Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read for Halloween

Of vampires and ghosts, of fluttering veils and things that go bump in the night...

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Do come join the fun...

I had a lot of fun making this list. And yes, it is a hodgepodge of genres and time periods and quality levels. I'm shameless about that.

1. Dracula (Bram Stoker). About the time the vampire is scuttling up and down walls and hovering over sleeping guests and turning into bats and infecting lovely young ladies with his disease, you'll find the hair standing upright on your neck. Terrifying.

2. Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling). Any of the books will work, considering that Harry's parents were murdered on Halloween, but Chamber of Secrets is the creepy-crawliest. Between Aragog, Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party, the basilisk, Riddle's diary, and what happens to Ginny, the book is Gothic nightmare from one end to another.

3. Coraline (Neil Gaiman). Maybe I should say The Graveyard Book, but I haven't read it. Coraline freaked me out, though. Anything by Gaiman would probably work.

4. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte). From childhood superstitions to macabre adult visions, from dark mansions to gloomy moors, from apparitions to a very real madwoman, Jane's story balances unerringly on the threshold between the physical and spiritual realms, with the wind ruffling the veil. Everything you could ever want on All Hallows' Eve.

5. Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen). A spoof on Gothic mystery, with Henry Tilney around to drive the ghosts away. I always liked Henry.

6. The Inferno (Dante). Nothing could be more horrifying than a vividly symbolic portrayal of Hell. (But seriously, don't stop with the brilliant but awful Inferno. Purgatorio is splendid, and Paradiso indescribably sublime.)

7. A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare). Liminality, fairy pranks, and people in costume. How much more Halloweenish can you get, without pumpkins?

8. New Moon (Stephenie Meyer). In Twilight, teenage Bella meets the supernatural in both its glory and its horror. In New Moon, the glory vanishes, leaving Bella alone with the horrors. It's an incredibly haunting tale, and my favorite of the series.

9. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and sequels (Andrew Peterson). Lots of monsters! But there's a funny side to it all. Hilarity and bone-chilling fright go hand in hand in the Wingfeather Saga.

10. Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier). With its wilting-flower protagonist and the (figurative) specter of her husband's dead wife hovering over everything, this story well qualifies for Gothic romance.

Honorable mention to Anne of Green Gables for the scene in which Anne confronts the Haunted Wood after imagining spooks into it with Diana.

What books would you recommend for Halloween reading?


  1. Just testing to see if Blogger will let me in.

  2. Oh, clap paws! I'm in!

    I'm in agreement with 1, 2, 8, and 10, also the Anne scene. I offer:

    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, which will not only stand your hair on end, but set it on fire.

    Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin was very creepy at the time. I don't know how it holds up.

    The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Pope (YA). Perfect Halloween reading and I believe this book by a Shakespeare scholar written in 1974 to be alchemical. It's a favorite reread of mine.

    For pure creepiness and a great mission to Mars SF story, Oxygen by John Olson and Randall Ingermanson.

    The Sugar Queen, an autumnal and magical realism reimagining of Rapunzel. Bonus points: each chapter is the name of a candy.

    Boo by Renee Gutteridge. Humorous story of a horror writer who is the basis of a small town's economy that dies when he becomes a Christian and gives up horror. Wacky characters abound. Sequels.

  3. Good call on Northanger Abbey! I came close to putting it on my list as well. I love the scene where she finds the mysterious parchment in a trunk...and discovers it's a laundry list.

    Great list! Happy reading to you!

  4. Jenna! I love the classic bent! Thanks for stopping by my Top Ten. FYI- There are 3 Herdman books- Best/Worst School Year, Christmas Pageant, Halloween! The Herdmans are like Halloween all year long...more trick than treat!

  5. anything by H.P. Lovecraft.. I especially like "The Lurker at the Threshhold" but that might just be because I love the word Lurker, I like the way it sounds.

    I have a guilty addiction to Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire too..

    And Something Wicked this Way Comes is actually amazing, and spooky, its Ray Bradbury, I'm almost certain.

  6. Great post! I'm just getting into the Harry Potter series... the students in my student teaching classroom influenced me.

  7. Great suggestions, all! I'm glad to hear about the Herdmans, Kathy. And Phil, you'll love Harry Potter. :)

    I've read some Lovecraft, Masha, but not that one! Am curious about the Bradbury piece, too. And Arabella, I haven't read The Perilous Gard or The Sugar Queen, but now I'm very interested in both.

    Kate, seriously... that scene is brilliant. :D

  8. The Haunted Wood scene in Anne of Green Gables had me pulling the covers over my head! Haha! I had totally forgotten about that.


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