Halloween Reads

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#1
Halloween is not a thing where I come from, but I enjoy it nonetheless. There's no trick or treat here, or kids dressing up in costumes, but that's no excuse from scaring oneself with a horror flick or a scary book.

Last year around Halloween I've read A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny, which is centered around 30 days of October. Not particularly scary, but highly appropriate to the season and serious joy to read. It was also fairly short, which is nice, because Halloween reads imo should be fun and not take a lot of your time. It should be just like a snack between meals. That's my take on it anyway.

This year I decided I'm gonna do a Halloween read again, and I want some suggestions for short, scary, creepy books.
I thought about reading The Picture of Dorian Gray. I've read it before a long time ago, but I don't remember much. Or maybe The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Any suggestions? Any reading buddies?
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#2
Horror Fiction doesn't do it for me anymore, leastwise not since I started reading true crime novels. No monster conjured up by a writer's fancy can match the real thing.
If you really wish to creep yourself out, then I suggest The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larson.
It's a parallel narrative that reads like fiction, but it's horribly true, "intertwines the true tale of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, crafted with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction".
Compared to the sociopath in this story, Jack the Ripper is a schoolboy. They have no idea how many victims, at least two dozen, perhaps more than 100. America's first modern serial killer.

If you want something a bit more old fashion and fun, then try a collection of short stories by Richard Matheson... he wrote I Am Legend... the movie supposedly based on the novella basically just took the title of the story and went its own way. The book was much better, and it's novella length so easy reading. Matheson was a master of the short story so you may want to try this audiobook... one story 'Disappearing Act', is one of the best short stories I've ever read.
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/N...f=a_search_c4_1_5_srImg?qid=1444391276&sr=1-5
 
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Jakyro

Journeyed there and back again
#3
If you really wish to creep yourself out, then I suggest The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larson.
It's a parallel narrative that reads like fiction, but it's horribly true, "intertwines the true tale of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, crafted with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction".
Compared to the sociopath in this story, Jack the Ripper is a schoolboy. They have no idea how many victims, at least two dozen, perhaps more than 100. America's first modern serial killer.
this one is going to be filmed by Scorsese with DiCaprio as main character ;)
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#4
this one is going to be filmed by Scorsese with DiCaprio as main character ;)
Yeah I know... DiCaprio bought the movie rights long ago and has been holding on till the time is right... he has the look and charm to pull it off, plus he's a great actor.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#5
Horror Fiction doesn't do it for me anymore, leastwise not since I started reading true crime novels. No monster conjured up by a writer's fancy can match the real thing.
If you really wish to creep yourself out, then I suggest The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larson.
It's a parallel narrative that reads like fiction, but it's horribly true, "intertwines the true tale of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, crafted with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction".
Compared to the sociopath in this story, Jack the Ripper is a schoolboy. They have no idea how many victims, at least two dozen, perhaps more than 100. America's first modern serial killer.

If you want something a bit more old fashion and fun, then try a collection of short stories by Richard Matheson... he wrote I Am Legend... the movie supposedly based on the novella basically just took the title of the story and went its own way. The book was much better, and it's novella length so easy reading. Matheson was a master of the short story so you may want to try this audiobook... one story 'Disappearing Act', is one of the best short stories I've ever read.
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/N...f=a_search_c4_1_5_srImg?qid=1444391276&sr=1-5
Regarding I am Legend: the movie was originally way more true to the book, but after the movie was shown to test audiences the ending was changed. This resulted in a cool movie turning into a giant stinking turd at the end. It also made no sense whatsoever. Very poorly done and a great example of how using test audiences is sometimes not the best thing to do.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#6
I've read I am Legend. I enjoyed the book, and I also think it's much better than the movie. It's more existential than that movie could ever be.
The Devil in the White City doesn't really match what I'm looking for. It's non-fiction for one, and it's over 400 pages long. I'll watch the movie though if Leo is playing and Scorsese is directing. That cant go wrong.
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet is short story collection. Not looking for those either, and it's too long over 300 pages.

I want a single story, up to 250 pages, that's either classical horror novel like the two I mentioned or a fun Halloween book like A Night in a Lonesome October was.
It's really important that it's short.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#7
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
Accursed Inhabitants of the House of Bly, by Joyce Carol Oates
The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
#8
The only really short horror book I've read in the recent years is The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. It's very short and very scary. I liked it, same way I liked most of what I've read by Barker.

You can also read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (not suggesting Coraline or The Graveyard Book since I know you already read them). It isn't scary but it's fun and can sometimes be creepy in the usual Gaiman style. I know it says on Amazon that it's 370 pages but that can't be right - in terms of kindle notes, which is far more accurate than the number of pages, it's about 40% the length of American Gods (565 pages). Probably the original book had lots of pictures and really big print.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#9
You can also read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (not suggesting Coraline or The Graveyard Book since I know you already read them). It isn't scary but it's fun and can sometimes be creepy in the usual Gaiman style. I know it says on Amazon that it's 370 pages but that can't be right - in terms of kindle notes, which is far more accurate than the number of pages, it's about 40% the length of American Gods (565 pages). Probably the original book had lots of pictures and really big print.
I credit Gaiman's Neverwhere with my return to the fantasy genre... many years back, I was about halfway through book five of the Wheel of Time series, and I had a revelation; that Jordan wasn't intending to ever complete the story, it was just a money-make machine he and his publisher schemed up after his books began selling big numbers. That was it, fantasy was still riding on Tolkien's coattails and I couldn't find anything different and engaging. I didn't read any fantasy for nearly ten years, until I stumbled on to a used Neverwhere audiobook at a secondhand bookstore. I loved it. It was literate and well written, imaginative and original, it was like fantasy for grownups.
Neverwhere isn't a Halloweenish story, but it is a great gloomy Winter night story.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#11
I'm gonna put your suggestions in a list, and before Halloween I'll generate a random number (this will do https://www.random.org/) between 1 and how ever many titles there are on the list, and pick one. So keep the suggestions coming.

