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Let's talk about spooky books & stories!

House of Geekery put together a couple lists of authors to read during the Halloween season. The first list is from 2012 & the second is from this year. See if you agree with their choices (and rankings) or if you think they forgot anyone...

1. Washington Irving
Check out: The Sketch Book (1920) which includes short stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”

2. Bram Stoker
Check out: Dracula (1897), The Lair of the White Worm (1911)

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3. Max Brooks
Check out: Zombie Survival Guide (2003), World War Z (2007)

4. Mary Shelley
Check out: Frankenstein (1818)

5. Robert Louis Stevenson
Check out: Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)

6. Edgar Allen Poe
Check out: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1839), The Raven and Other Poems (1845)

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7. Steven King
Check out: Salem’s Lot (1975), The Shining (1977)

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8. Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Check out: The Strain (2009), The Fall (2010), The Night Eternal (2011)

9. David Wellington
Check out: 13 Bullets (2007), Monster Island (2006), Frostbite (2009)

10. Ira Levin
Check out: Rosemary’s Baby (1967), Slither (1991)

11. Daphne du Maurier
Check out: Jamaica Inn (1936), Rebecca (1938) and Don’t Look Now (1970)

12. Charlaine Harris
Check out: Dead Until Dark (2001), Real Murders (1990)

13. Anne Rice
Check out: Interview with the Vampire (1976), The Witching Hour (1990)

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14. Richard Matheson
Check out: Long Distance Call (1953), I am Legend (1954), Hell House (1971)

15. Robert Bloch
Check out: Black Bargain (1942), Psycho</i> (1959)

16. Sheridan Le Fanu
Check out: Uncle Silas (1864), In a Glass Darkly (1872), Carmilla (1872)

17. Elizabeth Kostova
Check out: The Historian (2005)

18. G.W.M. Reynolds
Check out: Faust (1846), Wagner the Werewolf (1847) and The Necromancer (1857)

19. Oscar Wilde
Check out: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)

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20. William Peter Blatty
Check out: The Exorcist (1971)

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1. H.P. Lovecraft
Check out: At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels, H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction

2. R. L. Stine
Check out: The Haunted Mask, Fear Street Series

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3. Seth Grahame-Smith
Check out: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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4. Agatha Christie
Check out: Death Comes as the End, Endless Night, Crooked House

5. J.L Bourne
Check: Day By Day Armageddon

6. Ray Bradbury
Check out: Something Wicked This Way Comes, Gotcha!, The Burning Man

7. Roger Zelazny
Check out: A Night in the Lonesome October

8. Richard Laymon
Check out: Island, The Cellar

9. Mark Z. Danielewski
Check out: House of Leaves, The Fifty Year Sword

10. Lisa W. Cantrell
Check out: The Manse

11. Gillian Flynn
Check out: Dark Places, Sharp Objects

12. John Saul
Check it out: The Blackstone Chronicles, Suffer the Children

13. Rick Yancey
Check out: The Monstrumologist series

14. Shirley Jackson
Check out: The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery

15. Jack Kilborn
Check out: Afraid, Endurance, Serial

16. John Ajvide Lindqvist
Check out: Let the Right One In, Handling the Undead

17. Libba Bray
Check out: The Diviners, A Great and Terrible Beauty

18. Simon Holt
Check out: The Devouring trilogy

19. Susan Hill
Check out: The Woman in Black, The Various Haunts of Men

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20. Joe Hill
Check out: Horns, Heart-shaped Box, NOS4A2

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So, flist…

Who are your favorite authors/what are your favorite books on these lists?
Anyone you think should be rated higher or lower?
Are there any authors you think should be on the list? Any you think shouldn’t be on the list?
Which of these books/authors have you read?

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*Did not know that the movies Psycho, Let the Right One In or The Exorcist were based on books.

*Charlaine Harris’ books are supposed to be scary? Ooop. Maybe the non-Sookie ones…?

*IMO Poe should be #1. Then Stephen King; I may have only read short stories by him, but he & Poe are the first names that spring to mind when I think horror.

*I didn’t think The Historian was scary or creepy or anything. I did think it was boring, though.

*Agatha Christie, really? I thought all her books were straightforward mysteries?

