2016 Library Challenge: A Book That Scares You


Sorry, I wasn’t trying to scare you.

Well, maybe just a little.

More directly, I was going to recommend some books so you can scare yourself, if you’re in the mood for it and want an early start to Halloween. . . .

If you like your horror literary:

Joyce Carol Oates’s The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Horror (2016)*


If you prefer psychological horror and enjoy literary fiction, consider reading Joyce Carol Oates’s short story anthology. It includes 6 stories, with characters that range from a wife who starts to suspect her husband is not what he seems to the titular doll-master, a disturbed teenager who collects dolls after his young cousin’s death. And if you’re participating in the 2016 reading challenge, this book could fulfill a lot of requirements besides it being scary, including it being a short story anthology and a book published this year.

*Ebook also available on Libby.

Recommended for those who enjoy Shirley Jackson’s and Ruth Rendell’s work.

If you like your horror doppelganger-ridden:

Christopher Golden’s Dead Ringers (2015)


Also a psychological thriller but with a more overtly supernatural bent, Dead Ringers focuses on a Bostonian named Tess and her circle of acquaintances, all of whom have had unsettling recent encounters with people who look like but are not someone they know. In Frank’s case, his incident was especially unsettling in that it involved someone who looked just like him breaking into his home and trying to assault him. They band together to figure out what’s going on. Meanwhile a man with no eyes is searching for a woman who looks just like Tess. . . .

Recommended for those who enjoyed Stephen King’s The Dark Half and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

If you like your horror police procedural-esque and disease-ridden:

John Scalzi’s Lock In (2015)


Scalzi’s book is set in the near future, following a devastating pandemic that has left 1% of its sufferers in a state of “lock in”–they are alert and aware of their surroundings but unable to communicate or respond to stimulus. Nevertheless, they can still communicate via “Integrators,” virus survivors who can share their body with the locked in for a while. Enter a bizarre murder case, in which the only suspect is an Integrator who swears he is innocent. Join FBI agents Chris Shane and Leslie Vann as they investigate.

Recommended for those who enjoy Mira Grant’s work.

If you like your horror historical and haunted:

Justine Larbalestier’s Razorhurst (2015)


This noirish supernatural YA novel uses the infamous 1930s Australian razor gang wars as its backdrop. (It’s a pretty interesting time period if you like reading about organized crime–you can learn more here and here.) In the midst of this crime-ridden setting, two teenaged girls who can see and speak to the city’s many  ghosts join forces as one of the teens is implicated in the murder of her boyfriend.

Recommended for those who enjoy Scott Westerfield’s work.

If you like your horror as children’s literature:

Kenneth Oppel’s The Nest (2015)**


Who says horror literature is only for adults? If you or someone you know enjoys horror for the middle grade-aged crowd (roughly ages 8-12), consider Kenneth Oppel’s unsettling book. It follows Steve, a young man troubled by the suffering of his baby brother, who was born with a rare disease. One night, a mysterious wasp offers Steve a deal–the queen of his hive can replace his brother’s body with a new one. Desperate for a cure, Steve agrees, but his actions unleash unexpected consequences. In addition to the well-drawn horror story, the book is also supplemented with equally wonderful illustrations from Jon Klassen.

**Audiobook also available on Libby.

Recommended for those who enjoyed Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls and Jonathan Auxier’s The Night Gardener.

As always, if you’re interested in any of the books, please visit our online library catalog for more information.

What scary books are you reading for October? What are some of your favorite horror books and writers? Tell us in the comments!


Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

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