As the days cool and grow shorter and the darkness spreads its ebony fingers, are you ready for some chills and thrills?
Yes, it’s that time of year again when I make – and often fail to complete – a plan for my October reading. As the theme is Hallowe’en, my chosen genre is horror or any kind of weird fiction. I’m planning to focus on novellas and short stories this year as my reading-time has shrunk over the last few months. So, without further ado, here is my list of stories to read as I tentatively set foot into the October country.
Holt House (1972) by L.G. Vey
The first work to be released to the general public by the secretive Eden Book Society. Here is a brief description of them, followed by a synopsis of the book:
‘Established in 1919, The Eden Book Society was a private publisher of horror for nearly 100 years. Presided over by the Eden family, the press passed through the generations publishing short horror novellas to a private list of subscribers. Eden books were always published under pseudonyms and, until now, have never been available to the public.’
Holt House by L.G. Vey
‘It’s a quiet house, sheltered, standing in a mass of tangled old trees called the Holtwood. Raymond watches it. He’s been thinking about the elderly owners, Mr and Mrs Latch, who took him in one night when he was a frightened boy. Mr Latch showed him something that was kept in a wardrobe in the spare room. He can’t remember what it was. He only knows how sick it made him feel. Raymond watches Holt House. He has to remember what he saw.
He has to get inside.’
First published in 1972 by The Eden Book Society, Holt House was the only work of published fiction by L.G. Vey, a popular scriptwriter of 1950s horror and science fiction dramas. At the time, Holt House was a peculiarly dark and mournful footnote in Vey’s career, but published now for the first time outside of The Eden Book Society it becomes a timely reflection on the toxic frailty of masculinity as it ages.
The Murders of Molly Southbourne (2017) by Tade Thompson
I keep hearing great things about Tade Thompson’s writing and recently picked up a copy of Rosewater, his Nigeria-set tale of an alien artifact and the town that has been built around it. I’m hoping to start reading it in November. But first, here’s the synopsis to Molly Southbourne:
The rule is simple: don’t bleed.
For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction.
Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?
Big Driver (2010) by Stephen King
One of four novellas that make up King’s 2010 book Full Dark, No Stars. I’ve already read the first novella from this collection, 1922. That was a pretty gruesome story about murder and rats. I’ve heard both good and bad things about Big Driver and am looking forward to some chills from the King. I didn’t know there was a film adaptation of it.
Five Short Stories by Ray Bradbury
It’s difficult to choose from Bradbury’s wonderful oeuvre of short stories. These are the five I have chosen: The Veldt; The Fog Horn; A Sound of Thunder; The April Witch; Homecoming. I hope to read them all.
So, how about you? Do you have any reading plans for Hallowe’en? Please leave a comment if you do:)