50 Most Popular Horror Novels on Goodreads

Posted by Hayley on September 30, 2019
Celebrating Horror 2019


"Horror fiction has traditionally dealt in taboo.… It makes monsters of household pets and begs our affection for psychos. It shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion."
-Clive Barker

Hear the scratching on the wall? Feel a chill run down your spine? The frightening thrills of our favorite horror novels have a way of reaching out from beyond the page—casting shadows, whispering in our ear, haunting us long after the story is done.

For Horror Week, Goodreads set out to reveal the most popular horror stories. To create our list, we focused on the books that have been added the most to Goodreads members' shelves.

From literal monsters to purely psychological terrors, these are tales of madness and pandemonium, retribution and absolution. Long heralded as the "Master of Horror," Stephen King reigns supreme, with five books on our list, but his son Joe Hill is not far behind, nabbing four spots. And along with classics from Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Kirkman's end-of-the-world comic, The Walking Dead, made the cut as well as an award-winning children's ghost story, The Graveyard Book, from Neil Gaiman.

And now we present the top horror books on Goodreads in alphabetical order. Proceed at your own risk—and then tell us how many you've read in the comments.


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Comments Showing 1-50 of 759 (759 new)


message 1: by Morgan (new)

Morgan Where is Lovecraft?


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition I have read 17 of the titles.
BWAHAHAHA!!


message 3: by Holly (new)

Holly I've read 22 of these titles.


message 4: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia I know a ton of these, but I've never read any of them. I have read The Raven in Edgar Allen Poe, though.


message 5: by Juliet (new)

Juliet Smith Disappointed that none of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's stories are here, considering he's cited as a major influence on modern horror stories, and suspense stories.


message 6: by Carmen (new)

Carmen Flowers in the Attic is definitely not horror... O _ O


Sunshine✰✰✰ I've read 11 and there was another 10 that was already on my TBR. That number just went up. :-D


message 8: by Tanya (new)

Tanya I've read 21, with 3 on my tbr.


message 9: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Read sixteen of them, a couple are on my to-read list, and one was abandoned.

A couple I wouldn't consider horror: Jaws and The Historian


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan Michael McDowell missing. His influence on horror was remarkable, find him, read him!


message 11: by Craig (new)

Craig 23!


message 12: by Khara (new)

Khara So far I’ve read seven


message 13: by Bill (new)

Bill Lynas I've read 23 and some of them more than once. I must be getting old!


message 14: by Anna (new)

Anna Cardoso "The butterfly garden" wasn't scary at all.


message 15: by Victor (last edited Oct 01, 2018 07:13AM) (new)

Victor I've read 3 and only 1 on my To Read list. Got some scary work to do. I have watched 11 as movies though.


message 16: by Elyse (new)

Elyse I've read 13 and the rest are in my long-term TBR. None of the King books listed are in my TBR for this October aka KINGtober.


message 17: by Kay (new)

Kay 13. I just recently discovered how much I love horror, thanks to joining a "scary book" club, so I am passionate about reading more of it.


message 18: by Hannah (new)

Hannah The Historian definitely isn't horror!


message 19: by Kristin (new)

Kristin Halloween


message 20: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Martin I've read 13 which is quite a few concidering that I do not read Hirror.


message 21: by Dave (new)

Dave Collins Morgan wrote: "Where is Lovecraft?"

They don't like him on this site anymore because he doesn't meet their progressive ideals and isn't pure enough by today's standards of morality.


message 22: by Tmob (new)

Tmob whoa I got 11 down! Just a few to go. lol


message 23: by Alondra (new)

Alondra Miller Warm Bodies and Coldest Girl will NOT be going on the list.

Everything else is already read or on the list.

Goodreads should ask me about the top 50! LOL


message 24: by Pete (new)

Pete Skimin I've read 15 from the list.


message 25: by Cassie (new)

Cassie Fischer I've only read 7, but quite a few are on my TBR.


message 26: by David (new)

David 17 and almost halfway thru World War Z...so that will make 18!
Yay me!


Jarek "the Mistborn" Dąbrowski 11 read for me :) Added a couple to the tbr shelf:)


message 28: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Dave wrote: "Morgan wrote: "Where is Lovecraft?"

Lovecraft is right there next to Edgar Allan Poe


message 29: by Michele (last edited Oct 27, 2019 01:33PM) (new)

Michele I've read 12 of those.


message 30: by Wanda (new)

Wanda Maynard I have read only 14 of these horror classics. Still have quite a few to go. sigh


message 31: by Asounani (new)

Asounani Morgan wrote: "Where is Lovecraft?"
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories


message 32: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Turcios 16 :)


message 33: by Ansar (new)

Ansar Foushanji Dracula

Misery

We Have Always Lived in the Castle


message 34: by Baddance (new)

Baddance I've rad 10 of those. I need to read more :)


message 35: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth I've read six, with a couple more on my tbr list. Horror isn't really my thing, so it has to be really good to make me want to read it.


message 36: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer I read Twelve plus some of the featured authors' other works


message 37: by David (last edited Oct 01, 2018 01:15PM) (new)

David Dave wrote: "Morgan wrote: "Where is Lovecraft?"

They don't like him on this site anymore because he doesn't meet their progressive ideals and isn't pure enough by today's standards of morality."


There's a Lovecraft book on the list, right next to Poe where you'd expect. Talk about the blind leading the blind...This is literally just the top 50 most popular horror books on the site, there's no editorializing here, it's just cold, hard data. Take your political rants somewhere else.


message 38: by Zoe (new)

Zoe I can't believe Pet Sematary isn't on this list. It's so scary!


message 39: by Jill (new)

Jill Rebryna I have read very few of these, but I admire the list. I can't consider The Shining or Misery as horror though. That's just Stephen King being creepy and cruel to writers. I do adore both books though. The Call of Cthulhu isn't horror! At the most it's a brilliantly written creature thriller! Or maybe I just like Lovecraft.😊


message 40: by Phil On The Hill (new)

Phil On The Hill Amazed I have read 16 of them, with 4 or 5 on the TBR pile


message 41: by Katy (last edited Oct 01, 2018 01:40PM) (new)

Katy Lohman I've read 25 - yay!


message 42: by Phil On The Hill (new)

Phil On The Hill Dave wrote: "Morgan wrote: "Where is Lovecraft?"

They don't like him on this site anymore because he doesn't meet their progressive ideals and isn't pure enough by today's standards of morality."


He is there. Look again.


message 43: by Marianna (new)

Marianna Neal I've read 17 of these and 7 are on my TBR! Can't say all of this is horror though, but close enough haha


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Have read 24 and have several waiting to be read.


message 45: by Katie (new)

Katie McCormley I'm ashamed to say that the only one I've read doesn't really count as horror (The Historian). Where should I start?? What's your favorite on this list?


message 46: by Danny (new)

Danny Farham Morgan wrote: "Where is Lovecraft?"

The Call of Cthulhu is 29th on the list. You must have missed it.


message 47: by Craig (new)

Craig I read 5 and about 5 on my to read list.


message 48: by Tyler J (new)

Tyler J Gray I've read 9 so far but I want to read ALL of them!


message 49: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer I've read 25, with most of the rest on my to-read list :)

'Salem's Lot should definitely be on this list though!


message 50: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Read 10, have seen 13 and added to my TBR list. I do read Something Wicked This Way Comes every October along with The Halloween Tree also by Bradbury.


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