Friday, 19 October 2018

Spooky Reads // Bookish + Blogtober


What's the best way to get into the spooky spirit of the best month of the year? How about some spooky reads? I love a good scary/dark book and I have accumulated some favourites over the years! I figured I would share these with you, along with the blurb, a quick review and my favourite quote from each book!

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband's crumbling country estate, The Bridge. With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband's awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks, For inside her new home lies a mysterious wooden figure - a Silent Companion - that bears an unsettling resemblance to Elsie herself...

I hadn't read a full novel for quite a while when I picked this up, and I didn't put it down until the early hours when I had finished it. It's super atmospheric and gothic, and definitely a concept different to any other spooky novel I've read before. Wooden figures? How could they possibly be scary? It's definitely not your typical ghost story! You need to read this, it's superb! Its ending was insanely clever too and definitely shocked me!

Fave quote: "We are afraid of the things inside us - be they memories, sickness or sinful urges."

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavet's circle is not what it seems.

This was a fairly quick read and, since I once again couldn't put the book down, I finished it in just under a day. It's a classic and this is definitely for a reason! It's purely chilling and a horrifying concept! The skilled writing places you straight into Rosemary's shoes and you really feel all the confusion, frustration and horror with her.

Fave quote: “Like so many unhappinesses, this one had begun with silence in the place of honest open talk.” 

The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House. The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black – and her terrible purpose.

If you think that you don't need to read this because you have seen the brilliant film, you still do! The book differs from the film in many aspects and is definitely worth a read! It is chilling, atmospheric and such a quick read! The setting itself, in a house blocked off from the rest of the world tidally, is isolating and a perfect place for such a chilling ghost story to take place.

Fave quote: "But what was 'real'? At that moment I began to doubt my own reality.” 

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate...An estate haunted by a beckoning evil. Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls... But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil. For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.

This is a book which has stuck with me from my high school English class days. I found it to be the most gripping book we had the opportunity to study and I adored working through the chapters. I have since reread it and found it just as intriguing and dark as the first time I read it years ago! While it is certainly not my favourite on this list, it is a good short story to get you into the mood for Halloween!

Fave quote: “Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was.” 

Night Shift by Stephen King

From the depths of darkness, where hideous rats defend their empire, to dizzying heights, where a beautiful girl hangs by a hair above a hellish fate, this chilling collection of twenty short stories will plunge readers into the subterranean labyrinth of the most spine-tingling, eerie imagination of our time.

Of course, I'm mentioning Stephen King in this list! How could I not? This is the best horror story anthology I have ever read and perhaps my favourite book on this list. The first time I read it, back when I was a high school teen, I had to put the book down and switch on something a bit more uplifting. It freaked me out, the way Stephen King has a tendency to do. This collection of short stories is not one to read after dark, but is definitely worth a read when you feel up to it!

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

An intriguing combination of fantasy thriller and moral allegory, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde depicts the gripping struggle of two opposing personalities — one essentially good, the other evil — for the soul of one man. Its tingling suspense and intelligent and sensitive portrayal of man's dual nature reveals Stevenson as a writer of great skill and originality, whose power to terrify and move us remains, over a century later, undiminished.

Here's another one I read in high school! We were able to pick our own books to read in our library sessions (my favourite part of the week) and this was my first choice! I can't say much about this other than that it is so well crafted that the fact that we pretty much all know the shocking twist of the story does not make it any less enjoyable to read!

Fave quote: “If I am the chief of sinners, I am the chief of sufferers also.”

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened "The Tooth Fairy." Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation: Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retirement. Now, Graham must turn to Lecter for help.

Hannibal Lecter is one of literature and films' most iconic villains for a reason! This book introduced Lecter to the world and is a must-read for fans of TV's Hannibal or the film The Silence of the Lambs! Or, better yet, if you're not familiar with the character then give this a read and get introduced to one of the evilest characters ever dreamt up!

Fave quote: "He viewed his own mentality as grotesque but useful, like a chair made of antlers. There was nothing he could do about it.” 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley was eighteen when she started writing Frankenstein. EIGHTEEN! People either love this book or hate it, and I love it. We all know of Frankenstein's monster, and the definitive novel about the creature is so disturbing and dark that it singlehandedly warrants the fame of the iconic creature. Not for the faint-hearted, but definitely one to read!

Fave quote: “I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.” 

What is your favourite spooky read?x

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