The Haunting of Hill House
by Shirley Jackson
What’s it about: a researcher collects a small group of misfits to investigate the possibility of the supernatural at a cursed New England home. What starts as a lighthearted romp through an old house, turns sinister and frightening once the sun goes down and the lights dim.
Why you should read it: one of the truly frightening and very influential (Stephen King borrowed heavily from it for The Shining) haunted house stories in fiction, filled with scenes of things that not only go bump in the night, but touch your hand and call your name. This highly literary novel was filmed very successfully in 1963 and very badly thirty years later, both times as The Haunting.
Not to be read alone in the dark. Don't say I didn't warn you.
"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill house, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for 80 years and might for 80 more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."