Let’s Talk Bookish: Can books be effective horror?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is Can books be effective horror?

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?

Horror is a genre I particularly avoid because I’ve never seen the point in scaring myself. And as much as this applies for movies, I would say it applies exponentially more for books. The lack of pictures doesn’t matter and personally, I think it makes horror novels that much scarier – especially if you have a vivid imagination like I do.

Do you feel other mediums such as film are more effective for horror?

I can’t really comment on which medium would be more effective, since I can’t remember the last time I ventured into the genre at all, but if I had to pick one, I would go with a movie. There are jump scares to relieve the tension building up throughout, whereas in a book, that unnerving feeling doesn’t go away. Also, as far as characters go, it’s easier to relate to them in movies over books, where for some reason, I tend to find them largely unlikeable.

Have you ever been kept up at night by a book?

I used to read at night all the time, but I’ve stopped in recent years since I figured out that a novel doesn’t even need to be scary to have an effect on my sleep cycle. Reading books of literally any genre before bed, the sole exception being perhaps comedy, result in some rather nonsensical dreams and a very restless night for me.

Do you think books can be scary? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


16 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Can books be effective horror?

  1. Kaya @ afictionalbookworm August 13, 2021 / 12:12 am

    reading house of hollow and listening to home before dark this year has definitely made me realize that books can and do scare me at times😅 i do think that movies are far more effective at hitting you with long-lasting scariness though, because it’s so hard to unsee something once you’ve already experienced it! great post raji!💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hasini @ Bibliosini August 13, 2021 / 12:14 am

    I find movies to be the scarier medium of horror, too! I also don’t like how I can’t control how scary the ‘horror’ element in a movie is compared to using my imagination when reading a book!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hannah_Cauldron August 13, 2021 / 12:07 pm

    I definitely think that books can be scary – the whole ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ series by Ransom Riggs terrified me! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hannah_Cauldron August 15, 2021 / 4:19 am

        I don’t think it’s intentionally scary (ie the author wrote it with the intention of horror), but the mixture of photos and tension made the series scary for me. You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. readandreviewit1 August 13, 2021 / 1:05 pm

    I don’t usually read horrors, but I’ve got a couple on my tbr which sound super spooky! Although I think I’d agree that movies are generally scarier. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. thatswhatstaceysaid August 14, 2021 / 3:01 am

    Oh I definitely find books scary. Whenever I’ve read a horror book my mind really runs wild. I start picking up on any little sound in the house and swear I see movement in the corner of my eyes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) August 14, 2021 / 8:19 pm

      Agreed, on the rare occasion that I do pick up any remotely scary novel, I read it in the daytime in a well lit room just to be safe.


  6. Read By Dusk August 14, 2021 / 4:47 am

    I love horror and I think they can be very effective in books! I can understand why it’s not for everyone though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) August 14, 2021 / 8:22 pm

      Thanks for reading! Agreed, books can be very effective mediums as they leave the visualization up to the reader’s imagination and that can be pretty scary!


  7. Sarah August 14, 2021 / 7:57 am

    I don’t read horror that often, more thrillers or mystery. I do think they can be scary but I find tv/movies for horror to be scarier. I’m not so sure though it’s just the pictures that make it scarier for me, but more the sounds actually. Those are what make it scary for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) August 14, 2021 / 8:24 pm

      Same here, I prefer thrillers over horror too, mostly since due to the fast pace, it doesn’t have that uneasy tension that builds up in horror.


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