The Definitive Horror Book List

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1

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4.24 avg rating — 1,201,164 ratings
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2

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4.24 avg rating — 864,175 ratings
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3

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4.34 avg rating — 656,348 ratings
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4

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 1,005,321 ratings
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5

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4.03 avg rating — 354,932 ratings
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6

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4.01 avg rating — 455,434 ratings
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7

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4.18 avg rating — 190,428 ratings
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8

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3.83 avg rating — 186,202 ratings
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9

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4.18 avg rating — 537,757 ratings
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10

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3.82 avg rating — 1,238,719 ratings
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11

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 122,564 ratings
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12

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3.97 avg rating — 556,947 ratings
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13

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3.95 avg rating — 69,433 ratings
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14

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4.01 avg rating — 117,504 ratings
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15

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4.18 avg rating — 227,080 ratings
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16

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4.21 avg rating — 490,305 ratings
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17

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4.28 avg rating — 57,745 ratings
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18

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 509,872 ratings
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19

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4.17 avg rating — 159,603 ratings
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20

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4.02 avg rating — 294,627 ratings
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21

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3.94 avg rating — 193,936 ratings
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22

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3.93 avg rating — 108,043 ratings
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23

by
4.03 avg rating — 97,436 ratings
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24

by
3.95 avg rating — 121,307 ratings
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25

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4.05 avg rating — 145,161 ratings
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26

by
3.83 avg rating — 422,068 ratings
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27

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4.01 avg rating — 465,391 ratings
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28

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4.18 avg rating — 25,112 ratings
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29

by
3.78 avg rating — 39,823 ratings
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30

by
4.26 avg rating — 23,018 ratings
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31

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3.95 avg rating — 67,011 ratings
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32

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3.97 avg rating — 144,185 ratings
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33

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3.84 avg rating — 114,403 ratings
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34

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3.82 avg rating — 257,791 ratings
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35

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3.74 avg rating — 240,991 ratings
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36

by
3.93 avg rating — 220,633 ratings
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37

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4.36 avg rating — 27,585 ratings
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38

by
3.83 avg rating — 124,622 ratings
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39

by
3.85 avg rating — 111,371 ratings
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40

by
3.60 avg rating — 34,630 ratings
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41

by
3.80 avg rating — 212,365 ratings
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42

by
4.05 avg rating — 40,985 ratings
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43

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3.98 avg rating — 132,935 ratings
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44

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4.10 avg rating — 58,131 ratings
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45

by
4.03 avg rating — 21,117 ratings
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46

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3.79 avg rating — 129,048 ratings
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47

by
3.78 avg rating — 82,384 ratings
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48

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4.09 avg rating — 1,058,769 ratings
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49

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4.03 avg rating — 49,990 ratings
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50

by
4.06 avg rating — 183,923 ratings
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51

by
4.08 avg rating — 138,492 ratings
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52

by
4.04 avg rating — 77,032 ratings
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53

by
3.94 avg rating — 539,187 ratings
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54

by
4.17 avg rating — 69,585 ratings
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55

by
4.20 avg rating — 40,568 ratings
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56

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4.21 avg rating — 4,520 ratings
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57

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4.01 avg rating — 152,776 ratings
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58

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3.73 avg rating — 103,180 ratings
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59

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3.42 avg rating — 118,506 ratings
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60

by
4.24 avg rating — 8,964 ratings
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61

by
3.86 avg rating — 28,010 ratings
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62

by
3.78 avg rating — 7,092 ratings
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63

by
3.66 avg rating — 7,068 ratings
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64

by
4.03 avg rating — 326 ratings
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65

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 17,546 ratings
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66

by
4.01 avg rating — 42,966 ratings
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66

by
4.13 avg rating — 29,161 ratings
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68

by
3.91 avg rating — 179,527 ratings
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69

by
4.24 avg rating — 45,308 ratings
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70

by
3.90 avg rating — 11,263 ratings
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71

by
4.37 avg rating — 233,241 ratings
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72

by
4.27 avg rating — 209,890 ratings
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73

by
3.93 avg rating — 105,042 ratings
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74

by
4.13 avg rating — 111,473 ratings
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75

by
3.72 avg rating — 100,825 ratings
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76

by
3.54 avg rating — 140,678 ratings
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77

by
3.56 avg rating — 130,808 ratings
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78

by
3.89 avg rating — 199,550 ratings
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79

by
3.96 avg rating — 111,841 ratings
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80

by
3.90 avg rating — 272,045 ratings
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81

by
3.94 avg rating — 107,383 ratings
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82

by
3.90 avg rating — 19,847 ratings
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83

by
4.10 avg rating — 105,759 ratings
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84

by
4.19 avg rating — 3,429,317 ratings
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85

by
3.83 avg rating — 10,105 ratings
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86

