Good readers, as I write this the dear and dark month of October has just drifted in and the countdown to Halloween has begun. As cozy reading weather begins to arrive, many of us turn toward thinking about spooky books to read that will keep us up at night and help us relive the childhood thrill of a good old fashioned scary story! We have plenty of these to recommend this month and you won’t want to miss browsing our “Spooky Reads” display on the second floor here at Crawfordsville District Public Library.
If the idea of being in a dark house all by yourself gets your heart pumping, or the thought of being home alone at night gives you chills, then a great place to start exploring scary fiction this month is with the classic haunted house scenario. For a more straightforward and traditional story in this vein, try “The Good House” by Tananarive Due (FIC Due), which explores family curses, grief, and the experiences of African-Americans and does so against the creepy backdrop of swampy woods and the South. If you’re looking for a doorstopper of a book to be your constant companion this month, then you absolutely must check out “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski (FIC Dan); in it, a family moves into a new house in which the interior space measures larger than the outside of the building, and the situation slowly unravels into an unsettling nightmare for everyone involved.
If houses feel more cozy than frightening to you, perhaps you’ll be tempted by a good old fashioned witch story? If so, I urge you to add “White is For Witching” by Helen Oyeyemi (FIC Oye) to your TBR list. Readers beware: Oyeyemi crafts a seriously spooky, gothic atmosphere in this book (trigger warning for readers with sensitivities to eating disorders in this title). If an atmosphere of dread and magic is what scratches your getting-scared itch, you might also be interested in the equally moody “In the House in the Dark of the Woods” by Laird Hunt (FIC Hun).
Weird Fiction, a genre which can loosely be described as fantasy and/or sci-fi fused with horror and magical realism, with a defining feature of causing unnerve in readers, has been a big interest of mine in 2019. Science fiction fans might start with “Annihilation” by Jeff VanderMeer (FIC Van), in which a mysterious and growing “Area X” causes strange things to happen to any humans who explore it. By far one of the most disturbing and creepy titles I’ve read in the last year was the graphic novel “Uzumaki” by Junji Ito (NEW GN FIC Ito), which tells the tale of a Japanese town in which its inhabitants slowly become obsessed with spirals. Finally, a recently-published story with similar unnerving body-horror elements that I recommend is the Young Adult title “Wilder Girls” by Rory Power (NEW YA FIC Pow). Of course, you can go back to the roots of this genre by visiting the collected works of HP Lovecraft, the father of cosmic horror, too!
If you’re excited by a dash of history in your reads, there’s no shortage of horror titles set in the past, either. I highly recommend “The Hunger” by Alma Katsu (NEW FIC Kat), which follows the story of the Donner party, but with a supernatural twist, and “The Terror” by Dan Simmons, about the real-life failed nautical expedition to find the Northwest Passage, and the slow-building horror experienced on that journey.
This is only a small sample of the titles we’re recommending this month that will fill your October reading needs. You can find many more spooky read suggestions at our Staff Picks display, or if scary reads just aren’t your thing, you might enjoy browsing our Fall Reading Suggestions (both located on the first floor). Don’t be afraid to drop by the reference desk to ask for suggestions, either — we love helping readers find books that will have you sleeping with the lights on!