What’s worse: things that go bump in the night, or things that go bump in your head? Jackson’s story of a haunted mansion (and a haunted girl) never betrays which is which, but has enough of both to fill the dim, desolate chambers of Hill House.
The Fall of the House of Usher, by Edgar Allan Poe
No list of creepy books would exist without Poe, and it doesn’t do him justice to pick just one of his macabre masterpieces. But this tale of sickness, madness, and premature burial still stands among the greatest horror stories ever told.
Bradbury’s collection of supernatural tales set in “October Country... where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay” recalls a subtler era of storytelling, one that only heightens the dread weirdness that lurks beneath its all-American landscapes.
The plot is well known: Tweens can be difficult. But hard as it is to not hide your eyes while watching the movie, Blatty’s original novel—packing more terror and head-spinning frights than its film adaptation—is even harder to put down.
For 50 years, four men—“the Chowder Society”—have kept secret a terrible event from their youth. Now that secret has come back to haunt them, quite literally. Straub’s best book rivals the most frightening ghost stories of any era.
The ultimate suburban nightmare. A struggling family moves into a new home, only to discover that its guts—a growling, ever-deepening maw—are no match for its facade. Audacious, experimental, and complex, House of Leaves spins tales within terrifying tales.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
Destined to become a classic of creepiness for the eerie vintage photographs of children that illustrate the story—and blur the lines between past and present, monstrous and mundane—Riggs’s novel is perfect for younger readers who are ready for a frightful tale.