Scary books for those who don’t normally read scary books!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted on The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s top ten list:

Top Ten Scary Books I’d Recommend to Someone Who Doesn’t Read Scary Books:

1. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty – If your think that books just can’t be scary enough, or that horror isn’t fun when it isn’t scary; this one is a makes-you-want-to-rip-your-eyes-out-and-wipe-away-your-memory scary novel. Along with that, unlike the movie, the book isn’t focused entirely on the actual exorcism, making it much more intriguing. Do read this book, if you happen to believe, somehow, that words can’t be scary!
2. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (also other stories) by H. P. Lovecraft – If you’re the exact opposite, and think you’d just be too scared to keep on reading, read The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. I love this book. All stories by H. P. Lovecraft, for that matter, specially the Cthulhu Mythos stories; but I would recommend this one. This is book is terribly fascinating, and while very creepy and chilling, it’s not outright scary.
3. The Shining by Stephen King – I could make this entire list of Stephen King novels, but this is the one that actually turned me from a scaredy-cat into a horror enthusiast! It is one the most convincing of King’s books, and since the focus is more on the characters than the plot, I think it is a great introduction to horror, for someone who doesn’t know what to expect. While it isn’t the scariest of King’s books, it’s probably the most concise.
4. Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris – It doesn’t have to be supernatural to scare you, and Silence of the Lambs is proves that. This book is probably the most frightening crime novel I have ever read; with Hannibal the Cannibal, the worst serial killer in fiction.
5. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury A mysterious carnival in a small town and two boys looking for an adventure make the perfect setting for a ghost story. But this story goes much deeper than just run-of-the-mill horror fiction. The prose is beautiful, almost poetic, and the book deals not just with freaky costumes but themes like youth, beauty and time.
6. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – This is supposed to be one of the best literary ghost stories, and one of the best horror novels according to Stephen King (which is saying something.) A classic haunted house story; you don’t have to be a horror fan to like this book.
7. Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi – This is the story of the popularized Manson Family murders of 1969. The fact that it is true crime, written by the man who prosecuted Charles Manson and his followers, makes it the most frightening book I have ever read.
8. Ghost Story by Peter Straub – As opposed to what the title suggests, this is not just any ghost story. Ghost Story is about a group of people who get together once in a while, and every time one of them narrates a ghost story… no one knows whether the stories have any truth in them, that is, until the tales come back to haunt them! A wonderful tale of how fear can haunt you better than any ghost…
9. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson – This is one of the first novels about zombies, only in this novel, they are supposed to be vampires. It’s a post apocalyptic novel, where the entire world population has turned into vampires, with the exception of one man. It is exciting and scary at the same time.
10. Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe – No author can write stories as vivid and beautifully eerie as Poe can. These will be loved by classic literature lovers.
Special Mentions: Perfume – The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Sueskind and Lord of the Flies by William Golding – two novels, which, though not conventionally scary, completely freaked me out…

8 thoughts on “Scary books for those who don’t normally read scary books!”

  1. I read about 5 of the books mentioned here and all of them gave me goosebumps…. guess ill read the rest too… thanks for posting the list…


  2. I haven't read any of those, but I don't think I could ever read any of Stephen King's books I am a completely wimp.


  3. Great list. I like horror novels a lot, but I'm usually not as scared as I want to be. Maybe some of these will change that. I really want to read I am Legend this year.


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  5. Wonderful list, Priya! I have seen the movie versions of 'The Exorcist', 'The Shining' and 'The Silence of the Lambs' and liked them. 'The Shining' movie was especially scary. Have you seen it? I have read 'I Am Legend' and 'Perfume' and loved them – I loved 'Perfume' especially for the prose. I want to read Peter Straub's 'Ghost Story' after reading your description of it.


  6. Thanks for stopping by!

    Vishy – I saw The Shining after I read the book, and being the ardent Stephen King fan that I am, I have to say, the book is better – with better character development, that makes it different from 'just another horror novel'. Do read Ghost Story too, it's probably my favourite horror story ever!!


  7. Nice to know that the book version of 'The Shining' is better than the movie. I will look for the book. 'Ghost Story' is on my 'TBR' list. I want to read it soon. If it is your favourite horror story ever (and it is not even a Stephen King book) then it must be really something.


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