The Atlantic

The Books Briefing: What Makes These Horror Stories So Scary Isn’t Just the Ghosts

Your weekly guide to the best in books
Source: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Halloween is just a few days away, and here at the Books Briefing, we’re diving into all things spooky and supernatural. For these authors, horror doesn’t just come from ghosts or magic or mysterious deaths. Rather, successfully scary stories remind readers of the fragility and instability of life—something that the writers Victor LaValle andwhich has recently been adapted as a Netflix series, a haunted house takes on new meaning as it comes to represent the protagonist’s internal agitations. And lest we forget, some of our childhood favorites by Maurice Sendak and R. L. Stine gave us, ahem, precisely because the stories laid bare—and helped us process—our greatest fears about life and death.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic7 min read
The Contested Terrain in Your Google Search
Google’s knowledge panels contain helpful facts and tidbits. But sometimes they surface misinformation, too.
The Atlantic6 min readPsychology
A Massive Test of Suicide Prevention
A simple change could soon have crisis-call-center volunteers talking to millions more Americans.
The Atlantic11 min readPolitics
What Would Jeremy Corbyn Mean for Britain’s Foreign Policy?
The Labour Party leader could be the country’s next prime minister, and could well redefine its role in the world.