October is the perfect time to explore the horror genre, but with so many options, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are a few recommendations to fit readers of all tastes!

If You Want a Classic, try The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

In The Haunting of Hill House by horror master Shirley Jackson, four strangers gather at a mysterious manor at the request of Dr. John Montague, who wants to research the paranormal activities of this house. The protagonist, Eleanor Vance, takes this invitation as a chance to finally live the life she has always wanted, having spent all of her life as her mother’s caretaker. As the group begins experiencing supernatural occurrences, the tension rises. Readers may leave this story believing that the true terror is how we treat each other.

If You Are Short on Time, try Tiny Nightmares, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto

Tiny Nightmares is a collection of flash fiction, which are very short stories, all no more than 1,500 words. They are divided in four sections: heads, hearts, limbs, and viscera, and show that a story does not need to be lengthy to send a chill down your spine. This collection features a diverse group of authors and topics, and the stories vary in just how frightening they are. For readers who enjoy a little humor with their horror, “Katy Bars the Door” by Richie Navarez fits the bill, as Katy, caught in a love triangle, has to chose between her husband or her lover, both who are now zombies. If you are looking for more of a scare, “Lone” by Jac Jemc is an unnerving tale of a woman trying to enjoy a solo camping trip, only to have her peace interrupted. While some readers may wish they these stories were a bit longer, Tiny Nightmares shows that even short stories can send a chill down your spine.

If You Want to be Completely Absorbed in a Story, try House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Coming in at over 700 pages, House of Leaves is an epic narrative of a house, a lost documentary, and an unreliable narrator whose grip on reality may be slipping away. Johnny Truant learns of the lost documentary “The Navidson Record” when his friend Lude tells him about the blind man Zampanò, who wrote an academic paper about this documentary. The documentary supposedly tells the story of photojournalists Will Navidson’s new house, which is found to be expanding and changing. House of Leaves is a reading experience like no other. At times, readers will be forced to turn the book upside down, or use a mirror to decipher the text, techniques which can create a sense of claustrophobia for the reader. Those brave enough to take on this challenge will be rewarded with a truly unforgettable story.

Elizabeth Weislak is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Alamance County Public Libraries. She can be reached at eweislak@alamancelibraries.org.