Halloween is next week and as autumn settles in, we at Tate Street High Society have been reaching for some of our favorite spooky tales. Enjoy those in the public domain online or head to your local bookstore/library for more contemporary works.
1. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter: In this short story collection, Carter returns fairy tales to their former glory. Meaning bloody, dark, and downright disturbing. Personal favorites include “The Lady of the House of Love” and “The Tiger’s Bride.” Buy it here.
2. The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates: We know Oates best as one of the bastions of contemporary American literary fiction, but her forays into genre are equally fantastic. Hit up the title story and “A Hole in the Head” if you’re not terribly fond of sleeping. Buy it here.
3. Dracula by Bram Stoker: What Halloween list would complete without it? Read it here.
4. Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King: It’s true, we could have put any of King’s 55 novels on this list. But did you know the Master of Horror was also Master of the Short Story? Curl up with “The Man in the Black Suit” and “1408” (way better than the movie!). Buy it here.
5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: In an age of enormous technological and scientific advances, Shelley’s chilling tale remains as relevant as ever. Read it here. (And for bonus entertainment, check out PBS’s new webseries Frankenstein, MD.)
6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: For younger readers or those interested in more of a mild fright than swooning terror, we suggest Gaiman’s Newbery-winning novel. Listen to it here.
7. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: On the other hand, if you’re looking for terror, Jackson basically defined the genre with this spine-tingling thriller. Buy it here.
8. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka: “One morning, upon awakening from agitated dreams, Gregor Samsa found himself, in his bed, transformed into a monstrous vermin.” Need we say more? Buy it here.
9. Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link: The title and cover art alone would sell us on this beauty. But Link’s work is also wonderfully eerie. Read “The Specialist’s Hat” from Pretty Monsters.
10. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury: Looking for a good evil carnival story? This is the one. Read an excerpt here.
11. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James: This reigns–in our estimation–as one of the greatest ghost stories of all time. Read it here.
12. Twice Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne: You could hardly go wrong with any of Hawthorne’s stories. Happily, they are all available on Project Gutenberg. But consider starting with this collection and “The Minister’s Black Veil.” Read it here.
13. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell: Like Link and Oates, Russell is one of the modern virtuosos of the uncanny. If you like this book, do read her debut collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. Read “The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis” from Vampires in the Lemon Grove.
Bonus: This list is sadly lacking in anything Poe-related! Never fear . . . for that. Listen to John de Lancie reading Poe’s “The Raven.”
About the Author: Julia Patt
Julia Patt, Contributing Editor, from Chestertown, MD, is a graduate of Sweet Briar College and the MFA program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she was a fiction editor for The Greensboro Review. Her young adult novels—i was a fourth grade zombie slayer and Through Waterless Places—were both shortlisted for Mslexia’s 2012 Children’s Novel Competition, and her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Surreal South ’11, Stymie, and PANK.