I don’t usually read horror books as I get scared easily. I stay away from ghost stories and haunted house stories but I do love reading gothic fiction. Especially when it comes to reading classics, I love gothic literature more than anything else. I love how these stories also have a science fiction element in them.
These are my favorite gothic books which are perfect for Halloween – as they are creepy but not as creepy as some of the other horror novels out there.
1. Frankenstein –
This was the first gothic novel that I read. This book is considered to be the first science fiction ever written. I already knew this story, thanks to the many screen adaptations but it was great reading it.
Frankenstein is a scientist who creates a monster using the body parts of dead humans in this book. It is a great story but not very well written. More than the horror element, I was kind of touched by the moving tale of the monster.
The narration was pretty repetitive, he felt remorse throughout the novel. And “thou, thy” were turn offs. In the middle it got little dragging and boring, but it soon picked up the pace and towards the end, I could not put the book down. The 1931 Movie was pretty okay, not that good but was true to the book. The later adaptations do not seem to follow the story in the book.
This is one gothic novel that I am sure to reread in future.
2. The Invisible man –
This is a book about a man who somehow manages to become invisible and because of this power, he turns into an evil man.
I love H.G. Wells. He thinks and writes so well that you cannot find any flaw in his story.
The pace with which the book proceeded was pretty slow. But once I got through one-half of the book, it was very gripping. I just could not put it down. What I liked the most about the book was the way Wells describes what it would be like to become invisible. What things in life does one lose by choosing to become invisible? Also becoming invisible eventually drives him mad and he turns into a homicide. I thought I was not scared when I read the book. But just after reading the book, I slept. And I had a nightmare about this invisible man, so looks like the book did scare me 🙂
However, I loved the part where he talks about science! As always in a Wells’s book, it makes so much of sense.
“Alone– it is wonderful how little a man can do alone! To rob a little, to hurt a little, and there is the end.”
“Ambition – What is the good of pride of place when you cannot appear there? What is the good of the love of the woman when her name must needs be Delilah?”
3. The picture of Dorian Gray –
I had way too many expectations from this book. I guess that was the reason why I liked it but did not love it as much as I thought I would. But still it was a great read and this book made me fall in love with Oscar Wilde’s writing. This is a book about a man who is good looking and is very proud about it. He gets this idea about having a painting of himself made which ages, while he himself never ages. He always looks young even though he is an old man.
I love all the quotes from the book. Every other sentence from the book can be noted as a good quotation. Everyone must read this book once.
The movie is not as good as the book. But seeing that horrible painting was indeed scary! I loved this book even more after watching people recite the amazing quotes from the book.
“What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
4. Rebecca –
This is a great novel, written extremely well. It is about a woman who gets married to a widower and moves into his mansion. There is some suspense surrounding the mansion, her husband and also there is a creepy housekeeper (Mrs. Danvers) in this story.
Daphne is definitely one of the best writers I have ever read. Having said that, I think it is a great gothic fiction – haunting, romantic – one of the best in that genre. But I didn’t find the story very mysterious. I was a teeny weeny bit disappointed that everything I had predicted actually happened at the end. 75% of the book was fantastic, but the last 25% didn’t actually impress me that much. Mrs. Danvers’ character did scare me!
I really want to check out other books from this author. I don’t have enough words to praise her writing skills. The movie was also pretty good. But still book seems to be better than the movie.
The first sentence itself gives you that haunting feeling –
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
“Boredom is a pleasing antidote to fear”.
“Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind”
5. The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde –
I did not enjoy the writing much. The first half of the book talks about the observations made by a person about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and then the second half of the book is just a letter that is left by Dr. Jekyll which this person reads. Since we hear the story from a third person, it did not scare me at all. I cannot talk much about the story as there is hardly any and any information will act as a spoiler here.
Also I would have enjoyed the book if I had not known who Mr. Hyde was. Seeing how popular this book is, it was inevitable that I know the suspense element. Also Hyde does not seem scary to me the way Dorian Gray or Frankenstein or the invisible man seemed. It is one of the smallest books I have read.