Spookytober Reads!

Okay guys. I dunno what my brain is doing, but it keeps saying, “well we have plenty of time, it’s not even Octo–”

OCTOBER IS HALFWAY OVER BRAIN, GET WITH IT.

I know it’s October, but I don’t seem to realize it? It’s been like 85-90 degrees every day where I am, and it’s always hard to get into the swing of things when Mama Nature is still having Summer flashes.

Anyway.

I NEED SPOOKYTOBER READS!

I opened up a Suggestions Request on Goodreads, and loverly readers from all over did not disappoint! Here are some of the suggested titles:

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft

Incantations of black magic unearthed unspeakable horrors in Providence, Rhode Island. Evil spirits are being resurrected from beyond the grave, a supernatural force so twisted that it kills without offering the mercy of death!

I’ve read Lovecraft, but not this particular novel. Straightforward and pretty exciting sounding!

The October Country by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury’s second short story collection is back in print, its chilling encounters with funhouse mirrors, parasitic accident-watchers, and strange poker chips intact. Both sides of Bradbury’s vaunted childhood nostalgia are also on display, in the celebratory “Uncle Einar,” and haunting “The Lake,” the latter a fine elegy to childhood loss. This edition features a new introduction by Bradbury, an invaluable essay on writing, wherein the author tells of his “Theater of Morning Voices,” and, by inference, encourages you to listen to the same murmurings in yourself. And has any writer anywhere ever made such good use of exclamation marks!?

I absolutely adore Ray Bradbury’s work– Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favorite books of all time! Yet somehow, I’ve never gotten my hands on The October Country…

Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James

M. R. James is widely regarded as the father of the modern ghost story, and his tales have influenced horror writers from H. P. Lovecraft to Stephen King. First published in the early 1900s, they have never been out of print, and are recognized as classics of the genre. This collection contains some of his most chilling tales, including A View from a Hill, Rats, A School Story, The Ash Tree, and The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance. Read by BAFTA and Emmy-award winning actor Derek Jacobi, and with haunting and evocative music, these tales cannot fail to send a shiver down your spine.

Father of the modern ghost story, aye? I haven’t read anything by M.R. James, but with a touting like that, I’ve got to!

The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle

Brother and sister Roderick and Pamela Fitzgerald flee their busy London lives for the beautiful but stormy Devon coastline. They are drawn to the suspiciously inexpensive Cliff End, feared amongst locals as a place of disturbance and ill omen.

Gradually, the Fitzgeralds learn of the mysterious deaths of Mary Meredith and another strange young woman. Together, they must unravel the mystery of Cliff End’s uncanny past – and keep the troubled young Stella, who was raised in the house as a baby, from returning to the nursery where something waits to tuck her in at night …

Don’t get this one confused with the 2009 movie, The Uninvited– while this novel has been made into a film, that particular one isn’t based on the same work. Cliff’s End sounds like a place I’d love to go, and most assuredly regret wanting to after about five minutes.

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.

I LOVE THIS BLURB. It sends chills right down my spine, and I love that feeling. I also love the cover to this one! Can’t wait to read.

The Terror by Dan Simmons

The bestselling author of Ilium and Olympos transforms the true story of a legendary Arctic expedition into a thriller worthy of Stephen King or Patrick O’Brian.

Their captain’s insane vision of a Northwest Passage has kept the crewmen of The Terror trapped in Arctic ice for two years without a thaw. But the real threat to their survival isn’t the ever-shifting landscape of white, the provisions that have turned to poison before they open them, or the ship slowly buckling in the grip of the frozen ocean.

The real threat is whatever is out in the frigid darkness, stalking their ship, snatching one seaman at a time or whole crews, leaving bodies mangled horribly or missing forever. Captain Crozier takes over the expedition after the creature kills its original leader, Sir John Franklin.

Drawing equally on his own strengths as a seaman and the mystical beliefs of the Eskimo woman he’s rescued, Crozier sets a course on foot out of the Arctic and away from the insatiable beast. But every day the dwindling crew becomes more deranged and mutinous, until Crozier begins to fear there is no escape from an ever-more-inconceivable nightmare.

In the words of Roger from American Dad, “I’m here for the crazy!” This sounds like an intense story, and I can appreciate that it’s off the beaten “in a small weird town” path.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub

For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder.

Peter Straub’s classic bestseller is a work of “superb horror” (The Washington Post Book World) that, like any good ghost story, stands the test of time — and conjures our darkest fears and nightmares.

Intriguing, and definitely doesn’t sound as obvious as some horror/thriller titles.

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon

In me are the memories of a boy’s life, spent in that realm of enchantments. These are the things I want to tell you….

Robert McCammon delivers “a tour de force of storytelling” (BookPage) in his award-winning masterpiece, a novel of Southern boyhood, growing up in the 1960s, that reaches far beyond that evocative landscape to touch readers universally.

Boy’s Life is a richly imagined, spellbinding portrait of the magical worldview of the young — and of innocence lost.

Zephyr, Alabama, is an idyllic hometown for eleven-year-old Cory Mackenson — a place where monsters swim the river deep and friends are forever. Then, one cold spring morning, Cory and his father witness a car plunge into a lake — and a desperate rescue attempt brings his father face-to-face with a terrible, haunting vision of death. As Cory struggles to understand his father’s pain, his eyes are slowly opened to the forces of good and evil that surround him. From an ancient mystic who can hear the dead and bewitch the living, to a violent clan of moonshiners, Cory must confront the secrets that hide in the shadows of his hometown — for his father’s sanity and his own life hang in the balance….

Being from the South, I always like a weird spooky story set anywhere down here. Sounds crazy!

The White People and Other Weird Stories by Arthur Machen

Machen’s weird tales of the creepy and fantastic finally come to Penguin Classics. With an introduction from S.T. Joshi, editor of American Supernatural Tales, The White People and Other Weird Stories is the perfect introduction to the father of weird fiction. The title story “The White People” is an exercise in the bizarre leaving the reader disoriented and on edge. From the first page, Machen turns even fundamental truths upside-down, as his character Ambrose explains, “there have been those who have sounded the very depths of sin, who all their lives have never done an ‘ill deed'” setting the stage for a tale entirely without logic.

Guillermo del Toro did the forward for this title- that says a lot.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

What real reader does not yearn, somewhere in the recesses of his or her heart, for a really literate, first-class thriller–one that chills the body, but warms the soul with plot, perception, and language at once astute and vivid? In other words, a ghost story written by Jane Austen?

Alas, we cannot give you Austen, but Susan Hill’s remarkable Woman In Black comes as close as our era can provide. Set on the obligatory English moor, on an isolated causeway, the story has as its hero Arthur Kipps, an up-and-coming young solicitor who has come north from London to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. The routine formalities he anticipates give way to a tumble of events and secrets more sinister and terrifying than any nightmare: the rocking chair in the deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and most dreadfully–and for Kipps most tragically–The Woman In Black.

The Woman In Black is both a brilliant exercise in atmosphere and controlled horror and a delicious spine-tingler–proof positive that this neglected genre, the ghost story, isn’t dead after all.

I’m gonna go ahead and say it: I don’t really dig the whole “gonna say it’s hypothetically written by another author” draw in. I’m not a fan of that. BUT! Who hasn’t heard of The Woman in Black?! Let’s hope the novel lives up to the hype.

What are some of your favorite spooky reads?

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