The best horror novels where the world becomes askew

Who am I?

I grew up watching the old Universal horror movies, which led me to read Frankenstein, Dracula, and other horror classics. It wasn’t until I read Stephen King’s Danse Macabre that I started asking myself what it is that I find truly frightening. Not so much monsters but rather what is unsettling – A recognizable world that suddenly turns askew. Dead Hungry grew out of that: What if there were people who simply had to eat the dead?


I wrote...

Dead Hungry

By Louis Arata,

Book cover of Dead Hungry

What is my book about?

Flesh: It’s what’s for dinner.

Ghouls are overrunning Chicago. With an appetite for the dead, it doesn’t matter if it’s road-kill, bodies from the morgue, or the recently buried. For Tucker Smith, life is now scarier than the horror novels he studies. His girlfriend is feeling peckish for raw meat. His roommate dabbles in the Ghoul Culture. And his grunge rocker brother is swept into the world of black market supplies of bodies. Tucker soon discovers that low-budget horror movies, reality TV shows, national food competitions, and cultural sensitivity collide with family secrets.

The books I picked & why

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

By Jack Finney,

Book cover of Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Why this book?

All the people you love, all the people you live with—the entire population of your small-town world are methodically being replaced by exact replicas, down to the last detail. The only difference is that they are devoid of genuine emotion. This novel has spawned numerous creepy movies, but something that the novel focuses on is that the aliens destroy entire ecosystems before abandoning the used-up planet. This isn’t about world domination but rather the exploitation of resources with no thought for the indigenous populations.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

By Jack Finney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Invasion of the Body Snatchers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrate one of the earliest science fiction novels by rediscovering Jack Finney’s internationally acclaimed Invasion of the Body Snatchers—which Stephen King calls a story “to be read and savored for its own satisfactions,” now repackaged with a foreword by #1 New York Times bestselling author, Dean Koontz.

On a quiet fall evening in the peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovers an insidious, horrifying plot. Subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms are taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, friends, family, the woman he loves, and the entire world as he knows it.

First published in…


Under the Dome

By Stephen King,

Book cover of Under the Dome

Why this book?

The premise is straightforward: A dome settles over the small town of Chester’s Mill. The reason why is a bit of a McGuffin, but what is compelling is King’s brilliant exploration of the breakdown of society. Plenty of characters are willing to work together to get through the crisis, but then there are those who want to exploit the situation for their own gain. As with many King novels, it’s the worst aspects of human nature that are the true monster. Plus, King keeps his foot on the gas for the entire length of this massive tome; it never lets up.

Under the Dome

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under the Dome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don’t miss the “harrowing” (The Washington Post) #1 New York Times bestselling thriller from master storyteller Stephen King that inspired the hit television series, following the apocalyptic scenario of a town cut off from the rest of the world.

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town…


The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Why this book?

Can a house be born evil? Paranormal investigators want to find out. Jackson’s novel is both realistic and suggestive, which leaves the reader to question what is constantly being hinted at. Hill House’s slow, subtle seduction of Eleanor is a brilliant example of the descent into madness. And the ending still chills me with the deftness of Jackson’s prose.

The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…


The Damned

By Algernon Blackwood,

Book cover of The Damned

Why this book?

Another haunted house story, with a similar emphasis on atmosphere. A sister and brother visit a friend whose house is infected with competing ghostly forces. A constant sense of dread permeates the atmosphere. Blackwood keeps the reader on edge, waiting for the shoe to drop. And that’s it. It may pale by today’s standards of horror, but the novel excels at how ghostly presences vie for dominance.

The Damned

By Algernon Blackwood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Damned as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How is this book unique?
Font adjustments & biography included
Unabridged (100% Original content)
Illustrated

About The Damned by Algernon Blackwood
The Damned by Algernon Blackwood is a great haunted house story along the lines of Turn of the Screw and the Haunting of Hill House. A brother and sister spend some time with a recently widowed friend. Her deceased husband was a strict fire and brimstone preacher who damned everyone who didn't believe like him to hell. His less strong-willed wife fell under his spell, but now the house seems to be haunted by...a shadow? Goblins? Ghostly pagans? Or…


House of Leaves

By Mark Z. Danielewski,

Book cover of House of Leaves

Why this book?

A difficult book to classify or to describe, it definitely leaves an impression. It’s another sort of haunted house, in which new rooms and passageways inexplicably appear, though the exterior dimensions of the house do not change. Danielewski plays with narrative structure and format, employing an unreliable narrator, copious footnotes, and multiple stories to weave together a compelling novel that leaves you questioning what is real. No description of the book will satisfy; you have to experience this one.

House of Leaves

By Mark Z. Danielewski,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked House of Leaves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A novelistic mosaic that simultaneously reads like a thriller and like a strange, dreamlike excursion into the subconscious.” —The New York Times

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations,…


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