The nights are drawing in, the clocks have gone back, and it’s that time of year again when even though they scare me, I want to read spine-tingling, spooky and creepy books. So, what better time of year to take you through some of my recent favourites, all of which you will find on the shelves in various Warwickshire Libraries.
The Frighteners – Why we love monsters, ghosts, death and gore by Peter Laws
This non-fiction read is a fascinating look at the reasons why we love all things spooky. From zombies, vampires and werewolves to serial killers and horror movies, Laws, a Baptist minister, explores why we are afraid of such things yet they capture our imaginations and continue to be popular. Laugh out loud funny in places (I will not be taking part in any ‘zombie experiences’ any time soon) and thought-provoking in others, this gets five pumpkins out of five from me!
Haunted Warwickshire: Ghost Stories – Julia Skinner
Some of these tales are a little too close to home for my liking! If you want to know about the hauntings and happenings in our county then this is the book for you. In short, sharp bursts, this will take you through the history and suspense of the local area – enough to keep you up at night! Happy reading!
NOS 4R2 – Joe Hill
One to bridge the gap between this time of year and Christmas, Joe Hill’s novel tells the story of Charles Manx and his supernatural Silver Wraith. A creepy tale that will stay with you, I also highly recommend Hill’s other books – Heart-shaped Box, Horns, 20th Century Ghosts and Strange Weather (which recently won the Bram Stoker Best Collection 2018 award – it doesn’t get much better than that for spooky writers!)
Ararat – Christopher Golden
This is one I haven’t read but as it also won a Bram Stoker award recently (for Best Horror Novel, no less) it goes onto my To Be Read List! Reading some of the online reviews, it sounds like it builds tension throughout, keeping you on tenterhooks. Let me know if you’ve read it.
Kindred – Octavia Butler
Not technically a horror book, more sci fi/dystopian with its time travel themes but the thought of being plucked from your own time to end up in a time when you could be killed for just being you is frightening. Written nearly 40 years ago, it feels very current and is certainly a page-turner.
It – Stephen King
No blog about scary reads would be complete without at least one Stephen King, and as there are so many, it was hard to pick one. I have though, and it’s the one that both scares and delights me – the tale of Pennywise the clown and the children of Derry, Maine. Like many, I saw the mini-series before reading the book then revisited the whole thing when the recent film came out. ‘It’ narrowly beats the second scariest King book I’ve ever read (‘The Dark Half’) just because what shouldn’t be scary is made so within these pages. Whether Tim Curry or Bill Skarsgard is your preferred Pennywise (mine is Curry – I’m of that age where Tim Curry was in a lot of the films I loved as I grew up), this doorstop of a book is highly recommended.
Mary and Frankenstein by Linda Bailey and Julia Sarda
So this one isn’t scary necessarily as it’s aimed at children but it is a beautifully illustrated look at how Mary Shelley was inspired to write the classic ‘Frankenstein’. Tracing Shelley’s early life to the events that led to the development of her masterpiece, for anyone interested in the story behind the story, this is the perfect introduction.
There you have it – a collection of spooky reads to entertain, scare and enthral you as the nights draw in. I’d love to know any of your spooky highlights so please do share them in the comments.
PS I read ‘My Lady’s Choosing’ (one of the ‘Book Smiles’ from my previous post) and it was brilliant! An adult “choose your own adventure” (very much so in places – parental guidance is advised for some choices!) that can take you to London, Scotland, and Egypt, I would highly recommend you request it now (several of my colleagues have though, so there might be a wait!)