100 books like The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Here are 100 books that The Haunting of Hill House fans have personally recommended if you like The Haunting of Hill House. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Solaris

Jools Cantor Author Of The Trellis

From my list on real-life time machines through sci fi.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science fiction lets us readers escape into space or travel through time, but I believe it is most effective when grounded in our primal anxieties. Classics like Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Handmaid’s Tale resonate because the dark futures they describe drive us to prevent their prophecy. These stories give us a window into the world that birthed them by crystalizing the authors' fears into a work of fiction. When I read each book on this list, they transported me to the time they were written. En route, they showed how much our world has changed and how much we humans haven’t.

Jools' book list on real-life time machines through sci fi

Jools Cantor Why did Jools love this book?

Published in Poland in 1961, this has been interpreted and misinterpreted a hundred different ways, and I won’t try to repeat that here. However, there is a loneliness haunting the book that I feel that it must be inspired by the social constraints behind the Iron Curtain.

The premise is that humanity has finally found a sentient being in the form of an ocean planet, but all attempts to communicate have failed (to say the least). The planet’s actions are incomprehensible and horrifying. Ultimately, humanity has found another lost soul in the universe, but we will never be friends. We won’t even be enemies. We will be two strangers shivering on a train platform, unable to share who we are or what we think, lonelier now that there are two of us waiting in the cold.

By Stanislaw Lem, Steve Cox (translator), Joanna Kilmartin (translator)

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Solaris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface he is forced to confront a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others suffer from the same affliction and speculation rises among scientists that the Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates incarnate memories, but its purpose in doing so remains a mystery . . .

Solaris raises a question that has been at the heart of human experience and literature for centuries: can we truly understand the universe around us without first understanding what…


Book cover of Beloved

Jen Fawkes Author Of Daughters of Chaos

From my list on speculative novels that fictionalize history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I will die on this hill: a knowledge of human history is essential. If we refuse to examine our past, we are truly doomed to repeat it. What we call “history,” however, is told from only one viewpoint: that of the victor, or whatever party lived to record the tale. Since childhood, I’ve been intrigued by the lives of our forebears even as I longed for proof of the uncanny in the waking world. But I’ve only ever encountered the fantastical—not to mention the historical—in texts like those on this list, where the two can commingle, enriching and refining one another for the enlightenment, and the pleasure, of their readers.

Jen's book list on speculative novels that fictionalize history

Jen Fawkes Why did Jen love this book?

I read this book for the first time while working on my PhD, and I love the novel for its beautiful, uncanny, and brutally honest portrayal of maternal love.

Based on the true story of an enslaved woman who escaped a Kentucky plantation to the free state of Ohio and then did the unthinkable in a desperate attempt to save her children from bondage, Morrison’s book is literally haunted by the ghost of the protagonist’s lost daughter, and figuratively haunted, by the stygian specter of American slavery. Toni Morrison was a true master, and for me, Beloved is her masterpiece.   

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

37 authors picked Beloved as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Toni Morrison was a giant of her times and ours... Beloved is a heart-breaking testimony to the ongoing ravages of slavery, and should be read by all' Margaret Atwood, New York Times

Discover this beautiful gift edition of Toni Morrison's prize-winning contemporary classic Beloved

It is the mid-1800s and as slavery looks to be coming to an end, Sethe is haunted by the violent trauma it wrought on her former enslaved life at Sweet Home, Kentucky. Her dead baby daughter, whose tombstone bears the single word, Beloved, returns as a spectre to punish her mother, but also to elicit her…


Book cover of The Paying Guests

Alison Moore Author Of The Lighthouse

From my list on in which things take a nasty turn.

Why am I passionate about this?

I find uncomfortable stories comforting. I love fiction that explores eeriness, uncanniness, awkwardness; I love reading it and writing it. I recently published an essay – in Writing the Uncanny: Essays on Crafting Strange Fiction – about the connection between emotional disturbance and the uncanny, focusing on Shirley Jackson’s life and work as well as my own experience of donating a kidney and the pleasure of writing a horror novelette about it. In my most recent novel, a character reads stories ‘in which things take a nasty turn,’ which could describe a number of my own novels and short stories, as well as the five fantastic books I’m going to recommend here.

Alison's book list on in which things take a nasty turn

Alison Moore Why did Alison love this book?

I had the pleasure of hearing Sarah Waters speak at the Derby Book Festival in 2015, bought a signed copy of her latest novel, and have been recommending it ever since. The Paying Guests is set in the wake of World War I, and the historical context is beautifully rendered. Frances Wray and her mother have been living a quiet and orderly life on a street where the houses have ‘a Sunday blankness to them… every day of the week.’ It’s a life stuck in time, in a house whose ‘heart stopped… years ago.’ Then the Wrays’ new lodgers arrive, and they are noisy, gaudy, messy, dramatic, attractive. The two worlds collide with Frances caught between them, and what follows is both a captivating love story and a gripping crime story.

