Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Creepy Reads for Halloween!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!
Halloweek is here, and I'm officially ready to get spooky! 

All of my favorite television shows having been premiering their Halloween episodes, the Target holiday aisles are well-and-truly picked over for the prime goods, and our local Jo-Ann Crafts is gearing up their Christmas decorations already, which means I'm really in the thick of the spooky-scary spirit. Naturally, that meant it was time for another creeptastic special installment Top Ten Tuesday for the holiday, as well: Hello, Halloween freebie week!

To be honest, I was a little annoyed that past Savannah had already swiped the ideal holiday topic last year, when I talked about our family's severe holiday children's book fixation, particularly in regards to my fave spooktacular-and-not reads for the 31st. However, I quickly realized that there are plenty of creepy reads for those above a middle grade age bracket, too! 

Whether you're into YA or adult, fiction or non, here are my list of Top Ten Halloween Reads for those who may now be a little too old for trick-or-treating. (Which means you're plenty old enough to buy that bag of Reese's Cups for yourself... score!)

what pairs well with those pre-cut Pillsbury ghostie cookie things?

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1. Libba Bray's The Diviners 
1920s New York is a town long-famed for its fearless flappers... including one who happens to be a little more fearless than most, thanks to a mysterious power that helps her read the histories of those whose possessions she holds. Once a string of deaths starts to reveal the town's dark side, it's clear there's something malevolent afoot... and Evie's plenty well-heeled enough to take on the task of catching the culprit herself!

2. Susan Dennard's Something Strange and Deadly
It's the 1800s, and zombies are a real and present threat, especially to a Southern deb. If you think running away from a horde of the shambling undead was hard already, try doing it in a hoopskirt!

3. Scott Westerfield's Peeps 
Being "parasite-positive" might just be the newfangled term for the newly-fanged, but Cal isn't going to let that hold him back. Following the sleuth-work of a man able to navigate the vamp-life without displaying its devastating symptoms, this fresh take on the old characterizations of vampirism has a lot more to do with bacteria and microscopic snails that it does with neck-munching... which might be even more scary.

i can watch the sixth sense without crying (most of the time)

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4. Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves
I could talk forever about this masterful mind-explosion of a beautiful and terrifying concept, but I've already gotten the chance to do that, as it was the central text - ie, the only thing we read all Quarter - in one of my senior-year college classes. This book didn't change my life... I'm pretty sure it changed me.

5. Steven King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes
A magnum opus of a horror grandmaster, this collection has probably been my favorite of his that I've ever read. The scarecrow cover is iconic, as are the short stories contained (barely) behind it.

6. Gillian Flynn's The Grownup
Breathlessly short and far-far-FAR from sweet, this fast-paced and slim-spined thriller - following the experiences of a fake medium and the strange family she encounters through her con - is a fitting fear-inducing work from the Gone Girl master of plot twists. 

you know what's truly terrifying? real life

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7. Caitlin Doughty's Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
The memoirs of a crematorium operator, better learning how to live from working with the dead, this recent read has been one of my favorites of the past year, for its illuminating insights into a secretive industry, and significant emotional intelligence.

8. Mary Roach's Spook 
The product of one of my favorite nonfiction authors' forays into the industries of the undead - from understanding EMF readings, to conversing with spiritual guides, and examining near-death experiences - this scientific perspective on popular ghostly theories, practices, and people from around the world is a fascinating one.

special effects can get old and hokey, but a good book can scare you forever

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9. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
I have held such admiration for this book for so long that I once actually had a dream that I had gotten it tattooed onto my skin. This iconic tale not only helped birth the science fiction genre, but its vivid descriptions and haunting characterizations remain spine-tingling even after it's been mangled by multimedia too many times to count. (My personal, ultimate example of "the book was better" arguments.)

10. Henry James' The Turn of the Screw
You'd think that if you'd read one Gothicky ghost story, you've read them all... but being introduced to this horror mainstay in a sophomore-year college class proved that some stories remain classic for a reason! A subtle and spooky atmospheric thriller that gave me new admiration for unreliable narrators, this one is a decently short read, but one that will stay with you.

You've got a little under a week left before Halloween... plenty of time to squeeze at least one more spooky read in! 
What's in YOUR top ten? Let me know, in the comments below!


  1. The Diviners is a PERFECT Halloween read!! It definitely creeped me out at times. I've been curious about Something Strange and Deadly. Ever since Truthwitch came out I never hear about that series anymore!!

  2. I've heard so much about House of Leaves but I have never read it (or even tried it). I thought I probably needed a professor to walk me through it; it sounds complex.


  3. I love Mary Roach, she's so irreverent, but she also does her research, so I always feel enlightened after reading one of her books.