It’s that time of year where ghosts, goblins, and other various supernatural entities are creeping up everyone’s spine. While the movies are creating their own chills and thrills (we see you Michael Myers), there is nothing that compares to the goosebumps you get between the pages of a good book…
Here is a round up of our staff’s favorite horror and suspense stories.
Staff Writer Jaycee Graffius
Frankenstein is not just my favorite Halloween read, it is my favorite book of all time. The entire book just drips with a gothic atmosphere and symbolism that makes rereading a joy. I personally love the similarities between the monster and Victor Frankenstein as it really hammers home how, in a way, Victor is the monster’s father and abandoned him in a world that couldn’t love him.
While Frankenstein has become universally recognizable in our culture, much of the book’s messaging has been forgotten by the mainstream. This is tragic because the book explores so many ideas that still need to be talked about today, from the dangers of science without empathy to the creation of monsters and whether the monster is truly to blame for what he’s become. Combine all this with the writing style of Mary Shelly, a personal hero, and Frankenstein fully earns it’s place as one of the best classic horror novels of all time.
Staff Writer Makayla Aysien
I never thought that I could enjoy the genre of horror, largely because I don’t like looking over my shoulder as I walk up the stairs at night. I was pulled into horror by an odd sense of circumstances: a philosophy course of mine required that I write on the philosophy and ethics of horror. This is where I found The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen.
This novella follows the perspective of Dr. Clarke as he hears a series of stories about a mysterious woman named Helen. Wherever Helen goes, she seems to leave behind others in states of insanity or death. What kind of supernatural powers does Helen have? How is she connected to the titular character of the great god Pan? Those who love horror, fantasy, supernatural, and reflections of real aspects of society—especially how people view women—are sure to love The Great God Pan.
Staff Writer Paul Stanton
My favorite ghost story is Sofia Samatar’s A Stranger in Olondria. Strange, haunting, and beautiful, this winner of the World Fantasy Award for best novel captured my heart. The book feels like a gothic horror while using almost none of the tropes associated with that genre.
A perfect, delightful read for the spooky season.
Staff Writer Michael Weaver
Filled with spectacular art and equally as phenomenal writing, The Immortal Hulk is impossible to kill. Even worse, he’s haunted by the scariest villain yet: his Dad, who just so happens to command a force stronger than Hell itself… Hulk can’t simply smash his way out of this one.
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at The Immortal Hulk from Michael soon!
Editor-in-Chief Sharon Enck
Set against the backdrop of an elitist university within an MFA cohort, Bunny by Mona Awad is one of my new Halloween favorites. Snotty mean girls? Check. Loner outsiders who get pulled into witchy and menacing goings-on? Check. Samantha prefers her own dark company to those within her cohort who inexplicably call each other “Bunny” and seem to be of one mind and body. She manages to evade them for most of her time at Warren University, but then suddenly gets invited to a mysterious “salon” and soon starts her own journey into the rabbit hole…in more ways than one!
Bunny is a dark, twisted (in all the good ways) ride that is not for the faint-of-heart or squeamish. With its themes of grief, mental health, social acceptance (and what we will do to attain it) it is a fascinating read. And you will never look at bunnies—or creative writing cohorts for that matter—the same.
Staff Writer Lauren Kuhman
I am not a big fan of horror because I like to sleep at night. However, every once in a while I find myself enjoying a thriller or mystery and one of my absolute favorites is Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. While not inherently scary, it is a book of extraordinary adventure perfect for any Halloween night. Main character Robert Langdon is a symboligist and after a murder in the Louvre he is called to aid in the investigation.
Little does he know that this call will lead him down a long, intricate, dangerous, and thrilling journey over the course of a day. Dan Brown masterfully combines art, history, religion, and mystery into a thrilling and fast-paced story. Whatever you are doing this spooky season, I promise that this book will cast a spell on you. If you pick it up, be prepared for a spookily good time!
Managing Editor Jade Stanton
The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the story of the titular protagonist’s descent into hedonism and the subsequent loss of his morality. Dorian unwittingly makes a Faustian pact wherein he will remain forever youthful and beautiful—but owns a portrait that will reflect the depraved state of his soul.
Aside from delving into important themes such as morality, innocence, corruption, and beauty, The Picture of Dorian Gray also includes many ghoulish themes: from suicide to murder and a monstrous painting hidden in Dorian’s attic, Wilde’s classic is the perfect way to get into the spooky spirit this Halloween!
Stay spooky friends!