Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Top Ten Books to Read During Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish...and is one of my most "favoritest" memes ever :)

This week's theme is "The Top Ten Books to Read During Halloween"

I am a much more gothic reader than "scary" reader...I'll be posting some "scary" stuff next week on Monday since my children as well as my students are so caught up in the newest scare at the movie theatre...scary to me is just not scary to them...there's enough real life stuff in this world to scare our pants off...why would we want more out of books??

When I want scary, I want a cold chill down my spine; I don't want so much action that I can't keep up.  I want more questions than answers at the end; I don't want the formulaic ending that leads into the next book in the series.  I want to feel the story...I want to wrap up in it, close my eyes and see it.

1.  Dracula by Bram Stoker 

If you're a vampire fan and you've never read the original, please, stop whatever it is you're doing and read...the dark, damp, cold castle...the animals, the minions, the history, the evil...it's all right here and has been long before Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse or that Vampire Academy stuff...all others are imitators.  

2.  Affinity by Sarah Waters

Affinity left me with many more questions than answers...when I first finished reading it, I decided I didn't like it.  I almost felt like I'd been duped in some way...not by the author though, by the characters...
Was she insane?
Was there a Peter?
Were they really friends or was it all a trick masterminded by a evil sorceress of some kind?
I honestly have no idea.
I don't have the energy to re-read this one yet.

3.  We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson

I've always loved Shirley Jackson's The Lottery so I was excited to find this novella last year around Halloween...I loved it! So typical of Jackson to bring you into the life of this family so deeply that when the pinnacle scene occurs, not only are you frightened, but you are also disgusted with the villains.  Jackson's description of the house and of its inhabitants and their dark past is what kept me on the edge.

4.  House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I'm reading this one now and enjoying every minute of it.  I actually wait until night, after everyone else in my family has gone to sleep, and curl up with my laptop (my Kindle charger has been chewed up by one of my dogs :/)...another old house, filled with many generations, births, deaths, sickness, tragedy, happiness...alone in the world is its mistress...until others from her past begin to appear one by one.  I'm sitting on pins and needles to see where this is gonna go.
Good stuff.

5.  The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

This one is a whopper...and I read it with a group of bloggers in a Read-A-Long...which was perfect.  That format enabled us all to read and digest, discuss, process, write and then read again.  I loved every minute of this one...another history filled tome of vampires, Transylvania, geography, a long lost relative of Vlad himself etc...you name it; this one's got it.  I LOVED the way it ended as well...well worth the time I spent with it.

6.  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This one makes me sadder than scary...although there are definitely some scenes that I read quicker than others.  Another one to read if you've never read the original.  There is no green square faced man with bolts in his head in this novel.  There is a "monster" but you are left wondering just exactly how to define that term.

7.  A Christmas Carol by Charles  Dickens

Do you think I'm weird now?  Yes, this is a Christmas book...but that Christmas cheer only comes about in the last page or so...the rest of it is downright spooky.  An old crotchety stingy man who hates  everybody and lives alone in a dark old cold house...dark because he won't even light the coals in his own lanterns or furnace bc of the cost of coal.  This book will make you cold to your bones...especially once the spirits begin to arrive.

8.  Misery by Stephen King

I was an early Stephen King reader...haven't read anything of his in a long time...but this one...whoa, Nelly...this one'll get ya.  A writer held prisoner by his "number one fan" who tortures him into bringing her favorite character back to life.  Annie Bates is one of the craziest villains out there...you want chills up your spine?  Annie'll give them to ya.

9.  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Washington Irving's story which is also very short...uses description to freak you out (as my kids would say).  I think description is what the classic writers did better than some of the contemporary writers do today.  Contemporary writers depend on a widely traveled or even widely read reader who can be reminded of things he/she has seen whether in real life, on tv, or on the Internet.  Classic writers didn't have that luxury...they had to use their words to draw the reader into the story.  The reader feels like he/she IS Ichabod Crane, running from the horseman through the night...eerie no doubt.

10.  Anything by Edgar Allen Poe...particularly The Tell Tale Heart or The Cask of Amontillado.

Poe had to be the Wes Craven of his time...of course well all know he was an alcoholic and probably so much so that he was delusional.  Just the idea of a heart beating under the floor in a killer's mind or the evilness of leading another person to his death by bricking him up and leaving him underground to starve to death...a slow painful death...add an evil laugh as the killer ascends the stairs and you've got a Poe story Yikes.

Next weeks list: The Top 10 Books I had very strong emotions about...


  1. Excellent choices! I also prefer subtle Gothic to downright scary.

  2. Creepy books! how appropriate for Halloween!
    Awesome picks!
    Here's my Top Ten Books to Read on Halloween

  3. I have been looking for a Halloween read this week, and have really started to get some good ideas, but this list was great and will help me out a lot! Thanks for sharing it!

  4. I have never read The Legend of Sleep Hollow, but it has been looking at me and grumbling about that. I think I am going to have to dig into it.

    Beth ^_^

  5. These are some great books! It seems we have very similar tastes. I was only just introduced to Shirley Jackson with The Haunting of Hill House so now I'm on the look out for her other books.

  6. I love Sarah Waters but I have heard such mixed things about Affinity I've been reluctant to read it.

  7. I almost put Misery on my list. It's such a terrifying King book without being about anything supernatural, which in my opinion makes it all the more scary. Nice list!

  8. Ditto on preferring Gothic to scary. :)

    I just read Sleepy Hollow for the first time a week or two ago... it was hilarious!

    Dracula made it onto my list, but I'm ashamed to admit I've never read Frankenstein.

    Great list!

  9. Great picks! Most of the covers are already creeping me out ;)
    I have read Frankenstein ages ago and completely forget to add it to my list.

    My TTT list for Halloween

  10. I am so excited that somebody else picked We Have Always Lived in the Castle!!!! I thought I was the only one who knew that book! Yayyyy! You should made my day!


  11. Oh, SUCH good choices! I love your list so much. The Historian was such a cool novel though I objected STRONGLY to all the publicity billing it as the "next" DaVinci Code. Silly people.

  12. Great books! A friend was reading The Historian FOREVER.. haha.. never knew if he ended up finishing it.. but I hear it's a great book.. might have to check it out for myself :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Michele | Top 10 Tuesday

  13. Oh, I soooo loved Affinity. (Have you read Fingersmith???) So so good. And I loved The Historian too. We need Rebecca on there though.

  14. They all look creepy. specialy the story of Christmas carol and sleepy hollow. great choices. thanks for dropping by my TTT too :)


  15. I've seen The Historian on another list. I had no idea that The Historian was a good fit for the season.

  16. Hey, great minds think alike! Just thinking about The Historian makes me want to read it again. I love the geography, too. I must read Affinity! The cover is creepy.