31 Days of Halloween
Real Life, Man (aka Scary Nonfiction)
People change, you know? The volume goes down on the music and up on the ringtone. A night out sounds less appealing than a day off. By the time the word “dates” features more in your low-fat-diet than your social calender, it’s already happened, my friend. You live with it. You move on. So, if vampire romances leave you cold as the grave, and the bump in the night is nowadays most likely your toe searching for a slipper under the bed, if the words “Bloody Mary” and “Zombie” conjure not urban legends so much as cocktails for you, why, then, congratulations, you’re a grown up. Happens to nearly all of us — though only the good die young (I’m counting on you being old enough to know that phrase is from a once popular song.)
Doesn’t mean that nothing scares us any more, quite the opposite, actually. Lots of things scare us now that never did when we were young and carefree: death, taxes, tuition, our credit-scores and deficit-spending… Global warming? War? Pandemics? “Sexting”? Sure. You bet. Oh yeah. What’s that again?
If Halloween has ceased to be something to which we look forward much or fear for reasons other than our blood-glucose, that doesn’t mean there is not still fun to be had in celebrating the scary season. You want a good fright? In the mood for a bit of the macabre? Looking for something to keep you up nights?
How about Full-Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, by Sandi Doughton, new from Sasquatch Books? Perhaps you’d rather something scientific by way of making you pleasantly uncomfortable this October? Try Armageddon Science: The Science of Mass Destruction, from St. Martin’s Griffin and bestselling author Brian Clegg? Or maybe The Amoeba in the Room: Lives of the Microbes, from Oxford University Press and author Nicholas P. Money. That’ll make you wash your hands, brother.
You want to be dropped right in it? Try Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, from Perseus and journalist Jeremy Scahill. OR, from Faber, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients, by the author of Bad Science, Ben Goldacre. Or if you just want some nice, simple, old-fashioned drug-addled killing, may we suggest from Harper, Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood, by the usually more musical William J. Mann? Maybe just something flat-out creepy? From Ten Speed Press, Crap Taxidermy, by Kat Su*. *(Sure, you laugh, but get this book and just try to get some of these monstrosities out of your cool, level head, fellow adult.)
The worst part of being a grown-up may well be knowing enough to be frightened of the real stuff. The best part of being a grown-up? You stay up late and read something terrifying? Pour yourself a drink, put your feet up, and go to sleep with the lights on. You know you can nowadays. AND, who pays the light-bill anyway? That’s right! You do, buster.
Happy Halloween, boys and girls!