Wednesday, 26 October 2016

6 Horror Books to Read for Halloween

6 Horror Books to Read for Halloween

This is such a typical book blogger post for this time of year, but it's one that I really wanted to do as I love to read a good scary book around Halloween. Not that it has to be October 31st in order to read spooky stories, but there's something about October that makes me want to hide under the covers and scare myself.

So, here are 6 of my favourite scary books to read for Halloween.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula - 6 Horror Books to Read for Halloween

Before the genre got saturated with sparkly vampires and pubescent girls with bad taste in men, Bram Stoker released his novel Dracula and started an obsession for the undead among readers and film goers.
What I love about the original vampire novel is that it's not all shock and blood, but rather a clever and eerie telling of a truly terrifying monster and a group of people who work together to defeat him.
Jonathan Harker visits Count Dracula in Transylvania to help him purchase property in England. But while at the castle Jonathan discovers the Count has a few worrying personality traits, such as crawling down walls, controlling wolves and an unnatural obsession with blood. The story then moves to England where Jonathan's fiance Mina Murray and her friend Lucy become Dracula's new focus. Jonathan teams up with Van Helsing and friends to finally stop the Count.
The story is told through different perspectives and uses diary entries and letters to continue the narrative, one of the earliest novels to do so.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw - 6 Horror Books to Read for Halloween

If you're one for creepy children and traditional haunted houses then The Turn of the Screw is for you. It is one of Henry James' most well-known and popular novellas and has become a classic horror story.
A young governess gets a position looking after children Flora and Miles in their suitably large and crumbling country home. While the governess grows increasingly fond of her charges, she also becomes worried that something in the house and grounds wants to get hold of the children, and what's more, the children seem to be drawn to the nameless terror.
The genius of The Turn of the Screw is that James creates a nameless dread that builds throughout the book, yet readers and critics can never decide exactly what it is.

The Shining by Stephen King

The Shining - 6 Horror Books to Read for Halloween

Of course a Stephen King novel had to be included in this Halloween list, but it's so hard to narrow it down to just one. I thought I'd stick with one of his classics and perhaps his most well-known book (after It), The Shining.
King combines two kinds of terror in this book, that of the classic haunted hotel, and the terror of loved ones becoming dangerous. Five year old Danny, who has psychic 'shining' capabilities, moves with his mother and father to an abandoned hotel in the mountains where his father has taken a job as a caretaker for the off season. Of course, the hotel is hiding an abundance of spooky inhabitants, and as Danny discovers more of the terrors, his father slowly loses himself to the hotel.
King is the master, and in The Shining he makes even a fire hose seem terrifying, not to mention the moving animal hedges, which scare the crap out of me.
A perfect Halloween read. And if you've only seen the film, please still read the book as there are a lot of differences and the book really delves into the psychological aspects of the characters.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle - 6 Horror Books to Read for Halloween

I was going to choose The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson for this list as it's more of a traditional ghost story, but I think I actually like We Have Always Lived in the Castle more, and though it's not full of ghosts, the world that the brilliant narrator Merricat Blackwood's has created is just as unsettling and mysterious as any ghoul infested tale.
Merricat lives with her sister and uncle in their large house. They are the only members of the family left after the rest died after a family meal was dosed with arsenic, for which Merricat's sister Constance was tried and acquitted. The village avoids them and Merricat is happy in their isolation, until cousin Charles turns up at the house to worm his way into the family, something that Merricat is determined won't happen.
Don't expect gore, blood and ghosts, but do expect a look at a disturbed girl with a unique mind who you love and fear at the same time.

Johannes Cabal The Necromancer (Johannes Cabal #1) by Jonathan L.Howard

Johannes Cabal The Necromancer - 6 Horror Books to Read for Halloween

I mentioned Johannes Cabal the Necromancer in my September Favourites and I will get round to doing a proper review at some point, but I wanted to include it in this list as it in ideal Halloween read for someone who wants spooky but also a few laughs.
Johannes Cabal regrets selling his soul to the devil and wants it back, the devil sets him a wager; he must collect 100 souls in a year in return for his own soul. He sets out to achieve this with the help of a travelling carnival, a group of the undead and his brother, who just happens to be a vampire.
The main character of Johannes Cabal is wonderful, he has no sense of humour yet he manages to be abundantly funny. He sort of reminds me of Blackadder, complete with a couple of undead Baldricks to help him on his quest for souls.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles - 6 Horror Books to Read for Halloween

The most famous Sherlock Holmes case, The Hound of the Baskervilles, is a great read for October. It combines the supernatural with an excellent murder mystery and of course, it includes everyone's favourite crime duo, Holmes and Watson.
Charles Baskerville, head of the Baskerville family, is found dead, supposedly scared to death by the mythical hound that has haunted the family for generations. Sherlock Holmes is called away from London to investigate this murder and throw light on the terror that plagues the family.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Of course, there are so many more great Halloween reads out there, but these are some of my favourites. Let me know any of your favourite scary books in the comments.

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