Top 5 Books for Halloween

If you know anything about me you probably know that I’m a bit of a horror fan. Only converted a few years ago but since then I’ve been working through the oeuvre of the genre in both fiction and film. I’m also a judgy bitch and read a lot of reviews where people post their own top five, so I can disagree. This year, however, I’ve decided to write my own list so that people can judge me for my top 5 Halloween reads.

Some titles began on the list but have been shifted to an honourable mentions section at the back because while I’d love to talk about the complexities of humanity in Frankenstein I’m sure most people reading this will have heard of it. Authors with a particularly large catalogue (you know who you are) remain on the list for the sake of offering a starting point among many possible starting points.

Please read all of these if you want to call yourself a horror fan, or if you just want to say that you’ve had any attempt at devouring the spooky.

1. The Shining, Stephen King

I could make a whole post which was just my top 5 Stephen King novels, but he’s written so many that I’d rather wait until I’ve read more of the collection to rate them against each other. Definite favourites so far include Misery, Pet Semetary, Cell, and It, but my all time favourite is The Shining.

The Shining holds the honour (?) of being the only book to ever give me nightmares. It tells the story of a family in isolation who are staying in what may or may not be a haunted hotel, with a boy who may or may not have the gift that they called ‘the shining’. Considering how much I love this book I should really get around to reading the sequel; Doctor Sleep.

2. Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake

I love a good ghost story, but I find that I’m very picky about the kinds of ghosts that scare me. Perhaps I’m of a generation that has been given the legacy of Caspar the Friendly Ghost?

Anna is not about a friendly ghost, although it might just be the tamest book on this list. This book has as much emotion as it does spooks, but it also has the kind of investigative vibe that I love in any mystery story. Investigation and spooks. What a dream.

3. The Waking Dark, Robin Wasserman

The first thing I thought after reading this book was that it was the closest I had ever come to a Stephen King mood without reading a King book. Wasserman has a vastly different writing style but this book gave me the same spine tingling feeling that I get from good horror.

4. Feed, Mira Grant

I literally screamed while reading this book. This startled my friend Sass who rushed into the room, saw what I was reading, and then told me off for scaring her. She bears some of the blame for telling me to read the book in the first place, but I’m grateful for it.

Feed is excellent if you fear zombies or contemporary journalism.

5. Shift, Em Bailey

I’m not sure what to say about this book aside from the fact that the first time I read it I got goosebumps. There is little more terrifying to me than the loss of identity and the loss of self-control and this book explores both. What would you do if someone came along and stole every part of you, piece by piece?

I know I wouldn’t cope well at all.

Honourable mentions

  • Ashes by Ilsa J Bick
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • Perfume: the Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
  • Demon Road by Derek Landy
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Sandman by E T A Hoffmann