Friday Five …. a Day late ;)

So I’m a little late on the whole Friday thing….

I was inspired by this amazing list from one of my favorite book review blogs The Book Smugglers. I love a good, unsettling story ( a la Gone Girl) so I thought I would put together a list of more classic novels that are still a great horror read.

Here is my own list of classic Halloween reads :

1) The Shining by Stephen King

This book has scared the bejeezus out of me ever since I read it one cold and rainy night in the basement of my soon-to-be MIL’s house. I was all alone and it was dark and creepy. There was a lot of me laying in the dark freaking out much later but I could NOT put the book down! King manages to infuse the empty Overlook Hotel with as much malice and evil that a house can have. Between alcoholic unstable Jack Torrance, strange, telepathic little Danny and other crazy shenanigans you will absolutely be hooked. Trust me when I say that you should probably not be alone in the house when you pick this one up. Love!

2) Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Ok, bear with me on this one…it is obviously not the standard horror fare but still has plenty of creepiness to spare. One of the most famous first lines ” Last night I dreamt I was at Manderley again ” starts out the classic romantic suspenseful novel. It starts out with the heroine (we never actually learn her name)meeting Max de Winter on vacation. After a whirlwind romance, they marry and she returns with him to his ancestral home, Manderley. But all is not well at Manderley, where the presence of Max’s first wife – Rebecca – is felt everywhere. The creepy housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, makes our poor heroine’s life hell while slowly messing with her mind. Soon she begins to doubt everything. Is Max still in love with Rebecca? What happened on the night that she drowned? So good…this is a classic – also if you like old movies then this is a great one. One of Hitchcock’s with Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier.

3) Dracula by Bram Stoker

As you all know, I love the vampires…..sparkly or not, I cannot get enough of the undead. This is the book that started it all and there is a reason that it is a classic. This vampire is no romantic figure, he is cold, cruel, and purely evil. Written in epistolary form (one of my faves!!), it follows Jonathon Harker to Dracula’s castle where he is abducted and fed on. Eventually he escapes but he has some serious PTSD issues. Dracula follows him back to England and craziness ensues. Can it get a little bogged down in old-timey wordiness? Yes but the story is absolutely riveting and I just feel like occassionally you should start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. (I’m not sure how Sound of Music crept in there…)

4) The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

This is one that I have not read but I keep reading about and I want to try it. Stephen King named it one of the greatest horror novels of the 20th century so it has to be pretty good right? The story follows four people who are staying in the house. The house has a reputation for the paranormal – some are there to debunk this theory, others are there to prove it. Obviously, lots of paranormal stuff starts to happen and more creepiness settles in. Lots of you, I know, have read Shirley Jackson (remember “The Lottery” from high school?) and I always liked that short story but found it very disturbing so I’m looking forward to checking this one out.

5) The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

Another one I haven’t read but again heard lots of good things about. Here is how Fantastic Fiction describes it :

Their love would never be the same.
Colquitt and Walter Kennedy enjoyed a life of lazy weekends, gathering with the neighbors on their quiet, manicured street and sipping drinks on their patios. But when construction of a beautiful new home begins in the empty lot next door, their easy friendship and relaxed get-togethers are marred by strange accidents and inexplicable happenings.
Though Colquitt’s rational mind balks at the idea of a “haunted” house, she cannot ignore the tragedies associated with it. It is as if the house preys on its inhabitants’ weaknesses and slowly destroys the goodness in them — ultimately driving them to disgrace, madness and even death.

Sounds interesting, right?

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them?


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Filed under Friday Five, horror

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