*I really like Joe Hill & RL Stine. The Haunting of Hill House, The Woman in Black, The Necromancer, The Picture of Dorian Gray okay so I just might watch the movie instead lol and Frankenstein are other books that stuck out to me as being ones I’d (re)read in October. And Poe! Always Poe!

*I used to be a HUGE Anne Rice fan & I have all of her books from before her foray into Jesus books. I remember being suitably creeped out by her witch books which may have been more because of the incest than the the witchy parts, more so than her vampire books (which I always found sort of funny…idk).

*I really like ‘monster lit’ like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters and the like. I love it when an author reimagines classic stories.

Now for my recs!

*The Monkey’s Paw (short story) by WW Jacobs

*The following short stories by Stephen King: 1408, 1922 & The Cycle of the Werewolf (okay, so that last one is more a novella than a short story…it’s a quick read).

*The graphic novels American Vampire by Scott Snyder & Stephen King

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*For a zombie-fix: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion & the Living Dead trilogy by Jesse Petersen (Married With Zombies, Flip This Zombie & Eat, Slay, Love...they're like rom-com zombie novels with a heavy dose of snark).

*Speaking of ‘monster lit’…check out this short novella by John Kessel. Pride and Prometheus is a ‘sequel’ of sorts to Pride and Prejudice that mashes Jane Austen’s classic with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The Bennet sisters meet Dr Frankenstein, younger sister Kitty succumbs to consumption, her corpse goes missing…and well, you can guess where it goes from there.
Pride & Prometheus pdf


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( 38 chants — crowd chant! )
Oct. 10th, 2013 05:22 pm (UTC)
I love Rebecca and Frankenstein. And I grew up on Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Richard Matheson and still adore them. Ray Bradbury is my very favorite writer ever. <3
Oct. 10th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
Oop, I forgot to put Rebecca on my list! Love the book, love the movie.

Is it bad that I’ve never read Lovecraft? At least I don’t think I have. Maybe I should look into that before Halloween…?
Oct. 10th, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
I love the movie, too. My favorite Hitchcock. :D

Lovecraft is awesome. I got interested in him by watching Night Gallery growing up. My favorites are "Cool Air" and "Pickman's Model". (:
Oct. 10th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
I went looking & found a website full of Lovecraft. I know what I'll be reading this weekend \o/
Oct. 10th, 2013 08:02 pm (UTC)
The Munsters! :D

Hope you enjoy! (:
Oct. 10th, 2013 09:50 pm (UTC)
oooooooooooooooh can you link?
Oct. 11th, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
Sure thing: The Works of HP Lovecraft. (jsyk the website is vintage 2001 web 'design' lol)

Edited at 2013-10-11 01:58 pm (UTC)
Oct. 10th, 2013 06:06 pm (UTC)
LOVECRAFT. Helter Skelter, The Last Victim, anything true crime. The Fifth Wave- aliens!

Lionel Shriver's We Need To Talk About Kevin gave me nightmares for weeks.
Oct. 10th, 2013 06:56 pm (UTC)
True crime books scare me more than anything anyone could ever make up. Yikes.

I've never read Lovecraft. Is that bad? I should try to get my hands on some before Halloween...
Oct. 10th, 2013 09:49 pm (UTC)
Cthhulu is by far my favorite, so I recommend that one!
Oct. 10th, 2013 06:14 pm (UTC)
Some of the books on the list, like Charlaine Harris and Agatha Christie, seem to be coming from the pov that murder=scary. Which, I mean, I guess so- but for me to be scared while reading, I need to get that heart pounding, sweaty palms, 'god, I don't want to turn the page but I need to know what happens!' sort of sensation.

I love Stephen King; he's one of my favorite authors. Joe Hill is his son, which I think is terrific. I think I've actually read most of the authors on the list. I also really like Max Brooks, though the Zombie Survival Guide is more humor than scary; World War Z, however, is totally serious and totally awesome (I wish they'd held more true to it for the movie).

I'd recommend Mira Grant (aka Seanan MacGuire); she does zombies blended with actual science, and it's so well done.
Oct. 10th, 2013 07:05 pm (UTC)
RE: Charlaine Harris & Agatha Christie…you put that into words so much better than I could have! I thought when I saw Charlaine Harris on the list that they were going to put anyone who wrote about vampires etc on the list & half-expected Twilight to pop up lol.

