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Halloween theme read

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 3:54am Top

Welcome to the 2017 Halloween Read! I've selected ten categories to choose from and have posted examples of books which could fit in them. The categories are broad and books may easily fit in several places. As always, feel free to share with us what you are reading and to make suggestions for others. Happy reading!

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 3:01am Top

Forbidden Knowledge: Banned, Challenged, and Censored Books

Banned Books Week is September 24-30 so why not celebrate by thumbing your nose at the would-be censors and read a book they've tried to suppress?

The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series by Alvin Schwartz
The Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 3:01am Top

Forgotten Lore: Books which have been on your To Read list for over a year

If you're like me your tbr stack is roughly the size of Olympus Mons. Put down the shiny new book and dust off something you've been meaning to read for ages.

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 3:10am Top

Creatures Void of Form: Hauntings, Possessions, and Other Intangible Horrors

A category for haunted houses, demonic possessions, and the like. If the horror is incorporeal, then this is the category for it.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons
Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite
Satan: His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S. by Jeremy Leven
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 3:31am Top

Monster Mash: Vampires, Mummies, Werewolves, etc.

For all of the monsters with a physical form.

Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
The Quick by Lauren Owen

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 3:53am Top

Fun Size: Short Works

Short story collections, novellas, poetry or anything under 250 pages.

A Song for Quiet by Cassandra Khaw
The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
The Book of Cthulhu 2 edited by Ross E. Lockhart
Love in Vein edited by Poppy Z. Brite
Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 4:25am Top

It's the End of the World as We Know It: Apocalypse/Post-apocalypse

Not dystopian. Yes, there's a difference. Post-apocalyptic works deal with the complete destruction of civilization after some cataclysmic event; there may be little pockets of society left in the ruins, but it's basically Fury Road out there. Dystopian works deal with oppressive societies; people may be mindless drones serving Big Brother, but civilization still exists.

tl;dr: Dystopian=The Hunger Games, Post-apocalyptic=The Road

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
Walk to the End of the World by Suzy McKee Charnas
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (I know it seems out of place, but it's about trying to prevent a Biblical apocalypse so it totally counts)

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 3:52am Top

Late Night Double Feature Picture Show: Made into a Movie or TV Series

It by Stephen King
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
The Hellblazer series
Cabal by Clive Barker
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (The new TV series is actually pretty good.)

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 8:09pm Top

I Believe the Children Are Our Future: Creepy Kids

Spawns of Satan, homicidal toddlers, and other uncanny offspring.

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Omen by David Seltzer
The Bad Seed by William March
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 4:10am Top

Sometimes They Come Back...Again: Sequels and Series

Anything which is part of a series or has/is a sequel.

Son of Rosemary by Ira Levin
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Repairman Jack series by F. Paul Wilson
The Gods & Monsters series
The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch

Sep 23, 2017, 4:14am Top

Sep 23, 2017, 10:48am Top

Thanks for setting this up, Amanda! I love that you went with categories. I know I will be reading some of the Mercy Thompson books, which would fit in either The Monster Mash or the Sometimes They Come Back category. And your list of possible candidates is reminding me that I have The Quick on the shelves, so maybe that one as well.

Sep 23, 2017, 1:12pm Top

Oh, this is great! I love the categories. Now I need a minute to sort out what I want to pick...

Sep 23, 2017, 1:18pm Top

I love the categories, too! I plan to read a Washington Irving collection of ghost stories, including "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".

Sep 23, 2017, 4:01pm Top

Thanks for making this! I'll have to check my shelves and see what would fit

Sep 23, 2017, 7:24pm Top

>13 Crazymamie: Oh, Mercy Thompson is a favorite of mine!

>14 drneutron: Deciding what to read next is an important task that should never be rushed.

>15 jnwelch: Washington Irving is an author of always meant to read more of. Do let us know how the book is.

>16 ChelleBearss: Let us know what you find!

Sep 25, 2017, 12:11pm Top

Good categories! I've started my Halloween reading a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed Horrorstor. It's a modern haunted house story, as it takes place in an IKEA type of store.
For the "Creepy Kids" category, I've just finished Mapping the Interior.
>15 jnwelch: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite Halloween stories, along with The Devil and Daniel Webster. Hope you enjoy it!

