Horror Books I’ve Read Twice

Bibliophile and horror aficionado Greg Fisher has posted an article about the horror novels/books he has read more than once, and I’m very honored to see some of my titles listed there. It also got me thinking about the regularity with which people revisit their favorite books. For me, it’s extremely rare that I’ll reread a book, no matter how fondly I remember it. There are just too many new books to read. That being said, I have reread Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, Dan Simmons’ SUMMER OF NIGHT and Peter Straub’s GHOST STORY. But I think that’s about it. How about you, are you a rereader?

You can see Greg’s full list of revisited reads here.

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14 thoughts on “Horror Books I’ve Read Twice

  1. I’m with you-too many books, never enough time. But I would like to revisit some vintage King and McCammon books-maybe on audio book, which won’t take away from my normal reading time. It’s just another way to pass my 10 hour a week commute to work.

    • Let me strongly urge you to try audio books as part of your reading diet, especially if you want to revisit some favorite books. They’re great for commutes, exercising, doing most household chores (dishes, laundry, picking up after the kids, etc). Check with your library, they may have streaming audio books (like Hoopla) or downloadable digital audio books (like Overdrive) for their members.

      Let me give you a for instance: I read Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and I loved it — but not until I listened to David Warner’s ominously low-key reading did I understand what kind of woman Eleanor was. In my rush to get the story (I love Jackson and I wanted to read it for a long time) I missed key elements of Eleanor’s character which David Warner brought out. “Cup full of stars” will now, always be associated with Eleanor’s selfishness and immaturity. I’ve listened to David’s reading twice now, and discovered more each time I reread than I got on the first reading.

      • Greg, I have just recently started listening to audio books for my commute. I am currently listening to From a Buick 8 from Stephen King, which I somehow never read (it was during a period where I left horror behind (!!) for awhile). My library doesn’t have much horror, so I plan on making a list of books I want and have them get them for me from other libraries in state.

        The only drawback to audio books for me is when I really need to concentrate on my driving. I miss whole parts of the book and need to rewind them. Otherwise, I wish I’d done this long ago!

  2. Strange Angels by Kathe Koja is the only one I can think of that I’ve read twice. The first time I read it, I felt broken for weeks after. When doing a book shelf reorg a couple years ago, I decided to read it again. I was somewhat disappointed the second time. I’m note sure if I matured out of the story or if I remembered it for more than it was.

    • Oh man, that is a danger. Some books have depth, like The Haunting of Hill House and you can mine it over and over again for new insight. Others are great first time reads that don’t stand up well to a second reading. I suspect Kathe Koja’s story was in a third category. I suspect (knowing the quality of writer that Ms. Koja is but not that particular story) that you read Strange Angels at just the right point in your life for it to resonate powerfully, like a tuning fork, and “you felt broken for weeks”.

      When you reread the book, you were not the same person, in the same place with the same events and you had already gone through the experience of being broken (feeling broken?) and recovering. There is no way the book can have the same effect on you a second time. You are too different.

      If all I’ve written seems right to you then take comfort. Rereading it may be a mistake but it sounds like it may have been powerfully formative for you.

  3. Oh man, that is a danger. Some books have depth, like The Haunting of Hill House and you can mine it over and over again for new insight. Others are great first time reads that don’t stand up well to a second reading. I suspect Kathe Koja’s story was in a third category. I suspect (knowing the quality of writer that Ms. Koja is but not that particular story) that you read Strange Angels at just the right point in your life for it to resonate powerfully, like a tuning fork, and “you felt broken for weeks”.

    When you reread the book, you were not the same person, in the same place with the same events and you had already gone through the experience of being broken (feeling broken?) and recovering. There is no way the book can have the same effect on you a second time. You are too different.

    If all I’ve written seems right to you then take comfort. Rereading it may be a mistake but it sounds like it may have been powerfully formative for you.

    • Yes, I definitely think you’re onto something. I think it was at least 15 years between readings but it’s one of those books that stuck with me so I guess I was somewhat let down.

      I have other books that I’m tempted to read again but I’m afraid of the same outcome. I have not read The Haunting of Hill House yet but it’s now on my list.

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