It’s that time of year again, witches and goblins will soon become the most popular Google searches. Here are six books perfect for reading during October. Happy Halloween.
1. The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
A fast-moving, eerie…tale set on Halloween night. Eight costumed boys running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house outside town encounter instead the huge and cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away by a dark Something, and Moundshroud leads the boys on the tail of a kite through time and space to search the past for their friend and the meaning of Halloween. After witnessing a funeral procession in ancient Egypt, cavemen discovering fire, Druid rites, the persecution of witches in the Dark Ages, and the gargoyles of Notre Dame, they catch up with the elusive Pipkin in the catacombs of Mexico, where each boy gives one year from the end of his life to save Pipkin’s. Enhanced by appropriately haunting black-and-white drawings.
2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of-a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself-to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed-and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler’s dark reign-and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.
3. Halloweenland by Al Sarrantonio
In Orangefield, Halloween is never normal—and this year will be no exception. For Orangefield is now the home of Halloweenland, a bizarre carnival run by the mysterious Mr. Dickens. No one who sees the carnival doubts that it’s a very strange place, but its real secrets can hardly be imagined.
Orangefield is also the home of Detective Bill Grant, who thinks he’s seen it all. He’s on the trail of an odd little girl, a girl who could hold the end of the universe in her hand. The trail will lead Grant to Ireland, the ancient home of the Lord of the Dead, then back to Orangefield, where, on what may be the last Halloween, the ultimate battle between Life and Death will take place.
4. Black and Orange by Benjamin Kane Ethridge
** Winner of the 2010 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel **
Forget everything you know about Halloween. The stories are distortions. They were created to keep the Church of Midnight hidden from the world. Every October 31st a gateway opens to a hostile land of sacrificial magic and chaos. Since the beginning of civilization the Church of Midnight has attempted to open the gateway and unite with its other half, the Church of Morning. Each year they’ve come closer, waiting for the ideal sacrifice to open the gateway permanently.
This year that sacrifice has come. And only two can protect it. Martin and Teresa are the nomads, battle-hardened people who lack identity and are forever road-bound on an endless mission to guard the sacrifice. Their only direction is from notes left from a mysterious person called the Messenger. Endowed with a strange telekinetic power, the nomads will use everything at their disposal to make it through the night alive. But matters have become even more complicated this year. Teresa has quickly lost ground battling cancer, while Martin has spiraled into a panic over being left alone. His mind may no longer be on the fight when it matters most… because ever on their heels is the insidious physical representation of a united church: Chaplain Cloth.
5. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce This winner of the William C. Morris Award for best YA debut novel is a ghost story, spun with a romance, woven with a mystery, and shot through with fairy tale.
The gold thread promises Charlotte Miller a chance to save her family’s beloved woolen mill. It promises a future for her sister, jobs for her townsfolk, security against her grasping uncle — maybe even true love.
To get the thread, Charlotte must strike a bargain with its maker, the mysterious Jack Spinner. But the gleam of gold conjures a shadowy past — secrets ensnaring generations of Millers. And Charlotte’s mill, her family, her love — what do those matter to a stranger who can spin straw into gold?
This is an award-winning and wholly original retelling of “Rumplestiltskin.”
6. The Night Country by Stewart O’Nan
One year following their deaths in a late-night car accident, teenagers Danielle, Marco, and Christopher return, in spirit, to the sleepy New England suburb of Avon. Over the course of the evening, the three will drift into and out of the lives of those who knew and were affected by them. None is more affected than Tim, survivor of the crash, who plots a grisly act of remembrance, and Brooks, the well-intentioned police officer who first discovered the crash and whose life has changed in startling ways since.