Library has plenty of scary, and not-so-scary, reads

With Halloween around the corner and plenty of dark, spooky nights ahead of us this fall, horror is obviously the genre on everyone's mind at Hinsdale Public Library.

Our librarians have pulled together book recommendations for readers of all ages - you can dig into their lists at, but I'll highlight a few here.

For our youngest readers, you can't go wrong with "Bruce and the Legend of Soggy Hollow" by Ryan Higgins, a delightful picture book in which everybody's favorite grumpy blue bear finds another holiday to hate. Kindergartners and others learning to read on their own can scare themselves silly with the "Mister Shivers" series by Max Brallier. For older readers, "Ghostlight" by Kenneth Oppel features a teenage tour guide who accidentally summons a ghost, and "Harrow Lake" by Kat Ellis follows a 17-year-old girl investigating her parents' creepy history.

For adults, classics of the genre are the most popular, including "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson (now a Netflix series) and "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James (which has had an impressive eight film adaptions, including the 1961 classic "The Innocents").

Newer supernatural tales include the ghostly "Lincoln in the Bardo" by George Saunders and a growing body of books by Latinx authors, like Isabel Cañas' "The Hacienda" and "The Daughter of Doctor Moreau" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Each year, horror writers choose to honor superior works with the Bram Stoker Awards. Last year's honorees included "The Devil Takes You Home" by Gabino Iglesias for adults, "They Stole Our Hearts" by Daniel Kraus for middle grades and "The Triangle" by Robert Ottone for young adults.

If horror's not for you, have no fear! There is no greater joy in a librarian's life than matching a reader with the perfect book on any topic. HPL has devised a number of ways to do just that. One fun way to get something new to read is to sign up for a book box. Kids, teens and adults are all eligible. Tell us a little bit about what you like, and you'll receive a box each month with a personalized selection (as well as a bookish treat). Our website is also loaded with book lists curated by our staff, as well as convenient links to what's popular in Hinsdale and beyond.

But sometimes nothing beats coming in and having a conversation with someone who has dedicated their life to reading books. I talked with adult services librarians Lizzy and Maura recently and got two recommendations so perfect for me that I finished them both in one week. Both were frightening tales - "City of Thieves," a dark and inventive folktale set during World War II, and "Good Omens," a humorous take on Armageddon - that I wouldn't have found on my own.

While you're here picking up books, keep our programs in mind. On Saturday, balladeer Lee Murdock will be singing "Ghost Stories of the Great Lakes." This program is geared towards adults, but children are welcome. Kids will have their own time to shine after school on Monday, when they can visit in costume and trick-or-treat around the library. They can also come downstairs anytime through the end of the month to try out our spooky I Spy Case. We're grateful to the Alford-Lake family for building it, and we're all excited to see the new one coming this November from the Bentley family.

- John Kokoris is Hinsdale Public Library's marketing & outreach