Top Ten Hallowe’en Reads

It’s almost Hallowe’en which can only mean one thing: eating your body weight in sweets while curling up with a terrifying book. Here are my Top Ten books to get you through.

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  1. Dracula, by Bram Stoker – This is a no-brainer.  I love, love, love this book.  Analysis of this novel formed part of my final dissertation for my degree so I know it inside and out. My love for this book might have even influenced the choice of Whitby as the destination for my hen weekend last year. The iconic vampire is everywhere with countless film and TV adaptations, but this is the place to really start.
  2. American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis – Oh, I do love a good psychopathic serial killer. I know people complain that Bateman is misogynistic – which is true, but he’s a serial killer so I think that’s the least of his problems. This book is disturbingly brilliant, plus there’s that certain scene with rats …
  3. Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley JacksonThis is – quite rightly – regarded as one of the greatest ghost stories of the 20th century. Jackson generates fear through the psychological breakdown of the central character, Eleanor Vance.
  4. Rebecca, byDaphne du Maurier – “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again…” – one of the (in my humble opinion) best opening lines in literature. Rebecca, the quintessential gothic novel, is one of my favourites of all time and is perfect for reading all year round. But, if you’re looking for an excuse, this is it.
  5. The Fall of the House of Usher, by Edgar Allen Poe – If there’s no Poe is it even Hallowe’en? This story is Poe at his best – claustrophobic, mysterious and dark.The ending is by far the scariest I have ever read.
  6. The Changeling, by Victor LaVelle – There is nothing not to love here. The horror here is in the subtle foreboding; the constant sense that something is about to happen. It is intelligently well-written and terrifying. Let’s just say, I’m glad I didn’t read this when my son was newborn …
  7. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski – This book is unlike anything else I have ever read. It is complex and utterly disturbing. The way the book is set out draws you in, making you actively experience the book rather than passively read.  Nothing I can write can possibly do this book justice.
  8. Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist – This translation of the novel by  Låt Den Rätte Komma is magnificent.  It is truly terrifying in places yet at the same time touching.  There are not nearly enough good vampire novels but this is definitely one of them.
  9. Her Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger – Who says Hallowe’en has to be terrifying?  This is an utterly original, outrageous, and thoroughly enjoyable ghost story. This story is haunting and was one of those books that stayed with me long after it ended.
  10. Anything by Stephen King – I love Stephen King and picking just one novel for this list was too hard.  I really tried, but life’s too short and I’d rather be reading, so… Any book you pick by the undisputed master of horror is not going to disappoint.

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What are your favourite Hallowe’en reads? What will you be delving into this weekend?

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