As October days pass and the weather starts to chill, many readers celebrate the onset of autumn through their choice of books. Along with our more scholarly texts, the HPU Libraries have books for every kind of reader. If you’re looking for a dark read, below is a small sampling of the horror titles you can check out through the HPU Libraries.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
“After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemi Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find–her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemi knows little about the region. Noemi is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemi; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemi, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemi digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.”
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
“Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to “Our Neighbor’s House” – though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold.” You might try to figure out what is haunting “My Friend Janna,” or discover that your brother’s fiancée may not be what she seems in “The Nesting Place.” And of course you must revisit the horror of “His Face All Red,” the breakout webcomic hit that has been gorgeously translated to the printed page. Already revered for her work online, award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll’s stunning visual style and impeccable pacing is on grand display in this entrancing anthology, her print debut.”
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
“In every book we read, no one ever thought anything bad was happening until it was too late. Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her husband is a workaholic, her teenage kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on her endless to-do list. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are about their own families. One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbor, bringing the neighbor’s handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. James is well traveled and well read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in years. But when children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police, Patricia has reason to believe James Harris is more of a Bundy than a Brad Pitt. The real problem? James is a monster of a different kind –and Patricia has already invited him in. Little by little, James will insinuate himself into Patricia’s life and try to take everything she took for granted–including the book club– but she won’t surrender without a fight in this blood-soaked tale of neighborly kindness gone wrong.”
Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
“Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George– publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide– and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite, heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus’s ancestors, they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours. At the manor Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal named the Order of the Ancient Dawn which has gathered to orchestrate a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus.”
Swan Song by Robert McCammon
“In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth’s last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity: Sister, who discovers a strange and transformative glass artifact in the destroyed Manhattan streets … Joshua Hutchins, the pro wrestler who takes refuge from the nuclear fallout at a Nebraska gas station … and Swan, a young girl possessing special powers, who travels along Josh to a Missouri town where healing and recovery can begin with Swan’s gift. But the ancient force behind earth’s devastation is scouring the walking wounded for recruits for its relentless army, beginning with Swan herself.”
The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
“Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road. One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.” Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined.”
Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon
“Ned Constantine and his family abandon hectic New York for a tranquil New England village where they unknowingly become part of the secret Harvest Home ritual.” A classic in the re-emerging folk horror genre, repopularized by films like Midsommar (2019) and The Witch (2016.)
These titles are just a small selection of the print and e-book resources available to you through the HPU Libraries. For more scary reads, try browsing the Horror section of the Smith Library Readerspace, or look for books with the Horror genre sticker on the spine on the third floor.
To search for books, get assistance from a librarian, and much more, visit the HPU Libraries’ homepage.
-Blog post by Lauren Brewer, Head of Reference and Instruction
Note: Descriptions taken from item catalog records.