Halloween Reads 2020

Halloween for me is half about escapism and half about loving that downward slope that is Halloween into Thanksgiving into Christmas into New Year’s Eve. I want an even split in October between snuggling under fuzzy blankets and also reading about haunted houses where there’s something thumping down the hallway.

That said, here’s what I’ve got on the list this year. (This may be ambitious, seeing how much my reading pace has slowed down this summer, but let’s see what happens.)

HANGSAMAN
A Shirley Jackson novel I haven’t heard of before! And it’s a gothic novel from the 50s. I’m in. The Haunting of Hill House remains one of the scariest books I’ve ever read, and I think about the Netflix adaptation of it probably weekly. It was surprisingly good. Shirley Jackson is amazing.

SEED
Seed is for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge—this is “a horror book originally published by an indie press.” It’s a little bit of a cheat, since Ania Ahlborn is a pretty established writer now, but this was her first book. And she’s a new writer to me, so I’m counting it. I’ve had this one on my list all year but I’ve been saving it up for October.

SECURITY
The StoryGraph description of this book says it’s “in the tradition of Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King, and with a deep bow to Daphne du Maurier”—this book takes place at Manderley Resort, and you know how much I loved Rebecca. Honestly, I found this because I was clicking through recommendations on The StoryGraph and had filtered down to horror books under 300 pages that are fast-paced, mysterious, and tense, or something like that—and I basically clicked “want to read” on most of the recs.

Have I not already pitched The StoryGraph to you? It’s my favorite replacement for Goodreads, if you’re interested in that. It’s a new site, but has a super clean interface, gives AMAZING recommendations, and they just added content warnings as an option. It’s also not owned by Amazon, for what that’s worth. You can transport your entire Goodreads library so you don’t lose anything. They don’t have an app yet, but they have a Progressive Web App, where you save the safari page to your homescreen, and it’s basically an app. Okay. They’re amazing. I’m finishing up the year in both Goodreads and The StoryGraph, but next year I’m jumping ship.

Back to Halloween reads.

REVENGE
Scary short stories, a “secret garden of dark, glorious flowers” (says Joe Hill). Another StoryGraph find. I’m down!

GHOST WALL
It pains me a little to break with my single-word titles for this one, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I love this cover and the description is giving me a version of haunted house. The ebook is also available for immediate download to my kindle through the library, so I’ll probably be starting with this one.

THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE: STORIES
A few short story collections this time around. Maybe that’s how I’m reading these days—in shorter bursts. That’s just fine by me. These take place in and around contemporary Argentina, and Enriquez is compared to Shirley Jackson and Julio Cortázar. (The translator for this book is Megan McDowell, who also translated Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream, which was great.)

IF IT BLEEDS
The latest Stephen King collection of four novellas—I’m looking forward to making this a part of this year’s Halloween festivities. I haven’t read any King lately and haven’t actually unpacked those boxes yet. Two of my bookshelves didn’t make the move with us and so I’ve been having to unpack books based on where they’re going, and I just haven’t figure out where Stephen King books live here. So maybe I’ll see where I set this one down when I finish with it, and then I’ll just put everything else there too.

A KISS BEFORE DYING
My Ira Levin re-read for the year. This remains, weirdly, a comfort book to me.

That brings my total ambition to…eight? Is eight too many? Probably. But there’s no harm in trying!

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