We recommend four classic, spooky reads that will get you into the Halloween spirit.
Misery – Stephen King, 1987
Misery by Stephen King is a rollercoaster of suspense and terror. Paul Sheldon, a popular author, gets into a car accident while driving down an isolated road during a terrible blizzard and is miraculously saved by superfan Annie Wilkes.
Paul’s legs are severely injured, leaving him immobile. No one knows where he is, and it is the 1980s so there are no cellphones. It soon becomes apparent that Annie is a dangerous psychopath and Paul knows that she will not let him go.
The events that take place and the twists that are revealed while Paul attempts to escape are absolutely insane, and quite disturbing at times. The suspense of it all will have you sitting on the edge of your seat — guaranteed. Tip: the book is 10 times better if you imagine Annie as Kathy Bates and Paul as James Caan, the stars of the film adaptation of Misery.
Coraline – Neil Gaiman, 2002
Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is a children’s book that’s so dark it should be found in the adult section. It’s one of my personal favourite stories of all time. The protagonist, Coraline, goes on the adventure of a lifetime after moving into an apartment in an old house called the Pink Palace.
Coraline is an only child and is unhappy with her parents and her mundane circumstances. Not long after moving to the Pink Palace, she discovers a little door that seemingly leads nowhere until one night a portal appears. After crawling through the door, she is greeted by a woman who looks exactly like her mother except with button eyes. This woman introduces herself as the “Other Mother” and spoils Coraline with attention, delicious meals and fun activities.
Coraline is told that she can stay in the Other Mother’s world forever but in order to do so, she will need to have buttons sewn into her eyes. Coraline refuses and the Other Mother gets so angry that she turns into a monster. It is now up to Coraline to defeat the Other Mother with the help of a talking cat, ghost children and a magic stone. Filled with very eccentric characters and unsettling imagery, Coraline is a quick read that is perfect for Halloween.
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë, 1847
Although the novel is, at its core, a romance, the gothic elements within the story make it just creepy enough to be a Halloween must read. Set 1800s England, the reader follows Jane, an orphan on her solitary journey to adulthood.
After being neglected and abused under her aunt’s care, Jane is sent to Lowood Institution where she is able to overcome her suffering. She eventually becomes an immensely intelligent and well-respected teacher. Jane is then employed as a governess at Thornfield Hall for Adèle, the ward of Edward Rochester, the house’s owner. As Jane’s time at Thornfield progresses, she becomes aware of a danger that lurks in the night.
Throughout Jane’s story there are prominent themes of class and social order, as well as society’s gender roles during this period. This classic is entirely worth its hype. The language in Jane Eyre is completely accessible and the storyline keeps the reader engaged from start to finish.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë, 1847
Wuthering Heights follows the story of two families, the Earnshaws and the Lintons, and the impact their adopted son Heathcliff has on their lives. Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff are in love, however their love for each other plays a major role in destroying the lives of those around them. While both Catherine and Heathcliff are known for being unlikable characters, rightfully so, it is easy to sympathize with them throughout the novel.
Although Emily Brontë uses some complex language in Wuthering Heights, the story completely sucks you in. To put it simply: Wuthering Heights has the family drama of the Kardashians and a Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf-esque relationship from Gossip Girl, while being a perfect gothic novel, down to the death and ghosts. If you’re into classics you’ve either already read this book or have it on your list, but if you haven’t gotten to it yet it’s 100 per cent worth the read.