October Reads

We’re officially a week into the best damned month of the year, and you know what that means?

TIME FOR AMAZING BOOKS AND MOVIES is what that means. Also food, but don’t talk to me about pumpkin spice. The explosion of pumpkin spice everything was too tempting, and I’ve burned myself out. Give me leaf smoke, crisp apples, hot cider, and maaaaybe the scent of a jack o’lantern…but no pumpkin spice. Please.

ANYWAY. Halloween reads. Hopefully some of these are new and foreign. There are more than a few classics on my list, but they belong there for a reason. So let’s get to them.

First up…

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Okay. This book. THIS BOOK. HOLY WOW. I read this in the fall of ’10, and I couldn’t stop because it was just that amazing. I wasn’t entirely sold on Isobel as the narrator at first, but she really won me over. The dynamic between Isobel and Varen is FREAKING DELIGHTFUL, and the underlying plot is…wow. Creagh takes the fantastical hypothesis of “what if Poe’s stories were actually his record of a sinister dream world” and spins a really powerful story. The climax goes down at a masquerade (!) on Halloween (!!) and the Masque of the Red Death is involved (!!!). There are so many reasons you should read this book if you haven’t already. Please do yourself this favor immediately.

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I’m gonna switch things up a little with a classic. Ray Bradbury is the king of Halloween. There are so many stories and books I could list here by him, but this one is my all-time favorite, and I’ve read it over and over again. I first discovered it in my school library when I was a wee thing, only seven years old, and as I was a terribly spooky child, it immediately became my very favorite book ever. A gaggle of boys and Death himself go on an adventure through time, unraveling the history of Halloween as they search for a lost friend. All the sensory, seasonal details are here, and Bradbury is in top lyrical form. I cannot praise this book enough. Just read the first chapter, and you’ll be in the Halloween spirit. I promise.

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I just can’t get away with making a favorite books list without adding Brenna Yovanoff. Her books are always dark, dark, dark–damaged characters, tragic relationships, terrifying villains, and almost always a grisly murder or two. This one’s no different. Mackie is both funny and heartbreaking, and the town itself is CRAZY creepy. If the plot and characters don’t do it for you, the writing itself will. Brenna Yovanoff’s writing is BRILLIANT stuff, absolutely gorgeous. If you don’t read it now, stick it on the list. THE SPACE BETWEEN is also a good choice, but THE REPLACEMENT features some insanely fantastic October scenes you will never forget.

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Be forewarned: Poppy Z. Brite is a visceral experience, and this book will make your gut churn at some point or another. It’s not for the faint of heart, or the easily offended. Pretty much every taboo subject is here, and PZB does not pull punches. I read this at fourteen, and it was a hard and fast introduction to the seedier side of life. That said…I LOVED IT WITH ALL MY HEART. And I still love this book. PZB was one of my early influences, and this was the book that made me scream “I WILL BE A WRITER!” because it had everything my little goth heart could dream of. Crazy awesome Halloween sequences, lots of absinthe, and more sex, blood, and drugs than I could have ever imagined. This book is not for everyone, but it is one of my favorites, especially around this time of year.

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There’s no way I could list a bunch of YA titles on here without mentioning this one. This is my all-time favorite Maggie book, because it has a decidedly autumnal feel, and the climax is centered around Halloween. There are fairies, a really painful love triangle, and one of the snarkiest, cleverest characters Maggie Stiefvater has ever written. I LOVE James. I miss him dearly. And I don’t know if she’ll ever finish this series, but I can hope, right? In the meantime, I’ll just read this book for the thirteenth time and get myself into the Halloween spirit.

So. There’s my list. Hopefully there are some new and delectable things on there. Please feel free to share your favorites as well! I’m always looking for more Halloween reads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. I’ll be posting my top five Halloween movies next week, so stay tuned!

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