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16 Books to Read After You Binge Watch 'Stranger Things'
Posted by Hayley on October 27, 2017

Grab your Eggo waffles because the second season of Stranger Things hits Netflix today. The wildly popular supernatural series, which is equal parts charming and spooky, celebrates the pop culture of the 1980s and features a cast of lovable kid adventurers and otherworldly monsters.

If you abandon your reading to binge the new season, we won't blame you (because we might be doing the same thing). But when you finish the final episode, your bookshelf will be waiting.

We asked you on Facebook and Twitter to share the books that Stranger Things fans would love. Check out the top answers below.

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What book would you recommend to fans of Stranger Things? Share it with us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
The Best Young Adult Books of October
24 Books that Won NaNoWriMo
Two Centuries of Frankenstein's Monster

The Best Young Adult Books of October
Posted by Hayley on October 26, 2017

A lush garden where love is stamped out like weeds, a city forever changed by a night of violence, and a deadly realm teeming with dragons…

Welcome to the world of irresistible young adult fiction! Every month, our team takes a look at what books are being published—and how early readers are responding to them. We use this information to curate a list of soon-to-be-beloved favorites, from contemporary tales set in the suburbs to fantasy epics in realms of mystery and mischief.

For October, we've got three buzzy debuts, plus a National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature. Add the books that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf and let us know what you're reading and recommending in the comments.


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Destiny comes at a price. For Xifeng to claim hers, she must spurn the man who loves her, embrace her own inner darkness, and wield a dangerous, all-consuming power.




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In this nominee for the 2017 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, three adopted siblings figure out how to create their own definition of family.




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Justyce, an Ivy League-bound teen who writes letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sees his life turn upside down after an altercation with an off-duty cop results in a shooting.




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When the mystical Nomeolvides women fall deeply in love, their lovers vanish. Estrella expects this. What surprises her instead is the sudden appearance of a boy.




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After charming football star Braden takes his own life, the students of North Shore, Illinois, struggle to band together in the face of heartbreaking tragedy.




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Asha is more than a dragon slayer. The child of blood and moonlight, she brings death wherever she goes—until an unexpected friendship offers a slim chance at freedom.







What recent YA book would you recommend? Share it with us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
24 Books that Won NaNoWriMo
Two Centuries of Frankenstein's Monster
7 Ways Winnie-the-Pooh Inspires Readers of All Ages

24 Books that Won NaNoWriMo
Posted by Marie on October 25, 2017

With National Novel Writing Month starting on November 1, you might be feeling a combination of Rocky-esque determination and sweaty nervousness. After all, this is the month where established authors and aspiring writers alike from all over the world take the challenge to buckle down and pen a full-length novel. Whether you're a rookie or a veteran, participation is no ordinary feat. The goal is roughly 1,667 words per day, 11,669 words per week, with the grand total of 50,000 words due by November 30.

No pressure.

But before you sharpen your pencils, fire up your computer, draft up your outline, or play The Final Countdown, get inspired with these 24 books that can trace their roots back to NaNoWriMo projects. Not only did books including The Night Circus, Water for Elephants, and Fangirl reach the finish line, they reached the pinnacle—publication.

Who knows? Maybe your NaNoWriMo book could wind up on this list someday. Which ones do you recommend? Let us know in the comments!


Water for Elephants
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The Night Circus
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F
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Wool
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The Darwin Elevator
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Cinder
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Scarlet
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Cress
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You Bring the Distant Near
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The Beautiful Land
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Crewel
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The Forest of Hands and Teeth
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Persistence of Memory
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Take the Reins
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Livvie Owen Lived Here
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First Grave on the Right
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Losing Faith
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The Compound
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The Hungry Season
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Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen
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The God Patent
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Time Off for Good Behavior
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The Atlas of Forgotten Place
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The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn
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Check out more recent blogs:
Two Centuries of Frankenstein's Monster
7 Ways Winnie-the-Pooh Inspires Readers of All Ages

24 Great New Paperbacks to Pick Up Now

Two Centuries of Frankenstein's Monster
Posted by Cybil on October 18, 2017




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"Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful."
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley


Two hundred years ago, a novel by a young Mary Shelley became an instant bestseller. And for the last two centuries, readers have been mesmerized by Victor Frankenstein and his creature—a story of gothic horror and a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked science.

