Spooky Reads for October


Basically a list of the scariest things I have read so far. Happy reading!

Ghost Story, Peter Straub

I devoured this disturbing book in like two days. It is a real page turner that manages to keep the tension for almost 500 pages. Stephen King has co-writen a book with Peter Straub and generally praises his work, which is why I gave this one a chance and it did not disappoint me.

In this book you”ll find more than ghosts, but the really scary thing is the guilt that chases the main characters since they made a tragic mistake in their youth. The novel is set in a small town in New England, so you’ll get all that small town folklore, too.

Pet Sematary, Stephen King

This book gave me nightmares for a week and I had to read it in two takes. A family moves to a small town in Maine and in the woods behind their house there’s a pet cemetery (misspelled “sematary” in the sign). When their cat dies and they bury him there, they discover that what is buried there tends to come back, but not as you would expect…

Dracula, Bram Stoker

I guess this one goes without saying. It really still creeps me out and I just love the epistolary format! Gave me nightmares the first time I read it and Coppola’s movie with Gary Oldman still does.

Mysteries of Winterthurn, Joyce Carol Oates

This one is not exactly horror or terror, but has elements of both. It is really a detective story in the style of Sherlock Holmes, but with much darker and disturbing mysteries in which the detective will only discover the depths of human evil and hypocrisy.

The Accursed, Joyce Carol Oates

More creepy Oates. This novel is a fantastic satire, but also a disturbing novel set in Princeton in 1905, when a “curse” came upon the town. This curse seems to begin when a young member of the wealthiest family in town, the Slates, is abducted by a demonic lover. Disturbing and yet fun!

Things We Lost in the Fire, Mariana Enríquez

This collection of short stories by the Argentine writer Mariana Enriquez is one the most haunting books I’ve ever read. It is haunting because its terror comes from the mundane yet horrific and violent everyday events in Latin America: women who set themselves on fire to protest violence, a nine-year-old serial killer, government violence and also haunted houses and ghosts. Beware, readers.

The Turn of the Screw, Henry James

Another classic! Or maybe the classic. A young woman gets a job as the governess of two young siblings in a very big mansion in the countryside. When the children start acting weird and the help tell her stories about her predecessors, the governess will start questioning the strange happenings in the house and her own sanity. Really one of the best books I’ve ever read.

The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

The best haunted-house book, period. An investigator gathers four people to spend a summer at Hill House to see if they can gather paranormal evidence. The house is supposed to be pretty much haunted, but what causes terror in the reader is the toll that the supernatural events have on the psyche of the characters rather than the events themselves, which are described rather vaguely.

Ghost Stories, M.R. James

Classic ghost stories! The best book to spend a nigh by the fireplace. M.R. James stories are full of old-fashioned ghosts, remote settings and cursed objects.

It, Stephen King

This is a monster of a book with over 1,000 pages but you don’t even feel it. I didn’t want it to be over. I could recommend other books by Stephen King but I feel like this one is especially good for this time of year and has many of King’s relevant themes: childhood, innocence, friendship, memory. Basically an evil clown haunts a small town in Maine and it’s up to five friends to face him. You probably know about it since three movies have been made. I love this book so much!

Dark Tales, Shirley Jackson

This is a monster of a book with over 1,000 pages but you don’t even feel it. I didn’t want it to be over. I could recommend other books by Stephen King but I feel like this one is especially good for this time of year and has many of King’s relevant themes: childhood, innocence, friendship, memory. Basically an evil clown haunts a small town in Maine and it’s up to five friends to face him. You probably know about it since three movies have been made. I love this book so much!

Other books that gave me the shivers:

  • Misery, ‘Salem’s Lot and The Shining by Stephen King
  • The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
  • Ghosts: A Natural History by Roger Clarke
  • Ghost Stories by Henry James
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

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