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Cult of Weird Fall Reading List

Morbid Must-Reads: 2019 Fall Reading List

Communing with the dead, the women who wrote monsters, eyeball-eating cats, and more weird books top this year’s morbid fall reading list.

The veil is thinning and nature is once again showing us how beautiful it is to die. That means it’s that time of year again when I dig up a new list of book recommendations to feed our insatiable need for the dark, weird, and disturbing this autumn.

This collection of morbid must-reads explores the dark side of life and lighter side of the afterlife, from Caitlin Doughty’s new masterpiece about kid’s death questions to LGBTQ+ tales of Gothic horror.

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty

Mortician Caitlin Doughty answers death questions from kids like why do corpses groan? What causes bodies to turn colors during decomposition? Why do hair and nails appear longer after death? And if you’re wondering about the book’s title, the answer is yes, yes it will.

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Séance

Seance by Shannon Taggart

Photographer Shannon Taggart explores the mysteries of spiritualism through her lens in this book full of truly haunting photographs. Séance includes a foreword by Dan Aykroyd, creator of Ghostbusters and fourth-generation spiritualist.

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Twelve Nights at Rotter House

Twelve Nights at Rotter House by JW Ocker

Writer Felix Allsey makes a living publishing travelogues of the country’s most haunted places. But while staying in the infamous Rotterdam Mansion for his next bestseller, Allsey’s nonfiction turns into all out horror.

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Abandoned Palaces

Abandoned Palaces: Great Houses, Mansions, Estates and Hotels Suspended in Time

From imperial residences and aristocratic estates to hotels and urban mansions, Abandoned Palaces tells the stories behind dilapidated structures all around the world.

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Exquisite Aberrations

Exquisite Abberations gothic horror anthology from Fundead Publications

The abandoned houses and shadowy cemeteries in this anthology of Gothic horror tales might seem familiar, but these stories are about the people who have been shunned and forgotten – trans, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ characters, people suffering from PTSD and other mental health conditions, and persons of color.

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Weird Wild West

Weird Wild West by Keven McQueen

Explore the stranger, darker side of the Old West, the ghost stories, unexplained deaths, bizarre murders, and peculiar burials that made the West weird.

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Monster, She Wrote

Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction

From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. And their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction.

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Mostly Dead Things

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

Mostly Dead Things had me at “aggressively lewd art with the taxidermied animals.” I mean, what else do you need to know?

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Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Strange theme parks, swamp lore, ghosts and more comprise this mysterious and disturbing coming of age story about a family running a gator-wrestling attraction the Everglades.

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The Ghastling: Book Nine

The Ghastling Book Nine Strange Creatures issue

The ninth installment of The Ghastling features chilling new tales of horror by contemporary authors. Don’t miss the “Strange Creatures” issue.

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Want more? Here are the fall reading lists from previous years:

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Or you can find them all and more here: Cult of Weird Recommended Reading

Cult of Weird Fall Reading List

Morbid Must-Reads: 2018 Fall Reading List

Dig into these morbid and fascinating book recommendations for the fall season from Cult of Weird.
Morbid Must-Reads: The 2018 Cult of Weird fall reading list

It’s that time of year again: Falling leaves, the flickering grins of jack-o-lanterns, ghouls lurking around every turn and, of course, the Cult of Weird Fall Reading List of morbid must-reads to satisfy your dark autumn desires.

Curl up with one of these macabre recommendations and drift off through the thinning veil.

The Man from the Train

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery

Bill James examines a series of seemingly unconnected axe murders across the country between 1898 to 1912 and makes a startling discovery: The murders were all committed by the same person, and he uncovered the identity of one of the deadliest serial killers in America. Thanks to Macabre Monday host Malia Miglino for this fascinating recommendation.

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Dreadful Places

The World of Lore: Dreadful Places by Aaron Mahnke

Aaron Mahnke, creator of the Lore podcast, takes you on a tour of dark places where bad things have happened in the third installment of the World of Lore series.

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A Map of Days

A Map of Days (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children) by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children return with new wonders, dangers, and creepy vintage photos as Jacob uncovers more of his grandfather’s secrets that leads he and his unusual friends into the strange and untamed American peculiardom.

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The Penguin Book of Hell

The Penguin Book of Hell

Explore 3,000 years of Hell from the shadowy Sheol to Hades, Dante’s nine circles of Hell and more in this complete history of eternal damnation.

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Alice Isn’t Dead

Alice Isn't Dead

After months of searching for Alice, she was presumed dead and had a funeral. But now she keeps turning up in the background of news reports from every major tragedy and accident across the country. From the mind of Welcome to Night Vale co-creator Joseph Fink, Alice Isn’t Dead is a new novel based on the popular podcast of the same name.

