Monday, September 28, 2009

Scary Things

Up here in Northern Indiana, we are having a very windy day. Right now, outside the window to my left, the sky is darkening as wind chimes ring out anxiously. It's the perfect way to announce the real arrival of Autumn: that season of sweatshirts, football, and ghosts. I love Fall; it's my favorite season. The air is crisp and clear, and Fall means the arrival of old comforts: particuarly warm, homey food and great, long books. I am looking forward to diving into some epic poems and some of my mother's pot pie with equal abandon.

But Autumn is also a season for the strange and terrible, too. Something about a dark, windy day such as this always makes me thinks of the things that go bump in the night, the unexplainable. And for once, I'm quite looking forward to being scared. Next weekend, the very funny yet scary-looking movie, Zombieland, opens, which I am really excited about. On Thursday, my televised guilty pleasure, Supernatural, will feature zombies as well. For those of you who know me, zombies are my weakness. Just the thought of the diseased undead crawling around makes me itchy. Some people at night might hear a scratch at the window at night and think "Burglar!" I wake up to noises outside and think, "Zombies!" My zombie fear really took over a couple summers ago when I read Max Brook's wonderfully entertaining World War Z, which is set up as a fake nonfiction piece on a zombie war that enveloped the entire modern world. After reading the novel, I was a goner. Zombies are terrifying, and no one can tell me differently.

So when I woke up to this dangerous weather, I went straight to my library looking for a good, possibly frightenening read. Unfortunately, I could not find a single book about zombies. But I did go ahead and borrow Stephen King's Pet Sematary, which I'm admittedly afraid of starting. I read and liked Salem's Lot last winter (its disturbing vampires actually distracted me from my zombie fear for about a month afterwards), so I thought I'd give this one a try. Because it's the perfect time of year to be scared stupid!

And while mentioning scary things, I'd like to point out that it's Banned Books Week. If I get too frightened to finish Pet Sematary or get done with it quickly, I hope to peruse my personal favorite banned book, JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Censorship is a hundred times more terrifying than any zombie because it's already happened in America again and again. This week always makes me grateful for having had parents and teachers that allowed me to find my own reading material and never tried to take a book out of my hands because it might contain - oh no! - a swear word. I hope you all take time this week to think about the dangers of censorship and take time to thank those that encourage you to read whatever your heart desires. Even if your heart desires trashy horror novels...

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