I know I’m not alone in thinking that being curled up on a chilly October day with an apple cider and a good book is one of, if not the best part of the fall season. And it’s even better when said book chills you in more ways than one. With the gloomy fall weather and Halloween approaching, my stack of Stephen King books takes permanent residency on my nightstand. Stephen King is an amazing writer year round, of course, but his gory, creepy nature in writing ties in perfectly with this time of year. Here’s a list of some King titles to get you in that eerie mood this October. (Important Note: All of his books are phenomenal. These are my personal favorites. You should definitely read every book he’s ever written.)
1. Full Dark No Stars
What’s better than one genius story, with unbelievable twists and well-thought out, creepy characters, written by Stephen King? Four short stories with unbelievable twists and well-thought out, creepy characters in one book. “Full Dark No Stars” is a compilation of four mini novellas, “1922,” “Big Driver,” “Fair Extension” and “A Good Marriage.” King introduces major themes of murder, rape and torture, and brings forth the idea that every person hides an inner, more evil person within himself. “1922″ also has been made into a movie!
2. The Shining
I’m positive the grand majority of us have seen the movie, but how many have read the book that is easily twenty times more creepy and terrifying? Time and time again, I’ve heard people claim this is the scariest movie they’ve ever seen, and to that, I invite them to read the book. With scenes not included in the movie, like a scene where the hedges outside are shaped into animals and come to life as horrifying creatures, in front of young Danny Torrance’s eyes, Jack Torrance and the eeriness of the Overlook Hotel comes to life even more.
3. Duma Key
This is one of King’s lesser known and not as popular books, but it’s unclear to me why, as it is one of the most genuinely well-thought-out books I have ever read. After I read this one, I didn’t pick up another book for at least three weeks because I was so caught up on this one. It’s not so much scary in the gory way we typically think of, but more terrifying in a psychological way, bringing in characters having psychic powers due to near death experiences. The NY Times says it well when they state, “he has turned the evanescence of health and sanity into his books’ most disturbing source of fear.” Very twilight-zone esque, this is a good one to read if you want to have your mind completely messed with.
4. Pet Semetary
There’s nothing like the addition of children and pets to amp up the creepiness of any book. Mixing in a cemetery that may or may not bring creatures back to life after death, a creepy old man and his wife, and a man who will do anything to keep his family happy, this book will chill you more than the crisp, fall weather outside. After burying the family’s cat in the pet semetary and having it come back to life, there’s no telling what else might end up being buried there…
I like to blame the first “It” movie released in 1986 for my extreme fear of all things clown. It’s because of this that I think “It” became my all time favorite book. It takes a lot to scare me. I love horror and I love getting a good scare, but this book makes me cry and I have to literally set it down and come back to it in a few days, even after reading it at least 30 times. 1,000 pages of pure terror unleashed by a killer whose favorite form is a demon clown but can change to look like anyone’s worst and biggest fear, attacking the small town of Derry, Maine and killing children. A group of five kids must band together to try to stop this psychotic killing creature ruining their town. Fun!