DAY 08 of Book Challenge – Book that scares you


Now you would think I’d be in my element right now, being a horror addict and everything but initially I found this very difficult.

My first thought was to choose M.R James’ Collected Ghost Stories. There is a reason why he’s considered England’s King of the Ghost story. This collection contains some of the scariest short stories I’ve ever read. But I’m assuming however that this topic means I have to pick an actual novel per se.

After thinking a bit, I considered Karen Maitland’s Company Of Liars and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian but in retrospect, these were bland considerations.
I also nearly chose Poe’s The Pit And The Pendulum which I read when I was in school and which had a decidedly macabre effect on my young mind, only to be reminded that it was in fact a short story as well.
I ran through all the Stephen King, John Connelly, Peter Straub and Dean Koontz books I’ve read in my lifetime and I came to only one conclusion. Some books are called classics for a reason. Even while thinking about all these other great horror novels, Bram Stoker’s Dracula just did not want to leave me alone. I did not want to consider it initially for fear of appearing too mainstream and superficial but it kept invading my thoughts like how the Count kept intruding on Mina’s.
Throughout my life, I have read so many different editions of Dracula- a children’s’ version (yes it does exist), many abridged versions, all down to my very own full-length Penguin Classics copy.

Dracula by Bram Stoker, after fighting very valiantly in my mind, has officially taken its place as my No.1 scariest book.

So is it really scary? Or is this one of those cases where we have to make provisions for the conservative Victorian mindset and take the very first audience’s reaction into consideration rather than our own?
I might be bias here but flippin’ hell, you can bet your holy rose water it’s scary!
I will admit that there are some Dickensian instances where the prose goes on a little ramble (I wonder if those Victorians really did write that superfluously in their journals?).

Gary Oldman, my favourite Dracula


There are many singular moments that make up for it however. The scariest scene ever for me, from ANY book in fact, is the one where Jonathan Harker is waiting at the Borgo pass for the special carriage to take him to the Castle.
No movie version of Dracula has ever come close to the book in capturing the terror and fear of this scene in my opinion.

There are other notable passages but I could be here all day.

I hope everybody will start to understand my aversion to modern vampire fiction now. After reading Dracula, you really can’t take the likes of Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer seriously anymore. Well I can’t anyway.

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9 thoughts on “DAY 08 of Book Challenge – Book that scares you

  1. I have partly read Dracula but didn’t get very far. The old style of writing didn’t suit me, the journal take and letter style. I might try it again though. Films never do books justice.

  2. Nisha says:

    The truth is, if it wasn’t for all the juvenile versions of the novel I had read (from the time I was 9!) I might not have been able to finish it myself!
    Try an abridged version, or watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula directed by Francis Ford Coppola before you attempt to read it. You are very right, movies are no credit to the books that they’re based on, but Coppola’s version comes very close, its a beautiful movie on its own anyway.
    Thanks for your comment Moseley! 🙂

  3. johnnytwins says:

    I understand your point I read classics and I have been searching for all Victorian Gothic horror; yet, in my search I found J.S. Le Fanu. Le Fanu is my favorite, I love his book Carmilla. I hope you will keep in touch with me maybe I can learn of some more classic authors.

    • Nisha says:

      Thats funny, I mentioned Carmilla in one of my previous posts pre-Book Challenge, you can click here https://nmwritersbloq.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/muses-vampires-plain-boredom/
      I will also be featuring it later on in the Book Challenge, so don’t forget to look out for it!
      With so many books being published nowadays, people are still turning towards the Classics. That’s saying something. I’m still trying to get my hands on two gothic writers- Gregory Lewis who wrote The Monk and Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto. The latter is said to be the King of the Gothic horror novel but I dont think its being reprinted.
      Happy reading, its nice to meet people who enjoy Gothic Horror like me. And you can consider yourself followed!

  4. johnnytwins says:

    I am sorry; I forgot to ask you if you would follow me. I would love for you to share with me. Thank You.

  5. I loved Dracula and got some good thrills from it, but I don’t remember being terrified the way I was when I read Stephen King’s The Shining last year. King is one of those who either leaves me cold or scares the willies out of me, and after The Shining I was scared to enter my own bathroom for a month.

    • Nisha says:

      I never read the Shining but I did watch the movie and that was pretty scary. I think I’m picking the wrong Stephen King books because I dont find him very scary although I’m waiting to read ‘IT’. I watched the series when I was young and the thought of that clown still gives me the creeps!

  6. trixfred30 says:

    Salem’s Lot scared the hell out of me when I read it for the first time age about 12/13 – i didnt have curtains on my bedroom window and there are a couple of bits in it where you really do need curtains on your windows

    • Nisha says:

      Okay that does sound scary. It’s one thing for an author to bring your already established fears into a story but when they suddenly create one for you, it shows their brilliance. Thanks for commenting Mr. Happiness Stan!

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