When the nights are cold and there’s nothing you’d rather do than snuggle up in front of the fire, grab a book and bed down with a spine-chilling tale.
From ghost stories and tales of madness, to accounts of demonic possession, there are countless literary classics that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end: blanket or no blanket!
With the anniversary of the publication of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’ falling on 29th January, we thought we’d round up five of the scariest books to read before the warmer days set in. Open one up if you dare…
The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings
We had to start with Mr. Poe himself! The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings includes some of the horror legend’s most spine-chilling stories. Our favourite is ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’: the account of a murderer who is slowly being driven insane by guilt and “the beating of his hideous heart”.
If you haven’t seen Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of The Shining, skip straight to the terrifying book! Stephen King is a true master of horror: the ghosts of the Overlook Hotel, little Danny Torrance’s unsettling nightmares and his father’s descent into madness will haunt you for days after you have put the book down.
Like The Shining, the novel of The Exorcist is ten times scarier than the film. William Peter Blatty’s skilled writing and visceral descriptions will make you feel as if the devil himself is standing over you as you feverishly turn the pages. You might want to sleep with the light on after this one…
The Lord of the Flies
It might not be straight ‘horror’, but this account of good English schoolboys gone bad will send shivers straight down your spine. After being marooned on an uninhabited island with no adults to look after them, the boys decide to govern themselves. Cue feral anarchy, disturbing hallucinations and shocking twists and turns!
The fact that they could soon become reality is just what makes dystopian novels so scary. Nineteen Eighty-Four is the cream of the crop and, undoubtedly, George Orwell’s masterpiece. Set in a version of Britain locked in perpetual war and watched over by the tyrannical Big Brother, the book follows Winston and his quiet rebellion against the state. In a nation that condemns free speech and where opponents disappear without a trace, will Winston beat Big Brother, or be dragged to the dreaded Room 101?