The second half of my spooky reading list is for grownups who love a good scare. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic or branching out of your comfort zone, take a look at some of these creepy October reads!
The Complete Tales of Edgar Allen Poe : This collection has everything Edgar Allan Poe has published, from short stories to poetry to essays. It is the perfect place to start if you are new to American gothic fiction.
Dracula : Bram Stoker’s classic epistolary novel might be the most important work in the history of vampire literature. Even if you’ve read it before, it’s never a bad time to read it again. You might be surprised at some of the differences between Count Dracula and our modern vampire myths.
Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus : A true prodigy, writing her first novel at age nineteen, Mary Shelley single-handedly invented the genre of science fiction. Frankenstein has been adapted to film almost as often as Dracula, and has become just as legendary.
The Picture of Dorian Gray : This is my very favorite book. I have reread it faithfully every year since the mid-90s, and always find something new to appreciate about it. Oscar Wilde’s classic novel is dark, funny, elegant, and timeless.
The Hound of the Baskervilles : The post popular novel-length adventure of Sherlock Holmes, this mystery set on the eerie moors of Devonshire is deceptively clever. Like most of Holmes’s mysteries, the answer seems obvious once you know it, but you’ll have fun piecing it together.
Modern Adult Horror
World War Z : Very different from its movie adaptation, Max Brooks’s “oral history of the zombie war” is a collection of journalistic articles and interviews. This is the story of a shaken populace trying to make sense of the horror they’ve survived, and looking backward to put the pieces together in retrospect.
It : At over 1,000 pages, Stephen King’s It is a massive undertaking, but a worthwhile one if you have the time. Pick it up if you can’t stand waiting for the next movie to find out what happens next.
Interview With the Vampire : The influence of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, which begin with Interview With the Vampire, cannot be overstated. These books are almost as important as Dracula when it comes to understanding the origins of the modern vampire myth.
House of Leaves : This experimental novel is like a whirlpool that tugs the reader in layer by layer until you can’t tell which way is up. There’s a reason the word “house” is always blue. Pace yourself and set aside some serious reading time, because you will want to savor it.
The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror : A true master of modern literary horror, Joyce Carol Oates is incomparable in both short stories and novels. At any length, Oates’s fiction is guaranteed to delight and disturb. Seek out any of her collections or full-length novels here at the library.