The Best Horror Stories EVER: Classic vs. Contemporary

The Best Horror Stories EVER: Classic vs. Contemporary | Strawberrry Moon BooksYou know what the worst question ever is? What’s your favorite book? Yep. Every book lover knows what I’m talking about. Someone finds out you like to read and they immediately seek to know what single volume you value above all others.

Seriously, never ask a bookworm this question. It is literally impossible to answer and just results in awkward silence while we puzzle over how to respond.

However! If we’re allowed multiple answers, and for our favorite books to take over the entire conversation whether or not you intended that from such a seemingly innocent inquiry, the question isn’t quite such a mood killer.

So with all of that in mind, I’m starting a new blog series to discuss my favorite classic and contemporary books in various genres. To start us off, I’m going with horror because HELLO, it’s almost Halloween.

Best Classic Horror:
Morella, by Edgar Allan Poe

My fave horror classic is pretty straight forward: anything by Edgar Allan Poe. But if I’m forced to get more specific, I have particular affection for his short story, Morella. It’s creepy and weird, (like all things Poe), with an unusual focus on the female characters. Although Poe is known for his female characters in many ways, and although both of the Morellas die tragically just like all women written by Poe, there is something unique about this particular story. I’ve always felt it’s more of a mindbender than the straight-up gore-fest that is so many of Poe’s famous works. The women in Morella are more powerful than many of Poe’s other female characters, even in death.

I really, really struggled to come up with a favorite contemporary horror novel because, honestly, I don’t read much horror. I adore fantasy and the supernatural but horror… not so much. I eventually settled on my favorite vampire novel because it seemed most in line with the theme I had devised for myself (and very nearly gave up on.)

Best Contemporary Horror:
You Suck, by Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore’s You Suck is goofy and raunchy, like all things Chris Moore, but it still manages to be smart and funny. It’s set in San Francisco, which was one of the first things I was drawn to about it, and yet it’s so clearly a local’s version of SF. Northern California locals have a different relationship with fog and bridges and absurdly steep hills than do most visitors and Moore shows off his love of the city in this book. It’s the perfect setting for horror, as noted by many a black and white filmmaker, while by day, it’s a jam-packed, teeny tiny, overpriced city obsessed with the 1960s and seafood. You Suck is pretty much the daily life of your slightly below average vampire villains (plus a little adventure because you need some plot to carry you through October on more than just a candy corn high.)

What horror novels make the top of your list?

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