Monday, October 27, 2014

Top Ten Books To Read To Get In The Halloween Spirit

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

I am not a fan of scary things. I completely identify as an HSP who cannot handle scary movies or TV shows, and I even steer clear of books that have the potential to freak me out too much. However, I was able to come up with ten books I've read that have spooky, creepy, or bizarre elements that fit right in to the Halloween season.

1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Murder mysteries fit right into the eerie spirit of Halloween, and Christie writes some of the best. This one is a classic — ten guests in an island mansion are picked off one by one as they desperately try to figure out which of them is the murderer. Unlike many of her other books, there is no detective in charge — just a group of isolated, scared people trying to keep themselves alive.

2. Every Day by David Levithan
This is a great YA book and a well-written, unique story that managed to creep me the f--- out. "A" wakes up in a different person's body every single day. Is A a person? a spirit? a parasite? A is a sympathetic character, but would you want A inhabiting your body for a day?

3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I just reread this for book club, and it's excellent on audiobook. It's a bit less dramatic than the movies it's spawned — everything's told in retrospect as long letters and stories — but the central idea is still an original and creepy one. Frankenstein has created a gigantic being and let it loose in the world, and now he has no ability to stop it.

4. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Al and Lil Binewski intentionally try to birth children who are deformed, odd, or otherwise abnormal in order to populate the circus they run with sideshow freaks. As their children grow, a bunch of weird and creepy events ensue, including the formation of a cult where people get amputations to be more like the flipper-limbed Arty. If the embracing of the bizarre is your favorite part of Halloween, this book will get you in the spirit for sure.

5. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
I've seen several people recommend Hamlet as a Halloween-type book, and I can see that, what with ghosts and a creepy murderer uncle and lots of people dying. But I think Macbeth better fits the bill for something spooky, with witches, prophecy, murder, and the psychological aftereffects. And then there's the way Macbeth has taken on a life of its own within the theater so that people will only refer to "the Scottish play" lest they bring the supposed curse upon them and their theater company.

6. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Someone is repeating Jack the Ripper's killing spree, but no one can see the killer — unless, like the protagonist, they've had a near-death experience. How do you stop a ghost before he commits another gruesome murder?

7. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
I told you I'm not a fan of scary things, and I'm not, but my brother had this book growing up and so I managed to read or hear all these stories at one time or another. If nothing will get you in the Halloween spirit but good old-fashioned scary stories, you can't beat this classic collection of them.

8. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
I love Roach's journalistic investigations into areas of science we don't normally hear about, and this is no exception. It covers the study of ghosts, near-death experiences, mediums, ectoplasm, and much more.

9. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Another classic horror novel whose telling is less exciting than the concept, but which is still worth the read. Dr. Jekyll experiments on himself and manages to unleash an entirely different personality, someone who has no morality or empathy whatsoever. It's scariest because of the implications that everyone has these darker elements within them somewhere.

10. The Witches by Roald Dahl
We all know what witches look like... or do we? According to this great book by the classic children's author, witches are real and hiding in plain sight. But there are some clues you can use to spot them...

What types of stories most get you in the Halloween spirit? Scary? Creepy? Bizarre? Gory? Dark?

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  1. The Witches is a great choice. I really used to love that book when I was younger! :-)

  2. You made some really interesting choices that I hadn't even stopped to consider. I kind of want to go home and re-read The Witches though since I've seen it a few times today.

  3. Me too. It's been forever since I reread it, but I should!

  4. Lol...Every day was freaky. I feel bad for that poor girl when she had to grasp the reality of the situation. My TTT

  5. I know, right? It's an amazing book, but the whole thing is super weird.

  6. I really need to read The Name Of The Star, it's been sitting on my shelf for so long.
    -Jon from Bookish Antics

  7. It's good! I want to reread it before I read The Madness Underneath (the sequel).