Want something spooky to read this Halloween? Never fear.
For readers from tiny tots to serious scholars, we’ve collected 13 recent books that explore the creepy, the frightening, and the world of the dead. Here’s our list:
1. “Perchance to Dream” by Charles Beaumont (Penguin Classics, $16 paper). This reissue of Beaumont’s strange stories includes, alongside his scary tales, fantasy and noir. The introduction by old friend Ray Bradbury and epilogue by actor William Shatner make clear that Beaumont’s early death was as strange as anything he might have dreamed up.
2. “Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe” by Thomas Ligotti (Penguin Classics, $17 paper). The reissue of these two story collections is an attempt to revivify the legacy of the acclaimed, still-living horror writer, with the year’s most terrifying book cover.
3. The “Peek-a-Boo!” board book by Nina Laden (Chronicle Books, $6.99) Entirely safe for the littlest future readers, “Peek-a-Boo!” is a Halloween companion to the bestsellers “Peek-a-Who?” and “Peek-a-Zoo!”
4. “Nightmares: The Sleepwalker Tonic” by Jason Segel (Delacorte Press, $16.99). Actor Jason Segel, with the help of Kirsten Miller, has published the second of his “Nightmares!” books, “The Sleepwalker Tonic,” for readers age 8-12.
5. “Ghostly” by Audrey Niffeneger (Scribner, $28). Audrey Niffenegger (“The Time Traveler’s Wife”) gathers and illustrates some of her favorite ghost stories new and old, including works by Edgar Allan Poe, Kelly Link, Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury.
6. “Rochester Knockings: A Novel of the Fox Sisters” by Hubert Haddad, translated by Jennifer Grotz (Open Letter, $16.95 paper). In “Rochester Knockings,” Tunesian author Hubert Haddad fictionalizes the true story of sisters from upstate New York, whose ability to communicate with the dead became an international sensation -- and whose exposure as frauds never derailed the Spiritualism movement they founded.
7. “The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains” by Thomas W. Laqueur (Princeton University Press, $39.95). A professor at UC Berkeley, Laqueur has penned this weighty history of death and dying in Western culture.
8. “Rise of the Zombie Rabbit” by Sam Hay (Grosset & Dunlap, $5.99 paper). The fifth in the Undead Pets series of illustrated children’s books for readers 6-8 years old introduces our hero to a surprisingly cute undead rabbit.
9. “Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods” by Hal Johnson (Workman, $14.95). These tall tales of fantastical creatures are illustrated -- by the pictures seen in daylight and a second set of scary images that glow in the dark. For readers in grades 5-7.
10. “The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch” by Daniel Kraus (Simon & Schuster, $18.99). A mammoth book for teens, “The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch” by Daniel Kraus features a main character who is a witness to the history of the early 20th century while, inconveniently, being dead. The first in a planned two-book series.
11. “A Is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Cristie” by Kathryn Harkup (Bloomsbury Sigma, $27). In “A Is for Arsenic,” author Kathryn Harkup wonders why Agatha Christie liked poisoning her characters so much. She examines the eerily accurate chemistry of the killings in Christie’s famous murder mysteries.
12. “Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear” by Margee Kerr (Public Affairs, $26.99). Sociologist and haunted house expert Margee Kerr explores the personal and scientific dimensions of things that go bump in the night and send shivers up our spines.
13. “Shadows of Carcosa” edited by D. Thin (NY Review Books, $15.95 paper) Deriving its name from an Ambrose Bierce story found here, the new anthology “Shadows of Carcosa” includes fearsome tales of cosmic horror by masters including Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, and, of course, Edgar Allan Poe.
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