There’s nothing I love more on Halloween than to curl up with a good book, a blanket, and something warm to drink. Well, actually, I love that combo everyday. Halloween is no exception of course. The only difference on this upcoming holiday is that I’ll be looking for something scary to read, some good classic horror. Maybe you guys are too? Well, I’ve got good news. I’m here to help everyone find there perfect Halloween read.
What book could actually recommend to everyone though? I know so many good horror reads. I couldn’t possibly pick just one to recommend. I spent all month writing horror-themed posts and still, I have way too many good horror books left to recommend. Too many, that is, unless I create a fun Halloween quiz. That’s right, answer this handful of questions and find out which book is the perfect read for you this Halloween!
1.Pick the scariest thing.
b. Sexually Independent Women
2. What kind of characters would you like?
a. A large, varied cast.
b. One group of friends.
c. One brilliant but troubled mind and an angry mob
d. An odd group of strangers thrown together by circumstance.
3. How would you feel about sexuality in your story?
a. It doesn’t matter. None of it matters. Death is coming for us all.
b. Of course! Whats more horrific than open sexual expression?
c. The title character is just too ugly for bumping uglies, and also basic social acceptance.
d. Maybe some hints, but we need the protagonist to feel as lonely and alienated as possible.
4. How old-school do you like your horror?
a. Ew, not at all. Modernity all the way.
b. So old-school and Victorian your eyeballs will bleed.
c. Classical but forward looking.
d. Modern values, but an old-school and decrepit atmosphere, for the chills.
5. What’s the scariest setting?
a. The whole world’s a stage, and it’s covered in blood and freaking me the heck out.
b. London, but with more cobblestones and gas lanterns.
c. A laboratory designed for purposes bizarre and impossible.
d. An isolated old mansion.
6. Do you want your book to have a movie adaptation?
a. Movies only ever utterly ruin a story. I don’t even want to look at my book’s movie.
b. Yes, the more the merrier. Sequels, spin-offs, all of that. More I say, more!
c. Yeah, I agree with b. Is there a way we could get a breakfast cereal too?
d. Sure, make a few if you like. The original film will always be the best and most faithful to the book though.
7. Do you want your story to have a happy ending?
a. Yeah, something really uplifting about the power of the human spirit.
b. Of course. Everyone’s finally safe from foreigners and overt sexuality!
c. No. Make it super tragic and moody.
d. No, especially not for the main character, and let’s keep it eerily ambiguous too.
Mostly A’s: World War Z by Max Brooks.
This book is probably shelved under science fiction at your local bookstore, but it’s about a world-wide zombie pandemic, so it’s freaking terrifying. Pay absolutely no attention to the epileptic fit inducing film with Brad Pitt. Brooks truly excels at world building, giving the whole history of the incident a realistic and fully realized feeling. He’s also great at writing terrifying scenes of zombie murder, of course. It’s a cutting edge, modern and fascinating take on humans facing their doom on an incredibly wide scale.
Mostly B’s: Dracula by Bram Stoker.
Ready to read the original literary vampire story? Well then go get yourself “The Vampyre” by Lord Byron and John Polidori, or perhaps “Carmilla” by Sheridan Le Fanu. Yeah, technically there are a few literary stories that predate Dracula, and of course there’s the many ancient folk tales that inspired Stoker. This is the most famous though, depicted as grand-daddy of all vampire stuff from here on out. It’s deliciously Victorian, and as such, it makes sure that we know the “new women” going around wearing bloomers and riding bicycles are every bit as terrifying as undead, blood sucking demons. Heck, they are undead blood sucking demons, especially the ones that show you their ankles like strumpets.
Okay, so some of the novel’s outdated sexual mores really rub me the wrong way, but it is definitely a scary book, whether you have fragile Victorian sensibilities or not.
Mostly C’s: Frankenstein or a Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
This is a Victorian horror classic that looks forward, in that it technically creates the Science Fiction genre. As much as this is typically considered a horror novel, and a very gothic one too, the horrors in this book are all brought about by science, and one man’s intense fear of death and pathological need to create something that laughs in the face of it. It’s a masterpiece of both sci-fi and horror, and Shelley wrote and published it while she was still younger than me, which makes me insanely jealous until I remember that a huge inspiration for the story was her recent miscarriage, and then I feel like a jerk.
Mostly D’s: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
There are plenty of haunted house stories, but this is definitely a definitive piece of that genre. A bunch of strangers meet up in an old mansion to prove whether or not it’s truly haunted. Jackson adds an excellently executed psychological layer to the horror, keeping you constantly guessing which one you should be more scared, the house and its ghosts or the protagonist and her ghosts. It has definitely shaped the haunted house story concept in a big way.
These are some of the best books you could find yourself reading this Halloween, so don’t limit yourself to one if you don’t want to. They all have something great to offer. Try them all if you can, or if you dare! Ooooooooooooooo. Spooky. Happy Halloween!