Just a heads up: this TBR is going to be out of control. There are a few series I want to continue, as well as some progress with my Book of the Month backlog, but mainly I’ve been saving up spooky books and now I have more than I can handle. I know that my schedule is going to be different this month, and I’m not sure yet what that will mean for my reading time; so instead of trying to judge how much I’ll read and shorten my TBR to match, I’m going to list all the books I’m considering reading this month and then I’ll pick and choose throughout October. Here are my choices:
- Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman. This one shouldn’t be scary, but I like a little fantasy mixed in with the thrills and chills of fall. I’m in the midst of a Shadowhunter marathon, and this is the next book (technically it’s a collection of short stories) for me in that endeavor.
- A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. This is book three of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, which I’m reading while I watch all of the Game of Thrones episodes. I’ve already started this one. It’s more political than creepy, but again, I like some fantasy in fall– otherworldliness in every sense of the word.
- Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Here’s another series continuation; this is the second book in Johansen’s Queen of the Tearling trilogy, which I started this summer and loved, but for some reason never got around to following up with the second book. This is an adult fantasy series, so I’ll probably pick it up if I decide I need a break from thrillers and horror later in the month.
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. One last series book: I read Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy earlier this year with the intent of reading the Six of Crows duology right after, but I put it off. And now I’m ready for a fantasy heist with morally gray characters, so maybe I’ll make time.
- Saga: Book One by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I’ve heard good things about this series, and I needed a graphic novel for my 2017 reading challenge. It doesn’t have anything to do with October really, other than it’s a fantasy story, but I’m borrowing it so now’s the time.
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I chose this book as my September Book of the Month selection, and even though I don’t think it’s spooky, I do want to read it before my October selection arrives in the mail. I think this is a sort of family drama, but the cover makes this book look perfect for fall: dark and subdued, with the implication of flames.
- The Girl Before by Rene Olsen. And now to start with the creepy books. This is a thriller I picked up last year and for some reason never got around to. I count thrillers as “spooky” books, mostly because of the tension and the inevitable death threats. I don’t even remember what this one’s about, but that’s how I like my thrillers and I can’t wait to find out.
- Dracula by Bram Stoker. Every month I read at least one classic, and I thought October was a great time for the quintessential vampire novel. I saw a film of this book a while back, but I don’t remember much and am entirely prepared to be sucked (no pun intended) into a wild Transylvanian ride of love and death and monsters.
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I’m hoping to go the extra mile with classics this month by also picking up the quintessential haunted house novel. I know even less about this one than I do about Dracula, but I expect to be terrified appropriately. I’m hoping it’ll be Stephen King-esque and make up for the fact that I probably won’t get to visit any haunted houses myself this year.
- Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King. Speaking of King, it wouldn’t be October without a Stephen King title. This is a brand new book that’ll soon be making it’s way to me. I believe the women in the world of this book are falling into coma-like sleep in cocoons, which is an intriguing concept. I love Stephen King’s writing, and I’ve been meaning to read something by Stephen King’s other son (Joe Hill), so this one will give a good balance. I’m sure it will be as creepy and unusual as I suspect.
- The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. Here’s a mysterious sort of suspense novel related, I believe, to The Phantom of the Opera story. The phantom is a great villain, and I’m hoping for some great villains this month. I believe this one’s also a historical fiction work, so I’m not sure how spooky it’ll be, but there’s definitely a mystery and masks and that seems like the right fit.
- Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten. I thought it would be a good idea to broaden my horror horizons by adding some creepy YA books to my October list. This first one is a YA thriller about a girl who may have committed suicide–or may have been murdered. It should be a quick read and a nice change of pace while still falling into the “unsettling” category.
- These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. This is my other spooky YA book for the month. I believe this one follows a girl who’s investigating her father’s death. She’s probably also going to find herself in danger as she’s uncovering his secrets, so it should be thrilling and spooky and everything I’m looking for.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I can’t even tell you what genre this book technically fits into, but I’m think it’s a story about the narrator’s past with a creepy girl who’s dead now and I can’t wait to find out more.
- Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter. Back to the thrillers. I’ve never read anything by Karin Slaughter, and I didn’t know exactly where to start so I’m going with this first-in-a-crime-series book. Again, I don’t like to know anything about thrillers going in, so I’ve conveniently forgotten the premise since I acquired this one.
- Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan. Here’s another thriller that I know slightly more about: it involves a death at a bookstore, eerily desecrated books, and some sort of conspiracy. It sounds like the book lover’s perfect thriller, but I haven’t looked at any reviews yet.
- Vicious by V. E. Schwab. I must read some Schwab this month. I think this one’s a sci-fi fantasy about some college kids who are trying to become superheroes, or something of that sort. I’ve recently discovered that I love Schwab’s writing style, and although her books don’t seem horrifying, per se, they seem to have a good amount of thrill and tension and extraordinariness that’ll fit well with my other reads this month.
- Rooms by Lauren Oliver. I picked this up last November and have been waiting almost a full year to read it because it seemed perfect for October. I no longer remember exactly what it’s about, but I think it’s full of separate stories that all explore different facets of one haunted house.
- The Girl in 6E by A. R. Torre. Here’s one more thriller that’s been on my radar a long time and again, for some reason I’ve not gotten around to actually picking it up. It’s about a self-proclaimed serial killer (I think) who’s locked herself in her apartment and eliminated direct contact with most of the outside world to keep herself from harming anyone. Until she decides she needs to kill another potential murderer.
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’ve heard this is one of those ultimate fantasy novels, full of magic and mystery and a deadly carnival. What better time to read it than the month when disbelief is most suspended? This’ll be one to reach for when I need a break from murderers and ghosts.
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I nearly forgot this classic Gothic novel that I bought after reading Jane Eyre earlier this year. I think there’s some romance in this one as well; all I really know is that the main character marries a man whose wife has died, and the dead first wife is somehow meddling (threatening their lives?) from beyond the grave.
- The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. This is the coup de grace of my October reading list. I did watch the corresponding film several years ago, but I’ve forgotten enough detail that I think this book will not only horrify me, but surprise me all over again. It’s a creepy serial killer story about an ingenious and infamous man who (if I remember correctly) takes the skin of his victims. I’d love to watch the film again after reading this one.
So that’s my list. Unsurprisingly, I do not have the tiniest belief of being able to read all 22 books on this list within the month, and who can say if I’ll end up picking up something different even with all of these stellar choices to peruse. (I’ve probably even forgotten something I meant to add to this list.) I’ll learn the October Book of the Month selections on the first of the month, and depending on my choice’s spookiness, I may add that to my TBR as well.
What are you reading in October? Do you have any more creepy suggestions for me? Which of these books should I reach for first?
The Literary Elephant