What to Read this Spooky Season

As the rain taps on my window, the wind howls through the trees slowly shedding their leaves and the temperature drop brings a cool chill to the evenings, it can mean only one thing. It’s time to wrap up warm, make a hot drink and settle in for some spooky season reading!

The lead up to Halloween (and, let’s be real, the whole of October) is a great time to get stuck into some creepy, spine-tingling reads. As a fan of anything horror-laced throughout the year, I’m always growing my collection of weird and wonderful books. So, I thought it was a great time to shout about some of my favourite reads in the genre and give my recommendations based on whether you want out-and-out ghouls and gore or whether you prefer something more ominous and old-school.

Whatever you choose to read this October, I hope you get your claws on something that makes you want to sleep with the lights on!

Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan

Read this if: You like short spooky tales with the bonus of queer, feminist tones

This amazing collection from Kirsty Logan features dark stories and contemporary fairy tales filled with eerie characters and spine-chilling imagery. Logan perfectly ties together her disturbing stories with an exploration of women’s fears. The gorgeous cover is one that you’ll want on your book shelf!

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

Read this if: You like ominous, slowly-creeping stories that you cannot put down

This quick, suspenseful read will have you questioning what’s really going on. I’m Thinking of Ending Things tells the story of a man and his girlfriend on a long drive into the country to visit his parents for the first time. I can’t tell you much more than that, other than to definitely read the book before watching the new movie!

The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

Read this if: You like your spooky stories with more traditional writing and gothic storytelling

One of Poe’s most well-known stories, The Black Cat is also one of my favourites – not only because I have a black cat (who also happens to be named Poe!). This short read is a dark, gruesome tale of one man’s descent into madness.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Read this if: You like a good old fashioned ghost story with a modern take

This book left me wanting to sleep with lights on and convinced that something was lurking in the corner of the room. The Turn of the Key is an atmospheric tale of a live-in nanny, Rowan, who’s sure that her dream job is too good to be true – and it might just be, when some weird things start happening in the house, ending up with a child dead and Rowan awaiting trial for murder.

I Am Not Your Final Girl by Claire C. Holland

Read this if: You like horror poetry or you’re a horror movie fan (especially if you’re a feminist!)

This gorgeous collection of poetry is the perfect read for any feminists or horror movie fans. The final girl trope refers to the last girl or woman alive in a horror movie, left to confront the killer and tell the story. The collection is from the point of view of some of the incredible final girls in movies such as Carrie, Cabin in the Woods and Stoker. One of my top reads of 2020!

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

Read this if: You’re not big into scary stories but want to read something a bit weird

This is a great collection of twisted short stories told with beautiful writing and a dry tone that makes them all the more creepy. Full of unexpected turns and macabre tales of death, Ogawa’s writing is so compulsively readable that you won’t want to put the book down.

Afraid by Jack Kilborn

Read this if: You like your horror with a side of violence, gore and anything gruesome

I imagine this book as the perfect read for someone who is into intense, violent and gore-filled horror movies. It does not hold back on the brutality!

Afraid tells the story of Safe Haven, a quiet town in Wisconsin. When a helicopter crashes on the outskirts of town, nobody could have imagined what evil was about to be unleased upon its inhabitants. Whatever it is, they’re here to terrorise and annihilate all in their path.

Come Closer by Sara Gran

Read this if: You like psychological thrillers with an otherworldly element

One of my all-time favourite books! Come Closer follows a woman, Amanda, who starts hearing strange noises in her house and slowly descends into an all-encompassing state of psychosis that feels so real, yet otherworldly. I absolutely adore the writing, which builds a creeping sense of unease and impending horror.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Read this if: You love YA and you want something a bit more fun to read

If you want to get into the spooky feel but really don’t want anything too dramatic, or you’re just a fan of YA books then AGGGTM is a great choice.

This book tells the story of a murder that everyone believes is a closed case, but Pippa isn’t so sure. When she chooses to make this case the focus of her final year school project, she begins to uncover some of the hidden secrets that will blow her town apart. A fun, fast-paced read that you can then follow up with the next book, Good Girl, Bad Blood!

What are you reading this spooky season?

I’d love to heard your reads and recommendations for October. I’ve made a start on my list of disturbing, ominous and sinister books for this month and loving it so far! Let me know what I should add to my list – comment below or tweet me on @HannahDurham.

4 Comments

  1. I always love reading Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge. It has become a traditional Halloween tale for me.

    But… now this is going to sound odd. I am reading a Mars Attacks! book by Nathan Archer. Yea, the same Mars Attacks! comedy movie that came in 1996. Well, before this stupid movie came out Mars Attacks! actually started off as a real violent and creepy trading card series. It was so bad that parents complained and tried getting them banned. But there were two books made for the Mars Attacks! universe and this book is awesome. It garners the silver age alien science fiction horror theme and the bronze age slasher mantra. So much fun.

    1. That’s awesome! I love little reading traditions. I re-read Come Closer every year, I just love it so much.

      I’m currently reading another Yoko Ogawa book and then moving onto some more disturbing/highly recommended horrors!

      I totally didn’t know that about Mars Attacks! I’ve seen the film – which is very silly – but I’d be interested to see what the books are like!

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