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  • Writer's pictureThe Fiction Fox

Horror Favourites

Up until about 5 or 6 years ago, horror was a genre I actively avoided. Having my only exposure to it as a child/young teen being the cheesy spooks of the Goosebumps-books, I never really developed a taste for them. Then, a few years ago, well into my personal reading-renaissance, I suddenly found myself possessed by the spirit of horror and delved deep into the dark, gothic and chilling side of fiction.

As of today, horror is probably in my top-5 genres from which I read the most. I've talked about horror fiction as a vehicle of processing grief and trauma (see also my Ultimate Guide on that subject here), but I also love a good-old-fun popcorn-horror from time to time. In this list I will talk about a bunch of my favourite novels within the genre, clustered loosely by trope, theme or subgenre.

You might notice two big horror tropes, that I tend to love, to be absent in this list. That is because I’ve already created dedicated posts/guides with over 50 recommendations for each of these. If you’re looking for those, be sure to check out my Guide to Ghost Fiction, as well as my Guide to Witch Fiction.

They became Classics for a Reason: Some of my favourite classics and their modern-day adaptations...

- The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

also recommended by the same author: We Have Always Lived In The Castle

- The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allan Poe

- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

- The Willows – Algernon Blackwood

- A Haunting on the Hill – Elizabeth Hand

- What Moves the Dead – T. Kingfisher

- Spare and Found Parts – Sarah Maria Griffin also recommended by the same author: Other Words for Smoke

- The Hollow Places – T. Kingfisher

also recommended by the same author: A House With Good Bones, Nettle and Bone.

Family Curses & Generational Hauntings: When terror passes down through time...

- The Hollow Kind – Andy Davidson

- The Book of Accidents – Chuck Wendig

- Build Your House Around My Body – Violet Kupersmith

- Beloved – Toni Morrison

Mind-bending, cosmic and existential:

Horror that makes you question reality and/or your sanity...

- The Library at Mount Char – Scott Hawkins

- Annihilation – Jeff Vandermeer

- Bird Box – Josh Malerman

- Looking Glass Sound – Catriona Ward

- House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski

Underwater Horror: A personal favourite trope of mine...

- Deeplight – Frances Hardinge

- Our Wives Under the Sea – Julia Armfield

- A House at the Bottom of the Lake – Josh Malerman

Sometimes (Un)Dead is better: Stories in which the dead refuse to rest...

- Pet Sematary – Stephen King

- The Undead Truth of Us – Britney S. Lewis

- The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

- All the Dead Lie Down - Kyrie McCauley

Terrors of parenthood: Books that focus on the horrors and anxieties of motherhood...

- C.J. Cooke – The Lighthouse Witches also recommended by the same author: The Nesting, The Ghost Woods, A

Haunting in the Arctic

- Composite Creatures – Caroline Hardaker

- The Upstairs House – Julia Fine

- The Drown Our Daughters – Katrina Monroe

Lost in the Woods: In which more than darkness lurks between the trees...

- In the Nightwood by Dale Bailey

- The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

- Pine by Francine Toon

Small Town Paranormal... Following the likes of Stephen King and Stranger Things: atmospheric horror stories set in small-town-(southern)-USA...

- Black Water – Michael McDowell

- The Saturday Night Ghost Club – Craig Davidson

- Black Mouth – Ronald Malfi

- The Dead and the Dark - Courtney Gould

Body- & Medical Horror: From body-invasion-horror to the terrors of dementia, as a medical doctor, you might expect me to be immune to these... I can promise you; I'm not...

- Sealed – Naomi Booth

- We Spread – Iain Reid

- Leech – Hiron Ennes

- Chlorine – Jade Song

Popcorn-horror: books that read like a horror-movie: I may not have been terrified to my bone, but I had so much fun reading these...

- How To Sell a Haunted House – Grady Hendrix also recommended by the same author: Horrorstör

- Home Before Dark – Riley Sager

- The Anomaly – Michael Rutger

Short Spooks: Novella’s to give you maximal chills in minimal pagecount...

- Crossroads – Laurel Hightower

- Mapping the Interior – Stephen Graham Jones

- Wild Spaces – S.L. Coney

Middle-grade chills: horror for readers 10-15 years of age...

Whether you're a younger reader, or a self-confessed scardy-cat, these books will give you chills without the nightmares...

- Root Magic – Eden Royce

- Spirit Hunters – Ellen Oh

- This Appearing House – Ally Malinenko

also recommended by the same author: Ghost Girl

- Field of Screams – Wendy Parris

If after all that, your thirst for horror-recommendations still isn't quenced, you can find even more of them in my Halloween-Recommendations from last year or the year before, or see what I've shelved on my Goodreads TBR-shelf under the horror-tag. Feel free to send your personal favourite horror-recs my way, either via a comment or recommendation on Goodreads. Until that time: Happy reading and happy chills.

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