The best books to escape reality

Who am I?

When I was eleven, I immigrated to a new country and was bullied at school. I retreated into books where I could visit secret worlds filled with ghosts, magicians, and dark power. I needed a place to hide and dream up my revenge. It seems I was destined to write scary novels. My books and various short stories are a blend of mystery, psychological thriller, romance, paranormal, and the supernatural. I still love to visit new worlds but am content to live near an official Halloween town with my young family. If you haven’t read these books yet, I envy you for the mind-bending journey you’re about to embark upon. Bon Voyage.


I wrote...

Love Is Red

By Sophie Jaff,

Book cover of Love Is Red

What is my book about?

Katherine Emerson was born to fulfill a dark prophecy centuries in the making, but she doesn't know it yet. However, one man does: a killer stalking the women of New York City. People think he's the next Son of Sam, but we know how he thinks and how he feels... and discover that he's driven by darker, much more dangerous desires. He takes more than just his victims' lives, and each death brings him closer to the one woman he must possess at any cost.

Amid the escalating hysteria, Katherine is trying to unknot her tangled heart. Two different men have entered her previously uneventful world and turned it upside down. She finds herself involved in a complicated triangle . . . but how well does she really know either of them?

The books I picked & why

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The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Why this book?

This is one of the scariest and most elegant books I have ever read. It’s got all my favorite things; a haunted house, a group of charismatic flawed characters, a troubled heroine, a creeping atmosphere of dread… I was completely wrapped up from page one, routing for Elenore who, after decades of servitude under her abusive mother and dominating older sister, just wants to live her life and drink from her own cup of stars. Stephen King called this one of the finest horror novels of the late 20th century, so there’s that too. 

The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…


The Magicians

By Lev Grossman,

Book cover of The Magicians

Why this book?

It’s like Harry Potter but rated R. Meant for readers (like me) who are secretly desperate to believe in magic but need to be convinced. I followed Quentin, a brilliant but sullen teenager into Brakebills an elite school of magic and I never wanted to leave, even when things got hairy-which believe me they did. A must for anyone who loved the Narnia books. It’s also a sneaky recommendation because it’s the first of a trilogy, but I bet you’ll be hooked and devour the other two—if they don’t devour you first. 

The Magicians

By Lev Grossman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Magicians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world, now an original series on SYFY

"The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea. . . . Hogwarts was never like this."
-George R.R. Martin

"Sad, hilarious, beautiful, and essential to anyone who cares about modern fantasy."
-Joe Hill

"A very knowing and wonderful take on the wizard school genre."
-John Green

"The Magicians may just be the most subversive, gripping and enchanting fantasy novel I've read this century."
-Cory Doctorow

"This gripping…


Neverwhere

By Neil Gaiman,

Book cover of Neverwhere

Why this book?

I am a sucker for an adventure especially if it involves night markets, monsters, and black magic and Neverwhere has it all.  An unwilling hero (the best kind) Richard Mayhew helps an injured woman on the street and as a result finds himself in the dark, terrifying, and ancient world of London Below. It’s Alice in Wonderland meets Wizard of Oz with a hint Dickensian crack. 

Gaiman has no boundaries, turning all literary archetypes on their heads. The first time I read this I was like ‘Wait, you can do that?!’ He does. This book not only altered the way I wrote but changed the way I experienced the subway- forever. 

I just reread it again and was as breathless and enthralled as I was the first time.

Neverwhere

By Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Neverwhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE EXTRAORDINARY FIRST NOVEL BY THE MASTER OF STORYTELLING

'Prose that dances and dazzles . . . Gaiman describes the indescribable' SUSANNA CLARKE

'It's virtually impossible to read more than ten words by Neil Gaiman and not wish he would tell you the rest of the story' OBSERVER

'Much too clever to be caught in the net of a single interpretation' PHILIP PULLMAN

ACCLAIMED BBC RADIO 4 DRAMATISATION WITH ALL-STAR CAST INCLUDING JAMES MCAVOY, NATALIE DORMER, DAVID HAREWOOD, SOPHIE OKONEDO AND BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH

---

'I love doors. Anything that leads to possibilities' NEIL GAIMAN

---

Under the streets of London…


Duma Key

By Stephen King,

Book cover of Duma Key

Why this book?

You know that frightening jolt when a painting reaches out and grabs you? Duma Key is your own private gallery you might never (want to) escape from.  

I love this book not only because it was written by one of my all-time favorite writers but it’s about an artist and the act of creating art, which is King’s specialty (think Lisey’s Story, The Shining, or Bag of Bones).

The protagonist Edgar Freemantle is a successful contractor in Minnesota until he suffers a terrible accident. He flees to Duma Key, a lush, oppressive island packed with mystery and malevolence, and unwillingly begins to paint these amazing terrifying works with life-altering results. 

Paintings that might possess you, islands with dark pasts, curses coming true?

Now, that’s my kind of book. 

Duma Key

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Duma Key as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Master storyteller Stephen King’s classic, terrifying #1 New York Times bestseller of what happens when the barrier between our world and that of the supernatural is breached.

After a terrible construction site accident severs Edgar Freemantle’s right arm, scrambles his mind, and implodes his marriage, the wealthy Minnesota builder faces the ordeal of rehabilitation, all alone and full of rage. Renting a house on Duma Key—a stunningly beautiful and eerily undeveloped splinter off the Florida coast—Edgar slowly emerges from his prison of pain to bond with Elizabeth Eastlake, a sick, elderly woman whose roots are tangled deep in this place.…


The Measure

By Nikki Erlick,

Book cover of The Measure

Why this book?

During the pandemic I couldn’t bear to read much. It was hard to focus and I shut down. 

The Measure was the book that pulled me out of it. It held my attention with an iron grip, and it never let go. The premise is frighteningly simple; everyone in the world who is twenty-two will receive a box with a string it in. The length of the string dictates the length of your life. The prose was so sharp and clear that I expected at any moment to receive my own box. 

The Measure got me excited about fiction again, I was enraged, excited, and enchanted and at one point moved to tears. I can count on the fingers of one hand how often a book has made me cry, The Measure is one of them. 

Enjoy.

The Measure

By Nikki Erlick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Measure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'GRIPPING AND POIGNANT' RUTH HOGAN, bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things

'CLEVER AND ENTERTAINING' GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

'A THOUGHT-PROVOKING READ' PRIMA

Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice.

It seems like just another morning.

You make a cup of tea. Check the news. Open the front door.

On your doorstep is a box.

Inside the box is the exact number of years you have left to live.

The same box appears on every doorstep across the world.

Do you open yours?

THE MEASURE

IT'S THE DECISION OF A LIFETIME.

'EXAMINES THE BIG LIFE AND DEATH QUESTIONS IN A CLEVER AND,…


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