Spooky reads for Halloween!
With the days growing shorter and the season of the witch nearly upon us, I thought it was the perfect time to revisit some of my favorite spooky reads. There's no shortage of ghosts, vampires, and other things that go bump in the night.
A word of caution: don't read at night!
"Dracula" by Bram Stoker
The granddaddy of vampire novels. The old count has plenty of life left in his bones. Time is on my side. Indeed it is, Count Dracula. The legend of Dracula has endured for over one hundred and twenty years, and, like its titular character, seems itself to be immortal.
"Dracul" by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker
A worthy prequel to "Dracula" co-written by a modern descendant of original "Dracula" author, Bram Stoker. Without any spoilers, "Dracul" is a fascinating piece of history and an interesting look at the possible genesis of the original novel.
"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley
Conceived and told as a ghost story at a party on a rainy night, "Frankenstein" remains a masterpiece of gothic horror today. Shelley's novel bears little resemblance to most of the famous films that bear its name and is at the same time infinitely more horrific and sadder in its portrayal of the infamous Monster.
"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson
A mad scientist masterpiece of horror fiction!
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving
A seminal Halloween favorite! There are fantastic audio readings available, with horror icons like Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff lending their voices to the tale of the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow. Highly recommended.
"The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson
The classic haunted house story, written by a master of the macabre. If you've only binged the Netflix series, I recommend reading Jackson's novel. She knows how to get under your skin and creep you out.
"Turn of the Screw" by Henry James
A gorgeously written ghost story with the most abrupt ending I've ever encountered.
"Salem's Lot" by Stephen King
A perfect companion to "Dracula," King brilliantly mirrors the structure of the most famous vampire novel of all time in his own modern vampiric masterpiece. Moody, suspenseful, and scary AF, "Salem's Lot" stands as one of the greats.
"A Cosmology of Monsters" by Shaun Hamill
I happily stumbled on this book and its author when it was first published and have read it twice now and listened to the audiobook once. "Cosmology" is a wonderfully horrific Lovecraftian story about family. I absolutely adore it!
"The Only Good Indians" by Stephen Graham Jones
A fantastic read. Jones is a brilliant writer and his prose is gorgeous, especially when the events get horrific—and, boy, do they ever get horrific in "Indians!" Easily one of my favorite reads of 2020, and the audiobook is HIGHLY recommended.
"Exponential" by Adam Cesare
I loved this gruesome homage to "The Blob." Lean and mean, "Exponential" is a fairly quick read, but it lingers in the mind. "Video Night" is another recommended title by Cesare.
"NOS4A2" by Joe Hill
An utterly unforgettable modern take on vampires. Similarly to "Hill House," if you've only seen the television series, you've not really experienced Charlie Manx. A classic example of the book being far superior to the show. An absolute favorite and I love Hill's writing.
"The Rats" by James Herbert
I loved reading this book when I was a kid—yes, I read it as a kid—and I was happy to see it holds up as an adult. Highly graphic, "Rats" made my skin crawl. Love every second!
"Lovecraft Country" by Matt Ruff
There's so much to love about "Lovecraft Country" that I'm not sure where to begin! I am in awe of Ruff's reclaiming of Lovecraftian lore and flawlessly weaving in a wholly believable Jim Crow African-American experience. A monumental read.
"Legion" by William Peter Blatty
The sequel to Blatty's "The Exorcist" and a delightfully scary novel in its own right. The storyline is very similar to the movie but here Blatty has carte Blanche to do whatever he wants and the story is better for it.
"Wanderers" by Chuck Wendig
An engaging apocalyptic tale. I was hooked early and tore through the lengthy novel at a quick pace. Wendig keeps the reader wanting to know more and reveals the story at a deliberate pace. I loved it.
"The Amityville Horror" by Jay Anson
Regardless of whether the book is pure fact or entirely fiction, "The Amityville Horror" is a marvelous haunted house story. Awful events DID occur within the rooms of the house, lending an undeniable "what if" to Anson's book. Definitely a creepy read!
What's YOUR go-to scary read for Halloween?
Stay safe, and boo!
See you on the other side!