The Classics Club Gothic Book Tag

I don’t often take part in book tags, but I couldn’t resist this Gothic-themed one hosted by The Classics Club.

If you want to join in too, here are the rules:

* Answer the 13 questions with classic books in mind.
* How you define ‘classic’ is up to you.
* How you define ‘scary’ is up to you (it could be content, size of book, genre etc).
* If you’re feeling social, visit other blogs and leave a comment or share your thoughts on twitter, fb, instagram or goodreads using #CCgothicbooktag
* Join in if you dare.

1. Which classic book has scared you the most?

The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Not all of his tales and poems are scary ones, but there are definitely some very eerie, atmospheric ones in that collection.

2. Scariest moment in a book?

The scene from Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes where the blind Dust Witch hovers over the rooftops of Green Town in a hot air balloon.

3. Classic villain that you love to hate?

I thought Madame de la Rougierre, the governess from Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu was a truly horrible villain!

4. Creepiest setting in a book?

Hill House in The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Haunted houses are always the settings I find the creepiest!

5. Best scary cover ever?

6. Book you’re too scared to read?

Are Stephen King’s books considered classics now? I think they probably are. If so, I’m scared to re-read my copy of The Shining, although I loved it when I was about fifteen!

7. Spookiest creature in a book?

I’ll have to say the triffids in The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. The thought of seven-foot tall plants walking the streets and lashing out with their long, stinging arms sounds terrifying to me!

8. Classic book that haunts you to this day?

I first read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier as a teenager and when I re-read it last year I still found the atmosphere, the sense of place, the characters and the beautiful writing as haunting as ever.

9. Favourite cliffhanger or unexpected twist?

The moment in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None when the solution to the mystery is finally revealed. Still my favourite of all the Christie novels I’ve read.

10. Classic book you really, really disliked?

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Maybe I was just too old for it by the time I read it – I think I was probably past the age when I might have been able to appreciate it.

11. Character death that disturbed/upset you the most?

One death scene that I found particularly disturbing occurs in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure. I don’t want to spoil anything for future readers, but anyone who has already read Jude will know exactly what I’m talking about!

12. List your top 5 Gothic/scary/horror classic reads.

I’ve already mentioned some of my top reads in my answers to the previous questions above, so I’m going to choose a different five to list here:

The Monk by Matthew Lewis
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Italian by Ann Radcliffe

13. Share your scariest/creepiest quote, poem or meme.

Linking back to my answer to Question 1, here is the beginning of Edgar Allan Poe’s Ulalume:

“The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere –
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir –
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”


What are your favourite spooky or Gothic classics?

25 thoughts on “The Classics Club Gothic Book Tag

  1. Neveen Badr says:

    Something Wicked This Way Comes is so creepy, I adore it. Mentioning the dark atmospheric poem by Poe gives me the chills.

  2. Carmen says:

    Poe’s tales are the creepiest ever. I love his atmospheric writing. I did love Frankenstein as well when I read it for a college class. I should re-read it at some point.

    • Helen says:

      I love Poe. I was hoping to re-read some of his stories this month for Halloween, but I don’t know if I’ll have time. Frankenstein is great – a true classic!

  3. Judy Krueger says:

    I have yet to read Poe. I will never forget the Dust Witch nor the Triffids. Netflix just released the first in a series made from The Haunting of Hill House. I did like that book!

  4. Charlie says:

    I enjoyed reading The Castle of Otranto, though it’s not particularly scary nowadays. And I liked reading Wuthering Heights if not the book itself. I haven’t read nearly enough Gothic books yet, loads on my list.

    Your scariest moment has me intrigued – out of context it doesn’t sound so bad.

    • Helen says:

      The Castle of Otranto is fun, though I agree that it’s not all that scary. The Dust Witch scene is much more disturbing than it sounds! Ray Bradbury’s use of language is unsettling in itself.

  5. FictionFan says:

    Great selection! I’ve just read the short story by Sheridan Le Fanu that apparently he later extended into Uncle Silas, and it left me wanting to read the book. Maybe next year, since I’m swamped with anthologies this year! 🎃

  6. jessicabookworm says:

    Helen, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë are three of my favourite gothic novels too! I am hoping to take part in the tag too – just got to find time and space on my blog!

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