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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.