Halloween reads for the rest of us

13 Oct

I have a small book club–literally a total of three people–and two of the three LOVE the horror genre. I’m the kind of reader who is usually up for anything (let’s leave my past bookish snobbery for another post) and I pride myself in trying to at least give something new a chance (but let’s be honest–you’ve read one Nicholas Sparks book you’ve read them all). However, when my dear friends want to choose certain books (IT, The Shining, anything by Stephen King) I have to politely remind them I will slowly die on the inside from the nightmares I’m worried I’ll have. Call it an overactive imagination or call it the inability to grow up, I have a hard time reading horror. I’m slowly getting better and I think someday I’ll be able to read something scary–but I will never be able to WATCH it. Because of my aversion to all things scary I’ve had to get creative when it comes to reading books in October to get me in the spirit of the season.

Here is a list of books I’d like to recommend for those readers who love Hallowe’en as much as I do but really don’t like the part of Halloween that involves serial killers that hide in your house ready to attack you while you’re watching a movie and eating a snack wearing only your skimpiest nightgown (because hey, it’s laundry day):

1. The Graveyard Book : I just finished reading this for the first time and I think it’s going to become the book I read every October. Like Hocus Pocus (the classic film from my childhood I will love until I die) there is enough ghosts, ghouls, and witches for me to feel in the Hallowe’en spirit. Please give this book a chance—though Gaiman wrote this as a children’s book and he won the Newbery Medal, remember that he also won a Hugo and when it comes to Neil Gaiman’s writing–reader’s of all ages will appreciate his epic storytelling. Nobody Owens will soon be your favorite graveyard friend.

2. The Bone Season: I will write more about this adventurous read about a clairvoyant living in an alternate future London in a different post but this book is perfect for the season. There are creatures that behave more like Vampires than humans, mysterious monsters that bite off arms and legs in the dark, and of course, people who can talk to ghosts and hurl spirits at other people. While all of this might sound scary, the scary moments aren’t psychologically disturbing enough to keep you up at night. Shannon’s writing, however, will.

3. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly This book follows the story of David who is a young boy mourning the loss of his Mother. David so hates his new stepmother and the baby she bears that he makes a deal with a mysterious man to take the baby. David travels to the mysterious storybook land in the forest behind his house in search of this man who wishes to make David king. Full of fairytale allusions and great adventure–this is a great book to read around the last campfires of the year.

4. Toward the Gleam by T.M. Doran This is a smaller publication but one that I love dearly. A friend of my father’s wrote this book and I can’t recommend it enough! The story is this: a man is recovering after between the two world wars in the countryside when he falls into a cave during a storm. Almost losing his life the man discovers a box that is mysterious in construction and language and the man concludes it could be the treasure of a long lost civilization. With allusions to The Lord of the Rings and adventure stories of the classics, Doran takes us on a mysterious journey following John Hill, the box he finds and the language he tries to translate while trying to piece together the death threats he receives and the conclusions he ultimately makes. A real page-turner!!

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde This book creeped me out. The film that was released a few years ago does the book justice and was great to watch after reading this book. I highly recommend picking this one up (or, picking it up again) during the month of October. You will never look at a painting the same way again!

6. After Dark by Haruki Murakami Granted, this one doesn’t have anything to do with ghosts are ghouls, but like “The Picture of Dorian Gray” I’m including it for the creep factor. This novel takes place in Tokyo at night. Always at night. The novel follows those who don’t sleep, those who can’t sleep, and those who have been sleeping for a long time. 

7. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis A book about the correspondences between a devil and his novice nephew, this book isn’t just for Christians. Just keep reminding yourself who’s doing the writing!

8.The Magicians by Lev Grossman I think in the beginning of the book the season is fall or autumn so I will always think of this novel as a good October book. Plus, it’s about magic being real! Bonus: Harry Potter for adults–it doesn’t get any better than this, unless Grossman ever writes #3 in this trilogy!

9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern This is one of those books probably everyone has already read because it’s just so enchanting and begs to be made into a film ASAP. If you haven’t read this one yet get to it–it’s about star crossed lovers who are in a magical competition against each other–a dual to the death led by their teachers who refuse to tell them much of anything except that they will die when it’s over. READ IT NOW. Morgenstern is a magician herself with imagery and I felt lost for days longing for this to be a real thing.

10.Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger This is a good book to read before or after “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman as Neil himself (ha, get it!) consulted with Audrey on graveyards. This is a spooky read about twins and their aunt who is a master manipulator in death as a ghost. The plot is just too good to care much about there being ghosts and it won’t leave you feeling creeped out because of them–just creeped out by their awful aunt.


Bonus: John Dies at the End by David Wong and Touch by Alexi Zentner


2 Responses to “Halloween reads for the rest of us”

  1. Meagen October 13, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    I’m reading Help for the Haunted by John Searless and it’s a pretty good halloween read as well!

    • ejidzior October 14, 2013 at 1:23 am #

      Thanks, Meagen! I’ll add it to my “to read” shelf!

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