A creak on the stairs. The sound of someone else breathing in another room. Saying “hello?” and not knowing if it’s scarier to get an answer or not. A tree branch scratching a window, a dark basement staircase, objects out of place in your home, someone tailing your car too closely late at night, a door slamming behind you; the dark.
What do you think is scary? Do you think ghosts and supernatural beings could be real, and thus fear their existence? Are monsters what make you pull the covers over your head? Serial killers make you double check the lock every night? Or are you like me, and simply fear The Dark?
The end of September through right before Thanksgiving is the perfect time to grab a scary book, curl up under a blanket, then throw it across the room when things get too intense. The great thing about a scary book versus a movie is you get to visualize everything yourself, so if you want the murderer to actually look like your grumpy third grade teacher, so be it. Maybe the monster looks more like my puppy Biscuit than the antlered giant the author intends it to be. It’s your journey!
I think being scared is a great way to let loose an emotion that we usually try to control. There are no stakes, it’s just a book it isn’t real, so you can see what happens when you immerse yourself into a scary new world.
Here are the perfect books to read if you’re scared of…
…being the final girl of a mysterious event in your childhood and not remembering any of it then being sent to the location for a new murder case 20 years later and the memories come flooding back:
In the Woods by Tana French
…environmental monsters/beings/doppelgängers/having to rescue your missing husband from a supposed academic trip and learning it is much, much more than that:
Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy #1) by Jeff VanderMeer
…unleashing a literal monster through relentless virtual Instagram influencer stalking:
A Touch of Jen by Beth Morgan
…motherhood and post-partum and realizing your baby is Not Right:
The Push by Ashley Audrain
…backpacking in the woods and learning that the creepy sounds you hear at night actually aren’t “nothing”:
The Woods Are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins
…escape rooms, 1997, Squid Game:
Reprieve by James Han Mattson
…invisible toxins infiltrating your home and slowly driving you insane/killing you, Latin American dictatorial regimes:
Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin
…all-girls schools, apple orchards, yellow jackets, metafiction:
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
…moving into your new husband’s giant gothic mansion surrounded by rhododendrons and learning he is being haunted by his recently deceased by-way-of tragic-accident (or was it?) wife:
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
…nothing because you watch too much Criminal Minds:
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes