The best gothic novels for a perfectly haunting fall

Elle Griffin Author Of Obscurity
By Elle Griffin

The Books I Picked & Why


By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Book cover of Frankenstein

Why this book?

There are not many gothic novels written by women—this one is the exception. While summering in Geneva with her lover and the writers Lord Byron and John William Polidori, stormy weather kept them inside with a book of ghost stories, which inspired them to write their own. “I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out,” Shelley recounted, “and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.” She won the contest with one of the most haunting novels in existence.

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By Daphne du Maurier

Book cover of Rebecca

Why this book?

I haven’t actually read this one yet, but it’s next on my list for this sole statement about it: “The novel depicts an unnamed young woman who impetuously marries a wealthy widower, before discovering that both he and his household are haunted by the memory of his late first wife.” I mean, does it get any better? PLUS, there’s a movie out now starring Lily James so I’ll be catching up on that once I’m done.

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Interview with the Vampire

By Anne Rice

Book cover of Interview with the Vampire

Why this book?

I should mention that I am a huge fan of the movie—it's actually the movie that got me into the book. Mostly because, well, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise and Antonio Banderas as vampires—and tiny little Kirstin Dunst as the child vampire. And they are all hanging out in the most dramatic settings of old school New Orleans. And the book is just like that—only with all the deleted scenes. One of my all time favorites.

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How Much of These Hills Is Gold

By C. Pam Zhang

Book cover of How Much of These Hills Is Gold

Why this book?

I was sold on this book the moment two tiny little girls scooped up their dad’s dead body, put it in a bag, and started toting his remains around the west, his decaying bones clacking about in there wherever they went. This gold rush story is retold from the standpoint of two girls haunted by a past that was never theirs to begin with—and carries a subtle darkness that is beautiful to sink into.

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Follow Me to Ground

By Sue Rainsford

Book cover of Follow Me to Ground

Why this book?

Nothing scary happens exactly, but that doesn’t stop this novel from holding a strange and creepy tension throughout the whole of it. With a heavy surrealist bent, the book centers on a girl and her father who were born from the ground, and so have the powers to heal people by moving around the things that are inside them. It’s exactly as haunting as it sounds.

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