Tuesday, October 2, 2018

8 Thrilling Reads to Checkout in October

It's the time of the year, we all want a little spooky in our life. And there are a ton of spooky books out there. But I don't just want something scary, or potentially claiming to be scary, but not really at all scary and just a total let down. This is also the time of year for a good psychological thriller. So I have new book category, unsettling. Whether the reads are scary or twisty, that leave your stomach in knots. I have 8, yes it's awkward (BUT I didn't want to force the list to ten and books that I didn't feel strongly about) books that I recommend this time of year if you're looking for something a little unsettling. I have some backlist suggestions, newer thrillers, as well as some books that will stick with you for more than just the scares! Keep reading or watch the video above for the list!

Mystic River 
by Dennis Lehane

I remember when the film adaptation of this book was released, and how excited I was. Because it was one of those books that you finish, and then you *can not wait* to see the movie. I was so excited to sit in a theater, knowing what was going to happen, and gleefully experience everyone else's shock at the twists and turns. Does anyone else love that feeling? This book is SO GOOD. If you've never read Dennis Lehane before, you're in for a treat, because all of his books ( that I've read; ) are amazing. "Mystic River" follows three men who were close friends as children, and now as adults, they all live in the same city. They've drifted apart since their days as children, but are reunited when the daughter of one of the friends is murdered. This book has so many twists and it's so tense because the entire time you're tied up in these families and just hoping that it isn't your favorite character who will end up being the murderer. Highly recommend.

The Road
by Cormac McCarthy

You know those movies from childhood that you weren't supposed to watch but you watched them anyway and now the scariest scenes from that movie are embedded in your mind as the scariest moments EVER - mine would either be Pennywise or pretty much any moment from "The Shining". This book, and the movie, are that for me, but the adult version. There is a moment in this book that STILL creeps my husband and me out when we talk about it.  And sometimes I'll bring it up just to freak him out ; ) "The Road" is also such an emotional read while maintaining a steady stream of moments that are absolutely terrifying, which I think McCarthy does so well. He draws on human nature where you're scared because you are also thinking how real what is happening could be. Even though I've never lived through an apocalypse ( knock on wood, well actually there is no way I'd make it through an apocalypse, let's be real) McCarthy draws on common fears that exist outside that space. I can not shake this book, and it's a quick read. I used to substitute teach and read this over one day during free periods, it's quick but it is deeply disturbing, and also hopeful! HOW!?

Bird Box

by Josh Malerman

This one is an internet bookish darling, it's definitely on a lot of lists this time of year, and there's a good reason for that. It's freaking terrifying. *And* if you like apocalyptic fiction, this book is one of my favorites. Apocalyptic fiction is something I love, I have like a morbid fascination with it, it's totally outside my typical reading life, and I'm able to suspend disbelief for it, which is pretty tough for me. "Bird Box" follows a woman named Malorie - as a reader, we visit her right before the apocalypse as she tries to find safety, and after, when she is trapped in a home with her two children. The "Bird Box" apocalypse scenario is fairly simple - don't look outside or you'll go crazy, murdering yourself and those around you - but the emotions that this book touches upon are so complex- trust, loyalty, motherhood. It's a roller coaster, thrill ride, sucker punch of a book- and I loved it!

Everything You Want Me To Be
by Mindy Mejia

I can't say the title of this book without thinking about 90's pop groups, doesn't it sound like the title of a Backstreet Boys track? Anyway, maybe you've heard of this book? Maybe not. I recently posted about ten books that I love with less than 5,000 reviews (check it out here) and I was surprised to find that this book has 13,000 reviews on Goodreads and almost 4 stars, I gave it 5. But I just don't see this book mentioned often enough! This is such a tough one to talk about without spoiling it, though! "Everything You Want Me To Be" follows three different perspectives - a teenager named Hattie, the kind of girl in high school who you could tell had big plans, a high school teacher named Peter, and a detective named Del. There is a "who dun it" element to this, because Hattie is murdered and you're trying to guess at who might've committed the crime, but this book was creepy to me in other ways as well. I think it does a great job of touching on how vulnerable it can feel to be a teenager, as you realize all of the different people who could likely have killed Hattie. It's a psychological thriller with excellent writing that you should check out!

Lincoln in the Bardo

by George Saunders

If you're looking for something spooky but not scary? Check out "Lincoln in the Bardo" by George Saunders. This is a historical fiction novel that follows the Lincoln family after the death of their son Willie. It's told in a play format, and regular narrative, but it also has many primary sources from the Civil War to build the story with as well. It's such a unique and imaginative way to tell a story by really bringing the time and place to life through the dead. This novel is unlike anything that I have ever read, if you haven't read it yet, you should. It's not an easy read, you have to put a little effort in, kind of like reading a classic, for example. But I really think it's worth the effort because of the awesome reading experience it provides. It was such an emotional read for me - Willie's death is tragic and such a terrible thing for the President and Mrs. Lincoln to come to gripes with, while they also have to deal with the public's response to how they handled the death ( so much has changed, but much remains the same) and this book deeply explores the tragedy and beauty in life and death. What a read!

Behind Closed Doors
by B.A. Paris

This book GOT TO ME, hard. Like wake up in the middle of the night, check the door locks, kind of reading, although really, this book is about the people who you'd unlock the doors for- and perhaps that's why it so unsettled me. I've read other B.A. Paris books and they haven't measured up to the chills this book gave me. "Behind Closed Doors" follows a couple named Jack and Grace, and without spoiling anything, the couple that they appear to be in public definitely isn't who they are in private. I'm particularly susceptible to the fear of being trapped, and this one just - ah!- if you're terrified by claustrophobia, this might get to you as well. It's not Shakespeare, lol like it's not going to challenge you as a reader, but it was a fun kind of scary, and then just a scary kind of scary, and I really enjoyed it, even if my sleep suffered.


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