the dark consequences of its demands. It’s beautifully composed, profoundly disturbing—there’s nothing else like it. Buy now»​

Treat: Kew Gardens by Virginia Woolf (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew)

The Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus
by Hans Jakob Christoffel Von Grimmelshausen, trans. J.A. Underwood

Penguin Classics | October 2018 (originally published in 1669) | $16.00

The story behind this old war novel is incredibly hard to figure, and amazing. It has been called the first German novel. It is funny and frightening. You’ll never forget this book. (Editor’s note: This is the second book by a man named Hans for which our Hans has written a shelftalker. The other is Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada.) Buy now»​

Treat: Here Let Us Feast: A Book of Banquets by M.F.K. Fisher (Counterpoint)

The Essence of Camphor
by Naiyer Masud, trans. Muhammad Umar Memon

New Press | April 2000 | $21.00

Since I don’t intentionally read scary books, I’ll point to some wholly original fiction that haunts in a different way. Translated from Urdu, these stories that deal with loss and decay over time have a lingering power that may stay with you long after reading. To quote one of our customers who took a chance on this book, “Sometimes fiction captures a sense of feeling more than anything else—this book is a prime example of the ghostlike state that displacement can give a community.” (Editor’s note: Though she doesn’t intentionally read scary books, Roseanne recently read Colin Winnette’s The Job of the Wasp because she liked the cover. An intensely scary book, but she liked it!) Buy now»​

Treat: Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li (Penguin Books)