Here are my suggestions for any aspiring writer of horror to read. This list contains not only horror novels and stories, but also books on grammar and other mechanics of writing and anything I think might be helpful. Though I will make a half-hearted attempt to put these in order of priority, but don’t hold me to it. I may just write these down as a I think of them I will add to it occasionally, so this list will never be complete.
If you would like to see a lot of what I have read and would like to read, look me up at www.goodreads.com.
I start this list with the obvious condensed into one recommendation: anything written by The Four Horsemen of Horror (my term) Edgar Allan Poe, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker.
“Supernatural Horror in Literature” by H.P. Lovecraft (even if you read nothing else under #1 above, read this for a summary of the history of horror literature up to Lovecraft’s time).
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The World’s Greatest Horror Stories by Stephen Jones (Editor) and Dave Carson (Editor) This volume contains twenty-one masterpieces of horror as recommended by H.P. Lovecraft. All of these are noted specifically in his essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature”.
“Lukundoo” by Edward Lucas White (included in The World’s Greatest Horror Stories, but one that in my opinion stands out from the rest as one of the best).
The Writer’s Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice by the Twentieth Century’s Preeminent Writers by George Plimpton
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Psycho by Robert Bloch
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (though science-fiction, this book is worth studying for its elegant use of English)
A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat by Arthur Rimbaud (though not horror, these works are notable for their use of passionate language to describe the agonies and miseries of love and interpersonal relations).
The Inferno by Dante Aligheri
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
“The Illustrated Man” by Ray Bradbury
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon by Thomas Harris