Critical Linking: October 31, 2015

The best haunted houses don’t necessarily charge an admission fee or feature electronic bats and actors in zombie makeup; often, they are found in between the covers of books, where our own vulnerable imaginations finish the job an author has begun, of scaring the hell out of us. With allusion-rife Gothic romance Crimson Peak in theaters  and Halloween around the corner, we thought we’d revisit some of the creepiest, deadliest, most uncanny, and occasionally funniest homes in all of literature.

I love the haunted house/castle/mansion line of horror in both my reading and in my viewing. This is a pretty solid list.



In the 1960s, the British illustrator Pauline Baynes was working on a color map of Middle-earth, the land of wizards, elves and, of course, hobbits. While she was drafting the map, she worked closely with J.R.R. Tolkien, who sent her a copy of a map from a previous edition of Lord of the Rings, covered in notes revealing details of Middle-earth. 

Baynes tucked that map into her copy of Tolkien’s trilogy, where it stayed for decades, until, just recently, it was found at Blackwell’s Rare Books, reports the Guardian.

Nice find!


The idea is to make waiting around in public places pass a little quicker with… short story dispensers. While it it customary these days to zone out staring at our smartphones while we wait for something, the Grenoble town council aims for its inhabitants to instead take advantage of these moments and, to bring back a bit of culture we’ve lost in the technological revolution. 

The idea of short story vending machines to kill waiting time with reading is neat…but isn’t it a little wasteful? This piece notes the town is known for its eco-consciousness, but I want to know about what happens after people read the dispensed stories.


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