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October 2015


Go On, Turn the Lights Off: reading in the dark

[iPhone] Dark Path

Dark path, photographed by Melanie

October, in 2015, is all about dark reading . . . from the gothic tales of Edgar Allan Poe to the world-famous Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin.

The idea of “dark” reading conjures images of dark fantasy works (eg: Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles), psychological fiction (eg: Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs) and works of sheer horror (eg: Joe Hill’s NOS4R2). Some stories, often thought of as being for children, can also be very dark – the Batman and Avengers comic books are filled with colourful characters but inherently dark and confronting storylines. Fairy tales may expose a moral story but the telling and the tale is often quite dark – from the Pied Piper stealing children away, to Hansel & Gretel being left for dead in the forest, to the little match seller who wished only to be warm . . . Kate Forsyth’s The Wild Girl and Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series are also sure to tempt you this October.

There are plenty of non-fiction works to explore from books on the darkness of space, stargazing, true crime, dark sports such as caving, historical texts on the dark ages, books about geology and the environment (including Earth Hour), issues relating to natural resources and black-outs as well as a vast array of underground movements from political movements to underground publishers.

Dark reading can also be about overcoming darkness. Such reading can be as diverse as battles with anxiety or depression (eg: Unholy Ghost: 22 Writers on Depression) or about rescues from mining disasters (eg: The Buffalo Creek Disaster) or some of the more unique challenges of mining (eg: Beneath Hill 60). There are also tales of those who choose to live underground, away from the light, including hobbits and wombles or in the darkness of space.

There is also a lot of “dark”, or as listed here, “black” to watch including Pitch Black, Men in Black, Jack Black, Meet Joe Black, Black Hawk Down, Black Swan, The Woman in Black, Black Sheep, Black Beauty and many more. Dark art can also be fascinating from dark book covers, movie posters and games boxes to slightly sinister artworks of painters such as Salvador Dali. Not to mention listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

And while you are reading and watching all things dark there is surely time for some dark playing – Dungeons and Dragons, Alan Wake, Slender Man, Bio Shock and more . . .

So . . . you don’t have to wait until 31 October and Halloween to have your “dark” fix: turn the lights off, find a torch and then find some dark chocolate, or strong coffee or other dark food and curl up to read, watch and play.

There will be a twitter discussion on 27 October starting at 11.00am and 8.00pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings (Summer) Time. 9.00pm New Zealand Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 8.00am GMT, 12.00 noon Central European Time. Note: this is a staggered start to the discussion.

Use the tags #darkread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of #darkread, so others can join in the conversation too.

You might like to share your #darkread on facebook, or instagram.

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