The clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in so it must be time to curl up with a book! It’s Hallowe’en (sorry, I’m a pedant when it comes to this particular apostrophe) this Wednesday. 1st November is All Saints Day, the day we remember the dead. The night before was traditionally All Hallows’ Even, which has got shortened over the years. My attachment to the apostrophe spelling stems from a preference for the original festival rather than the saccharin, plasticised, commercialised, trick-or-treat dominated version that has taken over. I say this as a mother of three teenagers who went along with it all for many years, so no criticism at all intended (though I’m afraid I could NEVER bring myself to accept murdered schoolgirl costumes which still appal me).
However, not to be a party pooper, I thought you might you might like some Hallowe’en reading suggestions. Ghosty, spooky, scary books. Here are a few that I thought of:
- The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters – a poltergeist in an old manor house terrorises the inhabitants!
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – dramatised brilliantly for television earlier this year, a legal drama but with the spectral presence of Anne Catherick.
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – there will be a few of these knocking on my door next week no doubt. A brilliant, gory, scary book.
- The Shining by Stephen King – or anything by Stephen King really! Great movie too.
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt – still one of my favourite novels ever. Less about ghosts and ghouls, more about death, rituals and a dysfunctional coterie held together by a shared dark secret. If you liked The Blair Witch Project you’ll love this.
- Dracula by Bram Stoker – well, obviously!
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – this Edwardian novella ticks all the boxes – ghosts, orphans, wicked uncles, country houses – and is the perfect length for the time-pressed who want a scare!
I hope you like these suggestions. I’d love to hear yours. I can’t bring myself to say ‘Happy Hallowe’en’ (really?) but I’ll enjoy the cold, the dark, the treats, the pumpkins, the candles and the small skeletons knocking on the door.
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