Halloween is right around the corner. To get you in the spooky mood, here are 10 scary books to curl up with on a dark night. Though you may want to leave all the lights on.
1. “Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems”: Halloween and Edgar Allan Poe go together like cream and cocoa. The 19th century Gothic writer has long been considered the master of the macabre. Perhaps his most famous story, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, is the perfect tale to read on Halloween eve.
2. “The Shining” by Stephen King: If you’ve only seen the movie, then you don’t truly know “The Shining”. King’s third novel, which has become the benchmark of the long unrecognized horror genre, contains all the elements to keep you awake at night. From an isolated setting to little girl ghosts to giant topiary animals that come to life, “The Shining” is your go-to novel for Halloween.
3. “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson: With its’ oft-quoted opening lines, Jackson’s 1959 novel cements itself as the definitive haunted house story where the house itself becomes the antagonistic character. Lonely Eleanor Vance moves into Hill House along with two others at the invitation of Dr. John Montague who has rented the house for a summer in an effort to prove haunting activity. What the reader soon discovers though is that Jackson’s writing transcends the platitude of yet another haunted house story.
4. “Dracula” by Bram Stoker: Back before vampires were sexy and sparkly, they were downright frightening. “Dracula”, told in epistolary form, was written in 1897 and has forever linked Transylvania with vampires, despite the fact the Irish writer had never set foot in Eastern Europe prior to writing the novel. If you think you know the story of Dracula based on the stereotypes and countless movie images, think, or should I say read, again.
5. The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre: Stephen King said of H.P. Lovecraft that he’s “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” For those who prefer a supernatural element with their horror, the stories of Lovecraft might be classified as ‘nerd horror’. First published in pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, the tales of Lovecraft have earned a grander respect and popularity than they did during the writer’s lifetime.
6. “Ruined” by Paula Morris: Published in 2009, this YA novel has already become a modern day Halloween classic. It may not cause you to pull the covers over your head in terror, but it contains all the Gothic elements to put you in the Halloween mood, a ghost, a cemetery, an old spooky house, a tarot card reader, a New Orleans setting, and even some frightening teen angst.
7. “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman: After the murder of his family, Nobody Owens finds refuge in a graveyard where he continues his childhood being raised by ghosts. Yes, it’s a children’s story. Awarded the Newbery Medal in 2009, “The Graveyard Book” is one of many beloved books by Neil Gaiman.
8. “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier: “Rebecca” is best enjoyed on a stormy night with a fire, a blanket, and a candle in the windowsill. Even better if it’s Halloween. It’s the story of a young bride who moves into an old mansion with her new husband. Yet she must walk in the shadows of her husband’s first wife, Rebecca, who died in a sailing accident. The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, perhaps the most sinister character in all of fiction, keeps Rebecca’s room as a shrine.
9. “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson: Much different than the movie, “I Am Legend” is recognized as the novel that helped popularize the zombie apocalypse. Written in 1954, it was the inspiration for the film, “Night of the Living Dead”. Robert Neville, is the soul survivor on earth after a mysterious plague. He now shares the planet with the vampires.
10. “The Halloween Tree” by Ray Bradbury: What would Halloween be without a story that actually takes place on Halloween night? Eight boys out trick-or-treating on Halloween are taken on a journey through time and space in search for their friend who has been swept away by a dark force. Along the way they learn the meaning of Halloween.
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