Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! October 17, 2013 - 9:32pm

 I want to read some great scare the pants off of you stuff (with out it being overly gory... gore is really not my thing) in honor of Halloween... here is the short list! What should I read first?

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The Ruins by Scott Smith

Needful Things by Stephen King

The Shining... (which I have read long ago but then I will read Dr. Sleep) by Stephen King

Hell House by Richard Matheson

 

 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like October 17, 2013 - 9:52pm

I've only tried the first and last. Between the two, I'd say Blatty. I wanted to like Hell House because I'd heard good things about Matheson re: I am Legend, but something about the writing seemed trite and I stopped reading a couple chapters in.

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life October 17, 2013 - 10:29pm

Out of that list, I would pick The Shining. I've read all of them, and The Exorcist is probably next in terms of 'scariness'. But is this the full list? Can we suggest other books? I could add a million books to a Halloween book list, but off the top of my head, I would offer up some newer books/authors appropriate for the seaon:

No Doors No Windows - Joe Schreiber (2 others by him, Eat the Dark and Chasing the Dead are good too)

Run - Blake Crouch (also Desert Places)

Outpost - Adam Baker

The Road - Carmac McCarthy

Looking For Jake - China Mieville (this is a short story collection)

 

 

Dave's picture
Dave from a city near you is reading constantly October 17, 2013 - 11:11pm

The Road definitely stayed with me.

Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers October 18, 2013 - 4:35am

If you have not read The Exorcist, then it's time that you should. 

I'm going to suggest The Cipher by Kathe Koja, which has made quite a few best/most influential lists over the years, including my own. 

Also, if you can find it locally, or if you want to take the plunge and order a used copy, you must read The Ceremonies by T.E.D. Klein, for it is THE Horror novel. I would order this book just because, as it is out-of-print, and will be probably be lost forever very soon until some publisher picks up the rights and gives it a very expensive limited edition. 

 

 

Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! October 18, 2013 - 7:18am

@JEFFREY: This is just a list of what I have downloaded as of late... I figured after some of your posts that I have read that you would have some good ones if you replied! I'll look into them! Thanks for the suggestions!

@BOB: I actually just borrowed the Cipher from a friend... I will have to give it a closer look, and check into the Ceremonies! 

 

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer October 18, 2013 - 2:10pm

I would start with The Exorcist, but then I would make a push for Hell House. Matheson doesn't get enough love. I would suggest House of Leaves, if you want something that will actually creep you out physically.

I am really excited for Doctor Sleep, though, so I wouldn't blame you for starting with The Shining.

Covewriter's picture
Covewriter from Nashville, Tennessee is reading & Sons October 18, 2013 - 2:28pm

The Ruins is probably the least well known of the titles you listed, but it is good. I hope you pick it and we can talk about it. You can read it fast. It's creepy, interesting, and you will never look at plants the same way again. Plus, you will never forget the story. 

SamaLamaWama's picture
SamaLamaWama from Dallas is reading Something Wicked This Way Comes October 21, 2013 - 8:19am

I'd also consider The House that Jack Built--it's very much along the Hell House/The Haunting of Hill House lines, but it takes it that next dark step. There is gore, but if I remember correctly it's told as a memory. Of the three, that is the one that really stuck with me.

I saw the movie for The Ruins, but haven't read it yet. The movie was pretty great.

The Exorcist has been on my bookshelf for years and I still can't make myself read it. My brothers tormented me when I was seven made me watch it in the basement. Needless to say I still have issues whenever I hear a noise in the attic--some 30 years later.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 21, 2013 - 9:08am

The Exorcist, The Shining and Hell House. All three are great. If I had to pick ONE, it'd be The Shining. Also, there's this list I did:

http://litreactor.com/columns/storyville-10-of-the-scariest-books-ive-ever-read

Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! October 21, 2013 - 7:50pm

@ Covewriter: The Ruins comes highly recommended from a very bookish friend of mine! You're from Nashville? I go to Nashville every year for CMA Fest!