On New Year's Day 1818, Shelley's novel was first published in an anonymous three-volume edition of 500 copies. Since then, there have been many adaptations, including at least 120 films, as well as versions for TV, the stage, comics, and graphic novels.

In celebration of Frankenstein's longevity, a new art book, Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years, looks at the work's influences across literature and cinema.

Colin Clive in James Whale's Frankenstein (1931).
Lynd Kendall Ward's woodcut illustrations for the book's 1934 New York edition.
Jack Pierce's makeup for Elsa Lanchester as the Bride was based on ideas from James Whale and Ernest Thesiger.
Elizabeth (Mae Clarke), lying across her bed, was featured in much of the American publicity for Frankenstein (1931).


Top image: Original French billboard poster by artist Jacques Faria (1931). All images ©Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years, published by Reel Art Press, 2017.

Read more of our recent blog posts, including:
Top 50 Favorite Horror Novels on Goodreads
16 Terror-Inducing Halloween Audiobooks
Gather Around for Terrifying Ghost Stories

Horror Week
Posted by Cybil on October 16, 2017

Fright, scares, and Halloween tales: Here's your ultimate guide to October reading.

Readers' 50 All-Time Favorite Horror Novels
From monsters to psychological terrors, these are readers' top-rated horror stories.

Great Ghost Stories
Ghostland author Colin Dickey picks some of his favorites hauntings.
Fearful Folktales…
Author and Lore podcast creator Aaron Mahnke's twisted folklore and legends.


The Campy and Bizarre World of Paperback Horror
Man-eating jellyfish, Satan's pets, and crazed leprechauns? Welcome to pulp horror.

Read Deeper into Darkness
Shirley Jackson's biographer picks the dark tales that hooked her on horror.
Exclusive Sneak Peek: The Chalk Man
Peer into 2018's creepy thrillers early with this excerpt from C.J. Tudor's debut.


16 Audiobooks That Go Bump in the Night
These spine-chilling audiobooks can follow you…wherever you go.


Top 50 Favorite Horror Novels on Goodreads
Posted by Hayley on October 16, 2017

"Horror fiction has traditionally dealt in taboo… It makes monsters of household pets and begs our affection for psychos. It shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion."
-Clive Barker

Hear the scratching on the wall? Feel a chill run down your spine? The frightening thrills of our favorite horror novels have a way of reaching out from beyond the page—casting shadows, whispering in our ear, haunting us long after the story is done.

For Horror Week, Goodreads set out to reveal readers' favorite scary books. The titles were chosen based on overall shelvings (i.e., the number of times each book has been marked as "read" or "want to read"), plus reader reviews and ratings.

From literal monsters to purely psychological terrors, these are tales of madness and pandemonium, retribution and absolution. Long heralded as the "Master of Horror," Stephen King reigns supreme with five books on our list, but his son Joe Hill is not far behind, nabbing four spots. And along with classics from Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Kirkman's end-of-the-world comic, The Walking Dead, made the cut as well as an award-winning children's ghost story, The Graveyard Book, from Neil Gaiman.

And now, for those who dare, we present the top 50 horror books on Goodreads in alphabetical order. Proceed at your own risk—and then tell us how many you've read in the comments.


A Head Full of Ghosts
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Alice
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Anna Dressed in Blood
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Bird Box
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Carrie
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Coraline
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Dracula
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Feed
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Flowers in the Attic
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Frankenstein
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Heart-Shaped Box
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Horns
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House of Leaves
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I Am Legend
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It
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Interview with the Vampire
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Jaws
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Let the Right One In
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Locke & Key
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Lovecraft Country
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Misery
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NOS4A2
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Odd Thomas
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Rosemary's Baby
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Something Wicked This Way Comes
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The Amityville Horror
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The Ballad of Black Tom
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The Butterfly Garden
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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
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The Complete Stories and Poems
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The Exorcist
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The Girl from the Well
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The Girl with All the Gifts
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The Graveyard Book
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The Haunting of Hill House
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The Hellhound Heart
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The Historian
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The Last American Vampire
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The Passage
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The Shining
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The Silence of the Lambs
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The Stand
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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
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The Walking Dead
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The Witching Hour
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The Zombie Survival Guide
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Warm Bodies
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Watchers
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Wool
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World War Z
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What's your favorite horror novel? Share it with us in the comments!

