Posted by: Sally Ingraham | September 2, 2010

Spooky Times

rip challengeI love the autumn, and especially All Hallows Eve. The crispness that enters the air, the changing light, the riot of the fall foliage here in New England, all combine to make September and October my favorite months of the year. At this time of year I get obsessed with pumpkin beers and hot apple cider mixed with whiskey, and I keep an eye out for graveyards glowing in the light of an orange moon. I feel compelled to dig up books about New England hauntings, and by extension spooky folklore from wherever else. I balance all such delicious chills with sunny autumn hikes in the mountains, and take copious amounts of photos of mushrooms and other weird fungi in the woods. I have a splendid time.

This year, in addition to all that, I joined the R.I.P. (R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril) Challenge put together (and on its 5th year) by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings. I’m psyched to make a special effort to read some spooky stuff, and to kick my September reading off I got a fat red ugly tattered tome from my library that contains the best known works by Edgar Allen Poe. I’ve read nearly nothing by this author, and my curiosity was recently poked at by the piece on Poe in William Carlos Williams’ In the American Grain. So I’ll be reading Poe for the challenge, and I’ve also been dying to reread the Sherlock Holmes stories. On the list they go. I’m getting shivers down my spine just thinking about The Hound of the Baskervilles! πŸ™‚

As a point of interest, and because I adore lists of all kinds, I may record what autumnal beers I imbibe while reading so perilously – and I would be thrilled to hear about any pumpkin/Oktoberfest/autumn beers any of you might come across over the next few months.

Anyway, happy September. In spite of the massive heat wave that we have been sweating through over the past week, in the middle of the night when the mist is hovering above the water and a tattered cloud drifts across the moon, it still feels like my favorite time of year. Enjoy your eerie reading!


  1. I don’t know if it will be of any interest, but I have written – let’s see – 28 posts about Poe. That’s ridiculous. It included a big two week roundup. I’m proudest of this.

    I thought WCW had some real insights into Poe, but they were often hard to see through the smoke.

    • Oh fun, I’ll check those posts out. Thanks!

      I think the Poe piece was my favorite of Williams’ stories, although as you say it was rather dificult to catch his meaning through all of the willa’whisps!

  2. I’m so glad you mentioned beer…Samuel Adams’ Octoberfest should be hitting shelves! Yum!!!

    Great to have you on board for the challenge. Just fyi, it is “Carl”, me, who hosts the challenge, not “Chris”. πŸ˜‰

    • Good grief, thanks for correcting me, and I fixed that in my post. I was so excited, and was typing too fast I guess!

      I feel like for some reason I haven’t tried Sam Adams’ Octoberfest yet. Weird. I’ll certainly grab a sixer when I see one! πŸ™‚

  3. In the bottle it is pretty good, but on those rare occasions when you can find Octoberfest in draft….mmmmmmm…..

  4. oh, and no worries about the name. I just wanted to make sure if you didn’t get your money’s worth out of RIP V that you knew who to blame. πŸ™‚

    • Haha, okay! Now I’m sorted.

      We have a lot of local New England beers on tap around where I live, so maybe I can track the Octoberfest down. Now I’m on a mission. πŸ™‚

  5. Your choices are probably even better than Octoberfest! I’m on a mission now too, that you reminded me. I’m going to have to see if I can find some Octoberfest for the Sunday evening Fantasy Football draft party!

    • I love the idea of you drinking Octoberfest, making your draft picks, and reading a few pages of The Woman in White while your friends are distracted…! Brilliant.

  6. Reading everyone’s lists for this challenge makes me want to sign up! I think I’ll just watch from the sidelines, but I may end up picking up something faintly Gothic from my shelves…

    We’ve been making our annual trip to New England (Squam Lake, NH) a bit later every year, and I definitely understand how Fall could be your favorite time of year there. So crisp & pretty, and somehow the history of the region seems to come alive at this season. Enjoy your autumnal pursuits!

    • Thanks Emily! I’ll be eager to see what faintly gothic fair your bottomless bookshelves turn up. πŸ™‚

  7. Sarah, R.I.P. seems like a fun challenge and not at all like one of the many mostly horribly boring ones. Have fun, my ghoulish friend! In other news, yes, it has been way too hot around NE of late. Pumpkin Ale might just be part of the solution, though, ha ha!!!

    • Especially in the now miraculous cool of the evening – which seems to come only around midnight or so…! Phew, I love hot summer weather, but this has been a bit much. I’ll be glad to see it go howling out with this potential hurricane…

  8. And don’t you just love the art work for this challenge? Gosh, I’m thinking about it for the button alone. Not sure if I will participate but the ideas are definitely inspiring my future reading choices.

    The Poe was my favorite in the WCW too. I will be around your post on that one later once I am thinking more clearly, i.e. when the work week is over and I half a few glasses of Pinot Noir in me. πŸ™‚

    • I agree. I’ve been eyeing the artist’s prints and trying to decide which one I might like to put in the reading nook in my new house…!! πŸ™‚

  9. Loved this post – I never even thought about all the great beers that should be combined with the RIP challenge. I think that should be a challenge all in itself:) I really like your site, I’ll definitely be back to peruse some more. And can I tell you how insanely jealous I am that you live in New England? I’m from Oklahoma– we have no idea what fall foliage looks like. *sob*

    • I have friend who lives in Oklahoma, and I really enjoyed visiting her a couple of years ago. The landscape there is so different from what I’m used to. Sometimes it blows my mind that I live in NE, especially when I see the outrageous beauty that is the autumn here.

      Thanks for checking out my blog! I’m pretty excited about tracking down the perfect beers to pair with my reading. πŸ™‚

  10. Yeah, we had a massive heat wave, too, so I know what you mean! And then a tropical storm… Last week was interesting! The weather is a bit more fall-like at the moment, though.

    • We had an amazing fall day here yesterday – and I was out hiking in it, so that’s brilliant. I am well through with the 90 degree heat, and fully embracing 60s. πŸ™‚

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