Sep 25, 2017, 1:42pm Top

>8 amanda4242: I jumped the gun and already finished my first: The Girl with all the Gifts. Post-apocalyptic US. Loved it!! Not just the traditional gore-filled scary book; but also about what does it mean to be human and cross-species relationships. A real page-turner!!

Sep 25, 2017, 4:26pm Top

>18 mstrust: Horrorstor looks like fun! I'll have to see if I can get a copy from the library.

>19 Berly: That's a great one! I'm not usually big on zombies, but I really liked Cary's take on them. The movie wasn't bad either.

Edited: Sep 25, 2017, 5:06pm Top

I've finished my first Halloween read of the season, Grady Hendrix's Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s. Written with snarky humor, but a genuine affection for the subject, Hendrix looks at the trends in horror fiction during its heyday. It was interesting to see how social issues were reflected in the genre: test-tube babies kicking off a wave of evil children books, environmental concerns unleashing plagues of nature themed horror, televangelists beating the pulpit leading to splatterpunk. The book is illustrated with plenty of reproductions of lurid book covers, and there are several spotlights on the cover artists. Heartily recommended.

Sep 25, 2017, 4:58pm Top

>21 amanda4242: Want! I saw that it was coming out a few days ago and it looks like a lot of fun. Glad you liked it!

Sep 25, 2017, 5:11pm Top

>19 Berly:
>20 amanda4242:

I also liked Girl with all the gifts. I'm planning to read the new companion novel Boy on the bridge set in that same world.

Sep 25, 2017, 5:28pm Top

>22 mstrust: I was anxiously awaiting it myself.

>23 nrmay: Is that a sequel, prequel, or just in the same world?

Sep 25, 2017, 5:30pm Top

>23 nrmay: >24 amanda4242: The Boy on the Bridge -- A sideline prequel is how it is described. I want to read it, too!

Sep 25, 2017, 5:42pm Top

>25 Berly: Ah, thanks.

Sep 26, 2017, 8:33am Top

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Sep 27, 2017, 10:57am Top

My attempt to track the categories:

Forbidden Knowledge: Banned, Challenged, and Censored Books

Forgotten Lore: Books which have been on your To Read list for over a year

Creatures Void of Form: Hauntings, Possessions, and Other Intangible Horrors

Monster Mash: Vampires, Mummies, Werewolves, etc.
Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel

True Tales of Terror: Non-Fiction

Fun Size: Short Works

It's the End of the World as We Know It: Apocalypse/Post-apocalypse

Late Night Double Feature Picture Show: Made into a Movie or TV Series

I Believe the Children Are Our Future: Creepy Kids

Sometimes They Come Back...Again: Sequels and Series
Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel

Edited: Sep 30, 2017, 11:30am Top

I have decided on a few Halloween reads. These I have available to me but we will see how many I can get to this month.

Dan Simmons Song of Kali
Christopher Buehlman Suicide Motor Club
John Langan The Fisherman
Samantha Hunt Mr. Splitfoot
Joe Hill Fireman

I wanted to read The Woman in Black by Susan Hill but I can't find a copy right now :(

Sep 30, 2017, 12:16pm Top

I've finished Rosemary's Baby. Excellent read. For me, there was little that I'd call "scary". Those came in very brief moments, though throughout the book is a sense of great apprehension.

Sep 30, 2017, 8:35pm Top

>28 drneutron: I didn't know Strange Practice is part of a series. I don't know why I'm surprised as it seems everything these days is.

>29 ChelleBearss: Mr. Splitfoot has been on my tbr stack for a while. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

>30 mstrust: I didn't find Rosemary's Baby particularly scary either, although I remember being horrified at how no one ever listened to her. Mostly, I think I just found the idea of all those geriatric Satanists amusing.

Edited: Sep 30, 2017, 8:47pm Top

On to scary book #2: The Grip of It by Jac Jemc, a new release in August...

From the back jacket:

"...a stunning, smart genuinely creepy page-turner that I couldn't put down. It's got depth, thrills, twists, and great writing. One of the few haunted-house stories that sticks the landing." Jeff VanderMeer, author of The Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne (I have only read the latter and I loved it!)

Oct 1, 2017, 5:54pm Top

>31 amanda4242: Second one's called Bad Company, supposedly out later this year.

Oct 2, 2017, 12:07pm Top

I've just started The Grip of It too.

Oct 2, 2017, 2:06pm Top

>34 mstrust: Let me know when you finish so we can compare notes...

Oct 2, 2017, 3:27pm Top

>35 Berly: Absolutely!

