As we mentioned on Monday, the books here at the Library are quietly assembling for All-Hallows Read, a celebration of all things literary, eerie, chilling, and delightful. Our staff is getting involved, too, selecting some of their favorite spooky reads for your All Hallows Read list. From the classics to new releases and back again, here are some of our favorite tales…but be sure to stop by any of our displays and pick out a few seasonal tales that tickle your fancy!
If you are looking for a good place to start reading the kind of scary stories that All Hallows Read celebrates, Then be sure to check out:
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Bone Gap is the story of a boy named Finn who has a particularly difficult time recognizing faces, his brother Sean, and Sean’s girlfriend Roza, a beautiful and peculiar girl who disappears just as mysteriously as she appeared. Finn is the only one who sees her leave, and while the rest of the town of Bone Gap believes she left town in the same way the boys’ mother did years prior, Finn knows that she was kidnapped – but he can’t find a way to describe the kidnapper, nor does anyone in town believe him anyway. Told from alternating points of view, parts of the book read as a strange fairy tale, others as magic realism with just a smidgen of romance. Not scary in the horror sense, Bone Gap is a story of perception that leaves you questioning reality.
When Neil Gaiman makes a recommendation, we here all listen. But the truth of the matter is that Bellairs is a sensational author for teens and former teens alike. This particular book features Lewis, who has always wanted to live in an old house full of hidden passageways and secret corridors and when he is taken in by his Uncle Jonathan after the death of his parents, it seems that the world has finally given Lewis his dream come true. But then Jonathan finds out that his uncle is a wizard…and that the house that they call home was built by a wizard. A wizard who plotted the end of the world by hiding a clock in the house’s creaky walls. A clock that has suddenly begun ticking louder and louder….This is a wonderfully fun, delightfully creepy gothic adventure, and is an ideal place to start reading all of Bellairs stellar novels!
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Jackson’s classic tale is considered one of the best ghost stories of the 20th century, mostly because it doesn’t show much of anything at all, but relies on the reader’s own fears to make it chilling. Eager to investigate the paranormal activity in the house, Dr. John Montague and Luke Sanderson, heir to the mysterious Hill House, invite a group of people who all have associations with the paranormal. Only two show up: the flamboyant Theodora, and the shy, bitter Eleanor, around whom this story revolves. What happens during their stay is never quite clear…but because neither the characters nor the readers are entirely sure who–or what–is causing all the inexplicable happenings at Hill House, the entire book is an unsettling, nightmarish tale that is guaranteed to stay with you long after the final pages have fluttered past.
Dracula by Bram Stoker:
This book established the horror genre, and it stands the test of time. The quintessential vampire novel (about which we’ve already waxed rhapsodical), Stoker’s masterpiece is told through the letters, diaries, and transcripts of the four main protagonists, giving us up-close insight into their private terrors and secret fears, but also keeps readers from understanding the full scope of Dracula’s horror too soon. The result is a rich, and a genuinely unsettling story that deserves all the attention it’s got over the years.
‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
I think we’ve already had several discussions about this book, but we should have lots more. Because this is definitely one of the good Mr. King’s most undersung masterpieces. It was also inspired by both Dracula and The Haunting of Hill House, so there are added pleasures to be found for those who dare to read these books together. Ostensibly, ‘Salem’s Lot is the story of a small Maine town that is visited by a vampire. But it is so much more than that…it’s a love story to New England; its people, its practices, and, especially, its weather. This book is a perfect fall read all around…but you might want to keep the lights on while you finish it….
Happy Reading, and Happy All Hallows Read!