Why do horror fans like to be scared? Well, since you asked: There is a concept known as VANE (Voluntary Arousing Negative Experiences). One study showed that such behavior reduced feelings of stress, boredom, and fatigue. That should be enough to justify your urge to read another scary book. But which one should you choose? If you’re at a loss for which tome to dive into next, I have some suggestions for you. Pour yourself some wine, dim the lights, and have a blast with these six terrifying horror novels!
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
Dan Simmons gave the vampire literary subgenre a fresh perspective with Carrion Comfort. In the tome, he tells of a society of “mind vampires,” an evil order that can control people by gaining control of their consciousness.
It’s a rich novel that expands from Poland in World War 2 to the USA in the 1980s. You travel through different settings and situations, but there’s one thing that remains consistent: the fear and excitement that you feel along the way.
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
We’re facing pretty trying times as society, right now. And the fact that we’re not as far off as we once were from the events depicted in this tome makes the book even scarier.
Imagine a disease that categorizes all people in two groups: the infected and uninfected. The USA has a provisional government that’s situated in Buffalo, and is trying to rebuild the American society. The goal is to reclaim Manhattan, and the first step along the way is the liberating of Zone One. But then, the plague starts attacking from the inside. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Let’s stick to the pandemic-inspired horror novels a bit longer. This is one of those tomes that deserves a thorough analysis. After reading it, you may even want to connect with EduBirdie to research its ideas in greater depth.
Imagine a Hollywood star joining a group of nomadic actors who are trying to save what’s left from art and humanity. This happens fifteen years after a huge part of the world’s population was destroyed by a flu pandemic. Yup, hits pretty close to home at the moment, doesn’t it?
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
This is a classic… ghost story. If your preferred literary subgenre is the paranormal, you’re likely to enjoy this novel. It’s an homage to the classic horror writers, with an omnipresent theme.
Five old men enjoy telling each other tales of the supernatural. They even have their own story club. But it turns into reality as soon as they go to sleep. When one of the men dies under mysterious circumstances, all of the others start dreaming of their own deaths. Suddenly, the reader discovers a secret from their past… which turns the ghost stories into their harsh reality.
The Hunger by Alma Katsu
Stephen King himself described this novel as “deeply, deeply disturbing.” The book is inspired by true events, specifically, The Donner Party. It’s about a group of American pioneers, who were trying to get from the Midwest to California in a wagon train. The journey was so difficult that many had to eat human remains to survive.
Reading this book is like exploring human nature under the most challenging circumstances imaginable. The fact that it’s inspired by a real-life scenario will likely leave you unsettled. Sometimes, life inspires the scariest horror stories of all.
The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe
How could we possibly create a list of terrifying horror novels without mentioning one of the darkest minds of all time? If you like being triggered by fear and you haven’t read his stories yet, you’re missing out on a great experience.
Before you start reading, you should stop perceiving Poe as a horror writer. He was much more than that. He was a student of the human psyche and an explorer of human madness. That’s what made his stories realistic and oh so disturbing.