‘Tis the season for scaring your socks off, and what better way to do that than with the good ol’ book? Though there are more horror books than you could ever hope to read nowadays, some of us are less inclined to seek out the many terrifying things that can lurk between the binders. Everyone has a preference when it comes to the level of horror they are willing to put up with around Halloween, and today Bookstr has your back.
Here are 10 not-so-scary books that you can enjoy this Halloween season:
Houses (at least our own) are places that we typically feel at ease. They are the one part of the world where we can be ourselves without fear. They separate the wild and unruly outside world from our inner order. That reversed expectation is part of what makes Christina Lauren’s novel The House just the right amount scary. Imagine that someone you love resides in a house that is not exactly good for them, not only that it is changing them in paranormal ways. The setup is equal parts scary and equal parts emotionally compelling.
Mysteries are a bridge between horror and other less-frightening genres, making them the perfect Halloween compromise. On the plus side, this story features a monster, as noted in the title. The thing that makes horror, well, horrifying may be the depth of the unknown that pertains to the paranormal; however, you can rest assured that a mystery is going to demystify whatever is causing you the creeps. Once that happens, you can sleep soundly…usually.
There is something intriguing about the archetypal author who spends their life immersed in their own stories. That intrigue is magnified when a pinch of horror is inserted. The story revolves around the author Vida Winter and the biographer Margaret Lea as they embark on a deep collaborative exploration of the former’s last story, which has consequences on them both. If you’re interested in a whimsical Halloween tale as opposed to the straightforward monster, ghost, or serial killer, Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale is a perfect read.
Who says Halloween is only about being scary. Humor can stand well amid horror (there’s a genre called horror comedy after all). With that sentiment in mind, Dad Jokes: The Halloween Gift Book is the perfect blend of cringe-worthy gags. If you’re not so keen on the nightmare-inducing imagery and events that are the mark of many horror novels, this book is definitely for you.
It’s a literary fact: the island of Britain, with its castles, misty skies, and turbulent history, is the perfect setting for subtle horror stories. Taking place in Cornwall, England’s southwestern spike, follow protagonist Mrs. Maxim de Winter (the second wife of Mr. Winter) as she undergoes an internal exploration of her past in the eerie and shadowed halls of–you guessed it–a castle. At the core of Daphne du Maurier’s book is the dead first wife of Mr. Winter. Gothic Horror at its finest awaits you, readers.
There’s a reason why Scooby-Doo, Ghostbusters, and the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens do so well. Reason #1, they are simply awesome. Reason #2, there is something inherently exhilarating about taking the mystery out of something frightening. It puts you, as the experiencer, in an active role. You are not just reacting to monsters; you become the monster’s monster. Though the paranormal investigation is not truly a scientific discipline (yet), “Benjamin Radford strictly adheres to scientific methods,” according to Amazon. With this book in hand, you will be able to make sense of why your door keeps closing by itself in the middle of the night.
The first of Stephen King’s four novellas in his collection If It Bleeds is on the low end when it comes to the levels of terror the author is capable of inducing in readers. Taking place, as many of King’s works do, in a small, isolated Maine town, it follows the strange friendship between an articulate boy named Craig and a multi-billionaire Mr. Harrigan that has picked the town for his retirement. In line with most old men, technology is something begrudged. But that soon changes. Mr. Harrigan’s Phone can be best described as a modern ghost story.
Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol works so well as a story that it can be reworked to accommodate Halloween in a compelling and highly enjoyable manner (not to add insult to injury for Jack Skeleton). Beginning with the same premise of a grumpy, secluded, jerk who has pushed family and society alike far away, he is visited by 4 (yes, 4!!!) spirits who intend to change his outlook on Halloween and his life as a whole. Though the ghosts in Kevin Purdy’s story are scarier than Dickens’s, such is balanced with character and humor.
The British Archipelago is the choice setting for many horror stories throughout history and even for today’s writers. Imagine, after trick-or-treating, you decide to venture into an Irish forest as nighttime approaches. The result of that spontaneous excursion for the protagonist Rob Ryan is the murder of the two of his friends who went with him. Sometimes a bad event rears its ugly head, and history repeats itself in all its terrible magnitude. With his memories to equip him, Ryan has the chance to reconcile the yet unsolved murders (past and current) and you, as the reader, get to follow him along.
There is an advantage to reading really long books: their scary parts are typically set between vast page-spans of other compelling literary material. Utilizing the innate curiosity of humans, Stephen King premised his epic around the discovery and subsequent attempt to understand the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of an underground metal object. As they say, curiosity killed the cat–and this is Stephen King we are talking about. You know some interesting consequences are bound to occur. Even if the story is frightening at parts, your curiosity and connection with the characters will provide a rewarding balance that even the most faint-hearted readers among you can enjoy.
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