The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Book Club

Delia’s best spooky recommendations
Photo by Delia Brandel

It’s finally my favorite season, I can enjoy the leaves, chilly weather, chai pumpkin-flavored everything and most importantly, the impending sense of fear I give myself by reading scary books in the dark. 

One of my favorite love languages is recommending books to people, and so I considered ranking my favorites, or even giving a list of the best horror I have encountered, but I decided instead to curate a handful of books for every reader this Halloween.

So here is what I came up with — my personal list of unsettling, cozy or downright creepy books to read in this Halloween season.

The most recent book I’ve read that fits this category is “Haunted” by Chuck Palahniuk. This accumulation of 23 gruesome and humorous short stories was kind of a hard read but for all the right reasons. 

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This book has a way of getting to you, and I find myself thinking about some of these shorts on a weekly basis. 

I will say as a warning for this book that the subjects mentioned can be a bit overwhelming. There were times throughout my reading of “Haunted” that I had to put it down, take a walk and come back later. 

The next book that came to mind is an upcoming contemporary classic, Chelsea G. Summers’s “A Certain Hunger.” This novel delves into the twisted mind of a young food critic named Dorothy, who has a taste for something other than your typical delicacies.  

This book fits into the unsettling archetype more than the classic “scary” feeling many might be looking for in an October read, but as we near November, the cold snowy atmosphere of this book could be a good incentive to keep reading. 

A horror classic and personal favorite, Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” had to make the list. The book follows the haunting story of Frankenstein’s creation, the aftermath and everything in between. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve heard the story, reading the book will never disappoint. 

This book is shorter than most people would assume, my copy is only 143 pages. The writing style and pop culture craze behind this book make it feel like an old friend even if this is your first time reading it. 

This next book is what inspired one of my favorite movies of all time, and there is an argument for both being masterpieces in their own right. “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman revolves around a little girl moving to a new house with her parents. 

The house is not all that it seems, and she soon discovers a dark underbelly to the history of the Pink Palace Apartments. I would recommend reading this book, and then immediately watching the movie. 

My final recommendation for this spooky season is “The Troop” by Nick Cutter. This one is a bit out of left field, but is genuinely the scariest book I have ever read, so I would be remiss not to tack it onto this list. 

“The Troop” follows a Boy Scout trip in Canada, led by troop leader Tim Riggs. The group of boys have their own dynamics, exacerbated by the tragedy ahead. Quickly, the campsite is infected with a disease unlike anything they have ever encountered. 

A violent, hungry and sickening illness spreads through the boys and as you read, you are dragged through the woods with them. Something about Cutter’s writing and the obvious aftershocks from the COVID-19 pandemic that live within all of us made this book a perfectly chilling read. 

Hopefully, there is a book in this list for every type of reader, from contemporary to classic, and from experienced readers to those looking to start short and sweet. 

Brandel can be reached at [email protected]


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About the Contributor
Delia Brandel
Delia Brandel, OP/ED Editor
Delia is a second-year illustration student, pursuing a career in children's book illustration and animation. This is her third semester on The Spectator. Delia is particularly fond of books, art, her cat Applesauce, music, tea, baby clothes, the 2019 version of “Little Women” and animated movies.

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