Three Fantastic Fall Reads

Something about fall – the early darkness, falling leaves, and spine tingling chill – has me lighting candles and curling up with books, dark, creepy, and melodramatic books.

Something about fall also has me craving a bit of fear. I am not, however, partial to the Stephen King horror – psycho serial-killing clowns or prom queens. I want to sleep at night.

I enjoy a chill and thrill and have three suggestions for those looking for the same:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This book has captivated me since it was assigned in a sophomore English class. Heathcliff! “What a hottie?” I thought, “I hope someday somebody loves me like that.” I’ve since changed my mind…he’s a bit too clingy and goes a bit crazy, like digging-up-dead-bodies crazy.

The famous novel is set in 1801, in the barren, stormy landscape of the Yorkshire Moors. Young Heathcliff, an orphan boy, and Catherine, the daughter of the wealthy Mr. Earnshaw, are inseparable, in love.

But class, jealousy, and selfishness keep them apart and what ensues is a dark, sinister and tragic drama that has nearly every character experiencing despair at the hand of Catherine and Heathcliff’s passion for one another – that continues beyond the grave.

Favorite Quote: (Spoiler Alert!)

And I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!’

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This tale begins with the protagonist, Daniel, selecting a book in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. That’s enough to tease my imagination.

The setting is Barcelona, 1945. Daniel is mourning the loss of his mother while the city heals following the Spanish Civil War. He finds solace in the book, but soon realizes he may have the last copy in existence and someone is after him to destroy it.

The dark plot takes you through a web of murder, mystery, madness, shows off gorgeous details and introduces thoughtful, compelling characters.

Favorite Quote:

Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This slim novel will change the way you view our contemporary depictions of Frankenstein – a green-skinned creature who can do little more than moan and wander aimlessly with his arms stretched in front of his massive body. The being created by Victor Frankenstein – a young, eccentric scientist – is actually super-duper smart and speaks quite eloquently: “Satan has his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and detested.” See.

Set throughout Europe near the end of the 18th century, the gothic tale will have you cringing at the horrific details of Frankenstein’s successful experiment and his creature’s awful crimes. But you’ll feel sympathy and disgust for both characters, perhaps equally.

Favorite Quote:

Hateful day when I received life! Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance.