October Reads

Looking for some new, spooky reads for October?  Well, look no further!  Here’s a few of the fantastic new books on the shelf that we at Rare Horror are looking forward to digging into this Halloween month.  Let us know your thoughts, if there’s anything new we missed, and any of your own Halloween reading suggestions, new or old!

The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror by William Sloane


William Sloane is, for the most part, a forgotten writer.  The two works contained within “The Rim of Morning” – “To Walk the Night” and “The Edge of Running Water” – are by all accounts undeservedly forgotten, largely anticipating modern works of weird fiction that elegantly waltz between genre boundaries.  Read what Stephen King had to say about these two works here:


In the 1930s, William Sloane wrote two brilliant novels that gave a whole new meaning to cosmic horror. In To Walk the Night, Bark Jones and his college buddy Jerry Lister, a science whiz, head back to their alma mater to visit a cherished professor of astronomy. They discover his body, consumed by fire, in his laboratory, and an uncannily beautiful young widow in his house—but nothing compares to the revelation that Jerry and Bark encounter in the deserts of Arizona at the end of the book. In The Edge of Running Water, Julian Blair, a brilliant electrophysicist, has retired to a small town in remotest Maine after the death of his wife. His latest experiments threaten to shake up the town, not to mention the universe itself.

Trick ‘r Treat: Days of the Dead


Sam is back!  We love Trick ‘r Treat.  While we’d love to see a new film, this new comic book collection of four Halloween stories – “Seed”, “Corn Maiden”, “Echoes”, and “Monster Mash” – looks like the next best thing, and it apparently sets the stage for a sequel.

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories by Charles Beaumont


Charles Beaumont is mostly remembered for his classic Twilight Zone contributions now – “The Howling Man”, “Miniature”, “Printer’s Devil”, “In His Image”, and others – but he also wrote short fiction, film scripts, comics, non-fiction, and novels.  Penguin here collects some of his best short fiction.

The profoundly original and wildly entertaining short stories of a legendary Twilight Zone writer, with a foreword by Ray Bradbury and an afterword by William Shatner

It is only natural that Charles Beaumont would make a name for himself crafting scripts forThe Twilight Zone—for his was an imagination so limitless it must have emerged from some other dimension. Perchance to Dreamcontains a selection of Beaumont’s finest stories, including five that he later adapted for Twilight Zone episodes.

Beaumont dreamed up fantasies so vast and varied they burst through the walls of whatever box might contain them. Supernatural, horror, noir, science fiction, fantasy, pulp, and more: all were equally at home in his wondrous mind. These are stories where lions stalk the plains, classic cars rove the streets, and spacecraft hover just overhead. Here roam musicians, magicians, vampires, monsters, toreros, extraterrestrials, androids, and perhaps even the Devil himself. With dizzying feats of master storytelling and joyously eccentric humor, Beaumont transformed his nightmares and reveries into impeccably crafted stories that leave themselves indelibly stamped upon the walls of the mind. In Beaumont’s hands, nothing is impossible: it all seems plausible, even likely.

The Case Against Satan by Ray Russell


2013 saw the fantastic collection of Ray Russell fiction, Haunted Castles, under the Guillermo Del Toro Penguin Classics line, and now, Penguin has graciously reprinted The Case Against Satan with a new introduction by modern horror master, Laird Barron.

Before The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby, there was The Case Against Satan
By the twentieth century, the exorcism had all but vanished, wiped out by modern science and psychology. But Ray Russell—praised by Stephen King and Guillermo del Toro as a sophisticated practitioner of Gothic fiction—resurrected the ritual with his classic 1962 horror novel, The Case Against Satan, giving new rise to the exorcism on page, screen, and even in real life.

Teenager Susan Garth was “a clean-talking sweet little girl” of high school age before she started having “fits”—a sudden aversion to churches and a newfound fondness for vulgarity. Then one night, she strips in front of the parish priest and sinks her nails into his throat. If not madness, then the answer must be demonic possession. To vanquish the Devil, Bishop Crimmings recruits Father Gregory Sargent, a younger priest with a taste for modern ideas and brandy. As the two men fight not just the darkness tormenting Susan but also one another, a soul-chilling revelation lurks in the shadows—one that knows that the darkest evil goes by many names.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul Tremblay


Here’s a new novel of exorcism and possession that’s been receiving massive praise to go with the Ray Russell classic.

Nathan Ballingrud said, “I just finished Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts. The hype is not hyperbole; this book is outstanding. Creepy, surprising, occasionally funny, always compassionate, and both a love song to horror fiction and an interrogation of its assumptions, this easily stands as one of the best horror novels I’ve read in years.”  It’s next up in this Rare Horror writer’s reading list!

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

Slade House by David Mitchell


David Mitchell, author of The Bone Clocks, Cloud Atlas, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, and others, is one of modern literature’s greatest living writers.  Here, in this slim volume about a terrifying haunted house set in the world of The Bone Clocks, he tries his hand at horror.

Joe Hill said, ““Slade House is a deranged garden of forking paths, where all the flowers are poisonous and every escape is choked with thorns. David Mitchell has long been acknowledged as one of the finest—if notthe finest—literary minds of his generation, but he’s also one of the most suspenseful, and he proves it in every gripping, vertiginous setpiece. In some ways, this book reads as if Wes Craven hired Umberto Eco to reinvent A Nightmare on Elm Street. Yet that doesn’t quite do justice to its white-hot intensity: I think that five minutes inside Slade House would leave Freddy Krueger trembling and crying for Mama. I read in a constant state of terror and joy and could not turn the pages fast enough.”

Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.
Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . .
Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti


Ligotti is one of the greatest living writers of horror and weird fiction.  His first two works – Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe, collected here together with a new foreword by master weird fiction author Jeff VanderMeer – have left an indelible impact on the horror genre.  If you haven’t read Ligotti yet, make sure you grab a copy of this invaluable collection.

Thomas Ligotti’s debut collection, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, and his second, Grimscribe, permanently inscribed a new name in the pantheon of horror fiction.  Influenced by the strange terrors of Lovecraft and Poe and by the brutal absurdity of Kafka, Ligotti eschews cheap, gory thrills for his own brand of horror, which shocks at the deepest, existential, levels.

Ligotti’s stories take on decaying cities and lurid dreamscapes in a style ranging from rich, ornamental prose to cold, clinical detachment. His raw and experimental work lays bare the unimportance of our world and the sickening madness of the human condition. Like the greatest writers of cosmic horror, Ligotti bends reality until it cracks, opening fissures through which he invites us to gaze on the unsettling darkness of the abyss below.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

6 thoughts on “October Reads

  1. I have to get “A Head Full of Ghosts” some time. It sounds very good, and apparently Stephen King liked it, so it seems like something I might want to try.

    By the way, may I add to the list “When the Lights Go Out”, the new Halloween anthology by the Ink Slingers’ League, for this list?

  2. Both of the Ligotti books her are outstanding. I give the edge to Songs of a Dead Dreamer, even though some of the stories still feel like Ligotti hasn’t reached his full potential and at the time was writing stories that would kind of ‘fit’ into the horror market at the time. My favorite collection of his, hands down is Teatro Grottesco. The other collection here I’m very interested in reading is by Charles Beaumont. The cover art looks so ‘pulp’ style, kind of different for Penguin Books.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s