Oct 4, 2017, 5:55pm Top

I've been busy reading and knocked out a few more Halloween reads.

Monster Mash
A Small Charred Face by Kazuki Sakuraba: Three connected stories centering on a species of Chinese vampires and their interactions with humans. The first story, about two vampires raising a human child, is the strongest, but the other two aren't bad.

Forbidden Knowledge
The Witches by Roald Dahl, read by Miranda Richardson: A childhood favorite that really holds up well. Richardson did a great job reading it, imbuing the Grand High Witch with a chilling malevolence.

I Believe the Children Are Our Future
The Omen by David Seltzer: Shockingly good for a novelization--probably because Seltzer also wrote the screenplay.

Fun Size
Tam O'Shanter by Robert Burns: Tam stumbles upon a group of witches while he's riding home one night. I found it a wonderful poem...once I deciphered the dialect.

Oct 5, 2017, 9:31am Top

Creatures Void of Form:
Outcast: a darkness surrounds him by Robert Kirkman
Demonic possession is real and the solution to it may be within Kyle Barnes.

Oct 5, 2017, 10:38am Top

I finished Frost Burned (a reread for me) and have started Night Broken (another reread) - books 7 and 8 in the fabulous Mercy Thompson series, so they fit in the Sometimes TheyCome Back category or in the Monster Mash. And I read Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, which I would tag as dystopian, but they are making a movie of it, so it fits in the Late Night Double Feature category.

Oct 6, 2017, 12:14pm Top

>39 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie. I'm another fan of that Mercy Thompson series. I just read the newest one, Silence Fallen, and I'm stuck waiting for the next one. I should think about doing some re-reads.

Oct 6, 2017, 12:34pm Top

>40 jnwelch: Night Broken will be my last reread, and then I will dive into Fire Touched and Silence Broken, which will bring me current in the series. Craig has already read both of them, of course.

Oct 6, 2017, 12:42pm Top

I finished Scary Stories for Campfires a few days ago. It's a slim book of legends and supernatural "true" stories of America and the U.K.. The stories are short and it would be right for pre-teen age.
I'm halfway through The Grip Of It and also reading an Alfred Hitchcock collection of short stories.

Oct 6, 2017, 2:29pm Top

Hi! I'm a bit late to this thread but am enjoying all the suggestions and love the category titles you came up with, Amanda. I'm currently reading Down Among the Sticks and Bones, prequel to the Hugo award winning novella Every Heart a Doorway. I'd say it fits into four categories: Monster Mash, Fun Size, Creepy Kids, AND Sometimes They Come Back. Pretty impressive for one novella!

Edited: Oct 8, 2017, 2:52pm Top

I started my first Halloween (re)read Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. I'm not sure it fits into a category.

It almost fits into #2 since it's been on my Reread list for several years now.

With angels, and demons and God and Satan, as well as Agnes, it might fit into #4 - creatures void of form, but it lacks a bit of terror.

Ah well, I'm listening to it even if it doesn't quite fit. I only wish Neil Gaiman was reading the audio!

Oct 8, 2017, 3:20pm Top

>44 streamsong: Janet, Amanda actually listed that one as an example in the It's the End of the World as We Know It: Apocalypse/Post-apocalypse category up there in >8 amanda4242:, so you are good to go!

Oct 8, 2017, 6:45pm Top

>38 Deedledee: I've been on the lookout for possession stories so I'll have to see if my library has that one.

>43 Storeetllr: I wouldn't say you're late so much as the rest of us were early!

>44 streamsong: Good Omens absolutely fits in under Apocalypse/Post-apocalypse--I actually worded the category that way so it would qualify!

Oct 8, 2017, 7:40pm Top

>45 Crazymamie: >46 amanda4242: Thanks! I totally missed that! Fun read, great to revisit it.

Oct 9, 2017, 11:17am Top

I finished The Grip Of It and liked it. It's tense. The author sets it up to be a haunted house story, but then the couple who buy the house go from rational people to disjointed thinking and paranoia.

Oct 9, 2017, 11:52pm Top

Just yesterday finished my first Halloween read: The Businessman: A Tale of Terror by Thomas M. Disch. Very fine (reviewed on my thread). It would fit into the series niche, since it's the first of a quartet. Currently working on The Greater Trumps by Charles Williams (creature void of form, I think) and The Brotherhood of the Wheel, R.S. Belcher (children are our future).