by
4.16 avg rating — 67,973 ratings
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87

by
3.84 avg rating — 7,887 ratings
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88

by
3.94 avg rating — 75,059 ratings
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89

by
3.80 avg rating — 5,975 ratings
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90

by
3.99 avg rating — 20,319 ratings
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91

by
3.82 avg rating — 18,102 ratings
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92

by
3.61 avg rating — 11,237 ratings
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93

by
3.88 avg rating — 142,790 ratings
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94

by
3.93 avg rating — 18,493 ratings
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94

by
3.66 avg rating — 202,557 ratings
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96

by
3.83 avg rating — 85,933 ratings
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97

by
4.02 avg rating — 98,740 ratings
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98

by
4.33 avg rating — 185,198 ratings
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99

by
3.79 avg rating — 9,433 ratings
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100

by
4.17 avg rating — 35,489 ratings
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1,260 books · 1,917 voters · list created October 20th, 2009 by Kevin (votes) .
532 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Kevin 1559 books
92 friends
Greyweather 2660 books
71 friends
JDB 590 books
12 friends
Christy 6515 books
2581 friends
Erin 5118 books
591 friends
Marvin 2092 books
802 friends
Express 22 books
0 friends
James 151 books
24 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-44 of 44 (44 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric Blood This is a great list! There's actually stuff on it that I like a lot! I think it's much better than the other horror book lists on this website - good job, voters!


message 2: by William (new)

William I agree. Overall a very good list that helped reorder my to-reads.


message 3: by Tressa (new)

Tressa I saw some Simon Clarks and other books I'd like to read soon.


message 4: by Carl (new)

Carl I. What do I do? Just click on numerous ones I think are the best?


message 5: by Tressa (new)

Tressa Yes.


message 6: by David (new)

David They should combine the Pet Semetary votes. There are two on the list but combined, it would have enough votes for the top 5. Great list!


message 7: by Normandy (new)

Normandy I just voted on this list. I have read several books on this list but there are so many I have not read. There are definitely some books I need to check out.


message 8: by Jeff (new)

Jeff French Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons is a superb horror novel. Anyone that's a horror fan should read this book. Chances are you will love it.


message 9: by TJ (new)

TJ Terrific list! Lots of horror classics present!


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

the ressurectionist by Wrath James White. A masterpiece and creepy as all get out


message 11: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer If you haven't read Hell House or The Devil Next Door...go get a copy!!!!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed at list creator's request:

Cryonic: A Zombie Novel


message 13: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Thank you Susanna


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads No problem.


message 15: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn How are the Twilight books even on this list? It's about as scary as two-week-old, stale bread.


message 16: by Kevin (new)

Kevin People can add any book that they thought scared them. I assume someone found Twilight scary? In any case, those books haven't even broke into the top 100 list.


message 17: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn Weaksauces, then.


message 18: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten Kevin wrote: "People can add any book that they thought scared them. I assume someone found Twilight scary? In any case, those books haven't even broke into the top 100 list."


Well, Twilight fans can be a little scary. I had one overhear me speaking to a fellow English major from the other side of the room. I don't remember what book we were talking about, but the Twilight fan assumed we must be talking about Twilight and decided to insert herself into our conversation. It was a harrowing experience.


message 21: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Thank you Susanna.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads No problem.


message 23: by Kevin (last edited Jun 08, 2015 08:59PM) (new)

Kevin I will not tolerate spamming on this list. Books that jump into the top 100 with ratings of less than 1000 will be removed. There is NO way a book belongs in the top 100 with lower ratings.

Books that are up for removal:
1. Dancing With A Dead Horse
2. The Cruise
3. Sorrow's Point
4. Plebs
5. The Culling
6. Forever and Ever

Anthony Hulse, do not spam my list! I will have Susanna remove your books ASAP! This is not a promotional page for wanna-be authors! This list is for reference!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed the books Kevin listed, at his request.


message 25: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "Removed the books Kevin listed, at his request."

Thank you Susanna :-)


message 26: by Greg (new)

Greg Of all the goodreads lists, this one seems to reflect my own reading taste best, even though horror is not my favorite genre. Easily, I put "The Terror" as my favorite horror novel. The second is the extremely disturbing "After Dark" by Murakami, which I read twice in a row. Third, "Rosemary's Baby."


message 27: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Please check out The Most Popular Horror on Goodreads and add what I missed. Thanks.


message 28: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell A suggestion - you could set the minimum ratings for a book newer than say year 2000 at 1000 ratings. Books older than 2000 could have no minimum - that way a lost classic could be rediscovered but won't be overshadowed.


message 29: by Leigh (new)

Leigh Marilyn wrote: "How are the Twilight books even on this list? It's about as scary as two-week-old, stale bread."

