Special Feature: The Spine Tingling Literary Canon List for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and this week on The Lit Bitch we are talking about the books that make you want to curl up and hide under the covers of your bed. You know those books that scare you so bad that every little noise in your house makes you jump and wonder….is there a monster under my bed???

The folks at Casper Mattresses have a great blog called Pillow Talk and they are doing a super fun ‘haunted’ feature on their blog for Halloween where they talk about spooky hotels (including the Heathman Hotel in Portland, a personal fav of mine being from Oregon and all). Casper is a great company full of fellow bibliophiles like myself and they asked me to share what books I have read that have kept me up at night to celebrate Halloween!

I haven’t read a lot of ‘horror stories’ but I have read a few classic novels that certainly belong in the ‘spine tingling’ literary canon and I also added a few other books that were so suspenseful that I found myself jumping at any little noise. I am sure there are a lot of other creepy-tastic books out there that I am forgetting…..Stephen King comes to mind and I’ll be honest….I want to read Stephen King but I’m a little too scared! If you have a favorite scary book that makes you want to hide under your covers please share it in the comments below!

    1. Dracula by Bram Stoker

      This is my number one pick hands down, for those of you looking for something to not only keep you up at night but give you that spine tingling terror feeling! This novel is told through a series of letters and journal entries which for me heighten the suspense factor. This book is the ‘godfather’ of vampire literature but you don’t need to be a fan of vampire lit to enjoy this book….it’s full of suspense, supernatural creepiness, and a little Gothic romance. It’s hands down one of my all time favorite books! I was up late into the night sure that the Count was scratching on my bedroom window!

    2. Edgar Allan Poe

      Anything by Poe is practically guaranteed to keep you up at night! The poem The Black Cat is probably the move disturbing poems in American Literature in my opinion! All of Poe’s short stories have many disturbing elements. One of my favorite short stories by Poe is The Tell Tale Heart…..a nameless man suffering from some kind of psychosis murders a man. The man haunts the murderer and literally drives him crazy. I swear after reading that story, I too saw his ‘vulture eye’ every time I laid my head down on my pillow!

    3. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

      Headless horseman. Enough said!

    4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wild

      Dorian has sold his soul to the devil, or to the painting in this case, to remain beautiful and young. He engages in a number of vices and as he does, the painting changes to reflect the evil eating away at his ‘soul’. His friend Basil who also painted the enchanted painting see it and sees how corrupt Dorian has become. Dorian then murders Basil to cover up his secret. But that murder haunts Dorian till the end of his days. This book is another master piece of Victorian/Gothic literature that will disturb readers to their core and look at all portraits differently!

    5. The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan

      The book had a distinct air of creepiness that it absolutely perfect for the fall. It’s the kind of book that you want to drink a pumpkin spice latte in front of the fire on a dark and stormy night! It reminded me a little of the old Bette Davis film Watcher in the Woods. The setting was fitting for a suspenseful, paranormal, witch novel. The dark woods in rural Massachusetts in a deserted town hundreds of years old….I was envisioning Salem, Mass on a dark and stormy night. This book gets an A+ for setting and atmosphere!

    6. Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta #1) by Patricia Cornwell

      This book was not only super suspenseful but actually pretty scary as you got into the story line as many of the details were vivid and realistic. I was completely worried that some random man would find me and strangle me in my bed by the time I was about half way through this book. This is the first book in the series but almost all of her books have lots of things to creep the reader out…..gruesome crime scenes, grizzly murders, a psychopathic killer…..not to mention suspense and captivating complex characters!

    7. The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

      Ann Rule used to work with notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. She was working on the story of all these murdered women and little did she know that the actual killer was working with her! I’ve read all of her books and I absolutely love them (my personal fav is Lust Killer because the attorney who defended this killer is my uncle, my dad grew up with the killer, and it all happened in my home town so I know the story VERY well). The Stranger Beside Me is probably Rule’s best known novel though and it’s truly fascinating with many details about the crimes. This book kept me up not only because it was bone chilling, but because there were so many little tid-bits about the cases which were truly captivating.

There are many other ‘scary’ books out there that I am sure I have missed…..these are my top 7 picks out of the ‘scary’ books that I have read. Help us make a list of other scary books for the Halloween season and all the dark and stormy winter nights coming up!

4 thoughts on “Special Feature: The Spine Tingling Literary Canon List for Halloween

  1. I loved seeing that you acknowledged Ann Rule. I still think about her. I will miss her always. I have read all of her books, also.

    1. I LOVE her books! I’ve read so many of them and they are all SOOOOOOO good!! I haven’t read one yet that wasn’t good. I love that so many of her stories are set in the PacNW which is home for me…..I know many of the places and know many of the stories too so her books are some of my favs!!!

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