Who else looks forward to holiday food all year long? 🙋
I’m a big fan of a huge holiday feast, and love cooking my favorite dishes each year, living off of leftovers for days afterward. Stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows… I guess you could eat these things year-round, but they just taste better when there’s a little bit of chill and festivity in the air!
I especially love curling up after a big dinner with a spooky book, snuggled under the covers while turning the pages of the latest story to give me nightmares, my belly full of home cooked deliciousness.
That said, there are a few books that I’d recommend reading way after your food has been digested! They’re incredible reads and some of my favorite books, but they all contain a little something that might make your stomach turn, which probably won’t sit well with all the turkey & pumpkin pie fighting for belly space!
I can’t recommend these books highly enough, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉
To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger
Ever wonder what carrion tastes like? The main character of Sara Tantlinger’s debut novella does, and it’s that basic premise about the desire to consume dead flesh that skyrockets this one to the very top of the list. From vultures to very graphic scenes I won’t be spoiling for you in this article, To Be Devoured isn’t for the faint of heart – or the weak of stomach!
An established poet in the horror genre, Sara’s gift with words doesn’t extend only to her poetry; despite the more bloody parts, this is one of the most viscerally beautiful books I’ve ever read.
Food Fright by Nico Bell
Food Fright introduces us to Cassie Adler, a high school girl who just wants to fit in with the popular crowd. When an opportunity to ingratiate herself with the cool girls presents itself, Cassie makes a decision to participate in a prank that will come back to haunt her in the most terrifyingly delicious way possible.
I absolutely love a good horror creature, and the ones that Nico Bell creates in Food Fright are unforgettable. I don’t want to spoil how great they are by telling you about them before you go into it, but trust me: they’re unlike anything you’ve ever read about before!
The Hunger by Alma Katsu
I love historical fiction, and I love retellings, so it’s no surprise that reading The Hunger by Alma Katsu was a great experience for me. In that same historical retelling vein, she’s also released The Deep this year, involving the Titanic!
The Donner Party in general is probably a topic best discussed in places other than the dinner table, and this supernatural spin on the infamous migratory group of American pioneers in the mid-1800s is no exception. Although it’s more of a slow burn than you might expect from a book involving cannibalism, the building dread is enough to unsettle anyone’s tummy!
Benny Rose, the Cannibal King by Hailey Piper
Extend those Halloween feelings past October with Benny Rose, the Cannibal King! With the third book in Unnerving’s Rewind or Die series, Hailey Piper introduces us to a group of teenagers in a small town in Vermont. The new girl in town, Gabrielle, thinks she’s being invited to join new friends in a night of Halloween fun, but the other girls have a little jealous payback in mind.
Benny Rose is such a terrifying villain, and the way that Piper vividly describes the grisly details throughout the story are stomach turning, and I mean that in the very best way possible! The Cannibal King’s menu of choice wouldn’t be my first pick, but to each their own, right?
Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
Tender Is the Flesh is one of the most graphic books on this list, but it’s also one I can’t stop recommending to anyone who will listen. Originally published in 2017 by Argentinian author Agustina Bazterrica, it was translated to English this year by Sarah Moses and is brutal in its depiction of a society where the consumption of humans seen as “lesser” is made acceptable, known primarily as “special meat”.
In addition to gore, this one also has a lot of violence and things that could be triggering for some people, so practice caution when reading – both after dinner, and beyond!
The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics
I have such a deep fondness for YA horror, and am always happy to find more books to add to my recommendation list. The Ravenous is a story about a family that looks perfect from the outside, but is hiding something sinister beneath the surface.
I love family drama in my stories, and the things the five sisters in this one go through are pretty rough. When the youngest of the five dies and comes back a little hungrier, the other girls are faced with a difficult question: how far would you go to protect someone you love?
The Beauty by Aliya Whitely
In the Valley of the Rocks, a small community of men gather at night to listen to the storyteller’s tales of those who are no longer among them. A post-apocalyptic novella set in a future where all women on earth are killed by a virus, The Beauty is hard to nail down in an easy synopsis, and best to go into without knowing too much. The story and imagery are unlike anything else I’ve read, with a more heavy lean into the sci-fi side of horror fiction than some of the other books on this list – but still so deserving of a read!
I’d particularly avoid reading this one right before dinner if you’re planning on eating any dishes served with mushrooms. You’ll see what I mean!
Cassie is one of our prolific contributing reviewers and helps with interviews and website content.
Find her online at her blog www.letsgetgalactic.com, Twitter as @ctrlaltcassie, or over at her Etsy store, where she has amazing original art prints, cross stitch kits, bookmarks, coloring & activity books, and more!