I don't know, it's pretty terrifying to read it and then realise that she got paid for it.


message 30: by Kevin (new)

Kevin People, if you know of a book that hasn't made the list, feel free to add it. Do not post the books not on the list in the comment section. It does no good here.


message 31: by Booklovinglady (last edited Jan 17, 2017 02:21AM) (new)

Booklovinglady Pity one can't check this list for duplicates anymore, due to a bug :-( So please, do go through all pages before you add a book you've read, in order to avoid duplicates...


message 32: by Shadowjac (new)

Shadowjac Went through and removed author spam, removed 50+ books that the authors have put on the list, DID NOT remove books that looked like they'd been added by a sock puppet account though because there's no way to be sure.


message 33: by Seth (new)

Seth Bobbink The Gunslinger by Stephen King is not technically Horror it's Fantasy. It should removed.


message 34: by Mitchell (last edited Feb 14, 2018 11:27PM) (new)

Mitchell Seth wrote: "The Gunslinger by Stephen King is not technically Horror it's Fantasy. It should removed."

Apparently the 2685 people who shelved The Gunslinger as Horror (including me), disagree with you.


message 35: by Seth (new)

Seth Bobbink Well according to Wikipedia: "The Dark Tower is a series of eight books written by American author Stephen King that incorporates themes from multiple genres, including dark fantasy, science fantasy, horror, and Western."

So I guess we are both right in a sense however I would say that the first book the Gunslinger is not horror, it has more a western and a start of a fantasy epic feel to it.


message 36: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Seth wrote: "Well according to Wikipedia: "The Dark Tower is a series of eight books written by American author Stephen King that incorporates themes from multiple genres, including dark fantasy, science fantas..."

I shelved it as:
fantasy, fiction, horror, liked-reviews, read, series, western

So I agree.


message 37: by Kellianne (new)

Kellianne This is a pretty good list, lots of stuff that I like. I do have some concerns about the folks that consider the Twilight series to be horror. I mean... Twilight? Really? and the Sookie Stackhouse series? and while the Dark Tower series is my very favorite series in the world, there's not a horror filled moment in the lot of them.


The rockabilly werewolf from Mars Twilight should be removed from this list. I have a very broad definition of horror, but including Twilight stretches the definition beyond its breaking point.


message 39: by Matthew (new)

Matthew A question...what' s the difference between dark fantasy and horror? Stephen King and Clive Barker are consistently described as both.


message 40: by Mitchell (last edited Sep 15, 2019 10:06PM) (new)

Mitchell The challenge with a goodreads list is that without setting clear criteria in the list description, a book can be added due to personal opinion and there really isn't a good rationale for removing it.

On my equivalent lists I typically set minimum number of ratings and minimum number of shelving for a topic.

Is Twilight horror? On the surface I think that vampires are generally horror. But look at the shelving - 18k ya, 16k fantasy for the 3rd and 4th most shelved categories for Twilight. 497 people also shelved it as horror - but it was the 41st highest category.

I'd say it's not horror.

But I'd also have a minimum number of shelving for horror - say 1000 - and this is what has been declared in the comments of this list - at least for the first page.

I have a horror list that is a lot more restrictive and it only has 125 books on it and 79 voters. And it still requires maintenance, removing inappropriate books and tightening down the list criteria.


The rockabilly werewolf from Mars The book currently at 101st place looks like spam.


The rockabilly werewolf from Mars Mitchell wrote: "The challenge with a goodreads list is that without setting clear criteria in the list description, a book can be added due to personal opinion and there really isn't a good rationale for removing ..."

I say if no one can come up with a clear reason why it is horror by Halloween, it gets removed. Of course, I can't remove it, but it seems like a fair way of resolving the argument.


message 43: by Greg (new)

Greg I think great horror novels must, first and foremost, be a great book. Then, for me, it should make me uncomfortable during a read, and then have scenes that will never leave my mind. Like in "The Terror", I felt the absolute isolation, the freezing cold, the unknown all around. The same author's "Abomination" has all of those elements plus feelings of vertigo, but it's just not a great novel because it runs out of steam. "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" is a very good book. But it's not horror at all. It's very moody, and a murder mystery, but not scary.


message 44: by Kevin (last edited Nov 26, 2020 06:51AM) (new)

Kevin Greg wrote: "I think great horror novels must, first and foremost, be a great book. Then, for me, it should make me uncomfortable during a read, and then have scenes that will never leave my mind. Like in "The ..."

To be honest, trying to define what horror is is a task not easily done. Some may define horror as anything containing horrific acts which could include a multitude of situations. Others may state horror must have an element of the supernatural with things that go 'bump in the night'. Defining horror can only be subjective. What scares one may not scare another. Some may define horror as speculative fiction. The idea here is to not overthink it. This is a list for reference and nothing more. People may browse the list and they can decide for themselves what interest them and which books they may choose to give a pass.


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