By Sarah Waters,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Paying Guests as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE

This novel from the internationally bestselling author of The Little Stranger, is a brilliant 'page-turning melodrama and a fascinating portrait of London of the verge of great change' (Guardian)

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

For with the arrival of…


Book cover of A Clockwork Orange

AK Nevermore Author Of Grimdarke

From my list on motorcycles, shifters, and mayhem, oh my!.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a huge fan of paranormal and dark romance, and these books definitely check all my boxes. Great world-building, plots that engage, and in most cases, a heavy dollop of smut. They also explore the unexpected and take into account real-world concerns in a fashion where you can absolutely justify the decisions the main characters are making.

AK's book list on motorcycles, shifters, and mayhem, oh my!

AK Nevermore Why did AK love this book?

This book is probably the quintessential book of mayhem, in my opinion.

Yep, it’s super dated, and the dialect can be difficult to get into, but I thought it was worth it, especially if you read the European version, which has an additional chapter the US publisher cut out. Abruptly it goes from a novel of unrepentant chaos to one of redemption.

By Anthony Burgess,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Clockwork Orange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Anthony Burgess's influential nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, a teen who talks in a fantastically inventive slang that evocatively renders his and his friends' intense reaction against their society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess's introduction, "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."


Book cover of Dracula

L.W. King Author Of Carrie's Legacy

From my list on supernatural with a sprinkling of realism.

Why am I passionate about this?

From an early age, I have been fascinated with anything supernatural and occult. My Aunt would read my palm, and then, as a teenager, I would visit clairvoyants to see what the future held for me. As I grew older, I found I had an ability, a gift of seership, and after reading many books, embarked on my pagan journey, from which I have never looked back, and am now studying Druidry,which is very much nature-based. I hope you love the books on this list as much as I do!  

L.W.'s book list on supernatural with a sprinkling of realism

L.W. King Why did L.W. love this book?

I read this book at the tender age of ten and instantly became ever so slightly obsessed with vampires; I love how the atmosphere builds slowly, sucking me to the point that I am genuinely afraid that the wolves might attack.

The description of the locations and the journal and letter writing are wonderful story breakers, and what a uniquely wonderful story it is. For me, it is a timeless masterpiece.

By Bram Stoker,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked Dracula as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 17.

What is this book about?

'The very best story of diablerie which I have read for many years' Arthur Conan Doyle

A masterpiece of the horror genre, Dracula also probes identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. It begins when Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, and makes horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England - an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck; a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his 'Master' - and a determined group of adversaries…


Book cover of Slaughterhouse-Five

Jeffrey Dunn Author Of Wildcat: An Appalachian Romance

From my list on big imagination and creative punch.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a happy child until I went to school. When my teacher turned her back, I ran home. My mom sent me back. The umbilical cord broken, I held a grudge. That enmity remained until my ninth-grade English teacher read us Richard Brautigan’s post-apocalyptic, proto-hippie fantasy In Watermelon Sugar. There was much to imagine: a multicolored sun, an infinite garbage dump, and mathematical, parent-eating tigers. Like the narrator, I wanted to live in a shack, not have a regular name, and hook up with a proto-hippie, hot cake-making artist girlfriend who made “a long and slow love” possible. Since then, I have devoured fiction, poetry, art, film, you name it. 

Jeffrey's book list on big imagination and creative punch

Jeffrey Dunn Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Maybe you’ve read this book, but maybe you haven’t. The kids like me who used to carry the 95¢ Dell paperbacks are now dead or thinking about it.

The author, Kurt Vonnegut, was an American prisoner of war and spent 24 hours underground in a meat locker during the Allied firebombing of Dresden, Germany. He said of his experience the bombing “killed 250,000 people in 24 hours and destroyed all of Dresden—possibly the world’s most beautiful city. But not me.” It’s fair to say that this book was his imagination’s way of dealing with the war. “One” acts as a preface, so the novel really begins with “Two,” “Listen:/Billy Pilgrim is unstuck in time,” and then imagination fights its way out.

By Kurt Vonnegut,

Why should I read it?

27 authors picked Slaughterhouse-Five as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special fiftieth anniversary edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, “a desperate, painfully honest attempt to confront the monstrous crimes of the twentieth century” (Time), featuring a new introduction by Kevin Powers, author of the National Book Award finalist The Yellow Birds
 
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
 
Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had…


Book cover of Rebecca

S.R. Masters Author Of How to Kill with Kindness

From my list on books in which all that glitters is not gold.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been drawn to stories in which all that glitters isn't gold, and all three of my novels contain this theme. They are, at the bottom, tales of hubris, which is why I like them. A character strives to obtain some glittery thing, confident it will be better than what they have. Yet, ultimately, their confidence is misplaced, and their ambition brings about their downfall. Perhaps because I'm someone who's naturally quite risk-averse but also believes little good comes in life without taking chances, stories like this attract me. They allow me to safely hunt for the Aristotelian mean between being overly sensible and irrationally ambitious.  

S.R.'s book list on books in which all that glitters is not gold

S.R. Masters Why did S.R. love this book?

Daphne Du Maurier has made a permanent mark on my soul. Whether it was Hitchcock's adaptation of The Birds, which I watched when I was far too young, or the wrecked ships of Jamaica Inn, her imagery and ideas are unforgettable. 

