Creepy Non-Horror for Halloween

· 10/18/2017 · Michael Schmitt

If you're not a fan of horror, but still wants something spooky to read this Halloween season, LitHub has you covered with a great book list. Included is Franz Kafka's The Trial.

This one you don't really understand in high school, but once you’ve lived for a while as an adult, it gets a lot scarier. All of a sudden you begin to identify with K, pursued, prosecuted, condemned by a nameless, faceless, remorseless authority, the rules constantly changing and never explained to begin with...

I'll throw out my own recommendation from my collection of Halloween reads in Serial Reader: The Willows by Algernon Blackwood.

More psychological thriller and weird fiction than horror, The Willows is the story of two friends on a canoe trip down the Danube. They find themselves stranded on a shrinking sandbank surrounded by ominous willows blowing in unceasing wind. It's a short story (8 issues on Serial Reader) packed with creepy atmosphere but lacking any straight-up horror or gore.

The eeriness of this lonely island, set among a million willows, swept by a hurricane, and surrounded by hurrying deep waters, touched us both, I fancy. Untrodden by man, almost unknown to man, it lay there beneath the moon, remote from human influence, on the frontier of another world, an alien world, a world tenanted by willows only and the souls of willows. And we, in our rashness, had dared to invade it, even to make use of it!

You can read both The Trial and The Willows in Serial Reader.

Further reading:

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New Serials: The Blue Lagoon, The Celtic Twilight, and The Good Soldier Dangerous Willows: Tolkien and Blackwood
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