I’ve never been daft on Halloween. It seems to have rocketed in popularity since I was little – I don’t remember there ever being the swathes of decorations and costumes and events when I was little. You went ducking for apples in a leotard and some whiskers drawn on with eyeliner.
Nevertheless, it seems to be a Big Thing now, especially in book circles, so I thought I’d get involved. I’ve read a disappointing amount of horror for someone whose uncle is a literal horror author, so I’ve decided for the month of October to try and vibe with it and read only creepy horror things.
Sight Unseen – Sandra Ireland
My current read!
Sandra’s really good at creating atmosphere and weaving history into a story until the setting and figures from the past become just as important as the main characters. It’s a thriller rather than a straight up horror, but it’s got enough witchcraft and eerie atmosphere to chill you as we head into Halloween season.
Sefira and Other Betrayals – John Langan
I didn’t appreciate how cool it was having an uncle who wrote books until I was coming into my early teens, probably because he doesn’t write the kind of stories you’d take out of the library for your kids.
We got a copy of Sefira as a wedding present (my uncle signs and dates and doodles in the books he gives us, which is cool) but it was around that time I fell out of reading because I was pregnant and ill. Definitely going to break into it one night when my daughter has me awake at 4am…
Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill
I’ve read Heart Shaped Box before, but OH BOY is it a cracker. One of two books that has actually properly chilled me before. I picked it up because it’s got the same title as a Nirvana song (yes, it really is that easy to get me to buy your book) and then basically inhaled it. There’s one scene in particular that actually scared me so much I felt sick, which doesn’t happen often when I’m reading.
It was a bit of a revelation when I discovered that Joe Hill is actually Stephen King’s son, which makes sense when you consider that the only other book to seriously freak me out is…
The Shining – Stephen King
If you’ve seen Stanley Kubrick’s classic adaptation of The Shining but not read the book, I would thoroughly recommend you do so. It’s a completely different beast. Stephen King can be very hit and miss for me, but The Shining is brilliant, atmospheric and even though you know what’s coming (because it’s such a famous story) it still grips you.
Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror – ed. by Christopher Golden
Another gift from my uncle that I’ve only really dipped in and out of (he’s got a cracking story in it as well! but it’s wall to wall bangers – a short story anthology with the common theme of vampires. I can read one a day as the sun go down!
Also it’s got a cool as fuck title. “Vampiric Terror”? OKAY.
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
Another one that isn’t technically a horror, but it’s a bloody good book anyway. It might not have literal ghosts in it but the atmosphere is so thick and ominous you could carve it like a pumpkin, and there’s a no small amount of haunting in a sense.
Also Mrs. Danvers gives me the fear. So it’s a scary book.
Those more versed in horror than I am – what else should I be reading? What’s likely to leave me a quivering mess? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!