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I won’t lie and say Romantic era literature is my favorite, but reading its Gothic genre just suits
the darker half of October so well. A bit chilling during the first read-through, and very nostalgic
to reread, here are the Gothic classics that put my reading list on hold every spooky season:

Dracula by Bram Stoker & Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

You’ve likely read one or both of these novels at some point in school, but they are a lot more
enjoyable when rereading on your own. The origin stories for two of the most well-known
monsters are perfect for Halloween and always get me in the mood to watch some of their movie
adaptations.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Though it is not as directly associated with Halloween as Dracula or Frankenstein, Wuthering
Heights is easily my favorite Gothic novel and is still a great read for October. It is an intense
and psychological love story following the dark and twisted hero/villain, Heathcliff. I especially
recommend this to any fans of romance, but it is more complicated than a typical boy-meets-girl
trope.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey is actually a parody of Gothic novels. To me, this is the literature equivalent
to the Scary Movie series spoofing horror films. It satirizes the conventions of Gothic literature,
but it utilizes some of its elements as well. Its irony stems from Gothic-obsessed Catherine (the
“heroine”) believing her ordinary life is straight out of the novels she reads. If you are looking
for something a bit more humorous that still relates to the spooky season, this is the one for you.

Short Stories & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

When I don’t have the time to commit to reading an entire novel, I love to pick up a shorter work
by Edgar Allan Poe. His short stories and poems are just as effective at making your spine tingle
as a full-length book. The more manageable length means you could even read a new piece every
night if you really wanted to. There are also short audio versions of some of his most popular
stories on Spotify that are really good!

There are so many more gothic works to choose from that are perfect for Halloween, so don’t let
this list limit you! For me personally, I tend to prefer these older pieces over more contemporary
horror novels; but if modern adaptations of the genre are more appealing to you, open up one of
those instead! The main things to remember are: 1) that scary movies aren’t the only form of art
to get you into the Halloween spirit and 2) that your usual reading list can afford to take a pause
during this spooky time of year.

Katherine Raykova is a junior at Purdue University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering and English Literature. She is originally from the suburbs of Detroit, MI. In her free time, Katherine enjoys gardening, reading, and studying astrology & tarot.
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