5 Gothic Tales You Should Be Reading This Halloween
The British Library launched a new exhibition, Terror and Wonder: the Gothic Imagination, which opened on the 3rd October and is the UK’s largest showing of gothic literature. Gothic imagination shapes several aspects of our daily lives such as fashion, art and music and celebrating Halloween allows us to indulge the dark side of our imagination year after year. As Halloween approaches, the nights are filled with costumed ghosts and witches in search of sweets, so it’s the perfect time to settle down with a few books that’ll send shivers down your spine. Here are a few recommendations.
1. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Arguably the definitive gothic novel, Dracula has been reinterpreted afresh for generations. The original book, however is far from the high school vampire love stories we often see today. Stoker relies heavily on the conventions of gothic literature while also updating them, moving the story from a creepy castle to rural England. It’s a book filled with sex, science and religion and is a genuinely enjoyable Victorian horror classic that you’ll want to keep re-reading.
2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley started writing this novel when she was eighteen, which in itself is ridiculously impressive. The book tells the story of Dr. Frankenstein, a brilliant scientist who is obsessed with life and manages to successfully create a living creature. The creature isn’t quite what he expected however, resulting in the abandon of his creation. The book’s narrative form allows us to follow the stories of both Dr. Frankenstein and the monster, giving us insight into deciding who really is the monster and who is the man. This novel is beautifully written and utterly captivating; definitely one to be checked out.
3. The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly
This is one of the more underrated books on the list yet it is perfect for getting into the spirit of Halloween. The story centres around David, a twelve-year-old boy who is struggling with his mother’s death. When a WW2 bomber plane crashes into his garden, he finds himself in a fantasy world that he usually only reads about in his books. A dark and twisted look on well-known fairytales and myths, this book is ideal for young adult readers who are looking for a spooky read.
4. The Shining by Stephen King
A genuinely creepy and disturbing read that will have you looking over your shoulder long after you’ve turned the last page of the book. King’s approach to writing the monster behind the door as opposed to the monster stood in front of you, works to its full advantage. He manages to expertly build from subtle unease to straight up fear. While Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation is considered a classic by today’s standard, it’s definitely worth picking up the source material for a guaranteed scary night in.
5. The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
No Halloween would be complete without Poe’s dark and macabre works. His short stories are great to get you in the Halloween mood however his most famous poem, The Raven manages to remain one of the most popular poems ever, as it sees the narrator progress from weak and weary into madness. Poe gained inspiration from mythology and folklore to create a gloomy autumnal world that would be chilling at any time of year!