The end of October means craggy trees etched against an ominous sky, full moons casting malevolent shadows and shutters slamming by themselves in abandoned houses. It also means it’s a great time for a chilling read in the safety one’s home, preferably with cocoa or spiced cider at the ready.
Here are some choice reads:
THE SHINING by Stephen King – Nothing like Kubrick’s film which is good but substitutes the heart and soul of the story of the little boy Danny and his relationship with Dick O’Halleran for elegant tracking shots and Nicholson’s overacting. The novel is at turns familiar, frightening and completely unputdownable. We’re scared out of our minds because King makes us care about the people who are trapped, both physically and psychically. And then there’s that woman in room 217…
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris – Completely riveting and every time Hannibal Lechter enters the stage we’re both fascinated and scared out of our wits. A completely satisfying thriller featuring a human monster and a frail protagonist who more than rises to the occasion. A tour-de-force of writing.
GHOST STORY by Peter Straub – A ghost story that takes us into the lives of four men of the New England Chowder Society. Scenes that stay with you, leaving you shaken as if you’ve walked in their shoes and experienced their journey into the supernatural. A literate read that never flags its pace.
I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson – Not like any of the three film versions, the story of Robert Neville, a man like your next door neighbor living in a world we’re imminently familiar with. One of the lone survivors of a catastrophic disease that turns humans into preying vampires, his days are filled with new challenges as he struggles to survive. His nights are sieges as he tries to out-manuever the masses who want to kill him. The novel is filled with terrifying sequences but it’s Neville’s palpable loneliness that Matheson relates in a way that is truly frightening.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens – I know, I know this is meant to read by the hearth a couple months later. But truly, there are some very scary parts to the story, else we wouldn’t secretly root for Scrooge to change his ways. The scene with Marley confronting Ebenezer and then the Ghost of Christmas Future pointing at the grave stone, revealing his name are scary stuff! God bless us everyone, it’s got a good ending.
Good reading and happy shivers 🙂