Halloween is right around the corner and I have put together some of my favorite October reads. While some are obviously horror/scary reads other are more subtle but put me in an autumn frame of mind when I think about them.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
I will never forgot the first time I read The Historian. From the moment I read the words “to My dear and unfortunate successor”, I was hooked. I would list The Historian in my top 20 favorite books. Based on the reviews it is one of those that people either loved or hated. I loved the feel of the book. The musty libraries, that feeling of someone looking over your shoulder and turning to find that no one is there. The Historian has great atmosphere and is the perfect read for an October evening.
The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs
I have read The House With a Clock in Its Walls nearly every Halloween since I was a child. If I were to associate any one book from childhood it would be this one. I fell in love with the unlikely hero, Louis Barnavelt, because, as a child, I could relate to him. Last year, during the week of Halloween, I read it to my daughter and it has become one of her favorites too. One of the things first first drew me to the book were the illustrations. The book was illustrated by Edward Gorey and I can recognize his work on sight and immediately think of The House With a Clock in Its Walls.
Let The Right One In by John AjVide Lindqvist
Let The Right One In is the most unique vampire book I have ever read. It is horrifying and gruesome, but at the same time sweet and heartbreaking. It was made into a movie and originally released in Sweden and later in the U.S. under the title Let Me In. I found I enjoyed the Swedish version better as it stayed more true to the book, but the casting in the U.S. version was stellar. Lindqvist is billed as the Swedish Stephen King and rightly so, because this book gets under your skin. In all my reading I do not think I have read a vampire more terrifying than Eli.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus is in my top 10 reads of all time. I fell in love with this book during the opening lines. While this book is not horror, or even very scary, it puts me in a Halloween/autumn frame of mind. If Neil Gaiman were to write “Romeo and Juliet” it would be something like The Night Circus. The mysterious circus that appears only for a short while and then disappears without a trace, the doomed lovers, and their rival fathers, all of these put together make for an unforgettable tale. I have bought several different copies just for the different cover art, which is so striking and unique and perfectly captures the essence of the book.
I cannot read The Vampire Lestat without immediately reading The Queen of the Damned. The two flow perfectly together into one story. I read these in October at least once every few years and never get tired of the outrageous Lestat.
There you are, gentle readers, a few of my Halloween favorites. What books do you turn to when the nights grow colder and the leafless trees cast strange shadows about? Happy reading!