Neil Gaiman has this thing. It’s called “All Hallow’s Read” and he explains it significantly better than I can.
The idea is simple. In honor of Halloween, you give someone a scary book. I like this better than Trick or Treating because, in the grand scheme of things, I am better off having extra things to read around than extra candy.
So, because I am stupidly busy this week and because otherwise the blog will be even more sadly neglected than it already is, I have here for you…
Liz’s List of Scary Stories (that can be had for free on the Internet)
(This list has been carefully curated for you by a tired graduate student trying to remember some good scares. I shouldn’t even have to say this, but this list is a very looong way away from being either complete or authoritative. For obvious reasons (free and legal, remember), this list is primarily made up of stories written in the 19th and early 20th centuries.)
- “The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe (and, yes, anything else by Poe. This is just the one that gave me nightmares as a kid)
- “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
- “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving
- “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- “Christabel” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
- The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
- Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
- “Porphyria’s Lover” by Robert Browning
- “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs
- “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor
And, for those of you who are interested in more recent works, you can always pick up one of these:
- Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
- House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- Sunshine by Robin McKinley
For more inspiration/horrification, I recommend Neil’s list of scary books, some of which actually overlap with my recommendations, which leaves me very pleased indeed. Let me know how the other ones are and some time in the next ten years, when I have time to read fiction again, I’ll take a look.