The following are some of the books I have read so far this year that might make for good Halloween reading tonight. Click on the titles to see my reviews.
General Halloween Night Reads:
Alive in Necropolis not only has a great storyline, but part of the story includes unruly ghosts harassing one another in a graveyard. How can you go wrong for Halloween?
The Gargoyle isn’t a Halloween story, but the beginning is absolutely horrific. Besides, the whole plot is a bit eerie: were they or were they not actually lovers 500 years ago? Has the narrator really been horribly burned in multiple lives?
Again, The Lace Reader isn’t precisely a Halloween story, but I think it fits as well. In addition to the mystery of the woman who has disappeared, the whole thing takes place in Salem, Massachusetts and the characters include at least one self-described witch.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the mother of all vampire stories. What else is there to say about this book, other than I was very surprised how much I enjoyed it.
Okay, so technically The Dracula Dossier is not actually a vampire book, it is really a novel of Jack the Ripper. However, the main character is Bram Stoker and The Dracula Dossier purports to explain how Stoker got some of his ideas for his famous Dracula. Like Dracula, this novel is written in an epistolary style and Reese does a fantastic job writing in Stoker’s voice. There were times I forgot that I wasn’t actually reading Stoker’s correspondence.
In some ways, The Historian is a take-off of Stoker’s Dracula. Kostova uses a primarily epistolary style like Stoker and the plot involves travel and trying to find and stop Dracula before he finds you. This book seems to be somewhat polarizing, perhaps partly because some people dislike or are not used to the epistolary style. If you do read it, do not expect something extremely fast-paced, it reads much more like its predecessor, Dracula.
What discussion of vampire books could be complete these days without Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series? Twilight is a bit of a break from the books I have previously listed. For one thing, the vampire and the human fall deeply in ‘love’. In addition, this is just a plain-old normal first person narrative, no letters in sight. Finally, this book is written more for the high school market. Adults may find it either engaging or vomit-inducing, or some mix of the two.
Halloween for Younger Readers
Madeleine L’Engle’s classic A Wrinkle in Time is perhaps the only book I’ve ever read that actually starts with the sentence “It was a dark and stormy night.” What’s more, L’Engle makes it WORK. I’m recommending this as a Halloween read mostly for the huge fall storm in the beginning of the book, as well as the fantastical beings Meg, Charles, and Calvin meet, some of whom are fairly scary.
Ghosts and a non-graphic murder mystery make The Hunt for the Seventh a great Halloween read for upper-elementary school kids. I thought it was a very enjoyable read, spooky without really being scary.
Creepers is a very tame ghost story. Although the ivy can be a little scary, there are really no malevolent beings in the story, making it a great read for the child who scares easily but wants to be part of the Halloween fun.