Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Book Recommendations!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


Hello everybody and welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! This week is a Halloween freebie so I’m going to give you a list of my top ten Halloween reading recommendations! I absolutely LOVE Halloween and whilst I don’t read a lot of straight out horror, I do love an atmospheric or creepy book so this list will be made up of the books that have freaked me out the most! 

1. Perfume by Patrick Süskind 


Summary: from Amazon

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent . . .


I first read this book when I was about fifteen and it seriously creeped me out but it was also one of the best and most atmospheric books I’ve ever read. It is the perfect insidious and truly frightening read for Halloween whilst also being full of beautiful writing and creepy imagery. If you haven’t read it – I would highly recommend giving it a shot!

2. Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller


Summary: from Amazon

From the first day that the beguiling Sheba Hart joins the staff of St George’s history teacher Barbara Covett is convinced she has found a kindred spirit. Barbara’s loyalty to her new friend is passionate and unstinting and when Sheba is discovered having an illicit affair with one of her pupils, Barbara quickly elects herself as Sheba’s chief defender. But all is not as it first seems in this dark story and, as Sheba will soon discover, a friend can be just as treacherous as any lover.


This is another book I first read as a teenager and it has totally stuck in my mind as a genuinely creepy read. It’s not an obvious Halloween choice and is not actually scary or gory but there are so many sinister undertones to this story and the characters are all so fascinating and unpredictable which makes for a really great read.

3. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier


Summary: from Amazon

On a trip to the South of France, the shy heroine of Rebecca falls in love with Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower. Although his proposal comes as a surprise, she happily agrees to marry him. But as they arrive at her husband’s home, Manderley, a change comes over Maxim, and the young bride is filled with dread. Friendless in the isolated mansion, she realises that she barely knows him. In every corner of every room is the phantom of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, and the new Mrs de Winter walks in her shadow.


Rebecca has always felt like one of the best ghost stories to me, I know there’s not a haunting in the traditional sense but the presence of Maxim de Winter’s first wife is so strong throughout the entire book. There is a gloomy and eerie atmosphere to the writing and I found it a really nerve-wracking book to read! I was looking over my shoulder constantly whilst reading it. 

4. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter


Summary: from Amazon

From familiar fairy tales and legends – Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires and werewolves – Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.


This book is honestly the perfect choice for Halloween. It’s a slim collection of stories that could easily be read over the course of a creepy Halloween evening. The titular story, The Bloody Chamber, is my favourite in the collection. It is a violent and shocking tale that is written in such a gorgeous way by a fantastic author. The stories aren’t all of a spooky nature but I think fairy tales always have a sinister subtext when looked at from a different perspective so it definitely works for Halloween.

5. The Works of Edgar Allan Poe


Summary: from Amazon

The life of American writer Edgar Allan Poe was characterized by a dramatic series of successes and failures, breakdowns and recoveries, personal gains and hopes dashed through, despite which he created some of the finest literature the world has ever known. Over time his works have influenced such major creative forces as the French poets Charles Baudelaire and Andre Gide, filmmaker D.W. Griffith and modern literary legend Allen Ginsberg. Best known for his poems and short fiction, Poe perfected the psychological thriller, invented the detective story, and rarely missed transporting the reader to his own supernal realm. He has also been hailed posthumously as one of the finest literary critics of the nineteenth century. In Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems fans may indulge in all of Poe’s most imaginative short-stories, including The Fall of the House of Usher, The Murders in Rue Morgue, The Tell-Tale Heart, Ligeia and Ms. In A Bottle. His complete early and miscellaneous poetic masterpieces are also here, including The Raven, Ulalume, Annabel Lee, Tamerlane, as well as select reviews and narratives.


I think I might actually read a few of Poe’s stories myself this Halloween as I absolutely love them and there are so many great ones to choose from. One of his most famous is The Tell Tale Heart and it is such a good one to read on a dark and dreary evening. The imagery is fantastic and there is an almost frenetic nature to The Tell Tale Heart in particular that it makes for a heart racing read.

