Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish.

1) The Uninvited by Liz Jensen - I just finished reading this on Sunday and it scared the daylights out of me. The perfect blend of realistic, literary fiction with a heavy dose of superstition-focused cultural anthropology, Jensen's well researched novel is a frightening portrait of a paradigm shift stemming from our culture's impending self-destruction.

2) House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski - This book made me sleep with the lights on for a week. I read it about 10 years ago and its multi-genre creepiness has stayed with me ever since. Figuring out how to read this one is a trick, but it's a fun mystery to untangle and one of the most unique reading experiences I've had.

3) Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - Serial killers close to home. Munchausen by proxy syndrome. Self mutilation in the form of poetic scarification. Read this book. The brilliant, emotionally wrecked protagonist is one of my all-time favorites.

4) The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits - Don't be fooled by the cheery cover. This novel is an eerie look into "psychic attacks," astral projection via time travel, and possession. Brilliant prosody makes Julavits' darkness sexy and impossible to escape unscathed.

5) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - You won't need any ideas for Halloween costumes after you read this book. That being said, it's got one of the most aesthetically pleasing takes on The Creep Factor I've read in a long while. In a magical, late-night liminal space where ice gardens full of paper animals are the norm, things become increasingly unhinged.  The circus performers become pawns in a secret game that has the capacity to destroy them all.

6) City of Bohane by Kevin Barry - Futuristic urban grit. Warring gangs of dressed-to-the-nines twenty-somethings.  Drug-running, killer vixen, days of endless fog.  (Shockingly, this is not actually about San Francisco.) 

7) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - Spooky kids + old-school orphanages = done.

8)Ugly Man by Dennis Cooper - This book of short stories has the distinct honor of being the only literature that has ever made me physically ill. Horrifying doesn't even begin to cut it. Not recommended for the weak of stomach.

9)The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich - While I'm not entirely certain what this image-driven, experimental thing is "about," there are nonstop horrifying, visceral goings-on that will make you read with your back up against a wall. These are not your "Twilight" vampires. 

10)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - This is on my TBD list so I have no real insight other than that it sounds fantastic, it's part of a trilogy and everyone seems to freaking love it. 

Happy (literary) Halloween!


Natalie said...

Karen, I also loved Night Circus, and found it delightful, rich, and yes, "off." I listened to it this summer. It is simply beautiful as an audio book. I am surprised that Butcher Boy isn't on your list. Remember that terrifying story from senior seminar? Also, I recommend The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. It is super scary.

Meghan said...

"I read it 10 years ago." omg, we're old.

Bucho said...

"night circus" and "ms. peregrine's" are on my "to read" list at the moment, as is cooper. i got 3/4 of the way through "the orange eats creeps" and had to stop. i love me some surrealism, but that was just too much. i found myself stopping and starting way too often to make it worth my while and just could never get into it.

having said that, i wish i'd posted up my halloween reading list before you. dammit, bisco!!! :P

Kelly said...

Great list, sis! I've read several of these, but now have a few more to add to my list.

Christianna said...

Ok, so I'm extremely stoked that you found my blog today! I'm following you back and I'm so excited to have found another awesome book blog! I love books almost as much as I love music! I'm gonna go follow you on goodreads too!

P.S. all of these books sound awesome! I have have "The Night Circus", but I haven't read it yet.

Jen Hsieh said...

I love this post! I've been looking for a good book to read lately so I'm going to look into these - it's nice that they fit with the Halloween spirit. :P

Becky said...

My what marvelous taste you have :). I just added 5 books to my to-read list. I hadn't thought of the Night Circus as a Halloween book but it is very autumnal and atmospheric!