“Scary” is subjective. Here are some of my favorite creepy reads. Click each book cover for more info!
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
This one is emphatically not for the faint of heart. While it’s not a horror novel per se (no monsters or ghosts or supernatural entities terrorizing people), it is deeply, deeply disturbing, and fits right into the Psychological Terror section. Deeply creepy, very upsetting–absolutely great! It stayed with me for days.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House is a *very* close second (and also highly recommended!), but this one freaks me out more. The whole Southern Gothic storyline of the secluded family in their decaying house, the sense of “them folks ain’t quite right,” along with the unreliable narrator with many neuroses and a pervasively creepy and dark atmosphere make this one of my favorite unsettling tales.
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
I love Sarah Waters for many reasons, and one is her ability to create amazing atmosphere. This ghost story (or *is* it ghosts?) has many Gothic touches–crumbling old mansion with an old family crumbling right along with it, madness, and mystery. This is an atmospheric old-fashioned haunted house tale, and one of my very favorites.
From Hell by Alan Moore
Like Sharp Objects, this isn’t technically a horror story–but in my opinion Jack the Ripper was plenty horrifying! From Hell is a disturbing and dark look into the Ripper murders in 1880’s London, full of gore and intrigue. The illustrations are perfect, and very affecting. A good choice for true crime and historical fiction fans who are looking for something creepy this Halloween.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
A classic from my childhood. I checked this book out of the library dozens of times…and every time it scared me. Holy moly, those illustrations! The stories themselves are retellings of urban legends and folktales (most plenty unsettling on their own), but Stephen Gammell’s illustrations take it to an entirely new terrifying level. Even now these illustrations freak me out! A real Halloween classic for all ages.
Misery by Stephen King
Here’s another one I read over and over again, just for the adrenaline rush of the psychological/survival horror. It’s another favorite of mine–and one of the only King books that *really* scared me.