Why you should read horror (even if it scares you)

We all have our "go to" genres of books that we like. We find comfort in reading these books because... well, they make us feel comforted. For some of us it is a good cozy mystery or romance novel.  A well written piece of Young Adult literature can often do the trick. Being transported to another world through Sci Fi or Fantasy.  All of these things make reading a pleasurable experience. 


But what about horror? 


For those who thrive in the genre, there is something imminently satisfying in having the pants scared off of you. But all horror is not created equal.  

There are horror stories that truly do scare the daylights out of us.  There is suspenseful horror, keeping us on the edge of our seats for the entire book.  There are horror books full of supernatural creatures and monsters and serial killers (things we hope never to meet in real life).  There is gory horror (or "gorror" as I choose to call it). 


But why does horror appeal to us?


Some of us read horror because we were not allowed to as kids. My teenage penchant for all things Stephen King speaks to this in spades.  It was a little rebellion, and I spent many nights sitting awake in bed with the lights on after reading Salem's Lot or It.  I felt a more than a little creeped out when I realized that pet cemeteries really were a thing. I think there is something life affirming about being scared, relieved, and scared all over again.  Not only does it get the adrenaline pumping and get us into the habit of peeking under the bed and into closets, it gives us a chance to safely experience things that we would not normally experience and to get a different perspective of people, life, and situations. 

I think that there are certain types of people who gravitate towards horror books for whatever reason. and then there are those of us who dabble.  For some it is the thrill.  For some it is the opportunity to be spooked out in the comfort of our own surroundings.  For some, it even helps manage our own anxiety or personal situations. For whatever reason, reading horror books is different than reading any other genre. Scary stories are not just relegated to sleepovers or campfires anymore. What I really love is that horror books (or scary stories) are not just for grownups anymore.

Even some of our little people like that adrenaline rush, and we have books for all of you, whatever age, horror readers or not.  While it might not be your "jam", I recommend that you give one a whirl.  Here are a few suggestions:



Kid's Horror

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a timeless collection of chillingly scary tales and legends, in which folklorist Alvin Schwartz offers up some of the most alarming tales of horror, dark revenge, and supernatural events of all time. And this is Book #1 of a series of scary stories!

Out to Get You: 13 Tales of Weirdness and Woe by Josh Allen

The everyday world is full of sinister secrets and these page-turning stories show that there's darkness even where you least expect it. Readers will sleep with one eye open... A glow-in-the-dark cover and thirteen eerie full-page illustrations by award-winning artist Sarah J. Coleman accompany the tales in this frightful mashup that reads like a contemporary Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidecker

A collection of six connected stories that follows a group of fox kits as they fight to survive in an unforgiving wilderness. Scary Stories for Young Foxes contains the kinds of adventures and thrills you love to listen to beside a campfire in the dark of night.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Perfect for fans of Stranger Things. Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn't like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead . . . and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost. So, things are already pretty strange. But they're about to get much stranger. Book #1 of a 3 book series. 


Young Adult Horror

You're Next by Kylie Schachte

When a girl with a troubled history of finding dead bodies investigates the murder of her ex, she uncovers a plot to put herself--and everyone she loves--on the list of who's next.

The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

A historical mystery about a girl who risks everything to track down a vicious serial killer-- for fans of The Enigma Game and Last Night at the Telegraph Club.

She is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran

A House with a terrifying appetite haunts a broken family in this atmospheric horror, perfect for fans of Mexican Gothic.

Delicious Monsters by Liselle Sambury

The Haunting of Hill House meets Sadie in this evocative and mind-bending psychological thriller following two teen girls navigating the treacherous past of a mysterious mansion ten years apart.


Horror for the rest of us

Hide by Kiersten White

The challenge: Spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don't get caught. The prize: enough money to change everything.Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide but nowhere to run.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Lone Women by Victor Lavalle

Blue skies, empty land--and enough wide-open space to hide a horrifying secret. A woman with a past, a mysterious trunk, and a town on the edge of nowhere.

Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman

The year is 1348. Thomas, a disgraced knight, has found a young girl alone in a dead Norman village. An orphan of the Black Death, and an almost unnerving picture of innocence, she tells Thomas that plague is only part of a larger cataclysm-that the fallen angels under Lucifer are rising in a second war on heaven, and that the world of men has fallen behind the lines of conflict. One customer told me that this was the scariest book that he had ever read, and he was buying copies for all his friends.  Hmmmm....

The Only One Left by Riley Sager 

Bestselling author Riley Sager returns with a Gothic chiller about a young caregiver assigned to work for a woman accused of a Lizzie Borden-like massacre decades earlier. This one is a page turner complete with creepy old house, unsolved mystery and all the bits and pieces that make Gothic thriller great!

Mister Magic by Kiersten White (available now for pre-order, releases 8/8/2023)

Who is Mister Magic? Former child stars reunite to uncover the tragedy that ended their show--and discover the secret of its enigmatic host. Because magic never forgets the taste of your friendship. . .  If you liked Hide, this one will not disappoint.