Top Ten–actually 35– Scary Stories and Books!

The “Top Ten” is here!  Thank you to everyone who contributed! I received so many good choices that I decided to include more than just ten titles; so if you are looking for a list of good spooky and scary reads, look no further than these suggestions provided by the MA community!


The Stand by Stephen King

1984 by George Orwell

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Hannibal by Thomas Harris

“Tell-tale heart” by Edgar Allan Poe

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

And then there were none by Agatha Christie

Scary Stories to tell in the Dark  by Alvin Schwartz (with two votes)

World War Z by Max Brooks

The Last Man by Vince Flynn

“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe

The Prince of  Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Reflections in a golden eye by Carson McCullers

“Lob’s Girl” by Joan Aiken


Silence of the Lambs Thomas Harris

“The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath” by H.P. Lovecraft

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Master of Ballantrae by Robert louis Stevenson

Scary Stories to tell in the Dark 2 by Alvin Schwartz

Apt Pupil by Stephen King

“The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allan Poe

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Into the Woods by lyn Gardner

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Highwayman (poem)” by Alfred Noyes


“A rose for Miss Emily” by William Faulkner

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

We have always lived in the castle by Shirley Jackson

Lost girls: Unsolved American mystery by Robert Kolker

Batavia’s graveyard by Mike Dash

Scary Stories to tell in the Dark 3 Alvin Schwartz

The Enemy by Charles Higson

“Rock a bye baby” by author unknown

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

The Shining by Stephen King

And below follow some reasons why we find these so scary…

“Each one of these is good for different reasons. House of Leaves for structure and madness, Dream Quest for cosmic originality, We have … castle for creepiness and realism, god of dark laughter for unsettling humor and gruesome qualities, and SWTWC for it’s carnival-terror and autumnal coming of age.”

“These are not in order of best-worst just so you know People will say “what?!?! The Giving Tree?? That’s a classic, beautiful book etc.” but if you look at it it’s about this tree that’s in a one way relationship and the boy loses touch with his values and it’s a metaphor and it’s terrifying and this is quite the run-on sentence. YES I mean Rock a Bye Baby the lullaby. IT IS ABOUT A BABY IN A CRADLE IN A TREE THAT FALLS OUT WHEN THE WIND BLOWS. OH GOD THE HORROR.”

Re: Hannibal, Red Dragon, and Lost Girls: “First two books made me sleep with my lights on. Very scary. Third book gave me nightmares about the dark world of NYC escorts and drugs and more. All three were compelling pieces and reminded me that chaos and horror exist in our everyday lives.”

“1984 is not scary in a supernatural way, of course, but the vision of human behavior in society and the complete lack empathy is worse than any ghost or ghoul.”

“The Last Man terrifies me to absolutely no end (although, honestly I haven’t even finished the first book yet). “In 2092, the plague struck. Nations fall, humanity dies. Lionel Verney chronicles the fall of nations and the death of humanity until the end. In 2100, Lionel is the last man on earth.” Mary Shelley wrote an epic trilogy that prophesizes the end of the world in the year 2100. This terrifies me not only because of her amazing accuracy about “large nations with far away wars that crush their people’s rights and republican efforts” (which are very much present today), but also because she claims to have found the these prophetic writings in a cave in Naples. In the introduction she states that she merely has transposed these writings into a current and readable narrative. This was also the first apocalyptic sci-fi novel ever to be written which makes me think that actually, maybe, just maybe, she was right. Its so plausible, knowingly accurate, and believable that it leaves me absolutely genuinely terrified.”

Re: Scary Stories: “Ranked mostly by just plain favorite, but also by uniqueness, and good atmosphere. The original illustrations made those collections terrifying. The original illustrations for those collections were terrifying. From three different genres: a short short, a novel and a work of non-fiction, which is as scary as anything else I’ve read.”

Please check back here to see MA’s Top Ten Scary Stories and Books!

In the meantime, you can check out some moldy art below from i09 and Daniele Del Nero or read a creepy story by Michael Chabon at The New Yorker.

Art by Daniele Del Nero.
Art by Daniele Del Nero.

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