The last couple of months have been quite hectic, but since it was a scary book that got me out of my reading slump and it’s that time of the year again, I thought I’d make the time to list the 10 books that have scared me the most, in case you’re up for a thrill in Halloween.
Ghost Story, Peter Straub
This is my most recent scary read and I devoured it in like two days. It is a real page turner that manages to keep the tension for almost 500 pages.
In this book you”ll find more than ghosts, but the really scary thing is the guilt that chases the main characters since they made a tragic mistake in their youth. The novel is set in a small town in New England, so you’ll get all that small town folklore, too.
Pet Sematary, Stephen King
This book gave me nightmares for a week and I had to read it in two takes. A family moves to a small town in Maine and in the woods behind their house there’s a pet cemetery (misspelled “sematary” in the sign). When their cat dies and they bury him there, they discover that what is buried there tends to come back, but not as you would expect…
Dracula, Bram Stoker
I guess this one goes without saying. It really still creeps me out and I just love the epistolary format! Gave me nightmares the first time I read it and Coppola’s movie with Gary Oldman still does.
Mysteries of Winterthurn, Joyce Carol Oates
This one is not exactly horror or terror, but has elements of both. It is really a detective story in the style of Sherlock Holmes, but with much darker and disturbing mysteries in which the detective will only discover the depths of human evil and hypocrisy.
The Accursed, Joyce Carol Oates
More creepy Oates. This novel is a fantastic satire, but also a disturbing novel set in Princeton in 1905, when a “curse” came upon the town. This curse seems to begin when a young member of the wealthiest family in town, the Slates, is abducted by a demonic lover. Disturbing and yet fun!
Things We Lost in the Fire, Mariana Enríquez
This collection of short stories by the Argentine writer Mariana Enriquez is one the most haunting books I’ve ever read. It is haunting because its terror comes from the mundane yet horrific and violent everyday events in Latin America: women who set themselves on fire to protest violence, a nine-year-old serial killer, government violence and also haunted houses and ghosts. Beware, readers.
The Turn of the Screw, Henry James
Another classic! Or maybe the classic. A young woman gets a job as the governess of two young siblings in a very big mansion in the countryside. When the children start acting weird and the help tell her stories about her predecessors, the governess will start questioning the strange happenings in the house and her own sanity. Really one of the best books I’ve ever read.
The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
The best haunted-house book, period. An investigator gathers four people to spend a summer at Hill House to see if they can gather paranormal evidence. The house is supposed to be pretty much haunted, but what causes terror in the reader is the toll that the supernatural events have on the psyche of the characters rather than the events themselves, which are described rather vaguely.
Ghost Stories, M.R. James
Classic ghost stories! The best book to spend a nigh by the fireplace. M.R. James stories are full of old-fashioned ghosts, remote settings and cursed objects.
Night Shift, Stephen King
This is a collection of short stories that have only one thing in common: they’re creepy. This is one of my favourite King books, specially because of the stories “Jerusalem’s Lot” and “Children of the Corn”.
Also, I am currently being creeped out by Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot. It’s been a while since I read anything about vampires, so I’m quite excited. What are you guys reading? Are there any books you reread for Halloween?