October Stories || Book edition

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning…

A novel that captures the feel of autumn better than any other I’ve found. The story is lovely, but it’s the description that takes hold of the imagination. One of my annual October reads.

Sunshine

I never heard them coming. Of course you don’t, when they’re vampires.

Sunshine, a young and talented baker, is kidnapped by vampires. Things get complicated after she escapes…with the help of another vampire.

The Woman in Black

“Is there a family grave?”

He was silent for a moment, glancing at me closely again, as if trying to discover whether there were any meaning behind the apparent straight-forwardness of the question. Then he said, “No. At least…not here, not in this churchyard.”

“Somewhere else?”

“It is…no longer in use,” he said, after some deliberation. “The area is unsuitable.”

A young lawyer goes to close the estate of a deceased client and discovers the house isn’t as empty as he was led to believe. Do not judge this book by its movie. A classic ghost story, similar to The Turn of the Screw.

Dracula

What I saw was the Count’s head coming out from the window. I did not see the face, but I knew the man by the neck and the movement of his back and arms. In any case I could not mistake the hands which I had had so many opportunities of studying. I was at first interested and somewhat amused, for it is wonderful how small a matter will interest and amuse a man when he is a prisoner. But my very feelings changed to repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadful abyss, face down with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings.

I thought I knew the story of Dracula. Then I read the book. It is so much more.

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

“Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon.”

The demon! thought Karras.

He’d said it so matter-of-factly. It jarred him.

I read this for the first time this year. This is one of those stories that’s so taken hold of the cultural imagination, that you don’t need to see or read it to know what happens. However, no one told me how lovely parts of the prose are.

The Turn of the Screw

“..She had never told anyone. It wasn’t simply that she said so, but that I knew she hadn’t. I was sure; I could see. You’ll easily judge why when you hear.”

“Because the thing had been such a scare?”

He continued to fix me. “You’ll easily judge,” he repeated: “you will.”

I fixed him, too. “I see. She was in love.”

An infatuated young woman becomes governess to two young children. Are they possessed, or is she merely insane?

The Stand by Stephen King

He had no name, although it please him to call himself Flagg…at least for the time being. And on the far side of the mountains, his work was already well begun. She did not know his plans…But she did not have to know the specifics. His goal was clear and simple: to destroy them all.

A virus is accidentally released from a laboratory and spreads, killing the majority of humanity. But that’s only how it begins. The real story comes as those left fight to survive, which entails more than simply finding food and shelter.

World War Z by Max Brooks

“I’ve heard of various “solutions.” Sometimes ships would pull up to a stretch of deserted coast…and “unload” the infected renshe onto the beach. I’ve heard of some captains making for an empty stretch of open sea and just tossing the whole writing lot overboard. That might explain the early cases of swimmers and divers starting to disappear without a trace, or why you’d hear of people all around the world saying they saw them walking out of the surf. At least I never had to deal with that.”

The history of the zombie apocalypse, as told by those who survived it. Realistically told that it reads like a Ken Burns film. The best zombie book I’ve encountered.

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