I’ve probably said it before, but my high school English teacher was always railing against Stephen King & calling him a ‘hack’. Yet it was in his class that I read The Cycle of the Werewolf (he said it was ‘the only decent thing’ King ever wrote). I obviously don’t have much experience reading his stuff but I liked the few short things I have read, I love his articles on pop culture that he writes for Entertainment Weekly and I like quite a few movies based on his books and since books are better than their movie/TV adaptations 97% of the time, I think I’d probably like his books. I do love Joe Hill & have read all of this books and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know he was Stephen King’s son until NOS4A2 was released earlier this year. Ooops lol.
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Oct. 10th, 2013 07:06 pm (UTC)
I love Joe Hill, too. I have all his books but somehow didn’t know he was Stephen King’s son until a few months ago lol.
Oct. 10th, 2013 08:10 pm (UTC)
Ugh, Frankenstein. I hateeeeeeeeeeeeeee Frankenstein. Its so boring. I had to read it for my sci-fi lit course in college, and I just couldn't get through it.

I always think of Poe when I think of Halloween-ish authors!
Oct. 11th, 2013 01:43 pm (UTC)
Aw, I liked Frankenstein. I've had a couple people tell me they felt that way about Dracula so I've been hesitant to give that one a try.

Poe is amazing!
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Oct. 11th, 2013 01:49 pm (UTC)
I got a rec for that book from a book club I'm in. Was wondering what it was like. (Now that I know it's a thriller, I'm kind of wondering why I got a rec for it since I haven't bought any thrillers from that club.)
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Oct. 10th, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
I've read Dracula, Frankenstein, Interview with the Vampire, and a lot of R. L. Stine when I was a kid. I'd say Dracula was my favourite out of the bunch - I'm not much for the horror genre, but the few I've read I do like.

I don't have any recs for horror books, but I do have horror manga recs if anyone is interested.
Oct. 11th, 2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
I'd be interested in your horror manga recs, if you don't mind?
Oct. 11th, 2013 02:21 pm (UTC)
Doubt and it's sort-of sequel Judge by Yoshiki Tonogai - Doubt is about a group of people who are forced to act out the cell phone game that connects them all, and Judge is about a group of teenagers who are locked up and made to judge each other for their "sins".

Another by Yukito Ayatsuji - Kouichi moves to Yomiyama and gets put into Class 3-3, a class where not everything is as it appears. The manga is getting an English release at the end of the month, and the novel it's based off of is also available in e-reader form, plus there's an anime adaptation. There's minor differences between all three media forms, so they're all worth checking out.

Deadman Wonderland by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou - Sentenced to live in a prison-theme park for a crime he didn't commit, Ganta must perform in the prison's gruesome games to avoid being killed.

Drifting Classroom by Kazuo Umezu - an elementary school in Japan is suddenly transported into a barren wasteland, and the students and staff slowly start to panic as they realize they must fight for survival. (It's an older series which I've only just started, but it looks interesting and people have already started dying at the part where I'm at.

I have a list of other horror manga which I haven't started yet if you want it as well.
Oct. 11th, 2013 03:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks for these! Doubt & Judge sound especially good.
Oct. 12th, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
You're very welcome! I forgot to mention that Doubt has been published in English, and Judge is in the process of being released, both officially and fan-translated. I really enjoyed Doubt, and I'm anxious to see where Judge is heading.
Oct. 11th, 2013 12:10 am (UTC)
Masque of the Red Death is an interesting horror movie that's rarely mentioned- it's got Vincent Price, which is worth the price of admission alone, and all sorts of fantastical imagery. I've no idea how faithful it is to the Poe short story though!
Oct. 11th, 2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, I need to watch that; I've read the story but didn't know there was a movie. Thanks for that!
Oct. 11th, 2013 12:18 am (UTC)
I love Edgar Allen Poe. I was crazy about R. L. Stine when I was in elementary school.

I'm a huge chicken so I don't read many books in this genre lol.
Oct. 11th, 2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
Ah, but you read the best ones IMO! I looooooooooooooove Poe & RL Stine...some of the shows from that RL Stine 'kids' show still creep me out lol.
Oct. 11th, 2013 02:13 am (UTC)
Just read The Shining this last month! LOVED IT! Any Stephen King is a fantastic horror read. The first one I read of him was Carrie and that was the scariest one. None of his others were really that bad to me.

