Discussion Post : What Is The Scariest Book You’ve Ever Read?

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I’m making this post in preparation for October and thinking about my reading plans. Barring some ARCs and library waiting list titles, I’m planning to hunt out some thrillers and horror novels with an emphasis on heart-pumping moments. Still not sure what my October TBR will be though!

I haven’t come across many books that left me truly terrified, and mainly turn to videogames or movies/tv for that sort of thing.

But as a kid I was massively a fan of the Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark series. It has some of the most impressive and memorable artwork out there. I still live in fear of spiders laying eggs in faces. And whatever the lady in the second picture is. She does kind of look like a drawing of me in the most unflattering way possible lol..

Back then, I also devoured Goosebumps, Fear Street, some Christopher Pike books, and another series called Nightmare Hall. Here are some of my iconic faves from each. They definitely warrant some nostalgic re-reads!

Honestly, I don’t remember these titles very much- just that they are the ones I was most scared by as a kid.

Scratch that somewhat, I do remember The Betrayal and its sequels quite well and oh what I’d give for some 800 page adult fiction epic that was anything like it.

This is mainly a nostalgia post but there are a few recent horror (or thriller) titles that come to mind as having high tension or effectively scary moments. Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky and The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware.

Imaginary Friend is a sort of grab bag of different horror conventions thrown into one long, artsy book while The Turn Of The Key has a creepy, nefarious ultra-modern ‘smart’ house with mysterious hidden rooms.

There’s one older book that I can’t remember very well called Servants of Twilight by Dean Koontz. In that one, we see the story from multiple perspectives so you’d know some horrifying stuff is about to go down, then an immediate switch to another perspective for cliffhanger chapters.

One thing to mark off my reading to-do list is reading something by Stephen King. I’m leaning toward Misery for its shorter length (370 pages, less massive than ‘It’ for sure.) But I’m also thinking of Tommyknockers since the film version truly terrified me many years ago, though it’s page count is on the high side as seems usual for King. He has so many books, it’s tough to choose. Was thinking of Carrie but after being unabashedly #TeamCarrie in the 1976 film, I worry I’ll just spend the whole time feeling sorry for her instead of being terrified.


  • I’m still deciding on what to read, but what are your reading plans for October? Do you plan on reading any horror or halloween-themed titles?
  • As mentioned in the title, what is the scariest book you’ve ever read? Or if not applicable, a book with a scary or tense moment that really stuck with you. It can be in any genre.
  • Very open to horror or thriller reading recommendations if you have some or Stephen King best-first-book recs, if you have read his work and have some guidance to offer.

Many thanks in advance, as always, for your comments and thoughts.


32 thoughts on “Discussion Post : What Is The Scariest Book You’ve Ever Read?

  1. This is a lol I know but the scariest book I ever read was a Nancy Drew book. The ghost of Blackwood Hall. Omg it terrified me so much when I was a kid. I remember telling my mum to get rid of the book because it scared me so much lol!!! So you might have guessed that I don’t read scary books anymore πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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  2. One of my favorite horror books was The Possession of Cassie Quinn by Kathryn Knutson. It’s been a while since I’ve read it so I’m not sure if it holds up but it was so creepy when I read it back in high school. It’s short though so a good quick read to pick up! Also, I have only read Carrie by Stephen King and I wasn’t a huge fan of it, so I think you should go for one of your other choices!

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  3. I used to be really scared by the Goosebumps books, I would read them at night and then jump out of my skin if I saw a shadow or something! I love to read Maddicts which is a funny and scary edge-of-your-seat race against time, and Dracula, I’ve read it twice and it is chilling! It’s brilliantly written and so absorbing. I have read The Shining and Christine and a couple of short stories by Stephen King and I find them always to be sad, like you said you thought you would be. They give you the creeps and there are a lot of times when you can’t put them down, but it’s also really upsetting too. He sets his characters up just to knock them down. I can’t read his books any more, the short stories were particularly disturbing.
    Happy Halloween!

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      1. Dracula is really good. Really creepy and exciting. And really easy to read, unlike some books from years ago. That’s true, Stephen King’s short stories is a good way to try him out if you’re short on time πŸ˜‰ Not that I recommend them, unless you’re looking to be disturbed πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a wimp when it comes to scary stuff so I never read Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark or Goosebumps but I know they were super super popular when I was in middle school!! I think the scariest books I read were Crime and Punishment and Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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  5. Great post! Considering how much of a chicken I am (now) it’s hard to imagine that I used to love reading Goosebumps and Scary Stories πŸ˜‚ I loved the Goosebumps choose your own adventure books the best! I’m planning to read some spookier stories in October, but spooky for me is probs not really spooky for others haha

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  6. I like reading horror. I read the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark when I was 11 and remember slowly turning the pages just so I know what picture awaits is on the next page. My first Stephen King book was Misery and that was terrifying.

    Anything by H.P Lovecraft is petty scary. His writing is really descriptive, leaving room for the imagination to picture all types of horror.

    Also there a short story I read once called Three Skelton Keys by George G Toudouze. All I can say about it is it has lots of rats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the detailed reply! I loved the illustrations in Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, they were so interesting and just amazing to look at!

      I’m reading The Shining this month but Misery isn’t far behind on my Stephen King to-read list, glad to hear that you had a terrifying experience with it. Also curious to try H.P. Lovecraft after enjoying many Lovecraftian horrors. Three Skeleton Keys sounds interesting too, love memorable short stories.


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