Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Top Halloween Reads

This week's Tuesday Top 10, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish,  is right up my alley (haha) so I'm excited to list out my top "however many I can make it up to" favorite Halloween reads.

1. World War Z by Max Brooks - I've been in a zombie groove and I know lots of people are getting sick of them and by all accounts I should to but I haven't yet. While I may get freaked out while watching The Walking Dead, Brooks's book is the one that gives me nightmares. It's a realistic portrayal of what the world would be like, what the international ties would be like, what the military would be like, what general civilization would be like, if the world was overtaken by zombies.

2. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson - I actually just wrote about this one so it's still fresh in my mind. It's such a creepy story that starts out so innocently.

3. Everything's Eventual by Stephen King - I included this around last Halloween when I listed out the top 10 scariest books but I have to put it on here again because I love the story "1408". When you look at it, it's a very simple story (haunted hotel room) but it's told so well and there is so much build up and atmosphere. I remember reading this story, finishing the last page, letting out a big breath (I'd been holding it near the end) and then immediately started the story over again.

4. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris - It's hard to read this book without thinking of Hopkins as Lecter but the story still stands up to the movie. I mean there are not one but two serial killers! And not your everyday "kill a lot of people" killers with no imagination but "wear you like a lady suit" and "eat your liver" type of serial killers. I think I may have a problem.

5. The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe - You really can't have a list of great Halloween stories without including some Poe on here and currently I'm loving this story. There are so many good ones it's hard to choose and this one doesn't have the violence that makes up so many of his other stories, nor does it have the crazy untrustworthy narrator. Similar to King's "1408" this is all about atmosphere and being unable to escape your horrors. Beautiful language and imagry.

8. Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare - The gore alone in this story makes it a good Halloween read, especially if you're looking for something that will impress people at dinner parties. Assuming those people aren't really all that familiar with Shakespeare and don't realize that this play is, as the Reduced Shakespeare Company referred to it, Shakespeare's "Quentin Tarantino phase". There limbs keep getting hacked off, tongues cut out, ladies (OK, just one lady) ravaged, madness, and the whole thing is bookended with cannibalism. Plus it has some of the best one liners ("Villain, I have done thy mother.") so really, what's not to love?

7. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore - I figured I'll now veer into some of the not-so-scary but still good Halloween reads and Moore's A Dirty Job is a good place to start. I mean it has a beta male who finds out he's death (with a little "d" which is different from Death, the big guy) and there are Hell Hounds (they're great with kids) and little creatures roaming the sewers watching everything and a vampire makes a cameo and my favorite, the emperor of San Francisco. All this with Moore's humor.

8. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith - I know I've written about this one ad nauseam but it's so much fun. The literary (and there's a lot of Austen in here, so you better like her stuff) and the ridiculous (zombies. It's right there in the title) mash up so any time there are one too many long balls or carriage rides the monsters bust in and shake things up a bit. Also there are ninjas.

9. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gammell - I included this on my last Halloween list as well but it is that good. Honestly, it's scarier than numbers 7 and 8 but it is meant for kids. I still love these books but the stories aren't super scary like I remember them. However, those Gammell illustrations are still terrifying today. Who let that guy illustrate something for children? Actually, my outrage is completely feigned as I saw somewhere there was a new version of the books with different, cuddlier illustrations and that was blasphemy.

10. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke - Historical fiction plus wizards. It's not a horror story but there are creepy characters and hidden histories that make this a wonderful but not terrifying October read.

Oh hey, look! I made it to 10. So what are your favorite Halloween reads?