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The Sawbones Book

The Sawbones Book: The Hilarious, Horrifying Road to Modern Medicine

How did we go from eating powdered mummies, wearing radioactive underpants, and digging up corpses to modern medicine? The creators of the Sawbones podcast fill you in, complete with macabre illustrations to remind us just how horrific medical history can be.

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We Sold Our Souls

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

In this hard-rocking, spine-tingling supernatural thriller by Grady Hendrix, author of Paperbacks from Hell and My Best Friend’s Exorcism, the washed-up guitarist of a ’90s heavy metal band embarks on an epic road-trip across America and deep into the web of a sinister conspiracy.

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The Victorian Celebration of Death

The Victorian Celebration of Death

An in-depth examination of Victorian mourning, from changing attitudes toward the dead to elaborate state funerals, cemetery architecture, and more.

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Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities

Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities by Nancy Stohlman

Vaudeville stories of the weird, absurd and bizarre cabaret. Step right up to meet a woman so determined to be a star, she’ll try anything in this collection of flash fiction oddities by Nancy Stohlman.

Available soon from Big Table Publishing


Servants of the Supernatural

Servants of the Supernatural: The Night Side of the Victorian Mind

Explore the dark side of the Victorian science: Mediums, psychics, spiritualism, and seances.

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Urban Legends

Urban Legends: Bizarre Tales You Won't Believe

Did you hear about the kids who found a Ferrari buried in their garden? What about the man who sued Satan? Or the woman who woke up in the middle of her funeral? Do you know the legend of the Bunny Man?

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Coffins, Corpses, and Crypts

Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial by Penny Colman

Did you know that winter in Madagascar was considered corpse-turning season? This book for children explores death and burial across the world with plenty of macabre and fascinating facts from six feet under.

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The Ghost: A Cultural History

The Ghost: A Cultural History

Ghosts are woven into the very fabric of life. In Britain, every town, village, and great house has a spectral resident, and their enduring popularity in literature, art, folklore, and film attests to their continuing power to fascinate, terrify, and inspire.

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Hell’s Princess

Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men

Belle Gunness lured men to her “murder farm” in Indiana where they vanished without a trace. Until their butchered remains were later unearthed by authorities. This is the story of America’s most twisted female serial killer as told by the king of true crime, Harold Schechter.

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Spoon River Anthology

Spoon River Anthology

Deceased residents of the fictional town of Spoon River recount their often sad and tragic lives through a collection of free verse poems. “Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley, the weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?” the first poem asks. “All, all are sleeping on the hill.”

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The Ghastling

The Ghastling

The Ghastling features a collection of ghoulish short horror stories by contemporary authors. Book seven is a special issue dedicated to monsters in celebration of the Bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

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Want more? Here are the fall reading lists from previous years:

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Or you can find them all and more here: Cult of Weird Recommended Reading

Cult of Weird Fall Reading List

Morbid Must-Reads: 2017 Fall Reading List

Curl up in the candlelight this fall with one of these macabre recommendations from the Cult of Weird book club.

The leaves are falling and the veil is thinning. This year’s roundup of fall reading recommendations is here to satisfy your morbid curiosity with new releases from Cult of Weird favorites like J.W. Ocker, Lindsey Fitzharris, and Caitlin Doughty.

The Butchering Art

The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris
Before anesthesia and antiseptics, Victorian surgery was a brutal affair often more dangerous than the affliction it was meant to fix. Medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris of the web series Under the Knife tells the story of visionary surgeon Joseph Lister’s work to transform surgical practices during a time when doctors were still digging up cadavers for dissection.
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From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Douhgty
The followup to her best-selling look at the death industry Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, mortician Caitlin Doughty travels the world to examine funeral practices from unique cultures around the globe.
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Death and Douglas

Death and Douglas by JW Ocker
When “incredibly out of the ordinary” murder victims start showing up at Douglas’s family’s funeral home, he and his friends set out to solve the mystery.
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The Apparitionists

The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost
The story of how spirit photographer William Mumler captured America’s imagination in the wake of the death and tragedy of the Civil War by photographing grieving family members with apparitions of the dearly departed.
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Tales from a Talking Board

Tales from a Talking Board
Fourteen new supernatural stories exploring divination and communication with the dead through Ouija boards, tarot, and “stranger things.”
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Confessions of a Funeral Director

Confessions of a Funeral Director by Caleb Wilde
Caleb Wilde reveals what he’s learned about life and death as a sixth-generation funeral director who’s been around the deceased and grieving his entire life.
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The Witch

The Witch by Ronald Hutton
The witch came to prominence—and often a painful death—in early modern Europe, yet her origins are much more geographically diverse and historically deep. In this landmark book, Ronald Hutton traces witchcraft from the ancient world to the early-modern stake.
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Atlas of Cursed Places

Atlas of Cursed Places
Oliver Le Carrer brings us a fascinating history and armchair journey to the world’s most dangerous and frightful places, complete with vintage maps and period illustrations in a handsome volume.
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199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die by Loren Rhoads
A hauntingly beautiful travel guide to the world’s most visited cemeteries, told through spectacular photography and their unique histories and residents.
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It Devours!

