Top 10 Horror Novels I’d Totally Love to Read (If I wasn’t such a chicken!)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is Halloween Freebie! (Happy Halloween! Let your creativity run wild with a themed post to celebrate!).

So, confession time here at The Bookish Libra…I’ve always maintained that I don’t enjoy reading horror novels.  Well, the truth is I’ve actually never even read one.  Why?  Because I’m a gigantic wimp.  I read for enjoyment and I get no enjoyment out of being terrified.  I don’t read scary books and I don’t watch horror movies.

If I were to ever work up my nerve and read scary books, however, here’s a list of books that I would totally consider reading.

 

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Top 10 Horror Novels I’d Totally Love to Read (If I wasn’t such a chicken!)

 

  •  IT by Stephen King   “To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.  It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.  Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

 

  • THE SHINING by Stephen King  “Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.”

 

  • THE OMEN by David Seltzer  “Jeremy Thorn, United States Ambassador to England, and his wife Katherine become the parents of a beautiful boy whose destiny is to fulfill the most horrible prophecy ever made.”

 

  • PSYCHO by Robert Bloch  “It was a dark and stormy night when Mary Crane glimpsed the unlit neon sign announcing the vacancy at the Bates motel. Exhausted, lost, and at the end of her rope, she was eager for a hot shower and a bed for the night. Her room was musty but clean and the plumbing worked. Norman Bates, the manager, seemed nice, if a little odd.”

 

  • THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson “The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre.  First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.”

 

  • DRACULA by Bram Stoker “When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.”

 

  • HELL HOUSE by Richard Matheson “Can any soul survive?  Regarded as the Mount Everest of haunted houses, Belasco House has witnessed scenes of almost unimaginable horror and depravity. Two previous expeditions to investigate its secrets met with disaster, the participants destroyed by murder, suicide or insanity. Now a new investigation has been mounted – four strangers, each with his or her own reason for daring the unknown torments and temptations of the mansion…”

 

  • HEART SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill “Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.”

 

  • CORALINE by Neil Gaiman “The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring….In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.   The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.Only it’s different.At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.  Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.”

(Okay, so I break down and read Coraline anyway since it’s supposed to be for ages 9 and up, lol).

 

  • THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin “Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.

    The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.”“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”

    First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

    As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

    With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.’ to ‘“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”

(Note:  All synopses taken from Goodreads.)

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Question:  What are some of your favorite Horror novels?

34 replies
  1. Sam@WLABB
    Sam@WLABB says:

    I am NOT a horror reader. I tend light and fluffy. I remember when they were adapting King’s books left and right when I was younger. The movies were terrifying. I couldn’t imagine how scary they would be, if the imagery were left to my imagination as I read.

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Right? I feel the same way and so many of the ones I listed even mention in the synopsis that the books are even scarier than the films. I’d probably give myself a heart attack, lol.

      Reply
  2. ShootingStarsMag
    ShootingStarsMag says:

    I used to never read scary books, but I’ve started to really love them as I got older. I’m curious about reading Dracula someday. I have Heart-Shaped Box and want to read that one too; I’ve read Horns by Joe Hill and loved it.

    -Lauren

    Reply
  3. Lisa Nightingale
    Lisa Nightingale says:

    I’ve read It (didn’t like it), The Shining (enjoyed it) and Dracula (mixed review) from your list. I’m not so into that genre more because I find it boring over so called scary. Maybe I’m just wired different. It is the same with horror movies, I end up laughing through them.

    Reply
  4. Nina
    Nina says:

    I think you will enjoy reading Coraline. It was creepy, but not so much. So you def. will enjoy it.
    I haven’t read the first two books (and others on your list haha), but I have watched the movies. And they were soooo scary! OMG, The Shining is one of those books I probably will not read. So scary.

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, clowns terrify me! I think out of all of these, It would probably scare me the most for that reason. And yet, like you say, I still kind of want to read it.

      Reply
  5. Literary Feline
    Literary Feline says:

    I am not a huge scary book fan, admittedly, but sometimes I can’t help myself. 🙂 This is a great list, Suzanne. I really want to give Coraline a try. I did read The Shining, and liked it, but didn’t love it. The book was definitely scarier for me than the movie. I don’t know if I’ll ever read or watch It. I do want to read The Passage. The size is kind of intimidating though. I liked The Heart-Shaped Box and loved Dracula. Dracula was one that took me by surprise. It’s subtle in its horror, which is just perfect for me.

    Thank you for sharing! Have a great week!

    Reply
    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      If Dracula is subtle in its horror, that might be a good fit for me as well. I keep hearing great things about The Passage and a few people have said it’s not that scary, so I’m even more tempted to read that one now.

      Reply
  6. Kelly @ Here's to Happy Endings
    Kelly @ Here's to Happy Endings says:

    Oh my gosh, I have read so many of these and loved them all! I’m a huge horror fan, but also a huge chicken – I read a lot of horror books and then I can’t sleep at night, haha. I think out of all of them on your list, The Shining was probably my favorite (although Heart Shaped Box was a close second!)

    Reply

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