Saturday, October 2, 2021

👻A Very Spooky Book List 👻

Fall and winter reading is my favorite reading all year. The ubiquitous summer book guides and buzz over beach reading can give it a rest. Give me a fire, a hot drink, a soft blanket, slippers, and a big book while the weather rages outside my window (think chill winds, rainstorms, bitter cold, and snow) and I am a happy girl. I mean, it's hibernation season, right?

Add a book and it me


When the air turns crisp and the first leaf falls from the trees in my backyard, I know what I will be reading for the forseeable future. Spooky books! 


Bring on the witches, the ghosts, the creepy vibes! Fall is officially here!

One of my favorite SNL sketches


My Fall TBR

This fall I'm planning to read Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia which I've heard so many people rave about. 



I'll also be picking up The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe to read along with the Novel Pairings patreon group


I've been meaning to get to We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson for ages. I've been told this short classic will scare my pants off. I can't wait!

Creepy Covers are Catnip



Tense Mysteries


Anthony Horowitz books always keep me reading past my bedtime. I LOVED Magpie Murders with my whole heart and would recommend starting with that one. 


If We Were Villians is a story that starts with one of the characters getting out of prison and you spend the novel looking back and hearing his version of what happened. His telling of past events is a twisty ride into the darkness that can creep into a group of friends at college. The reader tries to figure out what the crime is and who committed it in this book that is saturated with the dark academia aesthetic. 


I listened to The Death of Mrs. Westaway and could not stop it for even a second. I had to know what was going to happen, how it was all going to come together. Ruth Ware has a few other mysteries that have sucked me in and but this one stands out in that I perfectly recall listening to it while making dinner, weeding the garden, and going to the bathroom. 



Creepy Gothic Vibes

I read The Picture of Dorian Gray last year and was impressed with how thought provoking this classic turned out to be. If you need likable characters, you should probably skip this one, but if not, this could fit the bill for a creeptastic October read. 


The Veronica Speedwell Series reliably meets my creepy gothic needs. Veronica is a young woman in London in 1887 trying to figure out a mystery. She is smart, funny, and adventurous. These books will not make you terrified, but it's a solid series set in an era of big skirts and odd manners that endears you to the characters and wraps you up in the setting and plot until you get reality and fiction confused. Start at the beginning with A Curious Beginning.


Tried and true classics might benefit from a re-read this season. Jane Eyre does not disappoint and Frankenstein is a classic for a reason. Also, The Island of Dr. Moreau and Sherlock Holmes short stories are good for a little spine-tingling fun in front of a fire. 



Ghosts and Witches

In the vein of Scooby-Doo, Riley Sager has been pumping out scary reads every year for the last few years. My favorite was probably Home Before Dark and a close second would be Lock Every Door.


We Ride Upon Sticks is a hilarious and nostalgic novel about a field hockey team that calls on dark forces to help them win. It's kind of long, but totally worth it, especially if you grew up in the '80s and will get the references to what it was like being a teenager at that time. 



The Night Watchman is gorgeous literary fiction with ghosts. This one will not scare you in the traditional sense (the mistreatment of Native American women and attempts by the US government to end Native American culture are probably the scariest parts), but it would make for a great read in the fall. 


If you're looking for a middle-grade ghost story, my favorite is The Greenglass House. It takes place in a creepy old smuggler's inn that hasn't seen many guests lately. All of sudden, on a very cold, inhospitable night, a guest arrives. It is a wild ride from that point on.


Circe is a non-traditional witch story that feels very fall-ish. Circe is a witch banished to an island after she offends the gods in Ancient Greece. I loved this feminist retelling and as with any book related to Greek gods and goddesses, there were lots of dark themes and storylines. 


Unsettling AF

Ok...so these books leave you unsettled. Freaked out. Bothered. They are not for everyone, but if you like this type of novel then you'll love these. They ask big questions of society and the self and they do it by taking something conventional (vactation! motherhood! marriage!) and turning it upside down and inside out. 


The Push and The Need were both bananas. I couldn't stop turning pages but sometimes I was afraid of what I would read next.



Leave the World Behind made me uncomfortable (and even a little confused at times). Rumaan Alam did an excellent job writing an entire book that produces the feeling of a pit in your stomach for every single page. 


The Harpy is about a couple who deals with the husband's infidelity by striking a strange deal, a deal that will change both the husband and wife and reader by the time the book is closed. 



These books are well-written and interesting, don't get me wrong. But they are also complex, nuanced, and striking so they make for a very particular reading experience. 


I can't wait to curl up by the fire with a stack of books beside me and a mug of hot apple cider on the coffee table. The last year and a half have been so challenging that I think I've become really good at getting cozy to offset the way the world around me feels. This season I'll be using all my best cozy skills for my spooky reading time each evening. 


What are some of your favorite fall reads of the past? What do you plan on reading this spooky season?

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