It may be the end of October, but there’s nothing stopping you from reading these spooky, chilling books throughout the rest of autumn and winter. There’s something thrilling and menacing about these dark, cold months that draw people to this sort of literature. I could go to great lengths explaining it’s all Charles Dickens’s fault, but that’s a whole other post.
You may recognize many of these books from the majority of my 2013 book reviews, the year I worked on my YA Gothic Literature graduate thesis. The Year of Wonderful Nightmares. (Seriously, who enjoys nightmares? What’s wrong with me?) You may also see some repeats from last year’s Halloween TTT. But since then, a whole host of creep-tastic YA and MG lit have burst forth in the publishing industry. Walk into any bookstore and you’ll see them cramming the shelves. Makes my heart warm! It warms my heart so much, I not only blogged for Quirk Books on it but also created a master list here just for you!
- Long Lankin — 1950s haunted manor, a cursed family, and a being that snatches children in the night. Also, super creepy folk song.
- The Dead of Winter — like a Dickens and Susan Hill mash-up. English moors, corrupt family, and a orphan stuck in the middle of it all.
- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea — Love Heathcliff and all his ambiguity? You’ll love this book.
- The Book of Blood and Shadow — a thriller at its finest, with societies and murderers and mistaken identities.
- The Hallowed Ones — OH. MY. GOD.
- The Poisoned House — Another Dickens-esque novel, with ghosts and ouija boards and revealed identities.
- Shadowed Summer — a Southern Gothic novella, full of taboo topics that come back to haunt…literally.
In short, these are Classic Gothic books. Some are frightening for the creatures, some for the atmosphere and setting, and others simply because it makes you question your beliefs and morals — and what’s more frightening than that?
- The Name of the Star — the first of a trilogy, and it harkens back to the 1888 Ripper murders…which are quite similar to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Just sayin’.
- Strands of Bronze and Gold — Bluebeard fairytale in Antebellum South
- Madman’s Daughter — HG Wells’s Island of Dr Moreau
- Her Dark Curiosity — Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (the next book, out January 2015, is Cold Legacy and it’s a retelling of Frankenstein!)
- This Dark Endeavor — Young Frankenstein
- Ashes on the Waves — Poe’s Annabel Lee with Celtic origins
Retellings are always popular. Of course, retellings could not be possible without their classics. Poe, obviously, is a great author to start with. Follow up with Dickens, the Brontë sisters, Shelley, Collins, Stevenson, and you’re in for a treat!
An honorable mention is Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. It’s more fun than spooky, but it’s like when “Hocus Pocus” is on TV: it’s not Halloween without it.
- The Fall — a retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher
- Jackaby — a blend of Dr. Who and Sherlock
- The Kneebone Boy — children stumble across a half-boy half-animal
- Say Her Name — creepy twist on the Bloody Mary legend
- Through the Woods — a gothic graphic novel!
- Fiendish — harkens back to The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Monk, so count me in for the magic
- The Swallow — a standard ghost story, doubly chilling because of the children
- Winterkill — The Village meets Oregon Trail. YES.
- Dream Boy — what if all of your dreams came true?
- White Space — what’s written between the lines, falling into book after book, and the meaning behind it all
- Doll Bones — Creepy, haunting dolls. Leave your lights on, folks, and don’t stop playing with your toys!
- Nightmares! — bad enough in your sleep, even worse when they become true
- Monstrous Affections — an anthology of fearsome creatures and ambiguous romance
And on that note, I think it’s perfectly acceptable for me to leave it at No. 13, don’t you?
What are some books you’d recommend for Halloween or frightening reads? Have you read any of these?