There has been lots of fog and strange creaking noises at night these past few days, which means that the October spooks are dusting off their nocturnal gear and getting ready for the season. In keeping with these goings-on, let's turn our eyes toward the spooky shelves. 

First up is the official, the spectacular, the OMG-it's-so-squeeful! Nightmare Before Christmas Advent calendar. Filled with tiny notecards, mini books, ornaments, and spooktacular recipes, the Ghoulish Delights calendar is perfectly poised to carry you from that holiday to the other holiday.

And speaking of making it through the holidays without losing your mind, here's David A. Ross's Tarot and Tequila. Now, the way we hear it, Ross uses the cards to help people connect with one another by offering tarot readings in restaurants that serve tequila. How's that for niche marketing? We applaud his effort. 

And while we're talking about skulls, here is Paul Gambino's Skulls: Portraits of the Dead and the Stories They Tell. Gambino has been amassing quite the collection of the macabre over the years, and Skulls is an exploration of the intriguing power these big-eyed artifacts have on us. 

And speaking of intriguing histories, Chris Gosden's double-coloned, double-commaed Magic: A History: From Alchemy To Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the Present is now out in paperback. It's one of the better histories of that part of human history that isn't talked about during high society tea parties and regular society pony rides. 

A slightly shallower dive in the dark shadows is Llewellyn's Little Book of Halloween. Written by Mickie Mueller, this entry in Llewellyn's charming pocket series is filled with all sorts of factoids, tips, recipes, and warding spells that will help you celebrate Halloween in fine fashion. 

And speaking of spooks, here is Marc Hartzman's Chasing Ghosts: A Tour of Our Fascination with Spirits and the Supernatural. Hartzman, a self-proclaimed weird historian, is our happy tour guide to a variety of sites around the world where evidences suggests that there is more to this world than meets the eye. 

Contrasting this is, of course, Colin Dickey's Ghostland, one of our book club picks this month. Dickey's interest is more about our relationship to haunted sites, and it's a fascinating examination in how we craft history and narrative about the world we inhabit. 

Fictionally speaking, we've got The Brides of Maracoor, a new Gregory Maguire book set in his Wicked series. Twenty-five years after Wicked, Elphaba's granddaughter, Rain, washes up in a strange land, where she is taken in by a secretive community of single women. They're not witches! Well, okay, maybe they are, but not because they're secretive and single, for crying out loud. 

Anyway, fans of Maguire's earlier books will see where this is going, but Maguire is in no rush to get there. The Brides of Maracoor will definitely cast its spell on you. Recommended. 

And speaking of high recommends, Alice Hoffman brings her Practical Magic series to a close with The Book of Magic. Recently, we learned the origins of the Owens family curse in Magic Lessons, but in The Book of Magic, we finally come full circle with a marvelously magical tale of family, relationships, love, and magical goodness. Full circle, dear friends! You know what happens when a magical circle is complete, don't you? That's right. Powerful stuff!

And speaking of powerful stuff, here is Alix Harrow's A Splindle Splintered, which is the story of poor Zinnia, doomed to not see her twenty-second birthday. However, a fateful pricking of her finger at midnight throws her through a magical portal into a multiverse of Sleeping Beauties, where adventure awaits. Harrow deconstructs and reconstructs the grander notion of a fairy tale and its relationship to modern society as we are swept along on Zinnia's grand adventure. Highly recommended. 

And here is Rachel Harrison's Cackle, a fine entry in the now established category of "witch-lit." Take a gander at these BISAC categories for Cackle. 

Yep. Witch-lit. When you mix Friends with Supernatural. Or whatever it is that the kids are watching these days about young professionals finding love in meet-cute coffee shops and dog parks meets whatever it is that the other kids are watching about ghost-hunting in abandoned shopping malls.  

Meanwhile, Josh Malerman is back with Pearl, the story of a telepathic psychotic pig. This pig is not like the other pigs, and it's going to take a village to put a stop to the hallucinatory porcine nightmares vibing off this monstrous porker. Creepy, terrifying, and so readable. 

And finally, here is Trailer Park Trickster, David Slayton's follow-up to White Trash Warlock. Adam Binder returns to Guthrie, Oklahoma, for the funeral of his much-adored great-aunt Sue (who taught him everything he knows about magic, by the way). Naturally, her sudden death starts to seem suspicious when a shadowy figure blows up his grandma's trailer. Things get worse from there, of course, and Slayton knows how to keep the tension tight and the humor in hand. We're delighted to get another go with Binder. 

Overheard In an Air Duct Inside the Beach County Detention Center »»

ROLLO: Hello, Podge? 

PODGE: Yes? Yes! Rollo! 

HODGE: Who is that?

PODGE: It's Rollo!

HODGE: Rollo! Are you here to rescue me? 

ROLLO: Well, it's—

PODGE: He's very small, but he can certainly do it!

ROLLO: I, oh, thank you. I—We—

HODGE: Is the rescuing happening? I can't tell. I still feel stuck!

PODGE: Not yet. Not yet!

ROLLO: I—will you—hang on a moment . . . 

PODGE: He's got—

HODGE: What?

PODGE: He's got . . . is that butter? 

ROLLO: Yes. 

HODGE: What? Did you say "butter"? 

PODGE: He's got butter squares. 

ROLLO: A few. I have to go back for more. 

HODGE: He's got shaped butter? 

PODGE: They're very . . . square. 

ROLLO: They come out of a machine this way, I think. 

PODGE: A machine? There's a machine that makes butter? 

ROLLO: Well, no. I mean, yes. Not this machine. There's a . . . well, cows, I suppose. To start. 

PODGE: Cows make butter? 

ROLLO: I think so. 

PODGE: Did you know that, Hodge?

HODGE: Know what?

PODGE: That cows make butter. 

HODGE: I thought they made cheese. 

PODGE: That's right. Cows make cheese. 

ROLLO: They make butter too. 

HODGE: And chocolate milk! 

PODGE: And chocolate milk?!

ROLLO: No, that's—there's a machine for that. 

PODGE: Wait. What about strawberry milk? Where does that come from? 

HODGE: You get that from goats.  

PODGE: Goats? That's amazing. 

ROLLO: <sigh>

PODGE: What? 

ROLLO: Hold those for awhile, would you? 

PODGE: Okay. . . . 

ROLLO: What?

PODGE: And then what? 

ROLLO: Well, they'll get soft eventually. 

PODGE: Oooh! That sounds magical. 

ROLLO: It's . . . it's not. 


ROLLO: But it's a Very Important Task, though. 

PODGE: Oh, good. I like those. 


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