It Devours! a Welcome to Night Vale novel
A new page-turning mystery about science, faith, love and belonging, set in a friendly desert community where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are commonplace parts of everyday life. Welcome to Night Vale…
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The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by
A fascinating, beautifully illustrated guide to the monsters that are part of our collective psyche, featuring both rare and best-loved stories from the hit podcast Lore, soon to be an online streaming series.
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The Magician and the Spirits

The Magician and the Spirits
The story of Houdini’s quest to uncover the truth behind spiritualism, mediums, and messages from the afterlife.
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Understanding Cemetery Symbols

Understanding Cemetery Symbols
A guide to the meanings behind the symbols found on gravestones.
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California Infernal

California Infernal: Anton LaVey & Jayne Mansfield
Fischer’s unique collection of photos takes us straight into the ritual chamber of the Church of Satan in LaVey’s infamous “black house” in San Francisco, as well as into Mansfield’s Hollywood “pink palace.” We also get to follow LaVey on excursions to his friend Forrest “Famous Monsters of Filmland” Ackerman, to Marilyn Monroe’s grave, to TV studios and back, to Satanic weddings and Zeena’s baptism at the Church of Satan HQ.
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Quackery

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything
Looking back with fascination, horror, and not a little dash of dark, knowing humor, Quackery recounts the lively, at times unbelievable, history of medical misfires and malpractices. Ranging from the merely weird to the outright dangerous, here are dozens of outlandish, morbidly hilarious “treatments”—conceived by doctors and scientists, by spiritualists and snake oil salesmen (yes, they literally tried to sell snake oil)—that were predicated on a range of cluelessness, trial and error, and straight-up scams.
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Death: A Graveside Companion

Death: A Graveside Companion by Joanna Ebenstein
Edited by Joanna Ebenstein, Death explores the intersection of art and death through over 1,000 images, many never published before, created throughout the centuries as humanity has struggled to understand and rectify death through morbid beauty.
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Paperbacks from Hell

Paperbacks from Hell
A history of the paperback horror boom of the 70s and 80s, and the twisted stories and cover art it spawned.
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Want more? Here are the fall reading lists from previous years:

2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Or you can find them all and more here: Cult of Weird Recommended Reading

10 Morbid Must-Reads for the Fall Season

Morbid and fascinating book recommendations for the fall season from the Cult of Weird book club.
2016 Cult of Weird fall reading list

If you’re looking for a macabre read for the fall season, something to curl up to while the air turns crisp and the veil thins, look no further. The list below has some compelling new releases, as well as some older work you may not have been aware of, to keep your brain cells tingling and your spine chilling this Halloween season.

Related: Weird Book Recommendations

Morbid Curiosities

Morbid Curiosities by Paul Gambino featuring the oddities collection of Ryan Matthew Cohn
Paul Gambino examines the truly extraordinary and bizarre objects in the collections of Ryan Matthew Cohn, Evan Michelson, and more. These macabre curiosities are showcased, some for the first time, with beautiful photos and accompanying descriptions illuminating the dark corners of history through skulls, occult objects, sideshow ephemera, mummified body parts, vintage spirit communication devices and other oddities.
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Ghostland

Ghostland by Colin Dickey
Ghostland is a haunted roadtrip through history by way of America’s most notoriously dark places, where the spirits of the past refuse to rest.
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A Season with the Witch

Halloween in Salem, MA is the focus of A Season with the Witch by J.W. Ocker
J.W. Ocker, travel writer and chronicler of strange destinations on Odd Things I’ve Seen, spent a Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts to see what makes it the “Capital of Creepy.”
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Anatomical Venus

Anatomical Venus by Joanna Ebenstein
Joanna Ebenstein of the Morbid Anatomy Museum explores the grotesquely erotic wax anatomy work from the past depicting beautiful female figures in varying stages of dissection.
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Tales of the Peculiar

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs
Ransom Riggs, author of the enchantingly odd series Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, expands on the bizarre mythos he’s dreamed up with a new installment of stories from the secret history of the peculiar world.
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The Ghastling: Book Four

The Ghastling book four
The Ghastling is a series featuring genuinely chilling short stories by various authors. Book #4 is the latest installment, and it promises to be even more gruesome than previous issues.
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The Victorian Book of the Dead

