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    Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Featuring original cover art by Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, these stunningly creepy deluxe hardcovers will be perfect additions to the shelves of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal aficionados everywhere.

    blog imageBeing horror literature fans ourselves, we have endless debates over which is the scariest book of all time. To settle this once and for all, we thought we'd ask our customers to share the book that made them sleep with the lights on and look twice under the bed. The results will be revealed a few weeks before Halloween and they'll be the most frightening reading list of all time. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    Just tell us below which is the most terrifying book you've ever read and you'll be in with a chance to win 3 sets of the Penguin Horror series! The competition ends on Friday 4 October.

    Update: Competition extended to Monday 7 October.

    Update -- winners: Alexander Theihzen, Alex Burchmore, Oliver Robinson The results of our survey are here!

    Competition now closed

    Posted by Anna Anna

    Categories: competition, Horror

    Scariest books

    Show/Hide Terms and Conditions

    1. 1. No purchase necessary. Proof of entering is not proof of receipt of entry.

      2. To be eligible, entries must be received on or before the competition closing date. All entries shall become the property of The Book Depository, and their directors, officers, representatives, advertising and promotional agencies are not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.

      3. The competition is open to all excluding residents of Italy. Parents/guardians must submit the entry for those under the age of 16. Images must not contain photographs of minors without an adult's consent.

      4. The prize winner will be decided by The Book Depository. The Book Depository will not enter into correspondence about the choice of winner.

      5. The competition ends as specified on the competition page -- no entry received after that time will be considered. The winner will be announced as specified on the competition page. There is one prize

      6. The promoter reserves the right to amend the specification of the prize or offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value.

      7. The prize winner will be notified by telephone/email. If the selected entrant does not meet all of the contract conditions, another entrant will be selected from the remaining eligible entries.

      8. The competitions are not open to employees of The Book Depository and their sponsors or their immediate families.

      9. By entering the contest, entrants, consent to the use of their names, city of residence, photograph and/or image for publicity purposes in all media carried out by The Book Depository, without payment or compensation.

      10. The decisions of the contest judges are final. The prize must be accepted as awarded.

      11. The right is reserved to terminate or withdraw this contest at any time.

      12. All entries become the property of The Book Depository, who assume no responsibility for lost, stolen, delayed, damaged or misdirected entries or for any failure of the website during the promotional period, for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers, access providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email or entry to be received by The Book Depository on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or any website, or any combination thereof including any injury or damage to an entrant's or any other person's computer related to or resulting from playing or downloading any material in the promotion. The Book Depository reserve the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend the email portion of this contest should a virus or bug or other cause beyond the reasonable control of The Book Depository corrupt the security or proper administration of the contest. Any attempt to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of this promotion is a violation of criminal and civil laws, and should such an attempt be made, The Book Depository reserve the right to seek remedies and damages to the fullest extent permitted by law, including criminal prosecution. Entries are subject to verification and will be declared invalid if they are illegible, mechanically reproduced, mutilated, forged, falsified, altered or tampered within any way. Entrants agree to abide by the Contest Rules and the decisions of the independent judging panel, which are final.

      13. Entries must be submitted by the named entrant (or their parent/guardian for children aged 16 or under) and will be invalid if found to come from a third party. Multiple entries from a single source (e.g 'competition entry' website/company) will be disqualified.

      14. For name/county of prize winner, please send a stamped addressed envelope marked The Book Depository, Thames Central, Hatfield Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 1QE. No entries should be sent to this address.

      15. Entry to the competition is conditional on acceptance of these terms and conditions.

      16. The email address and phone number you provide to enter the competition will be used by us to contact you if necessary, and will not be shared with other companies. The Book Depository will only use your email address in compliance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with our privacy policy.

      17. The Promoters have organised these prize draws in good faith and do not accept liability relating to the prize.

    Comments

    1. marius lukosius's avatar marius lukosius

      Bram Stoker - Dracula

      Posted Mon, 28 Oct 2013 08:21
    2. Julie McNeill's avatar Julie McNeill

      Steven King's "IT" but at least I read it unlike by best friend who was to terrified to finish it, I never did like clowns..

      Posted Thu, 10 Oct 2013 08:35
    3. stacey wheatley's avatar stacey wheatley

      the haunting of james hastings and the birthing house by christopher ransom

      Posted Wed, 09 Oct 2013 11:58
    4. Anna Robison's avatar Anna Robison

      The wasp factory by iain banks

      Posted Wed, 09 Oct 2013 10:52
    5. Anne Marie Farragher's avatar Anne Marie Farragher

      Even thinking about Stephen King's books spooks me...

      Posted Tue, 08 Oct 2013 01:34
    6. Miss Mary's avatar Miss Mary

      I put "The BFG" by Roald Dahl. That scared me as a kid. lol I had giant trees outside my second story bedroom window as a kid and at night they looked just like long arms reaching in. I've read Frankenstein and Dracula etc as a teen but I didn't find them to be check-under-the-bed scary. Looks like there are quite a few good recommendations to go by here though! Thanks people! I've added a few more to my reading list. :)

      Posted Mon, 07 Oct 2013 13:09
    7. Martin Roberts's avatar Martin Roberts

      Only one book has literally caused me to have nightmares, Angel Dust Apocalypse a collection of short stories from author Jeremy Robert Johnson.

