Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky Season

Hi and welcome to the reading world!

Today I’m sharing a book list for some spooky season reading recommendations! I tried to pick a variety of genres from gothic atmospheric reads to thrillers and mystery and even included a YA pick on here! I’m also sharing a sneak peek of my own spooky season TBR which includes me maybe even reading my first horror novel or two! Let’s get into the picks.

If you’re in the mood for old school spooky:

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonDracula by Bram Stoker 
Published by Createspace Independent Pub on November 28, 2014
Genres: Fiction / Horror
Pages: 236

Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. The novel touches on themes such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexual conventions, immigration, colonialism, and post-colonialism. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonFrankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Published by Penguin on October 15, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Classics
Pages: 257

For the bicentennial of its first publication, Mary Shelley's original 1818 text, introduced by National Book Critics Circle award-winner Charlotte Gordon. Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read

2018 marks the bicentennial of Mary Shelley's seminal novel. For the first time, Penguin Classics will publish the original 1818 text, which preserves the hard-hitting and politically-charged aspects of Shelley's original writing, as well as her unflinching wit and strong female voice. This edition also emphasizes Shelley's relationship with her mother--trailblazing feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who penned A Vindication of the Rights of Woman--and demonstrates her commitment to carrying forward her mother's ideals, placing her in the context of a feminist legacy rather than the sole female in the company of male poets, including Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.

This edition includes a new introduction and suggestions for further reading by National Book Critics Circle award-winner and Shelley expert Charlotte Gordon, literary excerpts and reviews selected by Gordon, and a chronology and essay by preeminent Shelley scholar Charles E. Robinson.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Carmilla is one that I haven’t currently read but hope to this year!

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonCarmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Published by Dusty White on December 31, 2008
Genres: Fiction / Horror
Pages: 110

Carmilla created the modern vampire. She was the first romantic vampire, and after inspiring Bram Stoker's Dracula she has continued with us, always in the shadow, influencing culture with a subtlety that is as alluring as it is elitist. A multi-layered story of love, loss, and a yearning for both a past and a future unobtainable, and finally of great sacrifice, Carmilla ranks as one of the world's great tragedies. A lonely young girl living in a desolate forest is befriended by a young countess after what seems a chance encounter. Laura's innocence prevents her from seeing the obvious, that her new friend Carmilla is a demon of the highest order, and one who has fallen passionately in love with her. Over time Carmilla's lust for Laura and her soul overpower her caution, and the serenity of a life of seclusion becomes a nightmarish existence for Laura as her world unravels in ways that can never be repaired. This is an archival quality presentation of the original unabridged story.

My Recommendations:

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonThe Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo
Published by Steerforth Press on August 4, 2020
Genres: Fiction / Crime, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth, Fiction / Thrillers / Crime
Pages: 224

One of Japan's greatest classic murder mysteries, introducing their best loved detective, translated into English for the first time

In the winter of 1937, the village of Okamura is abuzz with excitement over the forthcoming wedding of a son of the grand Ichiyanagi family. But amid the gossip over the approaching festivities, there is also a worrying rumour - it seems a sinister masked man has been asking questions around the village.

Then, on the night of the wedding, the Ichiyanagi household are woken by a terrible scream, followed by the sound of eerie music. Death has come to Okamura, leaving no trace but a bloody samurai sword, thrust into the pristine snow outside the house. Soon, amateur detective Kosuke Kindaichi is on the scene to investigate what will become a legendary murder case, but can this scruffy sleuth solve a seemingly impossible crime?

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonCertain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published by Tom Doherty Associates on September 7, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy, Fiction / Horror, Fiction / Noir
Pages: 352

From Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic, comes Certain Dark Things, a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore.

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonThe Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura
Published by Penguin on June 8, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological, Fiction / Women, Fiction / World Literature / Japan
Pages: 224

“A taut and compelling depiction of loneliness and obsession.” --Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

“[It] will keep you firmly in its grip.” --Oyinkan Braithwaite, bestselling author of My Sister, the Serial Killer

“The love child of Eugene Ionesco and Patricia Highsmith.” --Kelly Link, bestselling author of Get in Trouble

A bestselling, prizewinning novel by one of Japan's most acclaimed young writers, for fans of Convenience Store Woman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and the movies Parasite and Rear Window

I think what I'm trying to say is that I've been wanting to become friends with the Woman in the Purple Skirt for a very long time...

Almost every afternoon, the Woman in the Purple Skirt sits on the same park bench, where she eats a cream bun while the local children make a game of trying to get her attention. Unbeknownst to her, she is being watched--by the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, who is always perched just out of sight, monitoring which buses she takes, what she eats, whom she speaks to.

From a distance, the Woman in the Purple Skirt looks like a schoolgirl, but there are age spots on her face, and her hair is dry and stiff. She is single, she lives in a small apartment, and she is short on money--just like the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, who lures her to a job as a housekeeper at a hotel, where she too is a housekeeper. Soon, the Woman in the Purple Skirt is having an affair with the boss and all eyes are on her. But no one knows or cares about the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. That's the difference between her and the Woman in the Purple Skirt.

Studiously deadpan and chillingly voyeuristic, and with the off-kilter appeal of the novels of Ottessa Moshfegh, The Woman in the Purple Skirt explores envy, loneliness, power dynamics, and the vulnerability of unmarried women in a taut, suspenseful narrative about the sometimes desperate desire to be seen.

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonKiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono
Published by Annick Press on October 15, 2021
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic, Juvenile Fiction / Humorous Stories, Juvenile Fiction / Media Tie-In
Pages: 164

A lovely story that became a classic in Japan and a popular animated home video throughout North America.

