Well, it’s the week of Halloween and what better time to share a list of awesome thematically appropriate books then today? Thrills, chills and cheers to you this Halloween!
- The Monks of Monk Hall | George Lippard
George Lippard, a good friend of Edgar Allan Poe, wrote this blood-drenched, drug-induced story with a character named Devil Bug and a first chapter that begins with two men discussing how one man could fake a wedding and get a girl to give up her virginity to him just by convincing her that he had married her. This book is a perfect example of how the Gothic genre transitioned from stories that took place in the Italian countryside into the very depths of the city, specifically Philadelphia in this story. Plus, you’ll never think of 19th century people the same way again after this read!
- The Castle of Otranto | Horace Walpole
What better time to read the original Gothic novel that started it all? Horace Walpole’s novel contains everything the Gothic genre is known for. Evil men. Innocent women. Spooky ghosts, or things that might be ghosts. Secret passageways. You name it and it’s there. This book is also really fun to read if you happen to read more modern iterations of this genre. You’ll immediately see how the genre changes once you’ve seen where and how things originated.
- Wieland | Charles Brockdon Brown
If you’re going to take the time to read the original Gothic novel, you might as well also take the time to read the first Gothic novel written by a natural-born American citizen. And that would be this book by Charles Brockden Brown. All I need to tell you is that this story involving death and deception and involves a biloquist which is an old word for someone who can throw their voice. Now, get reading!
- The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde
Nothing says Halloween like a creepy picture and a man who lacks morality and feels as if he suffers no consequences. Oscar Wilde’s timeless story is a perfect read for the season and it’s a great example of a Victorian spooky tale.
- The Shadow of the Wind | Carlos Ruiz Zafon
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know that Zafon is probably my favorite living author. You also might know that my boyfriend gave me the best present ever when he gifted me a first edition copy of this book signed by Zafon himself for my birthday this year! Anyway, Zafon is a fantastic writer. I’d call him Gothic-light. His stories are filled with mystery and beautiful language. There are battles over books and secret places where books are kept. You have love and loss and it takes place within the city, so it’s reminiscent of the City Gothic that I mention in the first book in this list.
- The Historian | Elizabeth Kostova
So many people have told vampire stories, particularly Dracula stories. But it never gets old! Elizabeth Kostova’s books is probably one of the BEST modern reads about Dracula I’ve ever experienced. It’s Gothic Literature meets Dan Brown Adventure/mystery/discover. It’s fantastic. I read it years ago, but still talk about it whenever the opportunity arises.
- Drood | Dan Simmons
I didn’t know about the mysterious story by Charles Dickens called The Mystery of Edwin Drood. And while I’m not really a fan of Dickens, I feel like after having read Simmons’ fictional account of where this story came from, I feel that I must do this Gothic mystery justice and go back to Dickens’ story and see what all the hype is about. Drood is a fanstastic book. It’s really long at 800 pages and embraces the long-winded tone of a Gothic novel very well. It actually took me a bit to readjust to that sort of voice because it’d been quite a while since I’d delved into something so pure like this. But, the story is weird and creepy and there’s opium involved, so you know it’s a classic 19th century tale.
- Sharp Objects | Gillian Flynn
Everyone knows Gillian Flynn. And I had to mention her because she’s from Kansas City. Have to celebrate our local writers, you know. Sharp Objects is my absolute favorite book I’ve read by her so far and I’ve read everything she’s published up to this point. This story is weird and the characters are weirder. But the way she shares Camille’s past and how she used to cut herself, is absolutely spectacular. Whenever a scenario occurs that bothers Camille, a word that relates to how she feels or what happens that she has cut into her skin on a previous occasion will itch. It’s fantastic, creepy and just amazing writing.
- The Haunting of Hill House | Shirley Jackson
This is on my to read list. It’s a classic story of terror and it reminds me of all those slasher movies that have come out in the past 15 years or so. The House on Haunted Hill. You know the deal. But because it’s a classic, it’s a must read!
- The Penguin Book of Witches
I always loved the random books of literature and history that Penguin put together. This looks like a fascinating read about the Witch Trials, and the history of real people being accused of witchcraft. A perfect read for this Halloween season!
If you’re looking for more suggestions, Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft are always good options. Happy Haunted Reading!!!!
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