Hello! Welcome to the Northwest Railway Museum’s fall book spotlight! All four of these lovely books are available to purchase in the Snoqualmie Depot Bookstore, with select titles offered in The Railway History Center! For all you keen eyed museum members, this was originally written for our fall edition of The Sounder and had to be cut to one review – so the remaining reviews are being posted here!
“Haunted Rails” by Matthew L. Swayne – I’m a massive fan of all things spooky, so I was excited to see us add another ghostly book to our shelves at the bookstore. Haunted Rails is exactly what you think it’s going to be, a fun collection of ghost stories that are set on or around trains. These include locations like haunted stations and railroad museums (no we’re not mentioned in the book), as well as individual specters tied to specific rail cars or certain stretches of track. I have a few qualms about the book though. These include Swayne’s prediction of a ghost being Slenderman (a fictional internet hoax created during a photo editing challenge) and other smaller outlandish claims. Other than that, though, the book is incredibly fun and a super quick read. A perfect book of bite-sized spooky stories for the season, if you’re not afraid of a little kitsch.
“Night Train” by David Quantick – This is another book I was immediately excited about, Night Train promised to be a twisty, spooky mystery of a book and it lived up to these promises, (mostly). Night Train is an absolute fever dream; the reader is thrown straight in with little to no knowledge of what is happening or who the characters are. Throughout the book, the reader is given small pieces of information that give you clues and slivers of context, which helps to piece the mystery together. Quantick uses his writing style to drive home the sense of mounting anxiety throughout the book, writing in short, broken up bursts which also makes reading the whole thing incredibly quick. I finished this one in two days! My only issue with this book is its ending, it felt rushed and unsatisfying given the amount of context and buildup you’ve been given, I feel like the ending deserved more time than it really got. Night Train is a good read for Agatha Christie or Stephen King fans, and the quick time frame makes it perfect for those with busy schedules yet still craving some good mysterious scares in October.
“Fruits of the Forest” by Daniel Winkler – Fall is quintessentially mushroom season in my book, so Fruits of the Forest fits in perfectly. This combination field guide and recipe book is perfect for seasoned mushroom fans as well as the fledgling forager. Winkler walks you through over 170 edible mushrooms found throughout the PNW, giving tips on visual identification and tricks on how to prepare them!
“The Lost Art of Pie Making Made Easy” by Barbara Swell – This little book is so much fun. As someone who loves hands-on aspects of history, a whole book of historical pie recipes is VERY up my alley. Barbara Swell has an entire series of these adorable little historical cookbooks ranging from cookies, to log cabin recipes and beyond. And just because the recipes are old-fashioned doesn’t mean they’re bland or boring, quite the opposite in fact! Last fall and winter I went a little nuts with this pie book, and I highly recommend you do the same – it makes cold nights and gloomy mornings a whole lot cozier.