Kiki is a resourceful, spunky girl who follows her maternal tradition to be a witch. She possesses only one gift of witchcraft -- the power to fly. Like all young witches, she sets out at age 12 to find a town of her own. With her ever-present companion Jiji -- a cynical and faithful black cat -- Kiki departs on her broomstick and arrives at a big town near the ocean. Though nervous at first, she soon sets up a business delivering packages.

Kiki meets all kinds of people and has many adventures. She befriends the thief who stole her broomstick and saves the town's traditional New Year's marathon with some courageous and timely flying.

Throughout, Kiki's confidence and self-awareness grows as she learns to value her unique talents. And with Kiki's help, the townspeople realize that everyone has some magic that gives them their own special character and vitality.

This is a charming and delightful tale that is reminiscent of children's favorites The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy and Astrid Lindgren's Adventures of Pippi Longstocking. Black and white line drawings sprinkled throughout reveal the humor and warmth in everything Kiki does.

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonSorrowland by Rivers Solomon
on May 4, 2021
Genres: Fiction / African American & Black / General, Fiction / Gothic, Fiction / LGBTQ+ / General, Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Pages: 368

A triumphant, genre-bending breakout novel from one of the boldest new voices in contemporary fiction

Vern—seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised—flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future—outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction.

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonFangs by Sarah Andersen
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on October 15, 2021
Pages: 112

A New York Times bestselling love story between a vampire and a werewolf by the creator of the enormously popular Sarah's Scribbles comics.

Elsie the vampire is three hundred years old, but in all that time, she has never met her match. This all changes one night in a bar when she meets Jimmy, a charming werewolf with a wry sense of humor and a fondness for running wild during the full moon. Together they enjoy horror films and scary novels, shady strolls, fine dining (though never with garlic), and a genuine fondness for each other's unusual habits, macabre lifestyles, and monstrous appetites.

First featured as a webcomic series on Tapas, Fangs chronicles the humor, sweetness, and awkwardness of meeting someone perfectly suited to you but also vastly different. This deluxe hardcover edition of Fangs features an "engraved" red cloth cover, dyed black page trim, and 25 exclusive comics not previously seen online. Filled with Sarah Andersen's beautiful gothic illustrations and relatable relationship humor, Fangs has all the makings of a cult classic.

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonThe Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
Published by HarperCollins on September 28, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Romance / Paranormal / Witches, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 320

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, writing as Erin Sterling, casts a spell with a spine-tingling romance full of wishes, witches, and hexes gone wrong.

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

My TBR:

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonThe Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Published by Penguin on August 3, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth, FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Cozy / General, FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
Pages: 384

A New York Times bestseller Soon to be a major motion picture from Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment

"Witty, endearing and greatly entertaining." --Wall Street Journal

"Don't trust anyone, including the four septuagenarian sleuths in Osman's own laugh-out-loud whodunit." --Parade

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
Welcome to...
THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club.

When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it's too late?

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonPayback's a Witch by Lana Harper
Published by Penguin on October 15, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Romance / LGBTQ+ / General, Fiction / Romance / Paranormal / Witches, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 352

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word in this fresh, sizzling rom-com by Lana Harper.

Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one--in part because she hasn't been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.

But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She's determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.

On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov--an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts--who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden--unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?

But most concerning of all: Why can't she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonMy Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
Published by Harper Collins on November 15, 2011
Genres: Fiction / African American & Black / Women, Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy, Fiction / Horror
Pages: 352

"An eerie epic. I loved this novel." -- Stephen King

The award-winning master of horror, acclaimed author, screenwriter, and scholar Tananarive Due’s classic African Immortals series starts with an electrifying piece of dark fantasy, My Soul to Keep.

 When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity so they would never die, a secret he must protect at any cost. Now, his immortal brethren have decided David must return and leave his family in Miami. Instead, David vows to invoke a forbidden ritual to keep Jessica and his daughter with him forever.

Harrowing, engrossing and skillfully rendered, My Soul to Keep traps Jessica between the desperation of immortals who want to rob her of her life and a husband who wants to rob her of her soul. With deft plotting and an unforgettable climax, this tour de force that Stephen King called 'An eerie epic' is sure to win Due a legion of new fans. 

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonMy Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Published by Simon and Schuster on August 31, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Horror, Fiction / Indigenous, Fiction / Thrillers / Supernatural
Pages: 416

In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.

“Some girls just don’t know how to die…”

Shirley Jackson meets Friday the 13th in My Heart Is a Chainsaw, written by the author of The Only Good Indians Stephen Graham Jones, called “a literary master” by National Book Award winner Tananarive Due and “one of our most talented living writers” by Tommy Orange.

Alma Katsu calls My Heart Is a Chainsaw “a homage to slasher films that also manages to defy and transcend genre.” On the surface is a story of murder in small-town America. But beneath is its beating heart: a biting critique of American colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and gentrification, and a heartbreaking portrait of a broken young girl who uses horror movies to cope with the horror of her own life.

Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.

Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges…a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body. My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.

Book List: 15 Reads for Spooky SeasonThe Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Published by Simon and Schuster on February 25, 2020
Genres: Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological, Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
Pages: 400

The fourth novel from Ruth Ware, the Globe and Mail and New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game.

Harriet Westaway—better known as Hal—makes ends meet as a tarot reader, but she doesn’t believe in the power of her trade. On a day that begins like any other, she receives a mysterious and unexpected letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but she also knows that she can use her cold reading skills to potentially claim the money.

Hal attends the funeral of the deceased and meets the family...but it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and that the inheritance is at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

So, there are my recommendations and my current TBR reads for this year’s Halloween time! What are some of the books on your TBR and that you’ve also read and loved that are good spooky season reads? Feel free to leave a comment telling me your picks!

Thanks for stopping by!

-Rae

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