@ SamaLamaWama: The Exorcist messed me up as a kid and the rerelease messed me up as a young adult! I love the movie so I figured I would really love the book... that's usually how it goes for me but if I read the book first I alway usual am VERY disappointed in the movie and it turns into an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

@Richard: How did I not see that? I've been reading yoru stuff like crazy?!

SRead's picture
SRead from Colorado is reading Stories October 21, 2013 - 1:37pm

I still haven't read The Exorcist. I really should. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit.

I didn't find The Shining very scary--interesting, but not scary. I still want to read Doctor Sleep, though. As long as there's no silly possessed topiary...

JGB--I loved Looking for Jake. And I'll add Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts as another weird fic/contemporary creepy collection of shorts.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books October 21, 2013 - 7:14pm

The Exorcist. If you love horror and you haven't read that book, you're missing out. The movie is my favorite horror movie, but it doesn't come close to the book. I read it about 3 years ago and it creeped me the hell out, while also being incredibly interesting. It takes a lot to get under my skin, but Blatty delivered.

Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! October 21, 2013 - 7:52pm

I'm currently teetering between the Shining & The Exorcist! I have to get cracking!

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 22, 2013 - 5:44am

The Exorcist was a book club discussion last year. You should go look it up after you finish the book.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 23, 2013 - 11:40am

i'm finally digging into House of Leaves next week, reading it with a few friends. keep that one in mind, too.

Angel Colón's picture
Angel Colón from The Bronx now living in New Jersey is reading A Big Ol' Pile of Books October 23, 2013 - 2:34pm

I've got House of Leaves on the brain, I talk it up so much during this time of year.

It's sincerely the only book that has left me completely terrified.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 24, 2013 - 5:33am

That was one of the first books I read when I discovered the cult. I guess it's due for a reread because that was years and years ago.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters October 24, 2013 - 7:54am

I was just talking about it a couple days ago.  Love that book!!  I was gifted a signed copy for my birthday last year.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 24, 2013 - 8:56am

^^nice, avery. 

Covewriter's picture
Covewriter from Nashville, Tennessee is reading & Sons October 24, 2013 - 9:42pm

It have House of Leaves on my nightstand. I keep putting off reading because I think it might be tough to tackle. I want to read it though. 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 25, 2013 - 5:14am

Oh it is tough. Mostly frustrating. But well worth the effort - IMO.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters October 25, 2013 - 6:04am

I didn't find it as difficult as I expected (although it certainly took effort).  For the most part there really is a natural flow between the notes and the story so that I was never lost or confused about where I was or what i "should" be reading. 

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts October 25, 2013 - 7:18am

Yeah it wasn't hard to follow, the only particularly frustrating thing I found with HOUSE OF LEAVES was my own ability to read some of the small text. All the tricks I thought were okay but could have gone so much further, which may just be expectations after five or so years of hearing about it constantly. The main story was good.

THE RUINS seemed to be ubiquitous for a while. Scott Smith is an amazing suspense writer.

I'm not jumpy when it comes to horror and the only book I can remember actually frightening me was funnily enough THE THIRD POLICEMAN by Flann O'Brien, it was the first book I read on an e-reader one night in complete darkness and it turned out to be a really scary combination. Oh and ROSEMARY'S BABY. The body horror in that is told just in the right way to really unsettle me.

SRead's picture
SRead from Colorado is reading Stories October 25, 2013 - 8:39am

Yeah, HOL is not a book to be read passively. You really have to engage with it. But that just adds to the experience, because you're so engaged that when you put the book down, you're like "where the hell am I?" and then you see a plumbing access panel in your house that you've never noticed before and you almost piss yourself.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters October 25, 2013 - 8:48am

"and then you see a plumbing access panel in your house that you've never noticed before and you almost piss yourself."

100% yes.  Without a doubt.  Sitting alone in a  room and thinking, just for a second, hey...does this room look a little bigger than normal and fighting off the urge to attach a measuring tape to the walls.  