Dracula is wicked, read it in 8th grade, need to read it again.

Keep meaning to read Sleepy Hollow I've got that book at home and could never get through it. Should probably just read the one story.

Neil Gaiman is another one I would recommend for 'horror' it's not all that bad but it's got the spooky element. Graveyard Book is one of my favorites.
Oct. 11th, 2013 01:54 pm (UTC)
I need to read some Stephen King novels. I like the movies they're based on & since the books are usually better than the movies...

I just bought that Neil Gaiman book a few weeks ago!
Oct. 11th, 2013 02:16 pm (UTC)
Aww Goosebumps. I loved those books!
Oct. 11th, 2013 03:13 pm (UTC)
I still find Goosebumps fun to read :)
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Oct. 12th, 2013 08:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks for clearing that up about The Exorcist book. I think I was confused by seeing a book on the list but having heard that the movie was based on a true story. I guess I'd always thought that they heard the story by word-of-mouth or in the news or something and then when I found these lists, I was sort of floored and changed my assumption to them basing it on a book. But then the book is a retell...mind blown!
Oct. 12th, 2013 02:43 am (UTC)
As a rule I don't read that many "scary" books. If I do I tend to go towards Gothic/ghost stories as opposed to all out horror.

I hated Dracula. In fact I couldn't even finish it and I hardly ever give up on a book once I've started. I just found it so long-winded and just painfully boring.

I bought my brother the Zombie Survival Guide book last year and I've been tempted to buy World War Z for myself. I wanted to try and read it before I saw the movie.

I actually read the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde this year. I found the writing style rather matter-of-fact and the story itself was kind of vague and distant. It was like it was the outline of a really fascinating story but you never really got to the roots of it.
I just finished Mary Reilly which is the Jekyll and Hyde story told from the point of view of a maid in Dr Jekyll's house. It was good but once again I didn't find it as creepy as it could have been.

Would you believe that I've never read any Edgar Allen Poe? Or H.P. Lovecraft. Shameful isn't it?

Just read Rosemary's Baby and really enjoyed that but I've always liked the movie so that's no big shock. The only surprise is just how faithful the film was to the book. I know there's a sequel to that book too called Son of Rosemary. I was tempted to buy it but the reviews on Amazon are shockingly bad so I might pass (or wait and see if I can find it really cheap.)

Love, love, love Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. One of my all time favourite classics.
Also love The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Totally agree with you in regards to The Historian. I mean I didn't hate it but it was bloody hard work to get through. Also it wasn't the slightest bit scary. How come so many "vampire" books are either laughable or as dull as dishwater?

I need to read Something Wicked This Way Comes. I saw the movie a few years ago and it was as creepy as hell.

I absolutely adored The Woman in Black. I recently bought The Small Hand by Susan Hill which I'm planning to read this month.
Also Libba Bray's The Diviners! ♥♥♥

I was actually really surprised at how much I liked Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill. I picked it up on a whim at a book sale and it's completely different to what I usually read but it was really clever and actually genuinely frightening.

Warm Bodies has been on my wishlist for the last 6 months. It's another book that I'm determined to read before I finally see the film.
Oct. 12th, 2013 08:45 pm (UTC)
I'm like you: I much prefer Gothic/ghost stories over straight-out horror. (Though I'm starting to question if I should read Stephen King...I don't even know...)

I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove Poe. His stuff is so creepy & ~atmospheric. And the repetition in The Raven, for example, is like a slow-burn...you KNOW something is going to happen, you just don't know when! I've never read Lovecraft so don't feel bad! (I did find a website with all his short stories available for free online reading, if you're interested.)

YAY I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt that way about The Historian! I read it right when it was released; I saw glowing reviews in all the newspapers/magazines and checked it out of the library week it came out. I remember feeling bad because I was soooooooooooooooooo bored by it and just slogged through it and had to go renew it because I just couldn't make myself finish it in 2 weeks. (Also, have you read A Discovery of Witches? I know another friend on LJ has & the two of us feel pretty much the same about it, but I was thinking you'd mentioned it, too, at some point?)

