Classic Gothic Books for October

It’s officially the fall season now and that means I’m thinking about sweatshirts and sweatpants, crisp cool weather, Hallmark movies, and of course books. 🙂 Fall is my favorite season and as I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to be sure to read in the last few months of the year, what books would be good reads for October have been on my mind. In my opinion, October lends itself well to gothic classics. So today, I’m sharing 5 classic gothic novels to curl up on the couch with this month, of course with a warm mug of coffee or a steaming cup of tea. 😉


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

This is the one book on this list I have already read. It’s the story of a scientist named Dr. Jekyll who tries an experiment to split his personality. What follows is a suspenseful thriller, making it perfect for an October read. It’s a short book that I found hard to put down.


A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

I started reading this several months ago with my husband; but we both kind of slacked up on it and haven’t finished it yet. So I picked it back up with the goal to finish it by December.
A Tale of Two Cities starts out with the statement that is so well-known:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

From the back cover of the Dover Thrift Edition:

It was the time of the French Revolution — a time of great change and great danger. It was a time when injustice was met by a lust for vengeance, and rarely was a distinction made between the innocent and the guilty. Against this tumultuous historical backdrop, Dickens’ great story of unsurpassed adventure and courage unfolds.

Unjustly imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille, Dr. Alexander Manette is reunited with his daughter Lucie and safely transported from France to England. It would seem that they could now take up the threads of their lives in peace. As fate would have it though, the pair are summoned to the Old Bailey to testify against a young Frenchman — Charles Darnay — falsely accused of treason. Strangely enough, Darnay bears an uncanny resemblance to another man in the courtroom, the dissolute lawyer’s clerk Sydney Carton. It is a coincidence that saves Darnay from certain doom more than once. Brilliantly plotted, the novel is rich in drama, romance, and heroics that culminate in a daring prison escape in the shadow of the guillotine.”


Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This is my other pick for my Fallish reads this month. From the back cover of the Dover Thrift Edition:

“Few creatures of horror have seized readers’ imaginations and held them for so long as the anguished monster of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The story of Victor Frankenstein’s terrible creation and the havoc it caused has enthralled generations of readers and inspired countless writers of horror and suspense.”


Dracula

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Written in the epistolary style, this classic horror novel introduced the world to Count Dracula. My husband read this recently and said that he was surprised by it. He described it as frighteningly good. From the back cover of the Dover Thrift Edition:

“During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire.  Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.”


Rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

This has been on my to-read list for awhile. I have, however, seen the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. A suspenseful thriller, I’ve heard the book is hard to put down.

From the Goodreads description:

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.”


What classic books do you think make good October reads?

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4 thoughts on “Classic Gothic Books for October

  1. I really like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – it made me think deeply about the idea of having two selves, in a sense. I *LOVE* Rebecca, albeit the story is a bit sad, hard, dark and depressing, but the sense of place, of really being there, is SO strong and beautiful written. I haven’t read Dracula or Frankenstein, you have me intrigued. They wouldn’t be my typical choice, yet I enjoy fantasy, so I should try them sometime. I have NEVER finished a Dickens novel, except for A Christmas Carol. *hangs head in shame* I’m slowly listening to David Copperfield via Librivox and I love it, I need to bite the bullet and FINISH. Northanger Abbey might be a fun one to read on a lighter side for October. I’m not sure. I’m not really a “scary” or “horror” reader, usually. I like your choices! Amy

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    • Yes, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde makes you think. As does Frankenstein from what my oldest daughter said. (I’m just now only on Ch. 4 of this one) I can’t wait to read Rebecca. Maybe I can squeeze it in soon? Maybe…..

      I don’t typically like to read thriller type novels. But I couldn’t put Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde down when I read it. I don’t think that I’d want to read modern horror/thriller books though. Somehow these classic gothic thrillers seem to be different…maybe more suspenseful than horror? Dracula is certainly not one I would have picked up. But after my husband read it and talked to me about it, I am intrigued by it.

      I am finding that I actually like a good classic suspenseful book. 🙂

      Regarding Dickens….it may just be me, but I find it usually hard to get into a Dickens novel initially. At least the ones I have read so far which is only David Copperfield and now A Tale of Two Cities. He introduces so many characters in the beginning that it’s hard to keep them all straight which makes it harder for me engage with it I think. But I feel like Dickens does such a superb job of taking all the various characters that seemingly don’t relate at all, and masterfully weaves the storylines all together by the end of the book. At least that’s how it felt with David Copperfield. And I’ve seen a number of movies that have been made of Dickens works to think that this is probably the case with many of his novels.

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  2. The gothic genre is one of my favorite genres. I’ve read Rebecca – really loved it. I loved the mysterious air to the whole story. I finished A Tale of Two Cities not too long ago, which was my first Dickens. It took about 1/3 of the book before it picked up for me, but after that I was hooked. Perseverance paid off! His writing at the very end was beautiful (and throughout the whole book, but the ending really stuck with me). And right now I’m reading Dracula! I’m a little over halfway, and loving it! I’ve been pleasantly surprised by it; it’s very readable and not too creepy so far.

    Thanks for sharing these picks 🙂

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    • I just commented in response to hearthridgereflections comment that I am finding that I like a good suspenseful novel. I don’t usually like horror books, and I don’t think that I’d probably want to read a modern horror/thriller book. But like I mentioned in my other comment, I wonder if the classic gothic horror books really are more suspenseful than horror.

      I also mentioned that with both Dickens books I’ve read – David Copperfield and now reading A Tale of Two Cities – it has taken me awhile to get into the books. As I mentioned, I think it’s because of all the various characters that get introduced initially and I have a hard time keeping them all straight.

      Another Dracula fan! I think I’m definitely going to have to read this!

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