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Serious Books That Don't Suck, Part 3: The Scary Ones

Serious Books That Don't Suck, Part 3: The Scary Ones

Last week, your SparkNotes editors started offering up a few recommended reads for those of you who might want to pick up (or at least pick out) a good book to start off the school year. But after watching the comments come in, we noticed something interesting: some of you guys are such ravenous consumers of literature (I’m looking at you, Tami_29) that you’ve been-there-done-that for just about everything we’re recommending… and you want MOAR!

Well, we’re gonna give it to you.

We’ve already hit you with books that’ll make you hot under the collar, so today, how about a few that’ll make your blood run cold? Yes? All right! Here are three scaaaaary books, running the gamut from mildly unnerving to OMG WHAT WAS THAT NOISE?!

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier: A famous first line—“I dreamt last night I went to Manderley again”—begins this Gothic, ghostly novel about a young woman who marries and moves in with the handsome and mysterious Max de Winter, only to find that her new home is haunted by the memory of her husband’s first wife. This story is more subtle suspense, less blood-and-guts, but if there’s a literary character more terrifying than Rebecca’s Mrs. Danvers, I don’t want to hear about her.

Sphere, by Michael Crichton: Oh, are you planning to go swimming? Not after you read this, you’re not! You’ll be waaay too scared of what might be lurking in that deep, dark water. The harrowing story of a team of scientists who set out to investigate an alien object deep in the ocean and end up the victims of unspeakable terror, Sphere is suspenseful sci-fi at its best.

The Shining, by Stephen King: Hands-down, the scariest book ever written. Ever. A psychic child, a father on the brink of madness, a hotel where the ghosts are so malevolent that they even haunt the bathroom—page after page of screaming terror makes this one of the greatest horror novels of all time. (Seriously, though, this book is not for the faint of heart. I read it fifteen years ago and hotel bathrooms still give me the screaming meemies.)

...Of course, as always, this list is just to get you guys warmed up. Hit up the comments and tell us what your favorite suspenseful, scary, or outright-screamworthy titles are. (C’mon, guys—your editors need reading recommendations, too!)

Topics: Books

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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