Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Books (and Stories) to Get Into the Halloween Spirit!

It's been a minute (ok, months) since I participated in Top Ten Tuesday, but today's theme -- Top Ten to Get Into the Halloween Spirit -- is just too good to pass up.

Below is a mixed bag of children's/middle grade and grown-up books for getting into the Halloween spirit.


Halloween Night written by Marjorie Dennis Murray and illustrated by Brandon Dorman
See a preview HERE.

This is by far my favorite Halloween picture book. Brandon Dorman is a kickass illustrator (go visit his site), and the pictures in this book will blow you away. The odd perspectives make each and every page so engrossing to explore. Greyson, my two-and-a-half year old, agrees.


Ghostsitters by Angie Sage (part of the Araminta Spookie series)
It's been a while, but this one was a lot of fun -- the illustrations are cute and the story is simple and straightforward. It's marketed for the 7-10 year old set, so it's perfect for read-aloud with the kiddos or a quick afternoon read for the grownups. It reminded me a bit of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events (but less unfortunate).


Magic Trixie written and illustrated by Jill Thompson
This is an illustrated book for children ages 8-12. It's a lightning-fast read at under 100 pages, and the illustrations are definitely the highlight. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!


Now on with the grown-up books! 

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Stephen King's progeny scares the crap out of me. This book didn't have the best ending in the world, but the journey was certainly worth it. There was one particular scene that left me reeling and disturbed. It's not easy to do! I would also recommend Hill's short story collection, 20th Century Ghosts. Awesome. 


House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This book will eat your brain. It's one of those meta books that has footnotes and supposedly real things and found pieces and MADNESS. Oh. so. crazy. Who knew a knock on the door could be scary? 


Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates
Maybe not what you'd expect to see on this list. This is a dark, academic novella that left me feeling as if I needed a shower. It falls on the realistic side of scary. 


The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
If you've been reading this blog for more than five minutes, you knew this would show up on the list. While many readers did not find this book scary in our recent RIP VII readalong, it terrified me. It's a slow build and largely psychological. Those are the things that go bump in my night.


Affinity by Sarah Waters
More Waters??! Why, yes! I think I should. Last week when I was deciding what to pick up next for RIP VII, I decided on this previously abandoned book. Life got in the way! This one is full of creepy spiritualists and a yucky prison. Love!

And what would my list be without some short stories??? I love them all the time, but especially when they're short and Halloweeny.


"Rose of Fire" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
While I was not totally enamored of Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, it was fun to revisit the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in this story. It's a very quick, free read, and it tells how the labyrinth came to be.


"Bloodchild" by Octavia Butler
Last but certainly not least, a short story that really made me think. It falls into the sf category, its themes are disturbing, but thought-provoking. Just do yourself a favor and read it. Butler rules. 

26 comments:

  1. I forgot about children's books! One of those books from Troll or Scholastic (you know the book orders at school) was my very favorite Halloween book as a kid. I think it was called JOEY THE JACK O'LATERN.

    I just bought HALLOWEEN NIGHT this year for my daughter. I love that it is a spin off of "It was the night before Christmas and all through the house . . ."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jessica, the children's books were actually the first ones to come to mind!!! Not sure why, but they stuck out far more than the adult choices. Probably because I've read so many that are DARN CUTE the last few years. :D

      And I love that part of Halloween Night, too. So adorbs.

      Delete
  2. I didn't know Rose of Fire existed- very cool! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enjoy, Christine!!! I can't remember who I found out about it. Nice, quick way to pass a few minutes reading. :)

      Delete
  3. I have been wanting to read The Little Stranger for a while. It looks super creepy!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great list! I remember I wanted to read The Little Stranger a while back, but then I totally forgot about it. I'll have to check it out sometime. (Or at least write down the title this time!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, Kathleen. I'm bad about that myself. Here's hoping you can get to it soon and that you love it as much as I did!

      Delete
  5. You just added quite a few titles to my TBR stack. And I think my son will really like the Ghostsitters book. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enjoy!!! Your son will love it. :D

      Delete
  6. Oh, I forgot that Beasts in my tbr pile! Willl try and make some time for it before the month is over...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to remind you of it, JoAnn! Oates is SOOOO good at the creepy/oppressive atmosphere.

      Delete
  7. No King? I like some of the less traditional picks! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebecca, I haven't read King in so so so long! I tried IT recently but was too brain drained. Before that, it's probably been almost 15 years since I read his stuff.

      Delete
  8. I have Heart-Shaped Box on my list to and I almost included House of Leaves on there, but it is just one of those books, that despite liking it, I just didn't have any words. Great list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!!! Heart-Shaped Box is just so good -- though I thought 20th Century Ghosts was even better. Joe Hill is a young master. Love it!

      Delete
  9. I saw Heart-Shaped Box pop up on so many lists today! I guess that means I need to read it. I agree with both Waters books too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do it, do it!!! I hope you like Heart-Shaped Box and Waters rules. I totally love her.

      Delete
  10. Great list! That Joe Hill. He scares the pants off me, just like his daddy.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'll have to see if I can find some of those children's books for my kids! I have Heart-Shaped box (for the adults) and The Little Stranger, both still unread but not because I don't want to read them! It's fun to see them on your Hallowe'en top 10 list.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree with you about Joe Hill. Heart-Shaped Box scared the crap out of me!! The ending was a bit of a letdown, but man, oh man, those opening chapters... Eeeeeek!!!!! Horns is also a good one.

    I'm still enjoying The Little Stranger, but so far it's not giving me the creeps. I wonder if it's a case of print vs. audio, although I have no complaints about the reader (whose name is lost to me a the moment).

    Danielewski has a new book out called The Fifty Year Sword, which looks intriguing. I'm going to give it a more thorough look today.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I so need to read more of Octavia Butler. I don't do scary very well though, it stays in my head for too long after I'm done with the book!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love the mix of children and adult books! I haven't read any of these, but I will definitely look some of them up especially The Little Stranger.

    ReplyDelete
  15. When my kids were little I bought books for every holiday, they were just part of the decorations. It was so fun to bring them out every year and I still keep them for someday grandchildren. I'm going to have to add the ones you've got here to the box - those grandkids better plan to be around a lot! I can't believe The Little Stranger didn't scare people more - the not knowing if it was the house or one of the people scared me as much as anything.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Heart Shaped Box is the one that I am choosing for this Halloween. I loved Horns, and highly recommend it, if you haven't read it already. I have a few of these others on my shelves as well. Lots of good selections here.

    ReplyDelete
  17. HAHAHAHA. I tried to read House of Leaves SOOOO many times after hearing you and (somebody? Deena?) rave on and on about it at BookCrazy. Seriously, has there ever been a more exhausting novel? (And no, I never made it to the end.)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I respond to comments individually by e-mail and/or here on the site. I value community above all else in blogging, and talking with you all is the highlight of my blogging day!