      Posted Sun, 06 Oct 2013 07:25
    8. heidi's avatar heidi

      The Ghost eye tree book scared the pants off me when I was a kid. I only read it once and couldn't stand to be near the book again for years.

      Posted Sat, 05 Oct 2013 17:58
    9. Norma E Gayle's avatar Norma E Gayle

      I'm a Christian, and don't really read anything that is not about God or Jesus Christ. When I was you younger and before I became a Christian, someone took me to see the exorcist. It was really scary as they say that it was a true story. I never went to see anything scary again in life. Whatever is good and whatever is pleasant I think about it.

      Posted Sat, 05 Oct 2013 05:13
    10. Sarah Robbins's avatar Sarah Robbins

      Thank you

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 23:43
    11. Steve Monroe's avatar Steve Monroe

      Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis. Read it while l was interning at a Model Agency and working nights in a club. Scared the livin' daylights out of me. Read It! Itys masterful in that nothing and no one is ever as they seem and the things we take for granted in everyday life are actually quite sinister when left to thier own devices or put in the hands of the wrong people. Brets really under rated...

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 09:44
    12. Linda Salmon's avatar Linda Salmon

      The short story " Oh, Whistle, & I'll come to you my lad" is the scariest thing I've ever read, almost 50 years ago. From the collection " Ghost stories of an Antiquary" by M.R James, the title comes from a poem by Robert Burns. It was dramatised originally by Jonathan Miller for the BBC in 1966, starring Michael Horden. The scene where the bedclothes rise up in the shape of a phantom from the empty bed in the room, terrified me almost half a century ago &, to this day, I cannot sleep in a room with an empty bed! A simple story but pretty powerful stuff.

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 09:36
    13. Laurelin Wainwright's avatar Laurelin Wainwright

      Stephen King is THE KING when it comes to terrifying reads! I spent so many nights sleeping with the light on after reading his novels and was grateful when my young son wanted to sleep in my bed- he certainly wasn't the one who was frightened of the dark!

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 06:14
    14. king274's avatar king274

      Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill.

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 04:46
    15. rob price's avatar rob price

      The Screaming Skull and other True mysteries by Peter Haining has some pretty cool true stories in it. Dracula is a classic, David Morrell's Creepers was pretty good for a more modern novel.

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 04:15
    16. Jekki Booth's avatar Jekki Booth

      The only book which has ever scared me was Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Growing up with horror, sci fi & the supernatural has made me not only love it, but crave powerful storytellers. In Heart Shaped Box I found not only a terrifying, spooky and bizarre story line, but powerful characters, well researched background information to add to the layer of the plot and sorrow. That man has a way to make you love sorrow and pain, it makes the Horror even more intense. If you have not read it, look into every thing he has published under that name. Worth it. I am now getting through all of Steven King's novels.

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 04:01
    17. shirley macneil's avatar shirley macneil

      The Exorcist, I read this book while I was pregnant, bad mistake, even the movie was frightening. William Peter Blatty has the most unbelievable mind. Has to be the scariest book I have ever read.

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 03:18
    18. Caitlin Moushall's avatar Caitlin Moushall

      Check out Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories books - both the tales and the illustrations are the stuff of nightmares! Cracked actually has an article about them: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-reasons-scariest-thing-ever-written-kids-book/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fanpage&utm_campaign=new+article&wa_ibsrc=fanpage

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 02:29
    19. diane clavette's avatar diane clavette

      I think the scariest books are those closest to reality.

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 02:06
    20. Filomena Gaglia's avatar Filomena Gaglia

      Life is scary enough.

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 01:57
    21. Shirley Turner's avatar Shirley Turner

      When I read the original Exorcist it scared the heck out of me. I don't think any of the movies have lived up to reading that book.

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 01:43
    22. Maria M. Ovalle's avatar Maria M. Ovalle

      I have to say that The Exorcist came out when I was 17. It had a long lasting effect on me. I like Stephen King and other authors in the horror genre, but none that affected me like William P. Blatty's The Exorcist.

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 01:00
    23. Selwyn Young's avatar Selwyn Young

      Weaveworld by Clive Barker. But then again, anything by Barker could make my list.

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 00:24
    24. Silvana Hammond's avatar Silvana Hammond

      I must say Clive Barker - Books of Blood!!!

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 00:08
    25. Jamie Boyce's avatar Jamie Boyce

      When I was a wee one I read "Old Yeller". (We lived in a remote area and rabies was a very real threat.) I was terrified when poor Ole Yeller came up rabid after fighting with a rabid wolf. Couldn't sleep for weeks. When Stephen King came out with "Cujo", the nightmares started again. (Yes I read it, much to my dismay). Rabies..... now that is terrifying!

      Posted Fri, 04 Oct 2013 00:04

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