  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  2. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  3. Something Wicked This Way Comes
  4. The Hellbound Heart
  5. Neverwhere
  6. Haunted

Accursed Inhabitants of the House of Bly, by Joyce Carol Oates
The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson
These I skipped because they are each 30 pages. I'm not looking for short stories.

oh yeah, forgot to ask... what is "reading buddies"?.. does it involve drinking tea and cuddling?:D
Lol.
Nope, no tea or cuddling. Well I suppose you can have both tea and cuddles...but how would you concentrate on reading then? :D No, I meant if anyone wants to join we can have a Halloween read-along from let's say 29th of October to 1st of November. That's why I'm looking for spooky/scary books that can be read in a day or two by anyone's standard. I know some people here can finish a 300 page book in a few hours, but I'm still waiting for that mutation to happen to me.
 
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Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#12
Lol.
Nope, no tea or cuddling. Well I suppose you can have both tea and cuddles...but how would you concentrate on reading then? :D No, I meant if anyone wants to join we can have a Halloween read-along from let's say 29th of October to 1st of November. That's why I'm looking for spooky/scary books that can be read in a day or two by anyone's standard. I know some people here can finish a 300 page book in a few hours, but I'm still waiting for that mutation to happen to me.
I happen to be scheduled for my vacation at the end of October, though not a fun one as I'm going in for surgery to repair some damage from a motorcycle accident... but if I'm up and chipper, and not high on pain medication I'll be glad to join your read-along.:)
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#14

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#15
I loved the Picture of Dorian Gray. That's one I've been wanting to re-read. Great read for Halloween.

It looks like this won't fit under your qualifications but I heartily recommend The Willows by Algernon Blackwood for anyone wanting a creepy ghost story for Hallow. It's a short story (a long one though) that is a grand display of mastery of language and imagery and the Gothic atmosphere.

Also @Alucard you said you've been wanting to read William Hope Hodgson and you put all those novels of his on your kindle so why don't you read something by him? He doesn't quite fit the mood of Halloween in the way that Dracula does for example but his work is kinda creepy and short but not too short.

For Halloween I'm probably going to just read some horror story from the anthology on weird fiction I bought a little while back.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#16
Also @Alucard you said you've been wanting to read William Hope Hodgson and you put all those novels of his on your kindle so why don't you read something by him? He doesn't quite fit the mood of Halloween in the way that Dracula does for example but his work is kinda creepy and short but not too short.
I definitely will, just not for Halloween. I want to set some time for Hodgeson and actually read all these books consecutively in the publishing order.

- The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig' (1907)
- The Ghost Pirates (1908)
- The House on the Borderland (1909)
- The Night Land (1912)
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#17
I have a couple other recommendations:

Carmilla - Novella about a lesbian vampire that was an influence on Bram Stoker. It's alright, not scary at all, but it is an early vampire novel and thus an historically important work.

Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers - This is probably way too long for your qualifications but it is very interesting and very gruesome and you liked Anubis Gates and expressed interest when I posted about this novel a year ago so yeah. This is also one of the most difficult novels I read, probably harder than any of the Malazan books. When I was almost 200 pages in I had to start over I was so lost. So you'll probably want to wait on this one.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#18
I didn't follow up on this. There was no reading buddies I'm afraid :( I don't have much time to post lately, I'm sorry.
@Sparrow I hope your surgery went well.
@ofer Thank you for your recommendation. I've went with The Hellbound Heart for the Halloween, and it was a perfect choice. I've read it in one day. I really enjoyed the weirdness and gore, the story was interesting, but it wasn't scary for me as it was for you. One small thing that bugged me was character of Julia, specifically how easily she accepted existence of Frank. I completely sympathized with Rory.
The dude loved his wife so much, but she was quite frankly a bitch.
After I've read it, I've read some reviews on GR and it turns out they based Hellraiser on this book, which just upped the cool factor of the book to me. Hellraiser was one of my favorite movies when I was around 13-15. It scared the shit out of me, but I loved it lol
So thanks once again, perfect book for Halloween, bonus points for nostalgic factor :D
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#19
I didn't follow up on this. There was no reading buddies I'm afraid :( I don't have much time to post lately, I'm sorry.
@Sparrow I hope your surgery went well.
It went very well, I'm glad to say. Thanks for asking.:)
Just had scar tissue removed from my right sinus cavity, so other than some residual swelling (stuffy nose) I'm fine. It was the last vestige of a motorcycle accident from my past, one in which I had to have three plastic surgeries to rearrange my face back into something not so scary.:eek: So I'm not about to complain about a stuffy nose.

Glad you enjoyed your Halloween read!:)
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#20
It went very well, I'm glad to say. Thanks for asking.:)
Just had scar tissue removed from my right sinus cavity, so other than some residual swelling (stuffy nose) I'm fine. It was the last vestige of a motorcycle accident from my past, one in which I had to have three plastic surgeries to rearrange my face back into something not so scary.:eek: So I'm not about to complain about a stuffy nose.

Glad you enjoyed your Halloween read!:)
Wow, 3 plastic surgeries? Good grief man, glad you made it out alive. I have to ask. Were you wearing a helmet or was your noggin free from it?