See the complete coverage of Horror Week including:
The Campy, Bizarre World of Paperback Horror
16 Terror-Inducing Halloween Audiobooks
Gather Around for Terrifying Ghost Stories

Supernatural Tales and Spooky Folklore
Posted by Cybil on October 16, 2017

Aaron Mahnke is the writer, host, and producer of the spooky hit podcast Lore (which is now also a TV show) as well the author of The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures. Here Mahnke shares his favorite supernatural tales.


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Every writer has an origin story. It's that nexus of chance and passion, where some event or experience in the past set the wheels in motion that led them to where they are today. For me that moment occurred in the fifth grade, when I was given a book of weird and unusual tales.

Those stories—call them legends or folklore or whatever else you want—had a sort of supernatural power. They pulled me in by being so bizarre and unlikely that I simply couldn't look away.

Even today, decades removed from grade school, I haven't lost that enthusiasm. And while I've made a career out of researching and retelling dark historical events and the people at the center of them, it's the stories on the edge of possibility that still keep me coming back for more.


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Passing Strange
by Joseph A. Citro

"These are stories from New England, where so many unusual things have taken place over the years. Maybe it's the deeply rich history in that region of the country, or maybe it was just the perfect mix of cultures that melted into one. Either way, New England will also be my favorite source of tales that send a chill down my spine."



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American Monsters
by Linda S. Godfrey

"People who believe in undiscovered creatures tend to get a sideways glance from the rest of society. But if firsthand accounts and physical evidence are enough to make you believe, this book is a fantastic journey into the wonderful world of cryptozoology."



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Mysterious America
by Loren Coleman

"Coleman is the godfather of bizarre expeditions and the search for real-life cryptids. While his catalog of works is extensive, this book is a wonderful starting point for anyone willing to follow him into the woods, no matter how dark and unsafe they might appear."



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The Science of Monsters
by Matt Kaplan

"While not necessarily a book of creepy tales, this is a powerful examination of the birthplace of all monsters—the human mind. Why we tell stories of otherworldly creatures actually says more about us than it does about the stories themselves."



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Ghost Hunters
by Ed Warren and Lorraine Warren

"We have the Warrens to thank for so many of the stories at the heart of the biggest horror films of the last three decades. The Amityville Horror, The Conjuring, Annabelle, and so many other chilling stories were born from the research and investigation of this dynamic couple. Read at your own risk."



See the complete coverage of Horror Week including:
Top 50 Favorite Horror Novels on Goodreads
Stories That Delve into the Darkness
Exclusive Excerpt: The Creepy Thriller 'The Chalk Man'

The Campy, Bizarre World of Paperback Horror
Posted by Cybil on October 16, 2017

Grady Hendrix, who brought readers My Best Friend's Exorcism and Horrorstör, is back with a new book about the pulp horror boom of the 1970s and '80s with Paperbacks from Hell. He's been reviewing the novels he read for research on his Goodreads page—currently 170 strong and counting. Here he takes us on a tour of the bloodiest, strangest, and downright bizarre paperback horror novels.


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Killer crabs invade Britain's beaches. A trainload of killer clowns invades upstate New York. Evil joggers invade Central Park. Just another day at the bookstore from the '70s until the early '90s.

During those 24 years, an avalanche of paperback horror novels with lurid covers buried drugstore and bookstore shelves. Publishers were locked in an arms race to go further over the top than their competitors, so when they weren't dishing up resort spas run by evil Nazis, pterodactyls riding the New York City subways, or Hollywood death cults run by a barely disguised version of Paul Newman, they were startling unwary readers with covers featuring skeletons playing the banjo, teddy bears wielding axes, and evil babies torturing tiny humans trapped in test tubes.

Horror wasn't much of a genre before 1967, when Rosemary's Baby hit the bestseller lists and became a hit movie. A few years later The Exorcist and The Other accomplished the same feat, and a boom was born.

