Happy Halloween, all! I hope that your day is filled with no tricks and plenty of treats. We’re going low-key this year, because it turns out Peanut is a gigantic scaredy-cat and hates everything to do with Halloween. More on this to come. But in case you’re up for more Fright Night shenanigans than we are over here, I’ve got a list of a few spooky, creepy, or eerie books to send a chill down your spine tonight.
The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – In this installment of Sherlock Holmes’ adventures, our intrepid detective is called to the spooky Dartmoor region to investigate reports of a spectral hound that has haunted a local aristocrat to his death and is now stalking his heir. Holmes doesn’t believe in supernatural dog hauntings… do you?
The Penguin Book of Witches, ed. Katherine Howe – I’m midway through this one now (wanted to finish it by Halloween, but didn’t quite manage it) and am completely fascinated. Howe has compiled an absorbing little volume of primary source materials on witchcraft in medieval England and the early Colonies, which she explains in clear prose through her prodigious scholarship. Reading primary sources on the English and American witch hunts is both interesting and chilling.
The Writing Class, by Jincy Willet – Not a “spooky” novel, per se, but definitely one that will chill you to the bone. This is a poison pen/murder mystery novel featuring reclusive writing teacher Amy Gallup, whose local university extension class is terrorized by a “class sniper” with a wicked pen, a talent for writing, and a complete disregard for human life. Pretty scary stuff, and I guarantee you’ll think twice before signing up for your local extension classes.
A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness – If you haven’t already read the All Souls trilogy, featuring witch Diana Bishop and vampire Matthew Clairmont, there’s no better time than Halloween. A Discovery of Witches is the first, but they get better and better as the trilogy progresses. This is “Twilight for the grad school set,” as I described it to my mom, and if you’ve been avoiding vampire novels because… well, you know, the silliness… this is one series you might actually enjoy. It’s still silly, but in a surprisingly absorbing way.
The Girl With All the Gifts, by M.E. Carey – I didn’t say much about this in my review of it back this summer when I read it, and I won’t say much now, because I don’t want to give away the plot. Let’s just say, this is the only horror novel I’ve ever read and while I wouldn’t say I necessarily enjoyed the experience, I was glued to the book because I just had to know what would happen. I can usually spot a twist a mile away, but this book had one that took even me by surprise, so bonus! If you enjoy the occasional gory horror piece, give this a try. Shudder.
There! That ought to give you plenty of material for your Mischief Night. Now, what are you waiting for? Get to reading – it’s almost the witching hour!