5 Tales That'll Spook Your Socks Off

Fall, it seems, has finally come. Temperatures (finally!) cooled enough in the Davidson area to make bonfires, pumpkin-flavored-everything, and reading under blankets feel warranted. The dip in degrees is reminds us, too, that Halloween is here.

Hunker down with every light in the house on and a hefty supply of candy for these five heart-stopingly terrifying reads:

1. The Vegetarian by Han King

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When splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy.

Layered and Kafka-esque, The Vegetarian is for you brainy folks who hope to be intellectually challenged as you're being petrified into a cowering, meatless mess.

2. White Is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

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There’s something strange about the Silver family house in the closed-off town of Dover, England. Grand and cavernous with hidden passages and buried secrets, it’s been home to four generations of Silver women—Anna, Jennifer, Lily, and now Miranda, who has lived in the house with her twin brother, Eliot, ever since their father converted it to a bed-and-breakfast. The Silver women have always had a strong connection, a pull over one another that reaches across time and space, and when Lily, Miranda’s mother, passes away suddenly while on a trip abroad, Miranda begins suffering strange ailments. 

At once an unforgettable mystery and a meditation on race, nationality, and family legacies, White is for Witching is a boldly original, terrifying, and elegant novel by a prodigious talent.

3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

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First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notorious pile called Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Hill Housecreated the essential blueprint for haunted house films. Best read with a teddy bear within reach, a life partner within earshot, and palette-cleansing humor essay collection on hand, this classic preserves the slow simmer of suspense better than any haunted house film or book since its publication.

4. The Shining by Stephen King

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What would a horror list be without at least one tale from the twisted recesses of Stephen King's brain?

In The Shining, Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

5. Perfume by Patrick Suskind

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In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift - an absolute sense of smell. Grenouille becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then, one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume" - the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brillance, Perfumeis a haunting tale of murder and sensual depravity.