Chapter 42 - The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
October just seems to beg for scary books especially towards the end when the days have grown shorter, fall weather has set in for good, the moon is full and cold, and masks abound. Oh wait, that last part is everyday now isn't it? Well anyway, why do we like scary stories? Psychologists and scientists (aka people smarter than I) believe it is because while we try to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, there are scary things out there. Reading about them is a way to control fear. We know the story isn't real and we can decide when and whether to read a scary story.
Author Neil Gaiman has written, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” I think the same thing is true about scary stories because almost always good triumphs over evil, even if good receives a thousand scars while doing it.
Here are some terrific horror/scary stories not just for October but for any time.
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix - This book features book club in Mt. Pleasant, SC. One of the members is attacked by an elderly neighbor whose nephew appears to be not quite human. The book club decides to settle the score.
Pet Sematary by Stephen King - King has said he feels this is his scariest book and certainly a "sematary" where dead pets come to back to life is pretty scary. It is even scarier when it seems to happen to humans too!
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - This brilliant story by Shelley is so much better than any Frankenstein movie you've seen. A young scientist, Victor Frankenstein gets the idea to create a human from spare parts with, of course, unforeseen results. This is a particularly good book club book with themes of nature vs. nurture, artificial intelligence and man as "god" to name a few.
Dracula by Bram Stoker - Another horror classic which is better than the movie is Dracula. It has all the makings of a Gothic novel - atmosphere, good vs. evil, fear of the unknown, and maiden in trouble. Told through a series of diary notations, letters, and newspaper articles the book is truly worth reading.
The Short Stories of Edgar Allen Poe - If you have never read the Poe's short stories, October is a perfect time to start. The Tell Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Masque of the Red Death are some of my favorites but there are too many to select just a few. In addition Poe is thought to have written some of the first detective stories with The Murders of the Rue Morgue and others.
The Witches by Roald Dahl - A classic children's book, The Witches, is a terrific read for a child who enjoys R.L. Stine books. Grandmamma loves to tell stories to her grandson about witches and how they hate children. So imagine her grandson's surprise when he comes fact to face with the Grand High Witch herself!
Do you have any favorite "scary" books for October? Please share!