Every October, I dive head first into Halloween-appropriate books. I don’t read many thrillers or horror novels during the rest of the year, but I love reading them around Halloween time. But, I know they’re not exactly everyone’s cup of tea, so today I thought I’d share some books that are perfectly suited to Halloween reading, but are not traditionally ‘scary’ books.
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. If you haven’t already read this book, chances are you’ve heard of it (I’ve mentioned it quite a few times already). It’s dark and whimsical, but not really all that scary. There are no monsters or murderers, but there is still a slightly spooky vibe.
- If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio. This book is so good! I’m still amazed that this is a debut novel. It’s a murder mystery about a group of college students studying Shakespeare. Despite the murder, this book isn’t exactly a thriller, but it is brilliant. It shares a lot of elements with Shakespeare’s darker plays, and feels more scholarly than scary.
- The Golem & the Jinni by Helene Wecker. This book is dark, mysterious, and about two mythical creatures in turn of the century New York. But it reads more like literary fiction than fantasy. It really is a fantastic book that I think it just dark enough for fall, but not at all scary.
- The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. In this novella, the main character wakes up as a giant insect. So it’s obviously a little bit creepy. But it’s not scary at all, more of a fun misadventure. Plus, I major bonus of reading this is you will understand all of the Kafka references in pop culture.
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This is an extremely interesting post-apocalyptic novel that centers around a troupe of Shakespearean actors. It delves into the darker side of human psychology and really makes you think about human nature. It is definitely not a conventional ‘Halloween read’, but I don’t think it would be out of place on your Halloween reading list.
- King Lear by William Shakespeare. There are two books on this list about Shakespearean actors, so obviously I had to throw in some actual Shakespeare. Personally, I think Macbeth or Titus Andronicus are a bit better suited to the holiday, but if scary isn’t your thing, I would definitely suggest Lear. It’s really dark, but (yet again) not scary, and overall just a brilliant play.
Do you have any recommendations for unconventional Halloween reads? Do you tailor your reading to the season or holiday? Let me know in the comments!