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Top Halloween Reads that Capture the Spirit of October

30th October 2023


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The leaves are burning the color of fire, the wind now carries that crisp scent of autumn, and there seems to be an abundance of tiny pumpkins almost everywhere. The only thing missing is the perfect book to crack open on park benches during lunch/ bathroom breaks alike. You find yourself craving a good read just as much as a pumpkin spice latte. Luckily, you can relax—simply scroll for ten reads that are sure to capture the spooky spirit of October.

Fall 2023 | Available for Pre-order | publication date: 11/7/23

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A brief, but amazingly thorough discussion of Lovecraft’s biography. . . Very accessible.—W. Scott Poole, author of Dark Carnivals: Modern Horror and the Origins of American Empire

David Goodwin illuminates a pivotal period in Lovecraft’s career, the two eventful years in New York City that began with hope and ended in despair. This accessible book offers new insights into Lovecraft’s marriage and other relationships, his ambitions, anxieties, and prejudices. Drawing on extensive research and a sharp critical eye, Goodwin has made a major contribution to our understanding of this troubled and troubling writer.—Scott Peeples, author of The Man of the Crowd: Edgar Allan Poe and the City

Goodwin doesn’t pull punches when discussing Lovecraft’s bigotry, noting that much of the writer’s distaste for the city stemmed from his ‘nativist, anti-Semitic, and racist beliefs,’ which put him at odds with the diversifying metropolis. Goodwin builds his scrupulous account on a thorough reading of Lovecraft’s letters and diaries, and the unsparing portrait that emerges, while unflattering, offers keen insight into his character. Lovecraft scholars will want to take a look.—Publishers Weekly

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Spring 2024 | Available for Pre-order

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Using a newspaper reporter’s expose of fortune tellers/psychics, Marie Carter gives us a unique look at how sexism played out in the 19th century. While robber barons pillage the country (sound familiar?), the reporter Mortimer Thomson goes after women struggling to get by in a time when they had few options. These women are con artists–some worse than that–but are they criminals or the victims, or both? Carter manages to bring them to life, while also humanizing Mortimer. He’s not some cartoon Snidely Whiplash bad guy. Mortimer and the Witches is a gripping mix of the history of discrimination, and our continued failure to focus on the true villains. It’s such a fascinating look at a relatively unexamined back-alley struggle for survival, I ate it up.—Stacy Horn, author of Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad & Criminal in 19th-Century New York

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This anecdote-laden urban history of New York City’s Bowery by Alexiou makes for addictive reading. The chapters on the city’s tumultuous early days are top-rate urban history, yet Alexiou hits her stride in describing the 19th century, when the Bowery was ‘America’s center of sin.’ Astutely written and smartly researched, this is a fascinating micro-take on New York’s cycle of boom and bust. —Publishers Weekly

New York historian Alexiou enlivens the street’s history with insightful portraits of the street’s denizens. A very valuable addition to any urban-history collection. —Booklist (starred review)

[A]n engaging cultural history of the Bowery . . . Ms. Alexiou’s passion for her subject is palpable and admirable. —The Wall Street Journal

Alexiou guides us through this checkered history with gusto. —The New York Times Book Review

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“A searingly erudite genealogy of hatred, pulled off with equal amounts of historical and philosophical sophistication. Given Rogozinski’s attention to the changing faces of hate, and the many ways in which the inquest and the test, let alone torture and persecution, are mobilized in its service, the book’s resonances today are potent.” —Perry Zurn, American University

“Rogozinski is enviably well- and widely-read, and his insights are remarkable.” —Walter Stephens, Johns Hopkins University

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Perennial Favorites | On Sale Now!

… a strong collection that will be useful not only to those interested in zombie films, but also more generally to anyone interested in the changes in the figure of the zombie over time and its post-human evolution.—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

“Original and provocative essays that contribute significantly to the field of zombie studies.”—Aviva Briefel, Bowdoin College

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“Baxstrom and Meyers have a keen eye for the wondrous otherness of Christensen’s work, never missing an opportunity to theorize the film’s struggles with the ontological slipperiness of the witch, cinema as absent presence, and questions of recording, witnessing, and irrationality in twenty-first century science and culture.”—Alison Griffiths, City University of New York

Baxstrom and Meyers’ book is more than a meticulous analysis of Benjamin Christensen’s masterpiece Häxan, more than a model monograph. It finds and charts undiscovered tracks in the field of film studies, tracks that the authors invest with methods of analysis inspired by Warburgian iconology. In the light of their work, the film becomes a privileged way of accessing the history of discourses and representations. —Philippe-Alain Michaud, Director and Film Curator, MusĂ©e national d’art moderne–Centre Georges Pompidou

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A very well-written book. Its scholarship is excellent, and it both fills a gap and leaves us asking more questions about what’s hidden, what’s coded, what’s secretly influential in women’s ghost stories of the era. —Dissections

Scare Tactics is that rare academic work that’s accessible rather than purposefully opaque, and it has much to offer readers interested in American literature, gothic fiction, or uppity women.—Bitch Magazine

. . . Weinstock makes a cogent and compelling argument for the importance of these texts and demonstrates how women used the tropes of supernatural fiction to critique women’s roles in Victorian and Edwardian American society. —Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

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…an excellent overview of an important cinematic character who has proven flexible enough to adapt to a wide range of contexts, themes, and perspectives. This volume is an important step towards understanding why the devil always gets the best lines.—Journal of Religion & Film

Fascinating, lucid, and accessible, these essays create cultural and spiritual conversations about the fantastic nature of the demonic and the place of evil in human affairs.—Choice Reviews

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By fully engaging with theories of new materialism and applying them to numerous gothic ‘things’ – cursed objects, moving photographs, possessed dolls, corpses, found manuscripts, things that are alive that should not be, and things that simply should not be–Weinstock offers a complex and nuanced reading of the gothic and its importance in both theory and culture.—Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr., Ph.D., editor of Theatre and the Macabre and four-time Bram Stoker Award nominee

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Armed with an arsenal of audacious concepts, Peter Szendy confronts the torment of blockbusters with style. Before venturing to spend your next night out at the silver screen, be sure to take this thrilling film survival manual with you.” —Philosophie Magazine

“In this prodigiously intelligent book, Peter Szendy reflects on the specific nature of apocalyptic cinema. Organized as a series of brief essays on individual films and recurrent cinematic strategies, Apocalypse-Cinema offers brilliant insights on a genre that has yet to receive all the critical attention it deserves.”—Marie Helene Huet, Princeton University

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