Oct 10, 2017, 11:45am Top

Last night I finished my first Halloween read The Fisherman by John Langan. Delightfully creepy!
I think I will start The Woman in Black tonight

Edited: Oct 10, 2017, 12:20pm Top

Quick update:

Forbidden Knowledge: Banned, Challenged, and Censored Books
The Exorcist

Forgotten Lore: Books which have been on your To Read list for over a year
The Exorcist
On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears
Unnatural Creatures

Creatures Void of Form: Hauntings, Possessions, and Other Intangible Horrors
The Exorcist

Monster Mash: Vampires, Mummies, Werewolves, etc.
Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel

True Tales of Terror: Non-Fiction
On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears

Fun Size: Short Works
Unnatural Creatures

It's the End of the World as We Know It: Apocalypse/Post-apocalypse

Late Night Double Feature Picture Show: Made into a Movie or TV Series
The Exorcist

I Believe the Children Are Our Future: Creepy Kids
The Exorcist

Sometimes They Come Back...Again: Sequels and Series
Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel

Oct 10, 2017, 12:26pm Top

In non-fiction, I've finished The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion. It's very thoroughly researched with interviews with many of the imagineers who worked on the attraction with Disney. It also explains nearly all the special effects. The author's style can be a bit dry, but the amount of information made up for it.

Edited: Oct 23, 2017, 5:23pm Top

So far, my spooky reads have included:

Behind Her Eyes (A) by Sarah Pinborough 4.5
We Have Always Lived in the Castle (160 pages) by Shirley Jackson 4.5
The Girl with all the Gifts (403 pages) by M.R. Carey 4.5--loved it!!
The Grip of It (276 pages) by Jac Jemc 3.0
McSweeney's Issue 35 Short Stories (Oct Obama Read) 4.0 so far...
--Phantoms, (20 pages) by Steven Millhauser
--The Ceiling (12 pages) by Kevin Brockmeier
--The Bees (19 pages) by Dan Choan
The Doll's Alphabet by Camilla Gudova 2.0

And coming up:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Oct 16, 2017, 5:33pm Top

I'm not much one for zombies, but I'm about halfway thru the audio of The Girl with All the Gifts and am absolutely loving it! Thanks so much for the tip, Berly!

Oct 16, 2017, 9:55pm Top

>54 Storeetllr: I, too, am listening to The Girl With All the Gifts and enjoying it - also thanks to Kim!

And I finished a reread of Practical Magic, which I love. Hoping to get to the recently released prequel The Rules of Magic very soon.

Oct 16, 2017, 10:34pm Top

I Believe the Children Are Our Future

Finished The boy on the bridge by M.R. Carey and I liked it just as much as Girl with all the gifts!

Oct 17, 2017, 12:12am Top

I've read The Walking Dead novel, The Fall of The Governor: Part One and a John Bellairs called Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost. I'm currently reading Fat Vampire by Adam Rex, about a fifteen year old who is attacked by a vampire in the Poconos and cursed to be chubby and awkward for eternity.

Oct 17, 2017, 2:32pm Top

>56 nrmay: Oh! Frabjous day! So excited that there's another book after Girl With All the Gifts! Thanks for that info!

Oct 17, 2017, 3:28pm Top

Tor.com has free downloads of Ruthanna Emrys’ Lovecraftian Winter Tide when you signup for their monthly newsletter. It's available worldwide until 12 PM EST on October 20th.

Oct 19, 2017, 3:43pm Top

I've read a few of The Walking Dead graphics in a row, and I'm starting a book of short horror stories by Daphne Du Maurier.

Oct 19, 2017, 4:50pm Top

I'm about 2/3 through Bird Box. Enjoying it tho not as much as The Girl With All the Gifts, which was outstanding!

Oct 21, 2017, 2:22am Top

I'm 2/3 of the way through October, and haven't started a scary book yet for the Halloween read. I must find something . . .

Oct 21, 2017, 7:02pm Top

I have Skeleton in the family by Leigh Perry ready to pick up at the library.

Oct 23, 2017, 4:57pm Top

In non-fiction, I've read Shock Value: How A Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror. A good study of the small budget horror films, like "Halloween" and "Night of the Living Dead", that had major impacts.

Oct 23, 2017, 5:15pm Top

So glad everyone is liking The Girl With All the Gifts and that there is another for me to read: The Boy on the Bridge!

