13 Spooky Tales for Your Halloween Reading Pleasure

October 5, 2020 – Chelsea Dunbar, Adult Services

If you’re looking to get in the Halloween spirit, I’ve gathered 13 popular and classic scary stories that will surely have you haunted. But remember, it’s just a bunch of hocus pocus!  If you don’t have these on your bookshelf already, you can place a hold through our online catalog or call us and we’ll place a hold for you. Happy Halloween!

 

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre. First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting;’ Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. – Penguin Random House


 

Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier

“Last Night I Dreamt I went to Manderley Again…”

With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house’s current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim’s first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca. – Harper Collins


 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Ten strangers find themselves being invited to a remote island off the British Coast for a weekend retreat. Unbeknownst to them, they have all been invited there by an absentee host who goes by the name ‘Mr. Owen.’ After a lovely dinner, the guests are forced to listen to a recording accusing each and every single one of them of murder. And thus begins one of the great murder mysteries of all time’¦ a tale of ten guests, who like the famous poem ‘Ten Little Indians,’’ find themselves disappearing one by one in the middle of nowhere. – Book of the Month


 

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

An unnamed young governess is sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Yet she is soon oppressed by a sense of foreboding and deep disquiet, becoming convinced that something dark is menacing her young charges. But are supernatural forces at work, or is the danger something altogether more earthly? Henry James’s masterpiece, and widely considered to be the greatest ghost story ever written, The Turn of the Screw remains the apogee of suspenseful, haunting writing in the English language. – Alma Classics


 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Sleepy Hollow is a strange little place…some say bewitched. Some talk of its haunted valleys and streams, the ghostly woman in white, eerie midnight shrieks and howls, but most of all they talk of the Headless Horseman. A huge, shadowy soldier who rides headless through the night, terrifying unlucky travellers. Schoolteacher Ichabod Crane is fascinated by these stories….Until late one night, walking home through Wiley’s swamp, he finds that maybe they’re not just stories. What is that dark, menacing figure riding behind him on a horse? And what does it have in its hands? And why wasn’t schoolteacher Crane ever seen in Sleepy Hollow again? – MacMillian


 

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement. – Barnes & Noble


 

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness—featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves. – Simon & Schuster


 

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. Originally begun as a short story, the book took off as Anne wrote it, spinning the tragic and triumphant life experiences of a soul. As well as the struggles of its characters, Interview captures the political and social changes of two continents. The novel also introduces Lestat, Anne’s most enduring character, a heady mixture of attraction and revulsion. The book, full of lush description, centers on the themes of immortality, change, loss, sexuality, and power. – Goodreads


 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

There is a story here for everyone—skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney. Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories—and even scary songs—all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark. – Goodreads


 

The Witch Elm by Tana French

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life—he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden—and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed. – Penguin Random House


 

The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

Thirty-something Colquitt and Walter Kennedy live in a charming, peaceful suburb of the newly bustling Atlanta. Life is made up of enjoyable work, long, lazy weekends, and the company of good neighbors. Then, to their shock, construction starts on the vacant lot next door, a wooded hillside they’d believed would always remain undeveloped. Soon, though, they come to realize that more is wrong than their diminished privacy. Surely the house can’t be “haunted,” yet something about it seems to destroy the goodness of every person who comes to live in it, until the entire heart of this friendly neighborhood threatens to be torn apart. – Goodreads


 

And it wouldn’t be Halloween without these two

Dracula by Bram Stoker

A true masterwork of storytelling, Dracula has transcended generation, language, and culture to become one of the most popular novels ever written. It is a quintessential tale of suspense and horror, boasting one of the most terrifying characters ever born in literature: Count Dracula, a tragic, night-dwelling specter who feeds upon the blood of the living, and whose diabolical passions prey upon the innocent, the helpless, and the beautiful. But Dracula also stands as a bleak allegorical saga of an eternally cursed being whose nocturnal atrocities reflect the dark underside of the supremely moralistic age in which it was originally written — and the corrupt desires that continue to plague the modern human condition. – Simon & Schuster


 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley’s chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley on Lake Geneva. The story of Victor Frankenstein who, obsessed with creating life itself, plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, but whose botched creature sets out to destroy his maker, would become the world’s most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity. – Penguin Classics

 

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