As a reader, I have an excuse to stay in and read for every season—but I feel like my winter reasons are the best. I mean, think about it: It’s cold. It’s probably raining, snowing. or both. Even if you live somewhere where it never gets below 70 degrees, you can still say it’s winter, and this implies that it’s cold and snowing somewhere, so you are entitled to use this excuse. Other reasons to stay inside and read during the winter include: there are lots of warm blankets, you can make a fire, there’s access to hot cocoa (with extra whipped cream and maybe some marshmallows), it’s cozy. Honestly, nobody can blame you for wanting to stay inside and read. What else is there to do?
When I think about reading on a rainy day, I imagine myself under a mountain of blankets with a warm beverage and a great book. The type of book I crave on a stormy winter day is something I can read in one sitting, which is either a) a novella or b) a short story collection or anthology. Nothing says accomplished like reading a whole story in one sitting.
Here are some of my recommendations for horror books to read on a rainy day. Get ready to cozy up, curl up, and read!
Short Stories and Anthologies
Hark! The Herald Angels Scream
A fun and festive anthology which includes 18 tales of Christmas horror! There are some stories from some hard-hitting authors in here, including Scott Smith, Joe Lansdale, and Sarah Pinborough! The stories range from creep to downright funny. A lot of variety and real good time.
Out of Aztlan
This is my newest favorite short story collection. It’s a tiny little thing, and you’ll definitely read the whole collection in one day. It’s that good. Castro is great at combining horror and Mexican folklore to tell stories in her unique and fiery voice. These will stick with you for a long time.
In Dreams We Rot
I have to say, this collection is so underrated. I never see it anywhere and my question is why? It’s so dark and unique. There are stories about voyeurs, terrifying beasts, strange insects, and ancient sex gods. Talk about variety. Truly unsettling and heart wrenching stories. A must read!
When Things Get Dark, Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson
If I’ve never mentioned it before, let it be known that I am obsessed with Shirley Jackson. This whole anthology is dedicated to the work of Jackson, and it is an absolute delight. It definitely gives me rainy day, sit by the fire, cozy-time vibes.
And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe
This collection is what you get when you combine beauty and magic with horror. It’s whimsical, poetic, and scary all at once. There’s one story in particular called "Audrey at Night" that truly freaked me out. I recommend reading that one during daylight hours.
Novellas and Short Books
A Fig for All the Devils
A magnificent blend of horror, comedy, and grief tucked up into a tiny little gift for you to unwrap. I was initially drawn to this book by the cover, but upon reading the synopsis, I knew I needed it in my life. I mean, it’s about the Grim Reaper! There are also gorgeous illustrations throughout.
Another book that is sorely underrated. Itzá is about a family of water witches who live on the US-Mexican border. It explores many deep themes such as race and trauma with a pinch of magic.
The Bell Chime
If you’re a fan of psychological horror, this is for you! Psychological horror is one of my favorite subgenres, and sometimes I feel like there just isn’t enough out there. Kabbani is an excellent storyteller and will keep you at the edge of your seat while simultaneously scrambling your brain.
This is my darkest and most disturbing recommendation for the day. It’s about a teen mom who raises her daughter on the streets, relying on strangers for their most basic needs on a daily basis. While Doll Crimes touches upon some difficult topics, Runge does a great job of delicately handling tough subject matter.
Lucky Girl, How I Became A Horror Writer, A Krampus Tale
Who doesn’t want to read a Krampus story? I will never say no to a story about Krampus. He’s scary. Lucky Girl is a fun little story told across Christmases and rooted in loneliness, with Krampus lurking in the background.