With Halloween right around the corner, this time I’ve decided to recommend some books with varying degrees of creep factor to help get you into the spooky spirit. As always, I encourage you to share your own recommendations in the comments.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
I can’t stop thinking about – or recommending – Bird Box. This creepy dystopian-esque story really plays on our senses and is a masterclass in the power of the unknown. We follow a young woman and her two children in a world where something is lurking outside; something that can drive people to insanity with a single glance. Having lived in the shadows for years, our heroine must blindfold her children and set out in search of safety. The climax of this book in particular is truly haunting.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
If it’s a classic you’re in search of, The Turn of the Screw would be a fine choice. This creepy novella follows a young woman who begins a new job as a governess, but when she becomes convinced the children she has been charged with protecting are under threat from ghosts inhabiting the manor, her very sanity is called into question. This is perhaps one of the earliest and best examples of an effective unreliable narrator.
Misery by Stephen King
If you prefer your monsters to be of the human persuasion and your horror all the more unsettling for the fact that it could actually happen, Stephen King’s Misery is a great pick. Tense and at times deeply disturbing, we follow a writer as he is kidnapped by his ‘number one fan’, Annie Wilkes, who is not happy at all about the way he ended his last book…
The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
If you opt for the Penguin Little Black Classics edition of this celebrated short story, you get another two brief tales by Perkins Gilman as well, both equally as atmospheric and worthy of a read. The title story follows a woman’s slow descent into madness after she is confined to a single room by her husband, whilst the others follow two men who become infatuated with the ghostly figure of a woman they glimpse through a window, and a young woman who becomes the target of a lecherous man, respectively. The author cleverly flips gender perceptions common at the time and packs a punch with few words.
Monsters in the Movies by John Landis
If non-fiction is more your kind of thing, Monsters in the Movies is a great coffee table read that you can dip in and out of, getting interesting insights – as well as gorgeous, high quality visuals – from horror films throughout the years, so you can learn about how they brought our favourite monsters, be they vampires, werewolves, devils, demons, zombies, witches or such like, to life. It is therefore a great place to find movie recommendations to also help you get in the Halloween mood.
What creepy reads do you recommend for Halloween? Let’s chat about them.