Sticks & Stones: Halloween Reading List

JJ lonely pumpkinPumpkins, cold drafts, and the smell of burning leaves are in the air. This time of the year always has me searching for new scary books and dragging out my old favorites.

So, today, just because I want to — and I get to, since this is my post…LOL — I’m going to share my top-ten favorite Halloween books. You will find a wide range in here, everything from YA stories to books that seriously kept me up all night. I won’t write a big, long review about them… I want you to read them, so I can’t give everything away… but I will tell you why they are cool. Here they are in no particular order. For real… I had a hard time narrowing my list down to ten; there is no way I could rank them.

post 1Let’s start out with the Stephen King book, “Everything’s Eventual.” I have a thing for short stories. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the bite-sized stories or maybe it’s the way you have to set a mood and tell a whole story in very few words. I don’t know, but this short story book is fabulous. So many of the stories had my heart racing and Stephen King shows that he is, yet again, a master storyteller. He’s known for his long-winded books, so it’s nice to see when he gets down to the nitty gritty of writing and is still able to make me forget to breathe.

Post 2Next, is an oldie, but still a goodie (yea yea… overdone saying and all, but I like it…). “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” These books went with me to I don’t know how many sleepovers when I was younger. And they never failed to have at least one girl wanting to sleep with the lights on. Not only were the stories nice and creepy, but the pictures in them… oh my gosh, there was the one in there that had me refusing to even TOUCH the page. It scared me that much. It was the pic of the ghost who lived in the boy’s house in the corner room. I wish I knew the page number; I would give it to you, just so you don’t suffer the same trauma and can turn past it too. That lady still pops up in my nightmares. No joke.

Post 3If you know anything about me at all, you will know that this next book is one of my all-time favorite scary books by one of my all-time favorite authors, right next to JK Rowling (maybe I just like authors who use initials for their name?). JG Faherty claimed this spot after I put down his book, “Carnival of Fear.” I harassed this poor man several times to come on my radio show, Journal Jabber, and tell all the listeners about it. And true to the horror theme, we even had a ghost take over the show that night. It shut everything down… Good times! Oh, yea, back to the book! Everything you could want in a horror book is here. Demon carnies, zombies, slasher-killers, witch burnings, evil scientists… Oh man… I want to go read the book again now.

Post 4Sweet Coraline… bah bah bah… Good times never seemed so good… Well, maybe that’s not the direction I wanted to go in this post, but I couldn’t help myself. And Neil Gaiman has a way to make you love the macabre. “Coraline” isn’t the type of scary that makes you want to call your mom in the middle of the night so she can sing you to sleep, but it’s the kind of disturbing that twists your stomach in that delicious knot and leaves you feeling a bit disturbed that you read what you read and enjoyed it. You almost seem a little off… slightly left of self-centered (thank you, Butch Walker, for that awesome phrase).

Post 5Oh for the sweet love of everything holy, this next book had me stocked up on the heebie jeebies for months. “Razor’s Song” by Joe Monninger takes you into the head of a psychotic serial killer and I promise that you may feel the need for a nice, long, hot shower after you finish reading it. Unfortunately, it’s super-hard to find these days— just trying to find a picture for this blog post was really hard, and I didn’t want to take a pic of my copy; it’s pretty ate up from all the times I have read it over the years. This one’s on my favorites shelf. I read it the first time when I was fourteen… I’m not going to tell you how old I am, but let me tell you, this book has been in my library a good long while.

Post 6ZOMBIES! Yes, there was no way in the world we were getting through this post without some of my favorite scary creatures. Patrick Freivald rushed into the literary world with his debut novel, “Twice Shy,” and hooked me by the first chapter. This one isn’t a scary story per se, but a great one to read around this time of the year simply because… it’s ZOMBIES! (Do we really need any other reason?) Not only is it zombies, but it’s zombies in a way you never expected. We aren’t in the middle of an apocalypse. We aren’t even at the beginning of one. That scare is long gone. Curious as to why it’s a zombie book then? READ IT AND FIND OUT! You’ll love yourself for it. Then you will love me for telling you about it. We both win. :)

Post 7Eve Hallows, how I love thee and your town of Gravesville… I picked up this book on a quest to find some new YA books with a twist. Robert Gray certainly wrote a tale that caught my attention. His book “Eve Hallows and the Book of Shrieks” made me want to move immediately to a non-existent world. With his play on words and the shenanigans in this book, I immediately moved on to read book two in the series and loved it just as much. And with a name like Eve Hallows and her hometown,

Post 8Gravesville, how can you not think this is perfect Halloween reading? It’s just not possible, I know. Lovecraftian collections can’t be completed without “That Which Should Not Be” by Brett Talley. If you have never read any lovecraftian books, you have no idea what you are missing out on. This one is no exception. This is old-school scary type of stuff. This is the scary that is too large for you to even comprehend. An existing evil that has been around since the dawn of eternity. I’m not sure about all of you out there, but that kind of all-encompassing evil freaks me out. The story itself is comprised of short stories that all tie up together in a nice, neat little bow at the end. For me, it’s the best of both worlds. I get my short stories in, and also managed to read a whole freaking amazing book all at once. Not many storytellers could do that, and Brett Talley made it look easy.

Post 9Yup, I threw in another JG Faherty book. I couldn’t help myself. I think I have an addiction. “The Burning Time” is one I refuse to give up. The twists and turns start right from the beginning… not often does the author trick me so early on, but he did in this book. What got me the most was the realization that something like this could happen… Not in the way it happens in the book, of course, but people can turn into their worst image of themselves with just a slight nudge in the wrong direction. Faherty has a way of looking at the human side of things and really digging deep into their fears and playing well off them. If I didn’t know this guy is a super-nice person, I would be terrified to meet him in a dark alley… LOL!

Post 10And I have come to my last book in my little list. *SNIFF* I really wish I could keep going, but if I don’t stop now… well, let’s just say this post would be MUCH longer. Ok, here we go! Usually it’s good to be a giver. I try to give as much as I can. But in “The Donors” by Jeffrey Wilson, I could reconsider my position. Sometimes it pays to hold on to things near and dear to you. I won’t tell you what the characters in this book are “donating” to others, that would give too much away, but rest assured that it’s not pleasant. At. All. I proofread this book for Journalstone publishing, and for the first time ever, I had to walk away from a book I was working on to clear my head. That never, ever happens. But Mr. Wiiiilsoooon (I had to say that… I loved Denis the Menace! LOL) got me right where it hurt. I so wish I could tell you where, but I CAN’T!! I would give too much away, and then all that love I earned from you reading these other books would all be for nothing. And we can’t have that.

So there you have it. A fabulous Halloween reading list if I do say so myself! Once again, I enjoyed my time with you all, and hope you all come back for another installment of Sticks and Stones next time!

Oh, and here is a picture of my pumpkins this year. Just because I wanted to share. :) Till next week!

Pumpkins by Amy

Amy Eye is a regular contributor to Dandilyon Fluff and a professional editor, book designer and formatter for several publishing houses and for her own editing business, The Eyes for Editing.  Visit her regular column here, Sticks & Stones.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher, and author with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. She co-publishes Space and Time magazine with author husband Ryan Aussie Smith. For more information visit
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