Now I am going to save you all the trouble:

I read about 2/3 of the short stories in The Doll's Alphabet and they are just plain weird. They start off weird and they stay that way. Without explanation or depth. There are recurring themes: births gone wrong, sewing machines, empty shops, wax, sardines, and people who's body types are outside the norms -- very short, excessively fat, almost albino. Grudova is very good at painting pictures: I could see the people and the places. But I wanted to know the why of the situation and that never came.

The book has a chapter with the same name as the book title. In entirety, it says:

The Doll's Alphabet has eleven letters.


There are two other reviews. One gave it 1/2 stars. One gave it 5. I'd give it a 2.

Oct 23, 2017, 5:22pm Top

Also finished Behind Her Eyes on audio and it was another great read. A love triangle gone truly wrong. Louise has just had a fantastic date with a man she met at the bar. He turns out to be her new boss and she is friends with his wife! Awkward. Can't say too much about how it fits into the October theme, but it does! Loved the audio with all the Scottish and British accents. 4.5 stars

Oct 23, 2017, 6:43pm Top

I'm about to start Sleepy Hollow and Other Short Stories for this challenge.

Edited: Oct 27, 2017, 2:11pm Top

Creatures Void of Form
Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand: Neat little ghost story written as interviews with a band forty years after they stayed in a haunted house. Not scary, but Hand did a good job of keeping a low level of suspense throughout.

Forgotten Lore
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham: Dated and not terribly well written.

Sometimes They Come Back...Again
It Devours!: A Welcome to Night Vale Novel by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor, read by Cecil Baldwin: Loved it! Much stronger storytelling than the first novel, and we finally get to meet the Smiling God!

Oct 30, 2017, 10:24am Top

I finished my reread (actually a re-listen this time) of Good Omens and loved it.

I've now started another audiobook: Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection which are poems and short stories read by Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone. Perfect! I'm currently listening to The Fall of the House of Usher. I've heard about this one forever but never read it.

It looks like there is an interesting documentary about Poe on PBS tonight (Monday).


Oct 30, 2017, 2:09pm Top

About halfway through The Boy on the Bridge, which is almost as good as The Girl With All the Gifts, and that was excellent!

Oct 30, 2017, 2:57pm Top

I read Greener Pastures, a collection of eerie short stories. I liked the title story, about two spooked truck drivers who meet in a lonely truck stop diner and discuss the disappearance of a third trucker, to be the best. I skipped over the last 1/3 of one of the stories because bad stuff was happening to dogs, and I found some of the stories to be too vague to be creepy.
Now I'm finishing the month with an Alfred Hitchcock book of short stories called Let It All Bleed Out.

Oct 30, 2017, 2:59pm Top

>69 streamsong: Yes, I've been looking forward to that for weeks! Denis O' Hare + Poe = must watch.

Oct 30, 2017, 3:56pm Top

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other Stories was well-written, particularly in evoking the local landscape and animal and plant life, but not particularly creepy or scary. Made me think of Turn of the Screw for some reason, which was much creepier.

Edited: Oct 31, 2017, 10:20pm Top

I managed to sneak in one more Halloween read, Tade Thompson's The Murders of Molly Southbourne. In this excellent novella we follow Molly as she navigates life with a horrible condition: every time she bleeds, a murderous doppelganger is born from her blood.

Happy Halloween!

Oct 31, 2017, 11:22pm Top

Well, the only rather Halloween-ish book I managed to complete, Revival by Stephen King, really doesn't quite fit any of the categories. I guess the "intangible horror" category works OK.

I'm also in the midst of Paranormal State by Ryan Buell, which might fit the "True Tales of Terror" category and definitely the "forgotten lore" category. (It's backward from the "made into TV" category -- the book came after the TV show!) Also just started Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, which is clearly Gothic, but I haven't figured out where it's going yet to try to put it in a category.

Edited: Oct 31, 2017, 11:48pm Top

Trick or Treat!

Nov 1, 2017, 2:11pm Top

I read "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hollows", a short story by Diana Gabaldon from her collection Seven Stones to Stand or Fall.

Nov 2, 2017, 1:46pm Top

On Halloween night, I finished The Boy on the Bridge, a novel contemporaneous with The Girl With All the Gifts, except with all different characters until the very end. Oh, so good! It ties everything up in a very satisfying way. I gave both book a 5-star rating, and I do not even like zombie stories!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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