Rebecca & The Picture of Dorian Gray are both perfection. As are their movies IMO; though I much prefer the Dorian Gray adaptation with Ben Barnes over the one with Angela Lansbury & George Sanders, but that's just personal preference obviously lol. Have you read the 'prequel' to Rebecca that was released about 10 years ago (Rebecca's Tale)? I've toyed with buying it off & on am just so afraid it'll suck! (I was googling just now to try & find the name of the book that came out a year or so ago where Daphne Du Maurier is the protagonist--which I never did find!--but apparently Susan Hill wrote a sequel called Mrs De Winter in the early 90s.)

I think Joe Hill is a really good writer. I wasn't sure about Heart-shaped Box, either, but I couldn't put it down. I've read all his books & really enjoyed them all.

I saw Warm Bodies in the theaters & was only vaguely aware it was based on a book. I loved the movie so I went into the Barnes & Noble right next to the theater as soon as the movie was over & I bought the book. I still haven't read it yet, but I have scanned through it and read various passages & it seems to be quite different from the book, but I don't know if that's good or bad not having read the book properly!
Oct. 13th, 2013 02:22 am (UTC)
I have this thing where I won't watch the movie before I read the book which is why I still haven't seen Warm Bodies. The one thing that really bothers me about the book though is that it has Stephanie Meyer's approval slapped on the cover. Like she should be judging anyone's work.

I have Mrs De Winter on my wish-list at the moment. It has some pretty mixed reviews on Amazon which is why I keep hestitating over buying it.
I am intrigued to read Rebecca's Tale but I did read another book by the same author about 5 years ago and it was a bit of a disappointment which kind of put me off. If I can find it cheap enough though I might give it a go.

I did have A Discovery of Witches on my wish-list too. However I'd read a few comments online about it being "perfect for Twilight fans" etc and thought "Okay, I'll pass then..."

Yep, I'd heard so many great things about The Historian but it was like I kept waiting for something exciting to happen. I also found it somewhat confusing but maybe that's because I kept zoning out while reading it.
The only Vampire book I've read recently that I really liked was The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle, loved the Amish setting and a vampire apocalpyse with proper scary, dangerous vampires for a change.
I've recently bought another vampire book called Descent into Dust by Jacqueline Lepore. That one is actually set in the Victorian era but I haven't started it yet so I have no idea how good (or bad) it is.

I love books that have a Gothic/Rebecca-ish feel to them. They don't even have to be ghost stories even the mysteries and the ones about past dark family secrets being unearthed are nice to read this time of year.
For example I loved The Tirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and The Observations by Jane Harris. Also I have a weakness for Kate Morton's books, especially The Distant Hours.

Oh, and I also love to read some of the Grimms fairy tales this time of year too. I usually save Hans Christian Anderson for Winter (more whimsical) but the Grimm ones are perfectly dark and disturbing enough for a cold Autumn night.
And I meant to say in my last comment that I think The Witches should have been on that list. Roald Dahl was a genius as ar as I'm concerned.
Oct. 13th, 2013 09:35 pm (UTC)
I really don't get the comparison between A Discovery of Witches and Twilight (my LJ friend who's also read it agrees lol). Well, other than the female protagonist being annoying (but at least this one is a professor with a doctorate! And she doesn't fall for creepy controlling men & can actually think for herself and such...she's just irritating in general). I think it just had the misfortune of being released during all the Twilight hoopla and got thrown into that category because it has a supernatural romantic element. That being said, I think it was well-written...it's main problem IMO is the editing. Or rather the lack thereof. It's a huge book but it's full of so many useless passages describing the main character's research that go on & on for pages (and chapters sometimes) and it annoyed me to no end! The sequel is out now & while I refuse to buy it like I did the first book, I am tempted to buy the Kindle version on my tablet to save myself some money lol. I'm curious about where the author is going to take the story, but I'm not willing to shell out $25 for hundreds of pages of dryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy exposition (seriously, I think the first book is close to 800 pages...could've easily been trimmed to 450-500). (Honestly, the wordiness put me in mind of The Historian more than once!)

THE OBSERVATIONS!!!! I liked that book, too. I was trying to think of the name of it to put on my rec list above but googling didn't help and I forgot to go upstairs and look for the book itself before I made the post (I made the post at work lol). I kept seeing it as a movie in my head with Helena Bonham Carter as the crazy lady lol.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH you keep remind me of all the good books I forgot to add to my recs! I looooove The Witches, too!!! Such a terrific book. *makes notes for NEXT year's scary book post lololol*

( 38 chants — crowd chant! )

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