Guillermo del Toro curates creepy new Penguin Horror collection

Penguin Horror collectionFilmmaker Guillermo del Toro has assisted with the Halloween-perfect makeover of six classic stories and poems.

The “Penguin Horror” series features original cover art by Paul Buckley. Each hardcover costs between $22 and $25. Del Toro serves as editor for each book. Did I mention these are awesome?

Penguin HorrorThey kind of remind me of the Barnes & Noble series of classics — those really cool hardcovers you see in the stores. The colors and designs are great for decorating your bookshelf this time of year. Attach some cobwebs and fake spiders and … done!

The volumes reprint American Supernatural Tales by S.T. Joshi, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Haunted Castles by Ray Russell, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, and The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft.

Paperback and e-book versions are available for as little as $13, but obviously, these are collector’s items. Digital just won’t cut it.

Via: Fast Company

Scare up a good book for charity this Halloween

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Who doesn’t love the sights, sounds, and smells of Halloween — from the patchwork of autumn leaves to their crunch underfoot and the intoxicating aroma of pumpkin pie? All those things come alive in a good story. Now you can make this Halloween special for others by helping 10 authors raise 1,000 books this month.

Donate a book from today through October 19 — or just participate in the event — and you could earn some goodies of your own. Trust me, this is way better than candy (who needs those extra five pounds, anyway?). You could win a $100 Amazon gift card, signed copies of the authors’ books, or a special swag bag (see details below). The Friction Frolic for All Hallow’s Read blog tour and fundraiser benefits the Books for America charity, which gave more than $800,000 worth of books and materials to DC area schools, shelters, and other educational programs and organizations last year.

But Friction Frolic is also a blog-a-thon of sorts: From now through Oct. 5, you can read about how books shaped these authors’ love for reading and writing. From Oct. 8-12, they’ll be sharing their best Halloween experiences and their favorite scary books, movies, or pieces of literature. And from Oct. 15-19, you can enjoy some flash fiction, short stories, and novel excerpts.

Here’s a list of the participating authors:

Neil Gaiman started the All Hallow’s Read tradition (you can trace its origins back to this blog post), which simply involves giving someone a scary book during the week of Halloween.

What book will you choose?

Click the button below to enter the Rafflecopter.

Friction Frolic

The war against sock puppet reviews and two new books for Halloween

The_Lurking_Sock_Puppet by ursulav

A number of writers have banded together against “sock puppet reviews,” or those fabricated by authors and their family and friends to praise their books and attack others, thinning the competition. If it wasn’t already hard enough to pick out the good e-books from the bad, now people are permanently smudging the reputation of public reviews on sites like Amazon.

(Reddit user “Onewatt” even thinks he’s cracked the code for identifying suspicious ratings. Beware the C-curve.)

In other words, the next time you’re browsing for books, those glowing recommendations and positive scores might not accurately reflect the novel’s merit — leading you to spend money on a falsely advertised product.

The group against sock puppet reviews includes Linwood Barclay, Tom Bale, Mark Billingham, Ramsey Campbell, and David Hewson, among others:

But the only lasting solution is for readers to take possession of the process. The internet belongs to us all. Your honest and heartfelt reviews, good or bad, enthusiastic or disapproving,­ can drown out the phoney voices, and the underhanded tactics will be marginalized to the point of irrelevance. No single author, ­ however devious, ­ can compete with the whole community. Will you use your voice to help us clean up this mess?

Do you consider it an ethical breach for authors to resort to fake or even paid reviews? As I reviewer myself, I certainly can’t imagine this passing as acceptable behavior: Just because you have a creative license to make stuff up for money doesn’t mean you can get away with telling lies in real life. But this practice is catching on. British author Stephen Leather and New York Times best-selling author John Locke are just two who have admitted to either constructing false identities or paying for reviews, respectively.

The Hollow Man by Oliver HarrisIn other news, HarperCollins Publishers has announced a new line of mystery books under its existing imprint, Bourbon Street Books.

Blood Line by Lynda La PlanteThe launch this fall will premiere two new books: The Hollow Man by debut author Oliver Harris and Blood Line, the seventh book in the Anna Travis series by Lynda La Plante. Both will release on October 23.

Bourbon Street Books also plans to reprint several Dorothy L. Sayers titles: Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Busman’s Honeymoon, and Gaudy Night

Hopefully, none of these show up with sock puppet reviews. :P

What books will you read this Halloween season? Last year I picked up The Book of the Living Dead by editor John Richard Stephens. It collects works from a lot of the big guys (and girls) of horror: Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, and more.