Spooky Book recommendations from the Board
Merel: Dracula - Bram Stoker
During my mental search for my favourite spooky novel, I noticed that I don’t really read that many books that fall into that category. I’ve mostly read the classics of this category: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, poetry by Edgar Allan Poe, and, of course, Dracula by Bram Stoker. Since Frankenstein was already chosen by Jessay as his favourite book, and poetry is not the same as a novel, my favourite spooky novel has automatically become Dracula. I have to admit: I am quite glad about this. I’ve known the story for years, but I only decided to read the novel about two years ago. It was a great read - as the novel was first published in 1897, the writing style is a bit different than we are used to nowadays. The pace is quite slow - Stoker can take his sweet time in beautifully describing the setting. I love that! The format of letters, newspaper articles, journal entries and diary entries makes this work an interesting read as there are many POVs. A downside: it was not yet known in 1897 that people have different blood types and that it is not possible to receive blood from any person without there being any consequences. I truly had some difficulties in stopping myself from getting worked up about this, but that might also be because my parents are teachers in biology and medicine. I can truly recommend this book to anyone who likes spooky stuff that is not too scary!
Jessay: Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
I would say Frankenstein is my favourite ‘spooky’ novel. Its not that scary, but it is written well and it inspired many spooky stories that came afterwards. I read it four times, because I had to write an essay about it and I have the attention span of a goldfish, but it was completely worth it. The third time I had read it, I discovered an interesting motif, that became the subject of my essay. Somewhere in the beginning of the book, when Frankenstein reflects on the event that inspired him to start his studies, he says the following:
As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump.
That last part, the blasted stump, will be referred to later somewhere at the end of the book. Frankenstein mentions that he himself has become like the blasted stump. This can mean many things, and I’ll try not to spoil too much, but you could interpret the lightning bolt as Frankenstein’s monster, or the creation of the monster, and the oak tree can represent Frankenstein and his family. In this way, the monster can be related to Lucifer, because a lightning bolt is generally used to describe Lucifer’s fall from heaven. When you read Frankenstein, you’ll see that the monster is sometimes called a devil or the devil, which further strengthens the relation between Lucifer and Frankenstein’s monster. In short, the monster is literally demonised, specifically by Frankenstein, because Frankenstein is a narrator in the story. Furthermore, Frankeinstein’s monster is known to be created by the process of galvanism: using electricity to give life to the dead. In that way, the lightning bolt can be an early hint of how electricity will be used to give life to the monster. On the other hand, the lightning bolt destroys the oak: it represents life as much as it represents destruction. Anyway, I could go on and on, but my point is that I love Frankenstein because of its depth. Yes, I like any other spooky story, which is why I joined Midnight Dreary, but Frankenstein’s writing is superb in some ways. If you haven’t read it, I really recommend it.
Kato: If We Were Villains - M.L. Rio
Choosing my favourite spooky book was actually quite difficult for me. I mainly read a lot of Fantasy and even though some weird and terrifying things happen in those sometimes, I would not classify the entire book or series as spooky or horror or anything like that. So I had to bend the rules a little bit which resulted in me choosing If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. Is it horror? Absolutely not. Is it a thriller then? Maybe? It sure can be dark and sinister at times so I figured it would qualify. It is also one of my favourite books ever, so that is also a plus. While the book can be described quite easily as a combination of Dark Academia, Shakespeare, and Murder Mystery (I mean is this not enough reason to pick it up already? ;) ), it actually has a really complex story with so many levels to it! It definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. I remember when I first read it, I was actually clutching the book in my hands, frantically trying to read as quickly as possible because I was so engrossed in the story! It is dark, eerie, beautifully written and wonderfully dramatic and I can definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to read these kinds of books, as well as anyone who doesn’t!
Iris: The Moth Diaries - Rachel Klein
I’m usually not a big fan of spooky books; they are either not spooky enough or too spooky. I read The Moth Diaries in high school and I must say: I was very intrigued. The story is about a 16-year-old girl, whose name is not known to the reader, who goes to an all-girls boarding school. Strange things happen there and the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurry for both the main character and the reader. Some say the main character is Rachel Klein, the author of this book, and that the book actually is a biography, not a fictional novel. I loved the gothic and spooky vibes I got from the book and it’s definitely a good read for the Halloween season.