Halloween season is upon us, which means that you might suddenly feel compelled to put on a scary movie or spend an hour poking about in the dark at a haunted attraction. If you are a voracious reader who wants to apply your fondness for October terrors to your to-be-read pile, then you have no shortage of novels, collections and anthologies to choose from. Here are five great books to choose if you want to satiate your appetite for frights this fall.
ï¿½The October Countryï¿½ by Ray Bradbury
Few authors have ever exhibited a singular grasp on an idea quite like how the late Ray Bradbury could write about October. 1955ï¿½s ï¿½The October Countryï¿½ collects 19 of Bradburyï¿½s most terrifying tales, including classics such as ï¿½The Scythe,ï¿½ ï¿½The Windï¿½ and ï¿½The Dwarf.ï¿½ Each story is rich in atmosphere, and whenever fall is brought into focus, the reader can practically hear the leaves crunching beneath their feet. Those who read and loved Bradburyï¿½s ï¿½The Halloween Treeï¿½ or ï¿½Something Wicked This Way Comesï¿½ cannot miss this collection, which is available for purchase at https://amazon.com/October-Country-Ray-Bradbury/dp/034532448X.
ï¿½Scary Stories to Tell in the Darkï¿½ Series by Alvin Schwartz
The urban legends and folk tales found in Alvin Schwartzï¿½ ï¿½Scary Stories to Tell in the Darkï¿½ trilogy will likely strike a familiar chord. Schwartzï¿½ recounting of classic tales takes a backseat, however, to the unsettling illustrations of Stephen Gammell. Gammellï¿½s artwork was the primary reason that the ï¿½Scary Storiesï¿½ series was the single most challenged work by the American Library Association during the 1990s, with illustrations for stories like ï¿½The Dreamï¿½ and ï¿½The Haunted Houseï¿½ plaguing the nightmares of countless children. Gammellï¿½s illustrations were removed from later editions, so it is best to track down a used copy of ï¿½The Scary Stories Treasury,ï¿½ available at https://amazon.com/Scary-Stories-Treasury-Alvin-Schwartz/dp/B00BXU4RF0.
ï¿½The Haunting of Hill Houseï¿½ by Shirley Jackson
Widely believed to be the best haunted-house story ever written, 1959ï¿½s ï¿½The Haunting of Hill Houseï¿½ has influenced more than a half-centuryï¿½s worth of stories, novels and films that followed in its ethereal footsteps. Jacksonï¿½s focus on the relationships between the four main characters, as well as the relationships between those characters and the eponymous structure, solidifies her place as one of Americaï¿½s best literary ghost story scribes. That authors such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Richard Matheson have been quick to identify this book and her other works as significant influences on their careers only confirms as much. ï¿½The Haunting of Hill Houseï¿½ is available in paperback at https://amazon.com/Haunting-Hill-House-Penguin-Classics/dp/0143039989.
ï¿½Itï¿½ by Stephen King
Speaking of Stephen King, it would likely be impossible to put together a list of horror books without pulling in at least one of his titles. One of the most prolific writers of the last 50 years, Kingï¿½s ever-expanding oeuvre is replete with modern classics such as ï¿½The Shining,ï¿½ ï¿½Carrieï¿½ and ï¿½The Green Mile.ï¿½ ï¿½Itï¿½ is the 1986 tale of an otherworldly being that takes the form of a clown in order to terrorize a group of children known as ï¿½The Losersï¿½ Club.ï¿½ Whether you consider yourself coulrophobic (afraid of clowns) or not, Pennywise the Dancing Clown is a figure that will haunt you when the pages are closed and the lights are off. ï¿½Itï¿½ is available in various physical, digital and audio formats at https://amazon.com/It/dp/B019PHYQG2.
ï¿½The Graveyard Apartmentï¿½ by Mariko Koike
Mariko Koike is considered one of Japanï¿½s best living authors, and works such as ï¿½The Cat in the Coffinï¿½ and ï¿½Twinkle, Twinkleï¿½ have gone on to earn global acclaim. 1986ï¿½s ï¿½The Graveyard Apartmentï¿½ is considered Koikeï¿½s masterwork, but it has gone untranslated for the American market for 30 years. After much anticipation, Thomas Dunne Books and translator Deborah Boliver Boehm will bring this harrowing tale to the United States on Oct. 11. After a young couple moves into a new apartment built next to a graveyard, it does not take long before unusual happenings unfold and the family finds itself facing the terror of something lurking in the dark recesses of the basement. ï¿½The Graveyard Apartmentï¿½ is available for pre-order at https://amazon.com/gp/product/1250060540.
If you are looking for a scary read this October, there is a wealth of books to choose from. Whether you choose one of the five books listed above or a different selection from another author you have heard good things about, be sure to keep the lights on after you are done readingï¿½just in case.