Victorian Book of the Dead by Chris Woodward
Victorian-era dead and mourning traditions, ghost stories, premature burials, post-mortem photography, and bizarre tales unearthed from newspapers and journals from the 19th century.
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Cabinet of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities by Gordon Grice
A beginner’s guide to creating your own cabinet of curiosities, from finding and identifying specimens to preserving and mounting them for display.
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The American Way of Death

The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford
First published in 1963, then later updated for modern trends in 1996, Jessica Mitford’s celebrated book exposes the US death industry with wit and humor, tackling the embalming process, cremation, funerals and more.
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The Rose Of Paracelsus

The Rose of Paracelsus: On Secrets and Sacraments by William Leonard Pickard
From the description: “A Harvard graduate student and researcher explores a global entheogen system, discovering their practices leading to cognitive enhancement and, arguably, the next human form.”
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Looking for more? Check out these Weird Book Club picks from previous years:

Cult of Weird 2015 Fall Reading List

Peculiar children, cannibalism, and the glorious misadventures of a dead man’s head top the list of macabre history and strange fiction on this year’s fall reading list.
Cult of Weird fall reading list

If you’re looking for the perfect weird book to curl with this fall, here is a collection of macabre history and strange fiction recommended by the Cult of Weird community. *Cult of Weird is not responsible for paper cuts, nightmares, existential breakdowns or sudden metamorphosis from your larval stage.

Last year: Fall Reading List 2014

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
Library of Souls is the third installment of the best selling Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
BUY IT HERE

Bad Days in History by Michael Farquhar

Bad Days in History by Michael Farquhar
If you feel like you’re having a bad day, this book details something horrible that’s happened in history for every day of the year. Your lousy day at work has nothing on the great molasses flood of 1919.
BUY IT HERE

Lady ParaNorma by Vincent Marcone

The Lady ParaNorma by Vincent Marcone
If your familiar with the work of Vincent Marcone and his design studio My Pet Skeleton, you won’t want to miss his first lavishly illustrated book about a haunted woman who finds happiness in an unlikely place.
BUY IT HERE

Monster Hunters by Tea Krulos

Monster Hunters by Tea Krulos
What’s it like to be a paranormal investigator? Tag along with Tea Krulos as he hunts for ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot and other legends with those who have dedicated their lives to finding the answers.
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Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us by Paul Koudounaris

Memento Mori by Paul Koudounaris
Explore the strange ways that cultures around the world celebrate and remember their dead, from extravagant bone-filled catacombs to vibrant festivals where the remains of their ancestors are the guests of honor.
BUY IT HERE

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach

Spook by Mary Roach
I haven’t had the opportunity to read anything by Mary Roach yet, but there’s no denying that she is a Cult of Weird favorite. Her name pops up again and again every time I’m looking for book recommendations. Last year’s list featured her book Stiff about cadavers, so this time we’ll take the next step…into the afterlife.
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House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielwski
I have no idea what House of Leaves is about, but after several recommendations and a compelling description, it seems like this list would be incomplete without it.
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Parasite by Mira Grant

Parasite by Mira Grant
Designer tapeworms…what could possibly go wrong?
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The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
Because a fall reading list isn’t complete without some historical cosmic horror. This is a classic work of weird fiction from 1908 that went on to influence H.P. Lovecraft.
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The Embalmed Head of Oliver Cromwell: A Memoir by Marc Hartzman

The Embalmed Head of Oliver Cromwell by Marc Hartzman
Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, but that was not the end of his story. He was later exhumed, hanged, beheaded, impaled, bought and sold until his final burial in 1960. This memoir recounts the many misadventures of Oliver Cromwell’s head through 300 years of bizarre history.
BUY IT HERE

Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale the novel
A shadowy government agency wants me to tell you that this book from the creators of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast should not be read, as it may cause a wormhole to open in your nostril…a serious threat to national security to be sure. Don’t read it. Just don’t. Okay, maybe just a little. But stop when the tingling starts.
BUY IT HERE

Mothman’s Curse by Christine Hayes

Mothman's Curse by Christine Hayes
What are the origins of the mothman? Does he cause death wherever he goes, or is he trying to help? Mothman’s Curse explores these questions through the story of three kids who find themselves hopelessly entangled in the creatures mysteries through a terrible disaster they hope they can prevent.
BUY IT HERE

Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal

Man-Eater by Harold Schechter
True crime author Harold Schechter tackles the sordid tale of one of America’s first cannibals. Was Alfred Packer a cold-blooded killer, or did he eat his travel companions in a last ditch effort to survive after they had already killed each other?
BUY IT HERE

Did you read something recently that belongs on this list?
Tell us about it in the comments below!