6 Great Books to Read on a Dark and Stormy Night

The ShiningYou’re home alone, the wind is howling, and a steady rain is beating down heavily against your window. You put on your most comfortable pair of pajamas, pour yourself a mug of hot chocolate, and prepare to cozy up on your couch with a fuzzy blanket. Now all you need is the perfect book to let this dark, stormy night take hold of your mind, and we’ve got several suggestions.

While you don’t necessarily need ominous weather to enjoy these great works, there’s just something about flashing lightning, crashing thunder, and the heavy pitter-patter of pouring rain that creates the perfect backdrop. For an even more intense experience, we suggest reading one of these books by candlelight. You can always turn the lights back on if you find yourself getting a little too spooked for comfort…

The Shining, by Stephen King
There’s a reason Joey from Friends had to stash this novel in the freezer halfway through. If you’re going to get drawn into the world of a haunted, isolated hotel, you might as well do it on a night that lends some realism to the already spooky setting. We won’t spoil the plot, but let’s just say supernatural forces abound to create a tale that’ll rattle you to your very core—especially against a stormy background of your own.

The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, by Edgar Allan Poe
This collection features some of Poe’s most thrilling, suspenseful works, from the terrifying “The Pit and the Pendulum” to the fear-inducing “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Pick and choose your favorites and prepare to get swept away by the satisfyingly scary settings Poe creates. Throw in a little real-world thunder and lightning, and it won’t be long before you’re tempted to hide under your own covers until morning.

Dracula, by Bram Stoker
Nothing complements a Gothic Transylvanian setting like a pounding storm, ideally one that intensifies as you keep reading. Pummeling rains and wailing winds can only make this chilling novel better, especially if you’re reading it for the first time.

The Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris
Forget about the movie version. If you’re looking for a character that will truly mess with your head in the most thrilling of ways, Hannibal Lecter most certainly fits the bill. This novel screams psychological thriller, and against the backdrop of an already eerie night, you’ll be hard-pressed not to consider going to sleep with the lights on.

Flowers in the Attic, by V.C. Andrews
Now here’s a story that will captivate you in the creepiest of ways, especially when the dreary, isolated nature of the attic is echoed by a real-life raging storm. Reading this novel in an eerie setting of your own will elevate it in a manner that’s as thrilling as it is disturbing.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson
The first novel in Steig Larsson’s trilogy introduces us to the ever-fascinating and complex characters of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, who team up to solve a mystery with a twist so disturbing it’ll leave even the most jaded of readers reeling. The intricate storyline and cold, icy, remote island setting make this masterpiece the perfect stormy night read.

What books do you recommend for a dark and stormy night?

  • higgsboson153 .

    Better read a few more of these …
    I can hardly watch a scary movie without hiding behind the sofa, and the TRAILER for “Mama” gave me nightmares. (I’m 15!)
    But – though I’m an avid reader, and a “the-book-was-better-than-the-movie” girl – horror-themed books don’t frighten me all that much: I read “Lord Loss” when I was 8; “It” when I was 12; Dracula seemed almost cutesy to me (aged 13), with its slippery narrative voice; I recently read “The Ritual” (Adam Neville), and that’s brilliant but really, well, terrifying; and Frankenstein induced only a greater appreciation of pathos.
    Is something wrong with me?!?

    • higgsboson153 .

      EDIT:
      *”and that’s brilliant but [NOT] really, well, terrifying;”
      Ineptitude, how I loathe thee. *sigh*

    • shelby

      Nothing is wrong with you. Different people have different levels of tolerance for scary books and movies. I’ve read all the books you’ve listed and they’ve never really “scared” me. Dracula and Frankenstein are classics and have stood at the top of the expansive horror genre for so long. I say try and dive into something a little deeper. If not, try some Lovecraft. I’ve always liked him.
      Also, there is only a few times I’d say the movie was better than the book. Willy Wonka for instance. And not the Tim Burton one.

      • higgsboson153 .

        Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll definitely have to try some H. P. Lovecraft.
        Movie better than the book? Only once: TFiOS.
        (God, I hope nobody attacks me for that one :-))

  • http://www.wirralwriter.co.uk/ Alan Scouser

    The Rats by James Herbert is my all time favourite horror novel, and one I can highly recommend to read on a dark and stormy night.