Books

5 Spooky Reads for Halloween

todayOctober 18, 2022 35 1

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By Sofia Psolka
Web Content Contributor

With a cold front and Halloween right around the corner, there is no better time to curl up with your fuzzy blanket, hot cup of whatever-have-you in hand, and a monstrous tale in the other. I’ve perused the darkest corners of my bookshelves to compile a list of diverse formats to suit your thrill of choice. With no further ado, put your best ambient thunderstorm lo-fi playlist on queue, switch on your reading lamps (lock your doors) and get ready to be immersed in supernatural realms.

For the Faint of Heart

  • “The House on the Cerulean Sea” by T.J. Klune

If you’re looking for a feel-good, light-hearted tale, while still involving the anti-christ, “The House on the Cerulean Sea” is a cozy fit. Linus Baker is a middle-aged queer man working a monotonous 9-to-5 job for DICOMY: Department in Charge of Magical Youth. Living alone with his mischievous cat, Calliope, Linus believes he has it made, until he gets a new job assignment; Linus is told he must watch over an orphanage in the middle of the sea to report on its conditions—especially on its mysterious caretaker and the peculiar children it keeps.

Linus takes great pride in his work, but this house is nothing like the ones he’s been to before…

Themes of prejudice, love and loss, found family and transformation (in more than a metaphorical manner) are the heart of this novel.

A volume of “Something is Killing the Children” is held open by a pumpkin, on the left-hand page. The double page spread reads the title in white all-caps on a black background.
Bone chilling title page.

For the Dark Academia readers

  • “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde

An essential read for all those longing to be insufferably literary, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a perfect gateway.

One day, Dorian Gray sits for his portrait to be painted. He has always been a conventionally attractive man, but upon seeing his picture he becomes obsessed with his appearance and strikes a deal with the devil: that the picture bear all the corruption of time, while he remains beautiful forever. However, beauty cannot hide the darkness lurking behind the frame.

Themes of aestheticism, a Faustian bargain, gender identity, and ethics are all stained within the bookbinding covers. If Victorian language and analysis is your vibe, this book will prepare you for the next philosophical debate: Is beauty worth more than morality?

  • “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess

Arguably one of the most depraved pieces of literature -at least out of the ones I’ve read- “A Clockwork Orange” will make you terrified of a world run by teenagers.

Alex and his “droogs” roam the streets of dystopic London, wreaking havoc on anyone and anything that passes them. One night of “horror show” goes horribly wrong for Alex after he is set up and arrested for breaking and entering. Serving time in prison, Alex has the opportunity of an early release on the condition that he completes an experimental correctional behavioral therapy process. However, the methods “correct” Alex into something he can’t bear.

Burgess, like Wilde, prompts philosophical debate over the nature of man: is evil as important as good, to make a person? If you can’t stomach the visual elements of Stanley Kubrick’s movie adaptation and want to experience Burgess’s unique use of slang, give this challenging read a try.

The volume is held open. Left-hand page features an illustration of the main characters of “Dissolving Classroom”. Chizumi looms, up and center, over a classroom setting as Yuuma is dwarfed on the right-hand side. One of their classmates wears a concerned expression on the bottom left.
Chizumi hunting for brains!

For the Thrill Seekers Too Scared of the Theater Screen

  • “Something is Killing the Children” written by James Tynioin IV illustrated by Werther Dell’Edera

What starts out as a boys’ night goes horribly wrong after a game of “truth or dare” sends them to their deaths, swallowed by a monstrous being in the forest. It is up to monster slayer Erica Slaughter to defeat this creature and save the children of Archer’s Peak.

Dynamic use of color, light and shadow tied with an empowered female protagonist is some of the reason why “Something is Killing the Children” has won Eisner Awards three years in a row. If you’ve been trying to find a new series to follow—and you’re feeling brave—check this one out!

  • “Dissolving Classroom” by Juni Ito

Two twisted siblings, Yuuma and Chizumi, bring hell to every room they enter, in this series of short stories. The younger sister, Chizumi, has a terrifying demeanor and slurps brain matter as her beverage of choice and older brother, Yuuma, has an unhealthy obsession with the occult, making this pair utterly horrifying.

This early collection from famous Japanese mangaka Junji Ito (“Gyo”, “Uzumaki”) will make you squirm and question the sanity of the artist behind the pen. If body horror is your choice of poison, give Ito’s volumes a flip through.

Written by: Hannah Walls

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