I don’t typically go for horror books or movies. They’re just not my thing. However, I do occasionally read scary books. And over the years, I’ve read a few that I really loved. Last year, I celebrated Halloween by reading a really chilling book of short stories – Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King – and I will be making that a tradition this year with The Shining.
Since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (sponsored by The Broke and The Bookish) is a Halloween-themed freebie, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite frightening books in case you want to get into the Halloween spirit too!
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. This is the first Stephen King novel I ever loved and the second I ever read (I read IT when I was twelve – bad idea). It’s about a girl who is lost in the woods and starts seeing a monster following her. Really creepy and really good.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. This is a vampire novel done right. Kostova’s vampire is none other than Dracula himself, and she sticks more to the original legends than some other modern vampire novels *cough* Twilight *cough*. I stayed up late reading this one night, and was literally too scared to walk down the hall in the dark to go to the bathroom.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I could have put pretty much anything by Neil Gaiman on this list, but I felt The Graveyard Book reminded me most of traditional Halloween creepy-crawlies – theres a werewolf, ghouls, ghosts, and a character who may or may not be a vampire. Get yourself an illustrated copy, because this book has some of the most beautiful and effective illustrations ever (see below). I would also highly recommend Neverwhere, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and American Gods as great Halloween reads.
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Obviously this had to make the list. I actually really like this book. Did you know Shelley wrote it as part of a writing contest between herself, her husband Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron? Clearly she won.
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. So far, this is my favorite H. G. Wells novel (I’ve also read The War of the Worlds). I read both this and Frankenstein for an 19th Century English Lit class in college and was surprised to find that I really love 19th-Centuty science fiction (and that I liked them more than Dickens, Austen, and Eliot). This is a classic, so if you haven’t read it, now might be a great time.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. If you want more of a humorous Halloween read, I’d recommend this one. I really need to reread it soon, because it’s pretty funny. Plus, the movie is coming out next year (and Lena Heady is in it – I can’t wait!).
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.
The Diviners by Libba Bray. The antagonist of this book is a serial-killing ghost living in New York in the 1920s. Need I say more? But seriously, this book is excellent and you should definitely read it. Another great book by Libba Bray: A Great and Terrible Beauty, which features a dark magical force at a girls boarding school in Victorian England.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This book is less obviously scary and more subtly creepy. Both the writing and the story are incredibly beautiful and haunting. If you’re not into traditional Halloween frights – witches, vampires, zombies, etc. – this is a great pick.
Slade House by David Mitchell. This is a really great book about a haunted house. I don’t want to give anything away, but you should definitely read it! It actually comes out today, and the story concludes on October 31, 2015. Creepy, right?
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. This book is unique in that it’s a book of graphic short stories. All of them are pretty terrifying, so it makes a perfect, short Halloween read!
What’s your favorite Halloween read?