In the spirit of Halloween (which I can't believe is less than two weeks away...I've already had nightmares about all those germy children ringing my doorbell), let's discuss the scariest books we've ever read!
I read a lot of scary books. I've read at least half of Stephen King's oeuvre, and most of them don't really scare me in the traditional sense. Most of the "scariness" comes more from King's adept portrayal of the human condition, showing how, under the right conditions, anyone can do evil. King isn't afraid to use a good jump scare, of course, but his preference is for those insidious scares that get under your skin and keep you up at night.
With that in mind, one of the scariest books I've ever read—and the book that King says scares him the most—is Pet Sematary. (I've never seen the movie, but I've heard that's pretty terrifying too.) Believe it or not, he never intended for Pet Sematary to be published; after writing it, both he and his wife agreed he had "gone too far," and he put it in a drawer, intending for it to stay there. But when he needed a quick exit from a contract with a publisher, he dug it out and sent it to them, figuring no one would want to read it.
He was wrong, clearly; decades later, he's still surprised about this, but I'm not. Pet Sematary, at least for me, wasn't super scary the first time around; it took me a few reads for it to really sink in, and it's one of those books that really sticks with you. Without giving anything away, the basic idea is this: a doctor moves to rural Maine with his young family. Their road isn't busy, but it's one of those country roads that large tractor trailers occasionally zoom down, and inevitably, their daughter's cat gets run over. An elderly neighbor lets the father in on a secret: beyond an abandoned "Pet Sematary" in the woods behind their house lies the ancient Micmac burial grounds, where the two of them bury the daughter's cat.
The next day, the cat comes back. And this cat is not nearly as cuddly as the one that wears a hat.
It gets steadily more horrifying from there. Perhaps the best way to sum it up is one of the more famous lines from the book: Sometimes dead is better.
Pet Sematary has its share of jump scares, but the scariest part is the way King delves into the deepest reaches of the human heart in the face of tragedy. It's a masterpiece for sure, despite being tough to get through in a lot of ways. But if you want something scary to read this Halloween, give it a try!
What's the scariest book you've ever read?
Without a doubt: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich!ReplyDelete
Dead House was greatDelete
The Haunting of Hill House and The Shining. Though Amityville Horror kept me awake when I first read itReplyDelete
The Haunting of Hill House is amazing! Kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time!Delete
"The Shining" was terrifying! Not just because of the spirits in The Overlook but because of the way it managed to twist Jack's mind and the way Jack handled being in that place.Delete
Mary by Hillary Monahan was pretty damn creepy. Also The Shining by Stephen King and Zombie Blondes (i can't remember the author).ReplyDelete
Also, my bestie's mom said to read Pet Sematary at least twice: Once before you have children, and once after. Apparently it reaches a second level of terrifying afterwards.
I read Pet Semetery when I was...11? Slept with the lights on for a week.ReplyDelete
The Monk by Matthew Lewis and Misery by Stephen King. Both are horrifying.ReplyDelete
Pet Sematary is by far the scarest book I have read. I read it years ago in college and it still haunts me today! I don't really read many scarey books anymore, but the scarest recent read was Skin by Ted Dekker.ReplyDelete
The Haunting of Hill House, The Turn of the Screw and It all scared me. Stephan King nearly always scares me, he knows how creepy clowns are.ReplyDelete
Of all the horror books I have read, I'd have to say "The Shining" by Stephen King frightened me the most. It's not just the ghosts and spirits lurking in that hotel. It's what they do to the Torrances, especially Jack. I agree with what you said about King here: "King's adept portrayal of the human condition, showing how, under the right conditions, anyone can do evil."ReplyDelete
It and The Devil in Connecticut: both terrifying. Also, I Am Legend is pretty darn creepy.ReplyDelete
Pet Semetary was definitely a freaky one for me, too!ReplyDelete
I'd say recently would be The Enemy series by Charlie Higson. It's a YA series about a zombie apocalypse and follows various groups of teenagers in London. That book has some freaky situations and enough vivid descriptions to make you want to leave the lights on, and I don't consider myself squeamish when it comes to horror very often. Excellently written, though!
Actually, my answer is the same as yours! I read Pet Semetary when I was maybe 13 and it's still the creepiest thing I've ever seen. It's probably why I stay away from the horror genre now!ReplyDelete
Thanks your posts ! This great !!!!ReplyDelete
Thiet Ke Nha Dep
I found Michelle Paver's Dark Matter really scary. Listened to it on audiobook, and that (not quite) final scene... Oh my god, I was on a busy high street listening to it but I still remember the way one particular line creeped me the hell out. *shudder*ReplyDelete
Also really recommend Adam Nevill's work, particularly Last Days. Terrifying.
Mine is King's "Salem's Lot." It is the only one of his horror novels that I've read--once I read that (and didn't sleep for 2 weeks) I said no more King horror!ReplyDelete