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The Book Club

It is officially autumn at Lawrence, and the beginning of October, which makes it the perfect time for frights, horror flicks and some warm apple cider from The Café. Throughout this month I will be recommending a hodgepodge of both new and classic horror and thriller novels to get you through the entirety of “Spooky Season.” There will be a few fan favorites, probably a few of Stephen King’s classic works and a handful of new titles from the “Horrortok” niche on TikTok, which focuses on scarily good horror novels that may not have been previously on your radar. But, without further ado, let’s get to this week’s recommendation! 

One of the titles I often noticed mentioned on “Horrortok” and on Barnes and Noble’s horror displays was Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts. The story follows a young woman as she recounts her youth, telling the tale of a classic American family in Massachusetts plagued with horrors as the oldest daughter seemingly becomes possessed. We witness the classic traits of an old-fashioned Exorcist-style plot, straight down to the catholic symbolism and children scaling walls like they’re training to be Spider-Man. The family soon becomes the subject of a new reality television show reminiscent of Ghost Adventures that is interested in documenting the seemingly supernatural phenomena occurring in the home. However, the film crew gets more than they bargained for, as they also capture the family’s breakdown in high definition as each member tries to grapple with the events tearing them apart. As the pages turn and the plot twists develop, Tremblay and his unreliable narrator will have you grasping for the truth as you try to figure out if the daughter is truly possessed or fighting internal demons instead. The ending will leave you in awe as you try to put the last pieces of the puzzle together, not quite content with how they fit.  

I found this to be a great novel to start off my “Spooky Season” reading list for the month. I personally wasn’t frightened, though this may be because Stephen King helped me build up my horror-tolerance over the years. If you ever had a fascination with those paranormal reality-TV shows like I did, or want a tame horror novel that keeps you guessing, this book is for you. If you end up enjoying this week’s recommendation, The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson or Stephen King’s The Shining might also pique your interest, as they all include either similar possession elements or highlight the eventual collapse of the classic American family. Plus, they’re all movies if you’re in the mood for a spooky horror flick instead.  

That’s all for this week’s edition of The Book Club! We’ll be back next week with another horror title or two, most likely pulled from “Horrortok,” since their first recommendation turned out so well. If you ever want to share your recommendations with us, feel free to reach out! Until then, have a wonderful weekend, Lawrentians!