I’m back with another Top Ten Tuesday, just in time for Halloween! Every Tuesday, The Broke and the Bookish blog posts a new Top Ten list and invites its users to participate. This week’s Top Ten is “Top Ten Scariest Looking Book Covers.” Although I haven’t had a chance to read many of these titles, I still thought their covers were pretty creepy.
[When possible, I included book descriptions from NoveList , an excellent resource for finding new books to read.]
1. Scary Stories Series — Alvin Schwartz
How could I not include these books? Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories series gave me nightmares when I was a child, thanks mostly to Stephen Gammell’s truly disturbing illustrations. Brett Helquist recently redid the illustrations for the 30-year anniversary version of the series, and I must say that even though I love Helquist’s work in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Gammell’s original illustrations are far more chilling.
2. A Wind in the Door — Madeleine L’Engle
This is not a horror novel, but the second book in Madeleine L’Engle’s classic science fiction series, The Time Quintet. Regardless of its genre, I always found the 1973 cover of A Wind in the Door really unsettling: a disgusting ball-shaped creature composed of eyes and birds’ wings floating in the woods.
NoveList Book Description: “With Meg’s help, the dragons her little brother saw in the garden play an important part in his getting well and take her on a journey into space.”
3. The Pilo Family Circus — Will Elliott
Clowns scare me in general (sorry Bozo, Cookie, Ronald, and all other beloved clowns). You can probably now guess why I included The Pilo Family Circus.
NoveList Book Description: “The Pilo Family Circus is recruiting and Jamie is auditioning. He never dreamed of running away to join the circus, but you just don’t say no to a troupe of exuberantly sadistic clowns out headhunting. This book follows Jamie’s furious descent into the nightmare world of a centuries-old carnival where you may lose more than just your way.”
4. The Complete Short Stories — Saki
The cover of this book is deceiving, as H. H. Munro (better known by his pen name, Saki) did not write in the horror genre, but it certainly scared my little brother when he saw it.
5. Being Dead — Vivian Vande Velde
Definitely a creepy cover for a horror short story collection. The first story, “Drop by Drop,” is probably the scariest story of the bunch.
NoveList Book Description: “Seven supernatural stories, all having something to do with death.”
6. Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales — Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (Eds.)
I haven’t read this, but the cover is none too pleasant.
NoveList Book Description: “Provides the opposing point of view of a number of villainous characters from classic fairy tales, such as Rumplestiltskin, the Giant’s wife, and the tricky troll, in order to make their case as to how they have been misjudged and misunderstood for so long by so many.”
7. The House of Dead Maids — Clare B. Dunkle
Beware: creepy, eyeless dead maid on the cover.
NoveList Book Description: “Eleven-year-old Tabby Aykroyd, who would later serve as housekeeper for thirty years to the Brönte sisters, is taken from an orphanage to a ghost-filled house, where she and a wild young boy are needed for a pagan ritual.”
8. Eyes to See — Joseph Nassise
Yet another scary/creepy/unsettling cover that has something to do with eyes.
NoveList Book Description: “In an urban fantasy that charts daring new territory in the field, Jeremiah Hunt has been broken by a malevolent force that has taken his young daughter and everything else of value in his life: his marriage, his career, his reputation. Desperate to reclaim what he has lost, Hunt finally turns to the supernatural for justice. Abandoning all hope for a normal life, he enters the world of ghosts and even more dangerous entities from beyond the grave. Sacrificing his normal sight so that he can see the souls of the dead and the powers that stalk his worst nightmares, Hunt embarks upon a strange new career–a pariah among the living; a scourge among the dead; doomed to walk between the light of day and the deepest darkness beyond night. His love for his departed daughter sustains him when all is most hopeless, but Hunt is cursed by something more evil than he can possibly imagine. As he descends into the maelstrom of his terrifying quest, he discovers that even his deepest fears are but prelude to yet darker deeds by a powerful entity from beyond the grave…that will not let him go until it has used him for its own nefarious purposes.”
9. Devil’s Footsteps — E. E. Richardson
The cover of Devil’s Footsteps looks like something out of the Silent Hill video game series.
NoveList Book Description: “After the disappearance of his brother Adam, fifteen-year-old Bryan faces a shadowy, centuries-old evil presence known as the Dark Man that, taking the form of its victims’ worst fears, stalks the town’s children.”
10. The Best of H. P. Lovecraft — H. P. Lovecraft
The Best of H. P. Lovecraft has some pretty strange/disturbing/creepy imagery on its cover. Like, what the heck is that menacing face doing looking in the window? Since the images wrap around the entirety of the book, you really need to see it in person to get the full effect.
NoveList Book Description: “Offers sixteen Lovecraft tales of horror, including ‘The Shadow Out of Time.'”