And like the titular character of Rebecca, part of me still roams the halls and grounds of Manderley. I first encountered the story at a transitional moment in early adulthood. Having been a child drawn to spooky stories about ghouls and spectres, this book marked the moment I came to understand that not every haunted house has a ghost. 

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

41 authors picked Rebecca as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* 'The greatest psychological thriller of all time' ERIN KELLY
* 'One of the most influential novels of the twentieth century' SARAH WATERS
* 'It's the book every writer wishes they'd written' CLARE MACKINTOSH

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .'

Working as a lady's companion, our heroine's outlook is bleak until, on a trip to the south of France, she meets a handsome widower whose proposal takes her by surprise. She accepts but, whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory…


Book cover of The Bell Jar

TP Wood Author Of 77° North

From my list on stirring your heart and imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

It’s Saturday, 5 p.m. If you could peer back in time to the late ’60s, you’d find me plunked in front of our new colour RCA Victor, a Swanson TV dinner steaming before me, and the theme…da-da-DAAA-da-da-da-da-DAAAA, announcing my favourite show: Star Trek. I absorbed the logic of Mr. Spock, the passion of Dr. McCoy, and the fantastical world of Klingons, wormholes, and warp drives. Add to that a degree in history and English, and it set the stage for my passion to read and write in genres of science fiction and magical realism. I hope you find these books as stimulating and thought-provoking as I did.  

TP's book list on stirring your heart and imagination

TP Wood Why did TP love this book?

In The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath unscrews the top of her skull and invites us to peek inside. This is one of my favourite first-person narratives.

Considering Plath’s struggle with depression and her ultimate suicide, the book portrays the tribulations of a tortured artist in New York’s beatnik fifties. Plath’s lyrical language infuses the prose which appeals to my love of poetry.

By Sylvia Plath,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Bell Jar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I was supposed to be having the time of my life.

When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther's life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women's aspirations seriously.

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath's only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria…


Book cover of Neverwhere

David B. Coe Author Of The Chalice War: Stone

From my list on fantasy that made me say ‘wow!'.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing fantasy professionally for more than twenty-five years, and have published novels of epic fantasy, contemporary urban fantasy, supernatural thriller, and (as D.B. Jackson) historical fantasy. I have devoted my professional life to the genre because I love writing about magic and the people who wield it. I believe fantasy novels should thrill and intrigue, but also touch our emotions, and carry us through narratives with beautiful writing. That is what I try to do with my books, and that is what draws me to the novels I have listed here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

David's book list on fantasy that made me say ‘wow!'

David B. Coe Why did David love this book?

Chances are many of you have heard of this one, or at least of its author.

Neverwhere is not Gaiman’s best-known or best-selling book. Not by a long shot on either score. But it is my personal favorite, in part because it is less flashy than his other books, while managing to be just as exciting and suspenseful.

Like all of Gaiman’s work, it is at once humorous and dark, fanciful and brutally believable. Our hero, Richard Mayhew, is hapless but ultimately lovable. Our villains, a pair of killers named Croup and Vandemar, are terrifying.

And the characters we discover in the world below the streets of London, are charming and worth fighting for.

By Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Neverwhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE EXTRAORDINARY FIRST NOVEL BY THE MASTER OF STORYTELLING

'Prose that dances and dazzles . . . Gaiman describes the indescribable' SUSANNA CLARKE

'It's virtually impossible to read more than ten words by Neil Gaiman and not wish he would tell you the rest of the story' OBSERVER

'Much too clever to be caught in the net of a single interpretation' PHILIP PULLMAN

ACCLAIMED BBC RADIO 4 DRAMATISATION WITH ALL-STAR CAST INCLUDING JAMES MCAVOY, NATALIE DORMER, DAVID HAREWOOD, SOPHIE OKONEDO AND BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH

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'I love doors. Anything that leads to possibilities' NEIL GAIMAN

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Under the streets of London…


Book cover of Mexican Gothic

D.L. (Destiny) Soria Author Of Thief Liar Lady

From my list on fantasy by Latine authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a half-Mexican author who grew up in a tiny Alabama town, where I spent my summers playing with sticks in the woods and exploring such distinguished careers as Forest Bandit, Wayward Orphan, and Woodland Fairy Princess. After college, I ran away to New Zealand for seven months and only pretended to be a character from Lord of the Rings on special occasions. Nowadays, I live and work in South Carolina with my clingy (and, unfortunately, non-magical) cat. 

D.L.'s book list on fantasy by Latine authors

D.L. (Destiny) Soria Why did D.L. love this book?

I’ve always loved a good Gothic novel, but Moreno-Garcia raised the bar with this book.

Part mystery, part romance, part haunted house story—this novel runs the gamut from eerie to enchanting. The menacing secrets of High Place, set against the backdrop of glamorous 1950s Mexico, drew me into an intriguing plot that was as captivating as it was frightening. 

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Mexican Gothic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning author of Gods of Jade and Shadow (one of the 100 best fantasy novels of all time, TIME magazine) returns with a mesmerising feminist Gothic fantasy, in which a glamorous young socialite discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemi. You have to save me.

When glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it's clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but…


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