Best Spine-Tinglers

I’m still fisking the Penguin list of 100 Best Books. Today we visit those books that make your spine tingle and your heart beat fast.

THE BEST SPINE-TINGLERS (according to the Penguin List)

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson
Bram Stoker
Mary Shelley
The Castle of Otranto
Horace Walpole I read this book in college, but it must not have tingled my spine too much because I don’t remember a thing about it.
The Turn of the Screw
Henry James I cannot tell a lie; I’ve never read any James. My mom wrote a thirty page plus paper on James when she was in graduate school, and I had to type it—back when we used actual typewriters. That experience about cured me of any desire to investigate James’s prose for myself. Maybe someday.

Best Spine-Tinglers (according to Semicolon)

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s strange, yes, and classic.

Draculaby Bram Stoker. Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster are the staples of horror and tingling spines.

Frankensteinby Mary Shelley.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I’m enjoying this one now.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

5 thoughts on “Best Spine-Tinglers

  1. Dracula is my favorite. I really enjoyed reading Rebecca and recommend the more recent BBC adaptation of the book (with Diana Rigg) as it is much more faithful than the classic black and white film. I really enjoyed Castle of Otranto when I read it last year. And I too have never read any James though I would like to remedy that soon.

  2. I did read The Turn of the Screw twice, once about 25 years ago when I couldn’t figure out what was happening enough to be scared. I was only confused.
    I read it again two years ago, and yeah, I would put it up there as one of the most chilling, horrifying, and spine-tingling books ever. I couldn’t get it ouf of my mind for months after reading it.
    Which is not to say I necessarily recommend it. But it is a fine example of the genre, and certainly creepier than any of the others you list here (possibly barring Dracula which I have not read).

  3. After reading M. Shelley’s Frankenstein I was actually teary eyed. It isn’t the horror story the movies seem to make it out to be, at least not compared with some of the grusome Stephen King types of today. Just my opinion here.

  4. Bella

    Rebecca is my absolute favorite book (after To Kill A Mockingbird). I did find it chilling and, in spite of that, I named my son Maxim (after the character). There is a sequel called Mrs. deWinter. It is written by a different author. Both are on my list to read again.

  5. My son and I read through The Deadliest Monster last year. It deals with the differing worldviews shown in Frankstein vs. Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hydle. Very interesting!

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