10 Spooky Reads for Halloween
1. The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
Also the inspiration for a great film, this slim novel’s restrained tone and focus on psychological terror builds suspense slowly and insinuatingly.
2. The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe
You don’t have to trek through all of this daunting tome, but those classic stories (“The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Fall of the House of Usher”) are well worth it—plus, could he be any better at titles?
3. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, by M.R. James
This is the first collection by one of the most famous ghost-story writers of all time. New readers and devotees alike find each supernatural tale riveting, chilling, and ultimately satisfying.
4. The Woman in Black, by Susan Hill
Check out one of the few modern-day Gothic ghost stories to garner serious acclaim for its deliciously creepy atmosphere.
5. It, by Stephen King
Widely regarded as one of King’s all-time best, It utilizes the themes of dread, trauma, and memory that have come to characterize his work.
6. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, by H.P. Lovecraft
This collection features one of the famous horror author’s best-known and –loved works, the titular story, which has endlessly inspired cult followings and contemporary horror writers.
7. All the Birds, Singing, by Evie Wyld
This 2013 novel by a promising Australian author will give you the heebie-jeebies with its wild, desolate setting, unnerving events, and superb pacing.
8. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
If you were under the impression that the famous dandy was only good for high satire, think again. This tale of greed, excess, and thwarted love gets under your skin and stays with you long past your college lit class.
9. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Ignore any high-school-assigned-reading or Wishbone connotations; reading this as an adult, you’ll find the Gothic romance and relevantly eerie question of whether science is playing God seriously compelling.
10. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
Call me old-fashioned, but I think this is still the most enthralling read of my life. For a quiet book, it’s masterfully suspenseful and beautifully rendered, and there’s a lovely creep factor (which carries over perfectly in the iconic film). (Her stories are also wonderfully weird—check out Don’t Look Now (the titular story of which inspired the 1973 cult film) and Kiss Me Again, Stranger, which features the nail-biter “The Birds,” the inspiration for the Hitchcock classic.)