(Non)Spooky Reads: Books For the Wimp in Us All

Around this time of the year, it seems everyone gets all excited about getting scared out of their pants. Halloween puts everyone in the mood for fear and there are lists and lists of books to support this. Even we here at Book Riot have gotten in on the action. Monsters, vampires, zombies, witches – you name it, someone has written a book list filled with titles guaranteed to make anyone leave the hallway light on at night.

How do I say this plainly? I hate Halloween. On the purely holiday side, I hate dressing up in costume and I don’t like decorating. The only thing I like about it is giving out candy to little kids, while I watch tame, non-scary movies. Because that’s the other part I hate. I hate being scared. I never watch movies that would make me want to cover my eyes or grab onto the person next to me. I don’t like the feeling in my stomach when I know something’s coming or, even worse, when something comes out of nowhere and surprises me.

I used to like Halloween as a kid, I swear. When it was about dressing up as a princess or a witch and getting candy, I was all about it. But when I got old enough for Halloween to equal haunted houses that legitimately freak me out or scary movie nights with friends, I folded my hand and decided that this was one holiday I’m okay with sitting out.

That doesn’t mean however that I don’t adore the season. Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year; when the leaves are changing, the air is getting crisp and everything is pumpkin flavor, I’m a happy camper. But I want books to go with my good mood and that fit the tone of the season. Since we’re solidly in October, back-to-school literature isn’t really appropriate – we are coming up on mid-terms after all. And a little bit of creepiness is called for in certain cases: the days are getting shorter and the moon is getting bigger. Most people think of scary books when they think of October. I’m here to provide an alternate: books for the autumn that are solidly not scary. There’s a hint of the creepy, but trust me, if I can handle these, you can too.

  1. The Cider House Rules by John Irving
  2. Dead Poets Society by Nancy H. Kleinbaum
  3. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
  4. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  6. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  7. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
  8. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
  9. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Writings by Washington Irving
  10. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Are there any fall books that I’m missing? Do you disagree with any of my choices? Please! Give me more books that aren’t scary – I can’t take one more Halloween season of being told that Dracula by Bram Stoker is a must-read for the season.

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