Twenty-One Horror Classics I Must Read

“Read a lot, write a lot.” That’s the number one rule for the aspiring writer. You just got to do it. Practice. Try different approaches. Try new things that challenge you.

Reading is invaluable to the writer. It’s sort of the stream of life for the writer’s imagination, the place he or she goes to fill their head with more words when their well has run dry. We read to be inspired by the work of others, to learn from their narrative strategies. Then we turn to our own work in progress and find new ways to utilize those strategies, to give them a unique spin with our own voice.

Horror is my mainstay, and when I came across this list in the revised addition of the On Writing Horror Handbook by the Horror Writers Association, I nearly shrieked in excitement like a giddy child. Some of these I’ve read before and certainly deserve a revisit. Some will be a new experience for me. Here we go:

1. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker

3. The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson

4. The Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James

5. Burn, Witch, Burn! by A. Merritt

6. To Walk the Night by William Sloane

7. The Dunwich Horror and Others by H.P. Lovecraft

8. Fear by L. Ron Hubbard

9. Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson

10. Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

11. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

12. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

13. Richard Matheson: Collected Stories, Vol. I, II, III

14. Hell House by Richard Matheson

15. The October Country by Ray Bradbury

16. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

17. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

18. Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg

19. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

20. The Stand by Stephen King

21. Watchers by Dean Koontz

Happy reading!

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