It's that time of year again. Out come the pumpkins, cheap vampire fangs, and opportunities for fancy dress (think I might be a witch or a zombie this year... :P). Halloween isn't celebrated as much here in the UK as it is over in the States, but at university, any chance to dress up goes! This week I'm going on a ghost walk in Lancaster which should be awesome (we're going around all the old pubs, listening to supposedly true local ghost stories along the way!), and also to a zombie-themed Halloween party on the 31st. Looking forward to getting the face paint out again!
So I've decided to dedicate this blog post to good books to read at this spooky time of year. I don't generally read horror (although I've started branching out into dark fantasy in the last few months - triggered by starting writing my new Darkworld series!) but I can remember the ones I have read pretty vividly!
Dracula by Bram Stoker
You can't beat the classics. Stoker's Dracula established the vampire myth as we know it today, and the vampire novel has become a genre of its own (I actively despise Twilight for removing the threatening aspect and turning vampires into sparkly, controlling immortals who do nothing of consequence with their endless existence...but that's another debate entirely!). Some recent vampire novels that look worth a read are The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa and The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs. Also, check out this great blog post about Dracula, posted on the 100th anniversary of Bram Stoker's death: http://www.epublishabook.com/2012/04/21/100th-anniversary-of-bram-stokers-death-on-bram-stokers-dracula/
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Not necessarily horror, but pretty chilling all the same. Oscar Wilde's tale of the boy who sells his soul for eternal youth, leading him into total corruption and murder, remains a classic tale today.
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
I admit it: the film scared me more than the books did, and for hours after watching it, I saw the face of the woman in black every time I shut my eyes! Still, the book is also pretty creepy. The solicitor Arthur Kipps is hired to sort out the papers of an old woman who recently died, leaving her house vacant. Kipps first sees the mysterious black-clad figure whilst at the house, and the horror grows as he is continually haunted by her and starts to realise the truth behind the rumours that she is responsible for the unexplained deaths of local children. Will there ever be an end to her curse?
It by Stephen King
This book scared the hell out of me. I read it when I was 18 and despite its pretty impressive length, I made myself read it in two days because it was depriving me of sleep! But It is a fantastic story. It's about a group of people who were once friends as children when they were growing up in the small town of Derry, and promised to reunite if the monster they encountered in their childhood returned to the town. IT is a sinister creature which lives in the sewers beneath the town, taking the form of a clown (anyone scared of clowns will find this even more scary!) in order to murder children. With brilliant characterisation and a heart-racing plot, you can't go wrong with this genuinely terrifying horror story.
Hollowland by Amanda Hocking
This is a self-published book by Amanda Hocking, who is one of the authors I most admire for her perseverance with self-publishing in the face of rejections from traditional agents and publishers and managing to make millions from selling her e-books herself. Whilst not as good as Switched in my opinion, Hollowland is a great zombie novel, which is something considering I don't normally read zombie stories! The heroine, Remy, is fearless and strong, fighting her way across a zombie-stricken America in order to rescue her brother. With civilisation in a state of collapse and zombies roaming free, nowhere is truly safe, and I couldn't stop turning the pages. Definitely worth a read.
The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish
I haven't actually had time to read this yet, but I got a copy signed by the author at Litfest last week and I intend to read it soon! Here's the Goodreads description:
'When Elliott and his brother move into the old and crumbling Glebe House they don't expect to find themselves sharing it with ghosts. But soon sinister events are unfolding. An old diary reveals glimpses of the mansion's past - and of a terrible tragedy. An old woman talks to ghosts - but is she in fact being controlled by them? And what of the sinister East Wing - a hideous labyrinth devised by a truly twisted mind? Can Elliott and his family escape the clutches of Glebe House? Or will they end up trapped in the endless maze of corridors, forever hunted by the dead?'
I'm looking forward to this one!
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