Spooky Season Stories: novellae horrificae

Autumn is probably my favorite season, and Halloween most certainly my favorite holiday. No fancy costume for me this year, but I’ll be reading a spooky tale for sure. You should, too. However, you’ve got just a couple weeks to get one of these books in time to read to students over Zoom (Kindergarten Day reading-style), or along with them via eBooks and PDF. Grab that hot apple cider, get spooky lighting, and scare your students this season!

Quīntus et nox horrifica (Amazon, eBook Polyglots, eBook on Storylabs)
Given its low word count (26 cognates, 26 other), and super short length (1100 total words), this novella can be read within a couple classes, and quite early on. In fact, we’ll start reading it on what will be just the 9th class for first year Latin students! This year, I get to use the new audiobook that came out last spring, which is killer for ambiance. My plan is to read a chapter as a whole class, then listen to its audiobook track, continuing for several chapters, and then switch entirely over to the audiobook on the second class day to finish it out.

Prologue Excerpt
Chapter 3 Excerpt
Chapter 4 Excerpt
Chapter 6 Excerpt

N.B. Bandcamp is a donation-based way of fans supporting musicians. There’s a suggested cost, but you can choose to pay a few more dollars. In terms of student use, they can stream the tracks a few times on their own before Bandcamp gets sad. That means students can listen and reread along to this Latin without any cost to them whatsoever!

Via Periculosa (Amazon, eBook on Polyglots, eBook on Storylabs)
For more experienced Latin readers in their first year looking for a longer novella (3,400 total words), read what author Andrew Olimpi calls a “loose adaptation from Petronius.” I recall the twist at the end being pretty good in this one!

Horrificae Fabulae Nocte Narrandae (author-shared free PDF!!, Amazon)
For Latin readers in year 2+, read from this hot-off-the-press collection of stories that author Emma Vanderpool has adapted straight from antiquity! You’ll find Petronius (Satyricon 61-62), Pausanius (Description of Greece 8.2.1-6), Pliny the Younger (Natural History 8.34, Epistulae 7.27), Apuleius (The Golden Ass 2.21-30, 8.1-14), Lucan (Pharsalia 6.624-673), Phlegon of Tralles (Miracles 2.1), and Philostratus (Life of Apollōnius 4.25). The variety of these stories is excellent, as well as the adaptations, making the original texts more understandable.

Vox in Tenebris (Amazon, eBook on Polyglots)
For more experienced Latin readers in year 2+, read this adaptation from Apuleius’ Metamorphoses. I couldn’t put the book down early this summer, reading the last 1/3 within 8 minutes! A book of this scope (330 words, 3700 total) will take longer with your students, but it should be a big hit.

Tres Fabulae Horrificae (Amazon)
For more experienced Latin readers in year 2+, show them three stories that date as far back as Chaucer, translated into Latin and in graphic format! The illustrations are incredibly appealing, and capture attention quite well. I always find a first year Latin student captivated by this book!

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