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!

Book covers for Dracula, Interview With the Vampire, Hound of the Baskervilles, The Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, and House of Leaves

The Classics

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.


Library Assistant II at Chesapeake Public Library
Laurel works in the Adult Services department for the Chesapeake Public Library. She loves learning about new technology and is always mid-binge-watch on at least two different television series.

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5 thoughts on “Spooky Reading List – Part 2

  1. There are three titles that I haven’t read on your second list. I added them to my Goodreads to-read shelf. Hopefully I’ll be able to fit in at least one before Halloween. Thank you for the recommendations!

    1. You are very welcome! Out of curiosity, which three hadn’t you read before? I’m always interested to see what books people have actually read versus not. As a year-long fan of spooky things, my barometer for what’s “popular” is a bit skewed.

      Thanks for commenting!

      1. I love spooky things all year, too, so I’m not sure I’d be best to say what is “popular” as well. I haven’t read The Picture of Dorian Gray, House of Leaves, and The Doll Master. I didn’t have a chance to read them this week, but I’m game for a spooky story any time of year.

  2. I can’t believe I have not read The Picture of Dorian Gray yet; I am putting it on my list. I have always loved Edgar Allan Poe since reading The Tell-Tale Heart in 9th grade. Dracula and Frankenstein were a surprise when I read them; all I knew of them were the movies, and the books are so different. I have to try the Joyce Carol Oates book, too. Thank you for the list. It made me think about the books I read and add to the list of “want to reads.”

    1. I have been faithfully reading and rereading The Picture of Dorian Gray since the mid-90s, and I’m still not tired of it. If you can find a good audio book of any Edgar Allan Poe, those are excellent for revisiting those old stories. I found one narrated by Vincent Price once, and that was a real treat.

      As for Dracula and Frankenstein, one day we might have an accurate movie adaptation, but that day has not arrived. I love both those books. It’s easy to see why they’re classics.

      Thanks for commenting!

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