October ends with Halloween, favorite dress-up holiday for the young and not-so-young, season of scary movies and frights big and small. Yes, yes, for you purists, Halloween has its roots in the Celtic observance of Samhain, marking the halfway point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, a liminal time when the unquiet souls of the dead must be appeased. A person could go on and on in this vein. But we’re here today to talk about scary books. At the library, we get asked for them a lot. All year long, but especially right around now.
Are you ready for a scary, scary read? Here’s help.
You could start chronologically. There’s agreement among scholars that Horace Walpole’s 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto was the first gothic novel, precursor to horror, with its exploration of fear and the supernatural.
As gothic morphed