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like October 25, 2013 - 8:57am

Been meaning to read HoL.

Has anyone read Cyclonodpedia?

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 25, 2013 - 9:47am

Never even heard of that one.

Anybody read The Whalestoe Letters? Do they add to the story? They've been on my wishlist for probably almost 10 years.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer October 25, 2013 - 10:12am

Rosemary's Baby is a great one. One of the best horror novels I've read. Stay away from Son of Rosemary though. It's the only Levin book I've ever put down in the middle. Possibly the worst book I own.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts October 25, 2013 - 10:26am

I think I tried SON OF ROSEMARY too and can't remember a thing about it. I love Ira Levin's writing though, STEPFORD WIVES and SLIVER are solid too though not really up to RB. His POV is great, and the whole suburban horror niche is fun, almost comical, which makes it more unsettling.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books October 26, 2013 - 11:20pm

I picked up a copy of ROSEMARY'S BABY while I was in England last, which I guess was two years ago. It's still unopened. I should probably fix that.

Fugue's picture
Fugue from City of Wind is reading Invitation to a Beheading by Nabokov. October 27, 2013 - 8:57am

House of Leaves really is an amazing novel. The first time I read it I was on vacation in Florida--which is an odd place to read a book of such darkness in a place with much sunlight. It ruined my vacation because I couldn't put the book down. Anyway, there is a place near the beginning where a water heater is mentioned not working in the Navidson house. About an hour after reading that passage my sister in-law, who was house sitting for me, called me and said my water heater was broke and they've been taking cold showers. Well needless to say I was a tad freaked out by this. The book connected with me on many levels.

And Pete, The Whalestoe Letters are for the most part located in one of the appendices, and the book on its own has all those letters from Johnny's mum plus a few more. It sheds a little light but nothing detrimental to the understanding of House of Leaves as a whole.

Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! October 29, 2013 - 12:43pm

Started reading House of Leaves today.... looks daunting. This should be fun.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 29, 2013 - 1:02pm

^5

Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers October 29, 2013 - 8:45pm

Started reading House of Leaves today.... looks daunting. This should be fun.

 

Hope you don't have anything important going on for the next few weeks. That book screwed me up in a really good way. 

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry October 30, 2013 - 7:56am

The Exorcist.  Definitely.  Best horror book ever.  Take my advice because I'm right and anybody who disagrees with me isn't. 

I had this "investment house" that I worked on for a while.  It was over a hundred years old, terrible condition.  Kids would ride by on their bikes and ask me if it was haunted, which made me concerned about the resale value.  I read The Exorcist while staying a couple overnighters there.  It was fucking terrifying.

So read that book, and try to do it in an old, broken down house.

SRead's picture
SRead from Colorado is reading Stories October 30, 2013 - 9:59am

I am picking up The Exorcist this week. I'm SO excited to dig into it, now. Except, Utah, you're making me nervous, because I live in a 120-year-old haunted house. Which I adore 95% of the time and dread that other 5%.

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry October 30, 2013 - 11:37am

Do a little drinking before and during and you won't go wrong.

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne October 31, 2013 - 5:56am

One and only suggestion: Liminal States by Zack Parsons. So so good. Not exactly "scary", though depending on who you are it may well have its moments, but it's truly unsettling and a total mind-fuck.

Jimmy M.'s picture
Jimmy M. from New England October 31, 2013 - 3:10pm

It's debatable on scariness, but a lot of the Cthulhu Mythos is really good horror- I personally don't find it creepy, but some probably do. I'd check out the following anthologies:

 

Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/034542204X?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20...

 

Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft:

http://www.amazon.com/Necronomicon-Weird-Tales-Lovecraft-Commemorative/d...

 

Dean Blake's picture
Dean Blake from Australia is reading generationend.com October 31, 2013 - 9:15pm

Thanks for these ideas, everyone. I haven't read much horror before, so these are great!

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 1, 2013 - 1:30pm

i started HOL last night. jump in if you want to. Amanda Gowin is reading it, too.