Updated: Oct 29, 2018
For readers of any genre
My favorite reading season is upon us; the dark nights, the gloomy weather, the beautiful colors of nature and the pitter patter of raindrops on the window... There is no setting more perfect to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a hot drink and get immersed in your favorite book. And what would autumn-reading be without some good halloween reads...?
Horror novels, ghost stories and thrillers scurry from their dark corners, around this time of year and swarm the internet like bats in the nightsky.
However, even if you don't enjoy being spooked: we can still make halloween an awesome reading experience. In this list I'll share some of my favorite halloween-reads from multiple genres, and one book per genre from my halloween TBR.
Turn off the lights, grab a blanket and snuggle up with one of these horrifying beauties. Enjoy!
No matter how many amazing modern horror/thrillers I read, when people ask me for halloween recommendations, my mind immediately goes to the classics. Most well-known are obviously the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley or my personal favorites: the cosmic horrors of H.P. Lovecraft. There is something uniquely terrifying about this fear of something we cannot understand, that gets me every time. For Lovecraft I can definitely recommend the audiobooks, for maximum atmospheric experience. Despite the somewhat archaic language, their atmosphere and brand of creepy stand the test of time in my opinion.
My recommendations: The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
On my TBR: The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson
Modern Thriller and Horror
As I have mentioned many times before: I'm not the biggest fan of gore-filled horror. Therefore my favorite thrillers are the psychological kind. I've read a multitude of mediocre thrillers in my time, so I don't have too many good ones to choose from. If you have some recommendations: please let me know.
On my TBR: Sleeping Beauties - Stephen King
When it comes to literary fiction, I look for atmosphere and lush writing rather than spookiness in my halloween reads, and frankly I have too many recommendations to include them all. I will limit myself to some more recent releases (and some recent reads), to include as many books you guys might nog have read yet. Daisy Johnson and Sarah Perry's books combine the mysterious elements of folklore with the darker edge of real life tragedy, whilst The Lightkeepers by Abby Geni is terrifying by its bleak portrayal of the rough nature of both its landscape and protagonists.
On my TBR: Dark Water - Elizabeth Lowry
Fantasy and Magical Realism
In general: magical realism is an amazing genre for this time of year. As far as this genre goes, I don't think it gets more halloween appropriate than Neil Gaiman. If you are looking for something a little more light, yet still filled with magic and lush writing: I recommend Anna-Marie McLemore or Maggie Stiefvater. Looking for some darker fantasy? You can't go wrong with the following recommendations. Please take note that the first two books are adult fantasy, and contain some more mature themes. The others are YA, and suitable for anyone over 15.
I can keep this one very brief: my one-stop-shop scifi author for this season is Blake Crouch. Combining mystery with dark sci-fi twists, his novels are perfect for the autumn- and halloween season. Otherwise, one of my all-time-favorite books (Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer) would also be suitable for this time of year.
Lastly, if you are looking for a book for a younger reader or just enjoy the genre yourself, the following are ones you shouln't pass up. Note that The Lie Tree is technically shelved as YA in America, it's considered middlegrade where I'm from, and I think it's suitable for both age groups equally.
On my TBR
Finally: spooky books are not for everybody. If you really don't care for scaring yourself, it may be tempting to skip on Halloween all together. Before you do so however: consider that Halloween is not just about spooks and darkness. It's also about magic and mysterious worlds. Therefore, the following fit the Halloween spirit perfectly in my opinion. 100% of the magic, 0% of the scares: I promise.
On my TBR
I truly hope you get some good recommendations from this list. I'd love to hear what you're reading this Halloween: feel free to drop your reads down in the comments or respond to my goodreads question here.
Happy Halloween, and enjoy your reading!