Reading Goal: 50 Scariest Books of All Time

As an avid reader I’m constantly finding book lists that inspire me to read new, exciting and fun novels and to set new reading goals for myself. It may sound funny to hear about an adult setting reading goals,  I mean, don’t most of us stop achieving reading goals once we’re too old to recieve stickers and vouchers for free pizza? (Remember when you could earn a coupon for a free child’s pizza at Pizza Hut back in the 90’s? Those were the days!) Well, when it comes to this momma, reading has been my number one hobby since I memorized Green Eggs and Ham word for word and could read it to myself based off my four year old memory. (We won’t dwell on how long ago that was for me). Over the years, I set have many reading goals for myself. Some of these goals include but are not limited to reading ALL of the books on the following lists: 100 most challenged books compiled by the ALANewberry Medal and Honor award winners, The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge, and then of course there are the yearly “top [x amount] books to read in [insert year]” and an assortment of miscellaneous top ten lists. I know I may never actually achieve all of the above mentioned reading goals, but I still enjoy the challenge of trying.

Image found on Pinterest

Today while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed I encountered a new reading list of books that I just have to add to my personal reading goals…. “The 50 Scariest Books of All Time” as compiled by Emily Temple over at FlavorWire. Sounds like a totally bad ass reading list doesn’t it? I’m so excited I found this list. I was that 90’s kid who stayed up late with my flashlight reading Goosebumps and Fear Street. I admit it’s been awhile since the last horror novel I’ve read. (It was “Seed” by Ania Ahlborn by the way, in case you were wondering). I went thru this Paranormal Romance phase (OK, so I may still be in that phase, don’t judge me) and I’ve been reading a ton of Contemporary Romance over the last two years. It’s definitely time to branch out again and spread my literary wings. OK so this list is technically full of “genre fiction” not “literature” but I stand by the metaphor I used in my last sentence.

Image from Pinterest

A simple key:
*= I’ve already read
**=I’ve seen the movie but never read
***= I’ve read the book and seen the movie

The list:


IT, Stephen King**
Piercing, Ryu Murakami
The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty**
Ghost Story, Peter Straub
American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
Hell House, Richard Matheson
Dracula, Bram Stoker**
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
The Best of H. P. Lovecraft, H.P. Lovecraft
The Turn of the Screw, Henry James
House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson**
The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris**
Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin**
The Amityville Horror, Jay Anson***
The Trial, Franz Kafka
Books of Blood, Clive Barker
Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill
Carrion Comfort, Dan Simmons
The Complete Tales and Poems, Edgar Allan Poe* (I may not have finished)
Dawn, Octavia Butler
We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver
The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum
The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosinski
The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
The Cipher, Kathe Koja
Lord of the Flies, William Golding***
The Ruins, Scott Smith**
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, M.R. James
Naomi’s Room, Jonathan Aycliffe
The Ritual, Adam Nevill
Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo
Incarnate, Ramsey Campbell
The Woman in Black, Susan Hill**
The Great God Pan, Arthur Machen
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Alvin Schwartz*
The October Country, Ray Bradbury
White Is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi
Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Harlan Ellison
The Collector, John Fowles
The Store, Bentley Little
Penpal, Dathan Auerbach
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Swan Song, Robert R. McCammon
The Wolfen, Whitley Strieber
The Hot Zone, Richard Preston
The Killer Inside Me, Jim Thompson
1984, George Orwell

What I like about this new reading list is the mix of new and old horror,  suspense, true crime and science fiction; it appears to be well rounded. With this list I’m losing a ton of my book nerd street cred however because I’ve seen the movies for several of these,  but I have only read three of the books. Truly blasphemous! But hey, reading three takes me down to only needing to read 47 books to complete this goal. I’m on my way! Some the books on this list are also on some of my other reading lists so I will actually be chipping away at multiple reading goals simultaneously. Score!!!  Another positive to this list the number of authors I’ve never tried before. So if I fall in love with even just one author on the list, that opens the door to even more hours of reading enjoyment.

Image from Amazon

The book I’m most looking forward to reading is “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo. Here’s the description Tempe writes on her original post: “A World War I soldier wakes up in a hospital bed having lost all of his limbs and facial features, trapped in what’s left of his body, unable to move or, at first, communicate, or even kill himself. If that’s not horror, nothing is.” Pretty sure this novel is the basis for Metallica’s “One”,  and the only thing I love more than good books is good music, and that song has haunted me for years. So many creepy feels when you hear it. Now onto the flip side where the book I’m least looking forward to reading on this list is Stephen King’s “It”. I’ve been told by numerous King fans that the book is so much better than the movie (aren’t most books?) and the movie terrified me. I’m not sure I can handle that clown being any more terrifying if I’m being truly honest here.

Screenshot from my Kindle

All the above said,  I’m actually going to start devouring this list by reading “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill. Reason being, this novel has been sitting in my kindle cloud waiting to be read for over three years now, so I may as well start with a novel I’ve already payed for. You know, waste not, want not, and all that jazz. Here is a bit about the book from its product description on Amazon, “Aging death-metal rock legend Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals…a used hangman’s noose…a snuff film. But nothing he possesses is as unique or as dreadful as his latest purchase off the Internet: a one-of-a-kind curiosity that arrives at his door in a black heart-shaped box…a musty dead man’s suit still inhabited by the spirit of its late owner. And now everywhere Judas Coyne goes, the old man is there—watching, waiting, dangling a razor blade on a chain from his bony hand.” Reading the description I’m still just as intrigued as I was three years ago. I can’t say why I haven’t read it yet other than I may have purchased it on a day when I was loading up on sale items and got lost in the carousel. Shrug.

So that’s the list, and my first selection from it. If you’d like to read along with me,  leave me a comment or send me a message. We could have an informal book club of sorts, and I’d love to have a guest contributor(s) on my blog. Also let me know below if you have read any of the books on this list and what your honest opinion was. Just try not to give away any major plot spoilers, K?

I now have a book Blog if you’re into books as much as me. Come follow me at The Moscato Mommy Reads

3 thoughts on “Reading Goal: 50 Scariest Books of All Time

  1. This looks like a great list! I always wonder about other readers– if you get into a book and find it not titillating, do you force your way through or move on to the next book on your list? I always have trouble with this choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tina, thanks for reading!

      When that happens, I try to keep reading, and they’re have been a few books where I’ve said just forget it. I will admit that some classics I went ahead and just read the spark notes versions. I know people who say they give it the 1st 100 pages. I give it half the book. I feel half the book is adequate for you to hook me, and if you haven’t….. Well then I won’t be reading anymore of your novels. If Dr Seuss can hook me from page one, you should be able to hook me in half the pages pretty easily IMO.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s