At first, publishers fell all over themselves to deliver more books about Satan (Satan's Pets, Satan's Seductress, Satan's Lovechild), but soon they branched out into killer kids, killer animals, then killer houses, and finally killer everything, from soap opera stars (Phantom of the Soap Opera) to 16th-century Viennese dance crazes (Waltz with Evil).

I read over 400 of these paperbacks to write Paperbacks from Hell and have barely tasted the fruits of this boom. Sure, I talk a lot about John Christopher's The Little People featuring Nazi leprechauns, but how did I miss J.N. Williamson's killer leprechaun novel, Playmates?

There's always one more lunatic corner to explore in the world of horror paperbacks, and while some of these books are so bad, they're good (Toy Cemetery, I'm looking at you), there are plenty that are so good, I can't understand how they were forgotten in the first place.

Ken Greenhall's Elizabeth and Hell Hound are written in Shirley Jackson's precise, chilly diction. Bari Wood's The Tribe and Tom Lewis' Rooftops are two of the best books I've read about New York City as it transitioned from the savage '70s to the go-go '80s. The fact that they're about a killer golem on the loose in Long Island and a serial killer who castrates little boys is beside the point. Throw in 1982's John Shirley classic, Cellars, and you've got a trio of books about a simmering pressure cooker of a city that simmers with so much corruption, sleaze, racial tension, and economic anxiety that it erupts into full-blown supernatural seizures.

These horror writers worked fast and cheap, so they couldn't get too self-conscious about their output: If they didn't get another book on the shelves soon, their family wasn't going to eat. Sometimes this meant they discovered marginal trends years before they surfaced in the mainstream. Nice, privileged kids from good families who are hopelessly, homicidally insane formed the basis of several books (The Sibling, Such Nice People, Halo) years before we learned to fear these kids in the wake of the Columbine shootings and the Menendez brothers murders.

It all came to a screeching halt in the late '80s and early '90s with the publication of The Silence of the Lambs and its hit movie adaptation, which swept the Oscars in 1991. After that, serial killers were the order of the day, and horror novels were rebranded as thrillers. The tide receded, but it left such amazing relics behind in the sand, from Guy N. Smith's killer crabs to John Halkin's killer jellyfish.


Rosemary's Baby
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The Exorcist
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The Other
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Satan's Pets
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Satan's Love Child
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The Phantom of the Soap Opera
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Waltz With Evil
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The Little People
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Playmates
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Toy Cemetery
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Elizabeth: A Novel of the Unnatural
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Hell Hound
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The Tribe
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Rooftops
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Cellars
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Halo
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The Silence of the Lambs
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Night of the Crabs
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Slime
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Such Nice People
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See the complete coverage of Horror Week including:
Top 50 Favorite Horror Novels on Goodreads
Stories That Delve into the Darkness
Supernatural Tales and Spooky Folklore


Stories That Delve into the Darkness
Posted by Cybil on October 16, 2017

Biographer Ruth Franklin's National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life places beloved horror writer Jackson within an American Gothic tradition that stretches back to Hawthorne and Poe. Here Franklin shares how Stephen King sparked her love of the genre, and she recommends some dark tales to enjoy this Halloween.


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My first taste of horror came at a high school slumber party. After the pizza and ice cream, somebody popped Pet Sematary into the VCR, and we all hunkered down on the couch. As the burial ground began to reveal its awful secrets, I was surprised to find myself in tears. It wasn't the gore that got to me; it was the story's human pain. Who wouldn't pay any price to bring a dead child or spouse back to life? Even if we were warned things might go horribly wrong, wouldn't we still want them back?

The movie sent me to Stephen King's bestselling 1983 novel, and then I was hooked. I read horror voraciously throughout my teenage years and beyond, always searching for something like the combination of terror and pathos that I first glimpsed in Pet Sematary. (A nice bit of trivia: Reportedly, King put that novel aside after writing it, worried that it was too dark.) Horror, at its best, doesn't offer just scary images—it investigates the question of fear itself. What we're most afraid of, it often turns out, are the things that make us most human.

Here are a few recommendations of books that aren't afraid to go deep into the dark.

The Dark Half, by Stephen King. This novel about a writer who gets hijacked by his own alter ego is one of King's best. In addition to being incredibly creepy—I'll never forget the sparrows—it's a profound meditation on writer's block (which he also treats unforgettably in The Shining) and the creative process.

