⇒It may be the falling leaves, or it may be the cooler weather, but October is my favorite reading time of the year! But what if a spooky TBR just isn’t your thing?⇐
Every October (really, I start in September), I line up a stack of books for my #spookyreads list. Usually they’re a good mix of creepy mystery/thrillers with one or two true horror stories thrown in to really give me a good fright. This year, Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill is honestly giving me a good scare and became a “freezer book” for me more than once! (“Freezer book” – on Friends, when a book becomes too scary for Joey, he puts it in the freezer!)
But what if you’re just not that into being scared out of your wits, but still want to add books to your October TBR that will give you a little thrill and add some suspense to your reading without leaving you wimpering in a corner crying for your mommy. What? I totally did not do that – it’s just an example!
So I thought I’d chat about not one specific book today, but several that may help you celebrate the season in a less horrific way.
The most frightening monsters are the ones that exist in our minds.
A good juicy complex mystery can be a nice filler for an October TBR. It’s the element of suspense that will put you on the edge of your seat. And – if the author is good at what he/she does – the effect will be the same as reading a good horror novel: nail-biting, lip-pursing, eye-bulging, and the urge to read “just one more chapter”! Check out these great mysteries (classics and current) that are perfect whodunits for the season.
- The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
- Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- You by Caroline Kepnes
I don’t know about you, but some of the creepiest books I’ve ever read are psychological thrillers. If an author can pen a tale that messes with my mind, it’s going to be hard to put down and even harder to forget. Like these…
- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
- Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
- The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
- The Housewife by Valerie Koegh
- Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Parish
What is it about kids that can end up being so creepy? Think about it, the laughter of children echoing down a dark hallway, a lone little girl in an empty playground swinging on a squeaky swing set. OK, let me stop – I’m spooking myself! But seriously, sometimes just writing about a child with odd behavior can give you all the chills you need.
- Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
- We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
- Beside Myself by Ann Morgan
- The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we’re opened, we’re red.Clive Barker
OK, OK, murder is one of horrific things that can happen in life so how am I OK with including this category in the not-so-scary list? Well, it all depends on how it’s written. Shout out to all the murderinos who can handle gore and a high body count better than ghosts and ghoulies!
- Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
- The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker
- The Snowman by Joe Nesbo
- The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner
- Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
Sometimes the best Halloween stories are those that are written for kids. No joke, authors often weave the best tales for the younger generations – and they’re not scary enough to send you running to the freezer with the book!
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- The Witches by Roald Dahl
- Beanstalker and other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White
- Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
- City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Whatever reads ultimately end up filling your October reading list, I hope you find them perfect for the season and for your bookshelf. If you know of some spooky books that I should be reading, let me know. Happy not-so spooky reading!