Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Scariest Books I’ve Ever Read

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Drawing of man wearing a business suit and lookign scared

The least scary horror image I could find.

I read a lot of horror before the Covid-19 pandemic began, but that changed as the reality of it sunk in.   Maybe someday I’ll be able to dive back into this genre again?

In the meantime, here are some of the scariest tales I’ve read and my (non-spoiler-y) reasons why I found them so frightening.

Cujo by Stephen King

Why It’s Scary: Rabies is a horribly real disease, and just about everything in this book could actually happen in real life. I was bitten without provocation by a (non-rabid) dog many years ago, so there’s also the added horror of knowing how unpredictable some animals can be.


The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Why It’s Scary: The link above will direct you to a free pdf of this tale. It started off so gently that I had no idea what was coming, but the ending made me shudder. I actively look for the good in everyone and assume the best of their intentions, but some can be persuaded to do terrible things under certain circumstances.


Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1) by Jeff VanderMeer

Why It’s Scary: These characters entered area X knowing that communication with the outside world would be severed and that the rules of physics and biology in that area were wildly unpredictable at best. I would be terrified to explore a place like that, but it did make for a fantastic book and film.


We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Why It’s Scary: Not only is everything in this book entirely possible, similar things have happened to other school/mass shooters before. There’s something about realistic stories that makes them a thousand times more frightening.


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20 Responses to Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Scariest Books I’ve Ever Read

  1. We Need to Talk About Kevin is every parent’s nightmare. I agree. Scary.

  2. I’ve read Cujo and The Lottery and thought they were both pretty terrifying. I’ll have to look up the other two on your list.

  3. Great picks! I read Cujo years ago and it scared me, too. I’m going to check out “We need to talk about Kevin.” That one sounds frightening that’s for sure.

  4. I’ve seen Annihilation as a movie, but I haven’t read the book; I should probably go back and do that. Stephen King has a lot of good scary stuff, though I didn’t include him on my list. I’ll have to take a look at The Lottery, though; I’m not familiar with that one at all.

  5. I don’t read horror, even before COVID! But, I can appreciate how difficult writing this genre can be.

  6. I’ve been wanting to read Cujo, but I just haven’t picked it up yet. I had a dog we named Cujo as a child, but it was the most mild mannered and lazy dog.

  7. The Lottery is one of the scariest stories I’ve read, too. And yet I found it fascinating (even though I don’t normally read horror). I totally understand why COVID stopped you from enjoying darker books. I’ve been gravitating toward comfy books for sure.

  8. I agree that realistic stories can be much scarier than completely fictional ones!

  9. The Lottery is a great choice. I remember reading it in school, and it was indeed horrifying. Really eye opening on how frightening the real world really can be.

  10. I’ve read Cujo and The Lottery. They’re good choices, especially Cujo.

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