There is a book out there for everyone, regardless of preferred genre, reading style or interests. From graphic novels to memoirs, this list can provide some seasonally-spooky reading for everyone this Halloween.
Words By Daisy Holbrook
For the reader in a hurry:
‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter
A collection of short but wonderfully written Gothic Horror stories that put a nightmarish spin on some familiar fairytales. Carter takes tales such as Snow White, Beauty and The Beast, Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots and strays from the canonical customs of such stories; instead, taking a feminist approach. The Bloody Chamber is full of strong, empowered and sexually aware female protagonists who definitely do not need a prince to save them. Touching upon themes of female identity, violence, sexuality, agency, objectification and marriage, Carter goes against the traditional tropes of fairytales and places the women in the position of power. With some stories in the collection being only a few pages long, it is the perfect book for those without much time on their hands.
For those that prefer graphic novels:
‘My Friend Dahmer’ by John Backderf
Written and illustrated by the high-school friend of one of the world’s most infamous and prolific serial killers, ‘My Friend Dahmer’ provides intimate insight into the time Backderf spent with Dahmer – from the ages of 12 up until their high-school graduation. Backderf acknowledges the diabolical nature of the crimes committed yet paints a particularly empathetic portrait of Dahmer, detailing the isolation, alcoholism and neglect he experienced growing up, and the adults who failed him throughout his life. Setting out to explain how a lonely high-school outcast became one of the most heinous killers to date, ‘My Friend Dahmer’ offers an interesting new perspective on a well-known criminal.
For those looking for a more comedic approach:
‘Horrorstör’ by Grady Hendrix
The traditional haunted-house horror story we have all grown accustomed to with a wonderfully contemporary setting – an IKEA-esque furniture superstore. Uniquely designed to look like a furniture catalog, (complete with disturbing illustrations) ‘Horrorstör’ follows the haunting happenings of the ‘Orsk’ superstore and the five employees that stay overnight to uncover the morbid truth. Packed full of hilarious moments, grotesque details and powerful social commentary on the modern-day workplace, Horrorstör’ makes for a truly creepy, quirky and unique literary experience.
For lovers of classics:
‘We Have Always Lived in The Castle’ by Shirley Jackson
A bizarre and harrowing tale of isolation, familial trust and venality wrapped up in a delightful and deceptively simple prose. ‘We Have Always Lived in The Castle’ focuses on the lives of two sisters following a tragedy that kills half of their family and tackles issues of mental illness, agoraphobia, small-town mentality and the effects of ‘otherness’. Jackson’s exploration of the nature of everyday evil and the fragility of the human mind through the lens of an unreliable narrator creates for a wholly claustrophobic and unnerving atmosphere that should not be missed.
For lovers of YA books:
‘Slasher Girls & Monster Boys’ by April Genevieve Tucholke
Everyone’s secret guilty pleasure is the ‘Young Adult’ section, no matter how many profound works of literature you may read, sometimes all you want is a break from the fancy prose and to simply indulge in the familiarity of a humble YA book. For those of you who can relate, ‘Slasher Girls & Monster Boys’ is a horror anthology (spanning from body horror, gore, the paranormal and realism) by some of the most renowned YA authors of our generation. Together, they have compiled a literary feast of psychological and haunting stories inspired by pop-culture classics from movies, books and even songs making for an equally fun and eerie reading.
For those that prefer non-fiction:
‘The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation and Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece’ by Roseanna Montillo
A real life account of the grisly and grotesque experiments, iconoclasts and scientists that inspired the creation of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’. ‘The Lady and Her Monsters’ explores the period of convergence between the Romantic Age and Industrial Revolution and the ideas of death and the human body that circulated at the time. With accounts of resurrection, dissection, galvanism and grave robbers, this is not the kind of book for those with a weak stomach.
For the writer:
‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ by Stephen King
Often categorised as being part memoir and part masterclass, ‘On Writing’ is the quintessential book for all aspiring writers. Unapologetically recounting his struggles, beliefs, habits and inspirations, King seamlessly blends the experiences that shaped his writing career with straightforward (and sometimes brutally honest) advice, simultaneously encouraging, empowering and equipping the reader with the tools and tips they need to become a competent writer. ‘In Writing’ is steeped in passion and positivity, whilst being accessible for writers of all competencies – making it the perfect addition for any writer’s toolkit.