Book Hunting Expeditions Monsters, Beasts, and Chimeras Reading Themes

[BHE 69] Launch of September/October Bimonthly Theme – Monsters, Beasts, and Chimeras: Spooks and Spectres


It’s Sunday! Time for our Book Hunting Expedition post where we share about books that found their way into our shelves. These are the books that have relentlessly haunted and hunted us until we just have to have them in our lives.

Yes, I am being extra-dramatic today as we are launching our new bimonthly theme this September/October (until first week of November) – Monsters, Beasts, and Chimeras: Spooks and Spectres

Poster courtesy of the talented Iphigene.

Essentially we are looking for the following books:

  1. Books with monsters and beasts as main characters (could be interpreted in an allegorical/metaphorical manner)
  2. Devils and Demons
  3. Books with chimeras and imaginary creatures (Sphinx, Phoenix, etc)
  4. Ghosts and scary creatures: spooks and spectres

We are trying to steer clear of witches and wizards, zombies, vampires, and werewolves since they could constitute a theme of their own.

Book Hunting in the Library

We did a bit of research to look for books that we can borrow from the library in connection with our theme. Here are a few that I found:

Picture Books


The Hidden Bestiary of Marvelous, Mysterious and (maybe even) Magical Creatures by Judy Young and illustrations by Laura Francesca Filippucci, A Not Scary Story about Big Scary Things by C. K. Williams and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska.


I made sure I borrowed practically all of Gris Grimly’s books in our library. Glad to see that he has this collaboration with Marilyn Singer: Monster Museum and Creature Carnival. I have a feeling I’d share these two picture books for Poetry Friday.


More artwork by Gris Grimly in Sipping Spiders through a Straw: Campfire Songs for Monsters written by Kelly Di Pucchio, and Gris Grimly’s adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Adult/YA Literature


I borrowed this previously from the library but didn’t have a chance to read through it: The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges and illustrations by Peter Sis.


The Mark of the Beast: The Medieval Bestiary in Art, Life, and Literature edited by Debra Hassig. And of course, how can we not include an H. P. Lovecraft: At the Mountains of Madness.


The Bestiary by Nicholas Christopher and John Gregory’s The Spook’s Bestiary as told to Joseph Delaney.

Edgar Allan Poe Extravaganza


Because when we talk about spooks and spectres, we immediately think of Edgar Allan Poe. Nevermore: A Photobiography of Edgar Allan Poe by Karen E. Lange and Eddie: The Lost Youth of Edgar Allan Poe by Scott Gustafson.

Book Hunting from my Own Shelves

I have a pretty huge collection of scary stories that I have not read yet. I thought that this would be the perfect time to get those book spines cracking.


The Gruesome Guide to World Monsters by Judy Sierra and Illustrated by Henrik Drescher. I also dug up a book I found in Finland – Monsters: A Bestiary of the Bizarre by Christopher Dell.


Guide to Tolkien World: A Bestiary by David Day. I bought this at Barnes and Noble for 6 dollars I believe when I last visited two years back.


I have a special fascination with this creature, and so I include it in our theme: Chimera by John Barth.


I’ve been meaning to read Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence. Now is as good a time as any, I thought. And The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by Brian Pinkney.


We can not possibly have a Spooks and Spectres theme without Ray Bradbury: The Halloween Tree. I bought this during the Singapore Library Sale.


A good friend reminded me yesterday of Clive Barker’s Mister B. Gone which is described in the blurb as a “bone-chilling novel, in which a medieval devil speaks directly to his reader – his tone murderous one moment, seductive the next.” I have a feeling it’s perfect for our theme.

And A Special Book Surprise


I am also very excited to receive Erik Weibel’s The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, Book 1: A Bad Idea. Erik is the amazing 11 year old boy who runs This Kid Reviews BooksI am very excited to read this book! 🙂 Thank you so much for sending me not one but two copies, Erik!

Do you have any books that you’d like us to find for our theme?

Please share your thoughts and ideas so we’d have an excuse to do our book hunting expeditions (as if we need to find a reason, at all).

9 comments on “[BHE 69] Launch of September/October Bimonthly Theme – Monsters, Beasts, and Chimeras: Spooks and Spectres

  1. If you like chimera (chimerae?) you must find the YA novel Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, if you have not read that one already.


    • Hi there! I’ve been seeing Laini Taylor’s book around, thanks for the recommendation. I’ve been meaning to find an excuse to read it. 🙂 Will look for it.


  2. More books to love, Myra! Sounds like such a good new theme! She’s too young for these books, but my 4 year old granddaughter is fascinated by monsters. Maybe I’ll look for a few early reader picture books! I have two suggestions: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, and many of the books by David Almond, but the first one I read is Skellig, amazing book! Can’t wait for more!


    • Hi Linda, thanks for mentioning Patrick Ness! Yup, we did post a review of A Monster Calls and the Chaos Walking Trilogy last year, and will definitely include that in our Saturday round up posts of YA books that fit this genre.

      I have read Skellig and you are so right, it does fit our theme. It reminds me that we have yet to post a review of that book. We’ve also done a David Almond – Dave McKean special when we had our Haunting Tales bimonthly theme several years back (Slog’s Dad and The Savage). 🙂


  3. Hi Myra! This is an awesome bi-monthly theme. I have two titles that come to mind. Unnatural Creatures which is a short story collection, compiled and selected by Neil Gaiman. And Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton in which the protagonists are dragons. I haven’t read them though but have heard only good things about these two. 🙂


    • Thanks Tin! Thank you for these recommendations. Will find Unnatural Creatures. I have a feeling it may actually be in my bookshelf, will look for it. We’re trying to steer clear of dragons for the meanwhile since we’re toying with the idea of having a Dinosaurs and Dragons or Dragons and other Mythical Creatures theme for 2014. 🙂 Funfunfun! Do let me know if more titles come to mind and will try to find it.


  4. Thanks for the shout-out Dr. Bacsal! 😀 I hope you like the book! I sent two, thinking that you can donate one or do something like that. 🙂 These books look great! I like the “A Not Scary Story about Big Scary Things” – it sounds awesome! 😀


  5. Pingback: [Monday Reading] A Collection of Beasts and World Monsters |

  6. The Bramble by Lee Nordling just came out. It’s a picture book about bullying and monsters and figured it might fit well with your theme. I didn’t particularly like it but the illustrations caught my eye.


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