The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice. Fans of Rice's vampire novels tend to overlook this book about a family of women with psychic powers and the spirit familiar—or demon—who guides them. A villain at once sinister and deeply alluring, he's what makes this book extraordinary. Rice's prose is always lush, whether she's describing the mansions of New Orleans's Garden District (and instilling in me a lifelong desire to see them) or the swampy plantations of the Old South, but sex has always been one of her specialties, and that's what's truly at stake here: the depth of sexual obsession and the lengths to which we're willing to go for it.

Come Along With Me, by Shirley Jackson. As her biographer, I couldn't make a list like this without including something by Jackson. Of course, The Haunting of Hill House is her best-known work of horror, with good reason. But this posthumously published collection contains a number of lesser known stories that might be just as eerie. In The Beautiful Stranger, a woman greets her husband after a business trip and discovers he's turned into an identical, but different, person. In A Visit, a kind of precursor to Hill House, a girl falls in love with a man only she can see. And The Rock—which Jackson pulled almost verbatim from a diary she kept of her dreams—features another mysterious man who may or may not be human.

What are your favorite "deep" horror novels? Let me know in the comments.


The Dark Half
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The Witching Hour
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Come Along With Me
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See the complete coverage of Horror Week including:
Top 50 Favorite Horror Novels on Goodreads
The Campy, Bizarre World of Paperback Horror
Supernatural Tales and Spooky Folklore


Gather Around for Terrifying Ghost Stories
Posted by Cybil on October 16, 2017

Author Colin Dickey's Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places, takes readers to some of the country's most haunted venues. Here he tells us how he got hooked on a good ghost story, and shares some of his favorite spine-tingling tales.


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I was nine or ten years old, I think, at summer camp, the first time a ghost story really scared the beejezus out of me. We were about to go to sleep, camping out under the stars without tents, and we had begged our counselor for a ghost story.

"We're not allowed to tell ghost stories," he told us. "But we are allowed to tell true stories."

And then he proceeded to terrify us.

I've tried to tell that story a few times since, and no one is much impressed by it; it's pretty hokey, and whenever I confess how scared I was of it the first time I heard it, my friends usually give me a pitying look. But, then, none of them was nine years old under the stars that night; that story made the dome of black sky above us seem so vast, so empty and scary—and also frighteningly close.

The ghost stories I love are those that open up the world into that terrifying, vast and vertiginous space—a place both unsettling and wondrous. In some cases, that opening happens in the realm of psychology: when you momentarily glimpse how strange and unknowable the human mind can be. Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, for example, or Daphne du Maurier's Don't Look Now.

And then there are those ghost stories in which that opening happens physically: When a space you think you know opens up dramatically—literally, in the case of Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves with its ever-expanding suburban house—as well as more subtle forms, as with Wilkie Collins' classic The Haunted Hotel. Or take Ann Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho, which is either a travel memoir masquerading as a ghost story or a ghost story masquerading as a travel memoir—either way, it's about a distant, unknowable world brought near and strange.

Of course ghost stories are often as not about the past, too, and a good ghost will bring back a buried history you've thought was long settled and forgotten—as with Hari Kunzru's recent White Tears. Kunzru takes something as seemingly innocuous as record collecting, the haunting quality of an old blues 78, making that haunting quality literal as those voices from the past emerge into the present and press down upon the novel's hapless protagonists.

Every so often you find a novel that intersects all of these themes—something like Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony. It's not a ghost story in the traditional sense, perhaps, but Silko's story of a Laguna-Pueblo vet struggling with PTSD after World War II deals with how the past and its dark secrets can haunt both the human mind and the land itself. It's got all the ingredients of a great ghost story: A tale that enlarges your understanding of the world even as it makes it strange.


The Turn of the Screw
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Don't Look Now and Other Stories
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The Mysteries of Udolpho
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House of Leaves
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The Haunted Hotel: A Mystery of Modern Venice
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White Tears
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Ceremony
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See the complete coverage of Horror Week including:
Top 50 Favorite Horror Novels on Goodreads
The Campy, Bizarre World of Paperback Horror
Supernatural Tales and Spooky Folklore