It’s late October, and Halloween (and Pumpkin Bowl!) are right around the corner. Here are some of our favorite creepy, eerie, and downright horrifying books to get you in the mood for the best holiday.
Ms. Barrows Recommends:
House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski. A story inside a story, but even more complex than that. Basically, a family is living in a house that is larger inside than outside. And there’s other stuff. There’s weird page formats, including footnotes for footnotes (often citing fictional sources) and word layouts that depict events happening in the book. The result? Readers report feelings of claustrophobia, agoraphobia, and overall creepiness.
The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. Terror, sheer terror, drives Jackson’s story. Forget monsters, who needs monsters when you have the good ol’ human psyche? Dr. John Montague, in an effort to investigate the supernatural, invites individuals who have been affected by unexplained events to come and visit Hill House. What is Hill House, you ask? Well it is just about the creepiest mansion ever constructed. The only people to take Dr. John Montague up on his offer are Theodora and Eleanor, the story’s protagonist. What follows is an exploration of the gray area between the supernatural, imagination, reality, and delusion. In a tightly written 174 page book Jackson develops a sense of tension and terror with each sentence.
Mr. Gette Recommends:
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. “There was a hand in the dark, and it held a knife.” How can you go wrong with an opening line like that? Boy’s family is murdered, boy is raised by ghosts, murderer comes back to finish the job.
The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson. Sometimes truth is stranger (and scarier) than fiction. Devil follows two men: the architect who designed the Chicago World’s fair, and the murderer who used the fair to ensnare his victims. Includes creepy murder house!
House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski. Ok, sometimes fiction is a lot stranger. Even the premise of the book isn’t that simple: a man tells a story about a neighbor who wrote a scholarly paper on a documentary that doesn’t seem to exist. The documentary is about a man who discovers that his house is bigger on the inside than the outside: and it’s not as friendly as the TARDIS. Add in a ton of footnotes, footnotes with their own footnotes, words with their own color schemes, non-vertical writing – just reading this book is an adventure.
-Signing off, James Gette and Jenny Barrows (who are cowering in fear under a book fort)