Why Do You Read Spooky Books?

I’ll admit – I’m not much of a thriller reader. When people ask what I like to read, my usual answer is ‘anything,’ because it’s true, before I’m reminded I do not read horrors/thrillers. While browsing the SF&F section of bookstores, I skip past all the Stephen Kings!

Why do people read thrillers? I’m assuming it’s to be… thrilled? I have always thought I do not enjoy that kind of stuff, i.e. I want the plot points of books I read to be other than just being creeped out. But then I had all of this to consider:

  • I read a lot of contemporary lit and, realistically, there’s hardly a plot in those books. The story is more about the vibes. Literary references and excellent imagery. Character building, yes. Plot? Not always.
  • I like spooky shows. This is the time of year when everyone starts reminiscing about Over the Garden Wall and The Nightmare Before Christmas and etc (both of which… I love). I may not have read IT, but I have watched it.
  • I read these kinds of books when I was younger! Goosebumps, Darren Shan (if anyone remembers reading Koyasan when they were younger pls reminisce with me because I still haven’t forgotten the chills that book gave me). Also, I’m sure I’ve read a few of the more spooky Neil Gaiman books, which definitely count.
  • I don’t write a lot but I love writing spooky stories. I think because they do not require me to think of any plot that cannot be solved by *insert something unexplainable.* Anyway, read to perfect your craft, right?

I think the reason I’m not super into horror books is because I fell into the thriller trend that came about a few years ago with Gone Girl, reading quite a few books that were popular back then, such as The Girl on the Train and In A Dark, Dark Wood, most of which I didn’t exactly um, enjoy. Then there is the fact that I think horror elements can be conveyed so well visually, I kind of prefer it to any other medium. I mean, colour imagery and creepy music. How does that translate to a book?

There is, of course, also the fact that I was forced to read a lot of gothic fiction when I studied literture. As much as I’m enjoying it now, years later, The Turn of the Screw and Jane Eyre were absolutely not my favourite books back then.

Saying all of this, I don’t want to be criticising books I haven’t read. SO! Time for more TBRs! Here are a few books I want to read, to figure out how much I enjoy this genre.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

Synopsis: Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the world isn’t leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives, armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe, Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family.

This book is written by the same author as The Haunting of Hill House, which I could read if I hadn’t watched it on Netflix already (;⌣̀_⌣́). Instead, I’m going to read this. It sounds wonderfully eerie and is less than two-hundred pages, so I’ve got v. high expectations.

Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice

Synopsis: In a darkened room a young man sits telling the macabre and eerie story of his life – the story of a vampire, gifted with eternal life, cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood.

I’m not a huge vampire novels fan; mostly I got that out of the way with all those teen vampire books you’ll know if you, too, succumbed. But I keep seeing this book on ‘essential horror reading’ lists and this author is apparently one of the key vamp-writers of the age so, why not? It’s a little longer than the previous book, and I have no intentions to read the rest of the series, but we’ll see how it goes!

Carrie – Stephen King

Synopsis: Carrie White is no ordinary girl. Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis. To be invited to prom night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie – the first step towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues. But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as she is forced to exercise her terrible gift on the town that mocks and loathes her.

I feel like I can’t make a horror/spooky TBR without Stephen King? Alas, here we go. This book I have chosen mostly because I haven’t seen the film, somehow (apart from that scene), and also I have the book and also, apparently this was the author’s debut? Did not know that; I believe it will tell me a lot about whether I enjoy his writing. 

I think three books is enough for now! Maybe by next Halloween I’ll be a horror fiction fan?

Do you have any books you think I should read? Why do you read them? Let me know in the comments!

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