6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


Summary: from Amazon

Wilde’s only novel, first published in 1890, is a brilliantly designed puzzle, intended to tease conventional minds with its exploration of the myriad interrelationships between art, life, and consequence. From its provocative Preface, challenging the reader to believe in ‘art for art’s sake’, to its sensational conclusion, the story self-consciously experiments with the notion of sin as an element of design.

Yet Wilde himself underestimated the consequences of his experiment, and its capacity to outrage the Victorian establishment. Its words returned to haunt him in his court appearances in 1895, and he later recalled the ‘note of doom’ which runs like ‘a purple thread’ through its carefully crafted prose.


I’m a big fan of Oscar Wilde and I particularly love his play, The Importance of Being Earnest but his only novel is equally compelling in a totally different way. It is so full of lust and over-indulgence and as it gets to it’s conclusion the tension just rises and rises. It is a fabulous choice for a Halloween read, there is such a strong sense of darkness to these characters and I think its so worth giving it a try if you haven’t already read it!

7. The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke


Summary: from Amazon


1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.

2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.

2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.

Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.

He is the Tall Man. He can make you special…


I read this one earlier this year and I absolutely loved it. It is a properly chilling read with just enough of nod to real life events to make it feel all too believable. There are so many questions to answer in this story and the reader never completely knows what is real and what is not. It’s a really well written and spooky read. 

8. The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals by Aaron Mahnke 


Summary: from Amazon

A chilling, lavishly illustrated who’s-who of the most despicable people ever to walk the earth, featuring both rare and best-loved stories from the hit podcast Lore, now an online streaming series.

Here are the incredible true stories of some of the mortals who achieved notoriety in history and folklore through horrible means. Monsters of this sort – serial killers, desperate criminals, and socially mobile people with a much darker double-life – are, in fact, quite real . . . including H. H. Holmes, the infamous Chicago serial killer; William Brodie, the Edinburgh criminal mastermind who inspired The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; and Bela Kiss, a Hungarian tinsmith with a most disturbing hobby: collecting women in gasoline drums.


This is such a fun collection of some truly scary and very real characters from all the way through history. All the stories are short and quirkily written so this would be such an enjoyable book to read a bit of this Halloween. The real stories are almost always scarier than the fictional ones and this book really demonstrates that.

9. Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton 


Summary: from Amazon

Louise is struggling to survive in New York; juggling a series of poorly paid jobs, renting a shabby flat, being catcalled by her creepy neighbour, she dreams of being a writer. And then one day she meets Lavinia. Lavinia who has everything – looks, money, clothes, friends, an amazing apartment.

Lavinia invites Louise into her charmed circle, takes her to the best underground speakeasies, the opera, shares her clothes, her drugs, her Uber account. Louise knows that this can’t last for ever, but just how far is she prepared to go to have this life? Or rather, to have Lavinia’s life?


Again, this is not a traditionally scary book but there is honestly something so unnerving about it. The characters are hard to completely get a read on from the very beginning and things just get more and more out of control the further into the story you get. Social creature is very much a horror story for the modern age showing just how creepy living in the digital age can be. 

10. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter


Summary: from Amazon

With a missing girl in the news, Claire Scott can’t help but be reminded of her sister, who disappeared twenty years ago in a mystery that was never solved. 

But when Claire begins to learn the truth about her sister, nothing will ever be the same.


I have become a bit addicted to Karin Slaughter’s books over the past couple of years and Pretty Girls was the first of her books that I read. It is a brutal and unrelentingly violent read so if you find violence in books tricky then I would avoid this but if you can handle it then it would be an excellent and very intense reading choice this Halloween. Slaughter’s writing is so great and she always weaves a menacing and complex story into her books so if you have yet to read one of them then I recommend starting with Pretty Girls. 

Well that’s it for my Halloween recommendations! I really hope you enjoyed them and please do let me know in the comments what you think and what your Halloween recommendations are! I can’t wait to read all your awesome lists too! Happy Halloween for tomorrow!


3 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Book Recommendations!

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