Let’s Talk Bookish: Can Books Be Effective Horror?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for more information on August 2021 prompts & a list of all prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks:


Prompts: Some people love to be scared – others not so much. When it comes to reading do you think books can be scary? Are you less scared because there are no pictures? Do you feel other mediums such as film are more effective for horror? Have you ever been kept up at night by a book? 


Considering the fact that I am The Ultimate Chicken™️ I guess you can say that I’m one of those people who don’t like to be scared! But it’s not so much the monsters, body horror or gory scenes that scare me, it’s more the paranormal/supernatural ghosts and possession type of horror that scares me absolutely witless.


As I tend to scare quite easy, I avoid the ghost-y books (and movies/shows/podcasts) as much as I can! If I had to choose a genre to never read again, it’d probably horror because I’m just that much of a chicken. There have been moments when I willingly stepped out of my comfort zone (like when I read Rules for Vanishing—gah, this book cover still REALLY CREEPS ME OUT and I can’t have it looking at me, LOL!—and didn’t have the worst experience with it, but I definitely lost sleep (actually, I didn’t sleep at all). 🥲

Obviously like with most reading experiences it is subjective but I do think books can be scary, though it depends on a few factors, such as the reader’s fear level, the type of horror, and the atmosphere (amongst other things, probably).

I personally find that books can often be scarier than movies/shows because of my very vivid and overactive imagination. It doesn’t take much of a description for my mind to start conjuring up the terrifyingly realistic scenarios or images of what I’ve read and then having that morph into nightmares that have me turning on the lights and stop me from sleeping 😂 Like, I’ll close my eyes and then whatever scary thing I’ve just read about will be imprinted behind my eyes for at least the rest of the night and it’s the worst!

It’s not only the descriptions of said scary thing that contribute to the fear though, as the atmosphere of a book can also play a big role. Saying that immediately made me think of my reading experience with House of Salt and Sorrows. Some scenes in that book were so scary because of the eerie and gothic setting—everything was so dark and gloomy and the story had the feeling of being cursed and I think aside from me being easily freaked out, it had to do with the combination of the eerie gothic atmosphere and the total unexpectedness of it. Ugh, my brain still has no problems remembering the scary bits now and W H Y. 🙈

Do you scare easily or do you love all things horror? Ghosty things? Do you think books can be scary or are movies/shows more effective for you?

9 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Can Books Be Effective Horror?

  1. Great post, the paranormal/ghosts is also the one that scares me the most though despite this I keep find myself drawn to it 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️ though I do find that I have yet to be scared to the same level reading a book as I have a movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I have to admit that I have a burning curiosity that does drive me to make decisions that push me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I really regret when I end up not being able to sleep for a while 😂 But I also think a lot of the time those books end up being well-rated by me!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I’m reading a spooky/creepy story in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping, my mind can definitely spook me out like I’m watching a movie lol. But I think movies are definitely much worse because some people’s imaginations are way more horrifying/spookier than mine!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love spooky, horror stories, and everything horror! Ahaha, I agree books can be scary, and often can portray horror better than movies! I’m not easily scared though, so I mainly read horror for the creepy and unsettling vibes. Hehe I think having an overactive imagination definitely helps make reading horror more immersive, I find my imagination definitely brings out the spooky elements! 😈 great post! 🥰💜


  4. I’m a chicken too and, just like you said, I blame my vivid imagination. I still read scary books and watch scary movies from time to time, I’m just drawn to it! 🤦‍♀️
    After watching Conjuring, I’m ashamed to admit I couldn’t turn off my lights at night for 3 days… 🙈🙈🙈
    I read The Whisper Man a few weeks ago and was scared through most of it, even though most people said it wasn’t scary… 😂 😂 😂
    Great post, Dini!


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