This week, I’m writing about the top ten books to read to get into a frightful mood for Halloween.
I realized, in preparing this list, that I don’t read too many spook-tacular books–which is a real shame! As a result, many of these titles are classics that appeal to a more literary crowd–but all should be tempting to readers with a taste for terror.
Next year, I hope to spend October reading more scary books in anticipation of the holiday; I’ll start by heading over to Jenn’s Bookshelves for her month-long celebration of fear and fright.
10. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
To start things off, let’s keep it light. The much-loved Harry Potter series introduces sorcery in the most friendly way possible. But epic battles between good and evil still take place between wand-waving wizards.
9. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
As his selfishness turns into remorseless evil, Dorian’s descent into depravity and debauchery is described in great detail. Wilde seamlessly combines two themes seemingly at odds with each other–Victorian morality and magical realism–to great effect in this chilling tale.
8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights, a classic gothic novel, tells of a love that transcends all boundaries—even the grave. Although it is a love story, ghosts and guilty consciences haunt the tale, and the dark twists and turns will leaving you howling for more.
7. Macbeth by Shakespeare
“Double, double, toil and trouble; / Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” A classic quote for Halloween! Though Macbeth disappointed us as a book, I’d love to see the play to gear up for eerie good times!
6. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
More than just a great story about the ultimate costume-changer, Stevenson’s novel explores psychology, class, criminality, and the secrets we keep hidden. A creep-out classic!
5. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving
This story always sends a shiver down my spine. The vivid images contained in the short work astound me with their power; even years after reading it, I can picture in my mind’s eye the headless figure trotting on a dark horse on the horizon.
4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
If you don’t know the premise of the first (and perhaps best) vampire story, then I’m not going to spoil it for you. But be prepared for bloodthirsty tale of obsession that never dies!
3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Sometimes it is the horror that we create for ourselves that is most terrifying. Frankenstein–arguably the greatest horror story ever written and indubitably a classic Romantic novel–explores the power of science and its ability to affect (and effect) life.
2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Nobody (“Bod” for short) Owens has grown up in graveyard, and the friendly ghosts that have watched over him encourage no fear in the unusual child. But sometimes it is the real world that holds the most dangers. The Graveyard Book is a fantastic book for all ages–and I hear the audiobook is fantastic.
1. Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
You can’t get any creepier than EAP. I mean, he married his own 13-year-old cousin! Anything by Edgar Allen Poe–especially “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven”–is sure to scare you. For an extra dose of drama, visit Poe’s home and grave site in Baltimore. Is that a heart I hear thumping in the floorboards?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday, bloggers create top ten lists about reading, writing, blogging, and more!
Categories: Book Lists, On Writing
I haven’t been to the Poe site in Baltimore, but was lucky enough to go to his house in Philadelphia a few years ago. It’s a bit off the beaten track and not so much restored as maintained, but the NPS staff was really lovely, and they have a great reading room.
I think your list is fantastic! I’ve never actually read “Sleepy Hollow” – how terrible is that?
Excellent choices! I completely overlooked The Picture of Dorian Gray but that is a wonderful pick!