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Sep 08

Stranger Reads

Posted on September 8, 2016 at 1:23 PM by Craig Jacobson

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Perhaps you've already binge-watched Stranger Things, the 1980s nostalgia horror series. Perhaps it's still sitting in your Netflix queue. (Or maybe you've just listened to others endlessly rave about how good it is and been annoyed by the Stranger Things meme showing up everywhere). Whether you're looking to relish the show's deliciously creepy atmosphere a little longer or do a little advance reading, here are some fantastic books and shows to consider.

Blog_KingCovers.pngStephen King is unquestionably one of Stranger Things' biggest influences: lurking monsters behind a small town's peaceful fa?ade traumatizing children and government goons toying with forces beyond their control are all hallmarks of classic Stephen King novels. Many of King's titles pair well with the TV series, but Itand Firestarter are two that complement it particularly well.

13-year-old Conor wakes up one night to a monster outside his window, though it's not the one he's seen in nightmares. It offers a trade: a story for a story, but the story it wants from Conor isn't a story Conor's sure he's prepared to tell. Both humorous and eerie, A Monster Callswrestles with questions of life and death. And it comes with a perk: you'll have read the book before the movie comes out this October.

WaywardPines.jpgIf you'd rather turn off the lights and watch a creepy story unfold, try picking up Twin Peaks, in which an FBI agent and a sheriff try to track down a murderer in the quiet town of Twin Peaks. Their investigation creates more questions than it answers as the pair realize that Twin Peaks has more secrets beneath its surface than a simple murder mystery.? You might also enjoy Wayward Pines, on which the Duffer brothers also worked. After a car crash, U.S. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke wakes to find one agent dead and the other happily settled in the small town of Wayward Pines, Idaho. Although the town first appears idyllic, Burke is unable to contact the outside world and finds that the town is contained by an electric fence – and any attempts to escape are punishable by death. Burke sets out to uncover the forces at work behind the mysterious town.

PaperGirls.jpgIf the trio of Mike, Lucas, and Dustin searching for their lost friend have captured your heart, pick up Paper Girls: in the wee hours after Halloween, four newspaper delivery girls out on their morning routes get more than they bargained for. Lights in the sky, strange men in masks, and missing townspeople have them out of their depth, but the Paper Girls are as determined to defend their homes as they are to defend their jobs. You could also re-watch The Goonies, in which a group of kids go chasing after treasure and encounter a band of outlaws.

If Nancy, Barb, and Steve have caught your attention, try Eleanor and Park, the story of two high school misfits brought together by music. They fall for each other despite knowing that first love almost never works – but they can't help but try. (For a truly immersive reading experience, Rainbow Rowell also provides a full playlist of all the music on her website.)

Ready Player ONe.jpgAnd if you're looking for another heavy dose of '80s geek nostalgia, but without the dark setting, try Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. In the near future, the real world is a bleak place – which is why most people spend their time in the OASIS, an online universe full of everything from normal schools to whole worlds inspired by Bladerunner or Dungeons & Dragons. The world's creator has left behind 3 keys and a series of puzzles hidden inside the OASIS and the first person to find them all will inherit the vast fortune he left behind. But when Wade Watts finds the first key, he finds that some of his competitors will stop at nothing to win this virtual game – including real life murder.

Still not enough? Drop by FLW this week to check out our Stranger Reads display!

It and Firestarter cover art from
All other images courtesy of Easicat.