Fall is here and with it my thoughts turn to brilliant fall foliage, cozy sweaters, cider, and, of course, Halloween! It can be fun to cuddle up on the couch under a blanket and read a scary book. Generally, I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but when a horror book is well done I love to delve in and get a little creeped out. I prefer to do this when someone else is home, so that I don’t wind up so scared I’m afraid to move from the couch! With that in mind, I thought I might highlight some scary-but-good books we have at the library that you could take out this month in plenty of time for Halloween.
Described as “one of the scariest and most influential pieces of horror literature to ever exist”, Richard Matheson’s novel I am Legend inspired George Romero to make his classic film, Night of the Living Dead, and it completely redefined the zombie genre. This book has been adapted for film several times but none of the movies are as good as the novel. Until this book, zombies were defined as a person hypnotized by voodoo. Matheson reinvented the zombie as a resurrected corpse, the result of a global pandemic.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, a finalist for the National Book Award in 1959, was considered by Stephen King to be one of the most important horror novels of the 20th century. The Wall Street Journal has stated that it is considered the greatest haunted-house story ever written. The opening sentence gives you a good sense of it: “Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.” This one could be my choice for this year’s Halloween creepy novel!
Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge came out in 2006, and reviews stated that bookstores should prominently display this book every Halloween, calling it one of the best novels centered around that day. It is THAT good, apparently! It won the Bram Stoker Award and was named one of the 100 Best Novels of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. Each Halloween, able-bodied teen boys are let loose into the night with crude weapons to chase down the October Boy. He’s a candy-stuffed scarecrow topped with a jack-o’-lantern head, and if he’s not killed before midnight, the town, in some indescribable way, will end. But this year the truth of the October Boy’s annual regenesis is uncovered by young Pete, whose blood-spattered night takes a turn different than any in the ritual’s storied history.
So…. if you are interested in reading any of these, now is the time! Immerse yourself in a good creepy and engrossing tale for Halloween. And, as always, don’t forget the library! We are here to help you find these books or any others you may be interested in.
By Nina Wright, Reference Librarian