Scary Books That Kept Me Up At Night

October 27, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 33

Greetings Bookworms!

This week the folks at The Broke and The Bookish have graciously offered up a Halloween Freebie as a topic. In the past I’ve talked about cool literary costumes and the like, but today I thought it would be fun to talk about some books that scared me to the point that it affected my sleep. Nightmares, fear of turning off the lights, whatever. Of course, it should be noted (and has been several times) that I am a big giant chicken when it comes to scary books. Therefore, my definition of scary might not be the same as yours. Still. We’re going to talk about it anyway. Ready?

  1. Bag of Bones by Stephen King: This was my first Stephen King novel and it freaked me out so badly it was a good 10 years before I read another one of his novels. It’s not even one of the super scary ones! I was 16 and had a wild imagination, okay? I seriously couldn’t look at refrigerator magnets for a while after I finished it. And the night I finished it? I was up until 3am because I was powering through the fear, only to be left too afraid to turn out the lights and close my eyes. When I finally fell asleep, I totally had nightmares. Because chicken.
  2. The Passage by Justin Cronin (review): In the years since I read that initial Stephen King, I’ve branched out and will read frightening books periodically. (As long as they don’t involve ghosts or evil spirits. I can’t afford to be afraid of inanimate objects.) I can’t think of a book that made my chest tighten in panic the way The Passage did. The unholy union of vampire lore and zombie apocalypse was intense and unequivocally terrifying. I had to switch to reading a classic for a while just to calm my nerves enough to sleep.
  3. World War Z by Max Brooks (review): I’ve been known to have the occasional Walking Dead inspired nightmare (and don’t even get me started on this week’s episode because I just CANNOT), but World War Z kicked those nightmares up several notches. This was another book I had to follow up with an innocuous book in order to fall asleep.
  4. The Stand by Stephen King (review): Since the Bag of Bones incident, I’ve tried to avoid any Stephen King involving ghosts and/or unsettled spirits. Luckily, that leaves plenty of novels for me to read, and The Stand is one of my all time favorite books. All time. Seriously. I’ve read a lot of books and it’s really high on the list. It’s about a super flu apocalypse and believe you me, that is some scary stuff. It wasn’t much of a nightmare inducer but it sure as heck kept me up late because I couldn’t put the darn thing down.
  5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (review): Bleak bleak bleak! I had nightmares involving shopping carts and cannibals after finishing this one. Super good, and though not traditionally spooky, it’ll stick with you.

I’m going to tap out at five books this week because Hocus Pocus just came on. You can’t expect me NOT to watch it. While I’m running amok amok amok, why don’t y’all tell me about some of the scariest books you’ve ever read? What gave you nightmares, Bookworms? What was that last book you read that left you too scared to turn out the lights?

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33 Responses to “Scary Books That Kept Me Up At Night”

  1. Daddio

    “Andromeda Strain” by Michael Chrighton did me in. Of course space exploration (for earthlings) was in its infancy.

  2. thatashgirl

    You should really check out Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box (he’s Stephen King’s son). It’s amazing. Horns was good as well but strange. Heart Shaped Box is a good ole’ haunting and it’s creepy AF.

  3. Megan M.

    This week’s TWD definitely contributed to my chest pain attack. 🙁 I usually stay away from scary books, but the last time I got really scared was watching the episode of Fear the Walking Dead where they’re trying to escape the rioting in L.A. People are always scarier than zombies.

    • Words For Worms

      People ARE scarier than zombies. At least zombies are predictable, you know? Also, why have they not started with treehouses yet? Zombies can’t climb.

  4. Loralie

    I read a book called The Historian 8 or so years ago. It creeped me out so badly that, even though I felt stupid for doing it, I slept at least one night with the light in my closet on.

  5. Alison's Wonderland Recipes

    I remember I read Salem’s Lot last October after seeing your post about it and LOVED IT. My very first Stephen King! I’m not into uber scary ghost-themed stuff either, so I think I’ll try The Stand or The Passage next.

  6. Akilah

    I avoid scary books specifically because I do not want to have crazy dreams. I can’t remember the last time I dreamt about a book, actually. Hmm. Something to think about.

    • Words For Worms

      I hear you on that! My frightening reading is deliberately kept to a minimum. Of course, I often have crazy dreams about non scary books. Mostly Harry Potter. I really think that Quidditch is my sport.

  7. Allyson

    The Passage has been on my curious about list for years now, but I think I can safely take it off my list now :p Sounds way too intense and scary for my blood :p

  8. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Number one, I have never seen Hocus Pocus, but don’t get mad at me, I had a sheltered childhood. Number two, the book that legitimately kept me up was Susan Beth Pfeffer’s dystopian novel Life As We Knew It. That book scared the living hell out of me, and I unfortunately read it the night before embarking on a transatlantic flight. IT WAS TOO REAL.

  9. Jennine G.

    The Road was horrifying…mostly in the way it seemed it could happen. I had to leave it at school and read on my free time…before bed was not an option.

    I have The Passage and was going to take my chances, but then found out it was an unfinished trilogy. So now I’m waiting for the third book before I make a go of it.

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