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Two Fantastic Horror Classics to read on Halloween

Here it is again: Halloween. One of the year’s spookiest – and most fun – nights.

For many it will be the first time in over two years they’ll get to attend costume parties or go trick-or-treating. But maybe you’re more the type who prefers a nice evening at home, perhaps watching a scary movie or reading a spooky book. If that’s the case, then I have two great book recommendations for you.

”Frankenstein” or ”The Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley

Illustration by Theodor von Holst (1831)

I read this book back in the fall of 2015 and quickly became obsessed with it. I sought out all Frankenstein’s monster related art I could find, watched every movie adaptation I came across and even bought a costume of the monster for Halloween. What fascinates me with this book is that it’s not just a story about a scary monster (it’s actually not that scary in my opinion) but that it leads you to ask yourself so many important philosophical questions, such as: What does it mean to be human? Can you by accident cause evil while trying to create something good? Are people born evil or does one’s experience push you in one direction on other? What are the ethical limits of science?

If you are going to read one book this Halloween, then Mary Shelley’s ”Frankenstein” would be my number one tip. But if you are more in the mood for listening to a scary story rather than reading one, then the entire public domain book is available for free on Youtube:

Fun fact: a lot of the plot takes place in Geneva, near the Le Léman lake where I often went swimming when growing up in the French alps. Some of my happiest memories took place on and near that lake.

Le Léman

Dracula” by Bram Stoker

This book I read this year and I quickly understood why it became such a classic. You’ve probably already heard about the plot: an English solicitor travels to Transylvania, to a castle owned by a count who wishes to purchase property in London. But he quickly realises that this Count Dracula is not who he seems and a terrible nightmare is unleashed into his life, the lives of the ones he loves and onto England.

Actor Sir Henry Irving, who almost certainly inspired the character of Dracula. Bram Stoker was his manager.

This book is not only great because of its plot but also because it is so incredibly well-written. It’s been a long time since I read a book where I was so excited to turn the page and find out what happens next. The milieus are so vividly described and the characters so fascinating (Van Helsing alone inspired an entire franchise) that one just has to keep reading. AND it’s actually a bit scary sometimes, which is very hard to do in writing. But to be fair, I’m pretty desensitized from having watched so many horror flicks. So, you might find it a lot more spooky than I did.

Anyway, here’s the full audiobook:

Happy Halloween! 🎃

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