Do you watch horror movies for fun? Is your favorite book Dracula by Bram Stoker? Are you debating which movies by Ari Aster or Stanley Kubrick are more disturbing but you still would watch it every now and then?
Then our Booktober List written by our social media extraordinaire and book reviewer, Faufau (short for Fauziah) is for you! Take notes Atenians, because you are in for a rollercoaster ride.
But first, hit play on our Dapper Earparty playlist as you peruse through our recommendations.
"Picture of Dorian Gray"
Oscar Wilde is usually known for his wit, and not his horror. However, The Picture of Dorian Gray tells a tale of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty after being enthralled by his own portrait. In the midst of Wilde's colorful and flowery language, the horror of the story lies between the lines.
The book begins with a simple realization that beauty is finite, which might seem obvious to us readers, but to Dorian, that realization dawned and ate him from inside out. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian Gray is drawn into a corrupt double life, remaining a spotless gentleman in the eyes of polite high society, while his portrait bears his destructive and decadent behavior.
This book exquisitely captures the nook and crannies of society, it investigates the power of vanity and the problems of living a life without taking accountability of your own actions. Unlike books such as Dracula or It, the eeriness of the characters and setting often goes dismissed. Wilde shares the horrors of societal pressures through the vain Dorian Gray and his ever decaying portrait, giving readers a visual representation of what it means to be a menace.
A classic horror piece best enjoyed by the fireplace is Dracula, by none other than Bram Stoker. Formatted as a collaboration of journals, letters, and papers, Dracula tells a tale of a newly appointed solicitor, Jonathan Harker and his visit to the Carpathian Mountains, the place that houses Count Dracula's castle.
Harker's purpose there was originally to help the Count purchase a house near London, and to stay a few nights. Before his stay at the castle, Count Dracula warned Harker to not wander about his castle, yet Harker did anyway. Whilst venturing the halls of Count Dracula's castle, he encounters three vampire women that sight prompts him to leave as soon as possible.
Following this event, Count Dracula searches for Harker in London, and eventually stalks and terrorizes Harker's good friend Lucy. This is where a Professor Abraham Van Helsing comes in, and proposes the men to hunt down Count Dracula.
This synopsis however only reflects a small portion of the story. Stoker wrote this novel in such a way that sends chills down the spine, he was able to capture the eeriness of the Gothic period, and translated it in written form. Written during the Victorian period, this book further reveals societal norms and issues, forcing the reader to decide what defines something as good or evil.
"The Tell-Tale Heart"
Edgar Allan Poe
For those of you who like short stories, this one will surely be your cup of tea. The Tell-Tale Heart retells a story of an unnamed narrator who tries to convince the reader of their sanity while simultaneously recounts a murder the narrator committed.
The Tell-Tale Heart is 10 pages of pure madness as Poe recounts the narrator's obsessive delusions to justify the heinous crime he just committed. In the midst of persuading the reader of his innocence, the narrator tries to justify his crimes by fixating on the old man's "vulture-like" eyes for the sake of avoiding guilt. Eventually this guilt manifests in the sound of the old man's heartbeat beneath his floorboards, driving him insane.
All in all, The Tell-Tale Heart can be considered a disturbing look into the psyche of a severely troubled individual. A perfect short story to read on a quick a Monday night.
"The Handmaid's Tale"
What is now an Emmy Award Winning series, The Handmaid's Tale started out in a book. Set in a totalitarian society of what used to be the United States, The Republic of Gilead now stands in its place. Ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as properties of state, the regime selects the few remaining fertile women into sexual servitude in a desperate attempt to increase birth rates across the republic; they call these women handmaids.
Atwood tells the story of one young Offred, a handmaid of the Republic of Gilead. As a handmaid, Offred is only valued if her ovaries are viable. To keep herself alive and of value, she must submit to the Commander every month and pray with all that's left of her to be pregnant. All she can do in those moments is to reminisce about the life she had before this all happened, when she lived and loved her husband Luke; when she had a job and money of her own; when she played with her daughter; and when she had access to knowledge.
The dystopian society of Gilead is an extreme adaptation on how Atwood mirrors real-life situations. The novel uses the dangers of patriarchy and the need of feminism to execute its narrative. As a dystopian fiction, The Handmaid's Tale uses modern fears to create the feeling of fear and fright among the audience; the mere possibility that The Handmaid's Tale can be a reality is arguably the disturbing factor of all this.
"The Haunting of Hill House"
You might already be familiar with this story, as there is a Netflix series with the same name.
To refresh your memory, The Haunting of Hill House retells the story of four people who arrive at the notorious Hill House: Luke, the future heir of Hill House; Theodora, the friendly assistant; Eleanor, a woman who's shared many experience with poltergeists; and Dr. Montague, an occult scholar searching for solid evidence of a haunting. Riddled with mystery, Hill House continues to surprise the four guests in inexplicable ways. What seems at first as a normal haunting, Hill House reveals its intention to devour the guests as the story progresses.
"The Lighthouse Witches"
A newly published book, The Lighthouse Witches tells a story of two sisters who go missing on a remote Scottish island. Fast forward 20 years later, one is found - but she's still the same age as when she disappeared.
Their mother, Liv, found out that the island used to house a prison for women accused of witchcraft. When her children disappeared, locals warned her of wildings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for the sake of revenge. Chapter by chapter, the truth of the found sister reveals itself, and it is sure to catch you off guard.
BRB, wake us up when October 31st ends. We will be lost and deep in pages within these books until then.
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