When you're arguably the most famous author of children's horror, it shouldn't come as a surprise that people want to kow what scares you. For famed Goosebumps author R. L. Stine, the answer is... nothing. No mater how many times reporters or fans ask him, Stine answers the same way every time: "Horror always makes me laugh." It seems nothing — not movies, not television, not ghost stories — can frighten the master of scary stories, not even books. Not anymore, at least.
Aside from being terrified of Pinocchio at 3 years old, Stine doesn't frighten easily. He doesn't find his own genre scary, but instead laughs at things that would make most people shake with fear. In fact, Stine has said that he doesn't read much horror himself, but prefers thrillers and mysteries, and sticks to fiction over non fiction.
So, if nothing scares him and he doesn't even regularly read horror, what does R. L. Stine have shelved as his favorite books? While the upcoming Goosebumps film, featuring Jack Black as a fictional and exaggerated version of Stine, looks equally terrifying and hilarious (much like the books themselves), it won't include intimate details about the author's life, but instead focuses on the stories from the Goosebump books. But since you're a book-lover and a true fan and you just need to know, here are 11 books R. L. Stine loves that you should love, too:
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
R. L. Stine has said that Ray Bradbury is one of his favorite authors, and has influenced much of his work. One of his favorites? Dandelion Wine, a story of one sweet, sentimental summer in Ohio and the 12-year-old boy who tries to preserve its wonder, is one of the most underrated books of all times, according to Stine. Time to add it to your TBR pile next to other Bradbury classics you've been meaning to revisit.
Barefoot Boy With Cheek by Max Shulman
Stine started out as a humor writer, something that is obvious in his creepy yet funny children's books, and it is something that has interested him since childhood. Barefoot Boy With Cheek, Max Shulman's first novel, is a satirical take on a naïve country boy's first year in college, fraternities and all. For Stine, it is LOL kind of funny.
Liberty by Garrison Keillor
Lake Wobegon is a hilarious, outrageous place, so it isn't surprising that Stine loves famed storyteller Garrison Keillor's books about the fictional Minnesota town. In this seriously comical novel, the characters are vibrant as ever, their relationships are naughtier than before, and there is enough mischief and mayhem to last several Fourth of July celebrations. Liberty , according to Stine, is Keillor at his funniest, and you will probably agree.
Marathon Man by William Goldman
If you're a true bibliophile, then no matter how much you might like a film adaptation, you know the book is better. R. L. Stine feels the same way, and calls it Marathon Man a "superb thriller." Sure, the movie has Dustin Hoffman in it, but the book is full of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat as well as any thriller or slasher flick would.
A Fine Summer's Day by Charles Todd
Stine listed Charles Todd's Inspector Rutledge novels among his favorite underrated novels, but the social media-savvy author also professed his love for the most recent installment in the series on Twitter. A Fine Summer Day is the seventeenth book in the Scotland Yard detective series, so you better start reading.
The Haunted Mask by R. L. Stine
Every author has a favorite among the books they've written, and for Stine, it's the 11th book in the Goosebumps series, The Haunted Mask. When Carly picked out her mask for Halloween, she had no idea how much it would change her, inside and out. Creepy and funny, The Haunted Mask is trademark Stine, and it's no wonder why it's the author's personal favorite.
The New Girl by R. L. Stine
When it comes to his teenage horror series, Stine has a favorite, too — eight of them actually. The New Girl, which features a ghost as a new student, was the very first book in the Fear Street series, and it's nothing like the Zooey Deschanel if that's what you were thinking.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
When a children's book writer lists his favorite fellow children's writers, you know you should pay attention. R. L. Stine named Where the Sidewalk Ends as one of the best children's books he's read as an adult, saying "No one has ever been able to capture the way kids really feel the way Silverstein did. " I couldn't agree more.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
We've all fallen in love with a book because of its characters, and R. L. Stine is no different. He told the New York Times that Long John Silver completely "enthralled" him. A cunning, swashbuckling pirate is pretty enthralling, and so is Treasure Island.
Summer Lightning by P. G. Wodehouse
A humorous, mysterious thriller, Summer Lightening is just the kind of book that R. L. Stine could appreciate. Stine likes it so much, in fact, that he nominated it to the Thrillers: Top 100 Must Reads list, where it sits at No. 23.
Rosemary's Daughter by Ira Levin
Even though Stine doesn't read much horror, he sure does love a good thriller. Rosemary's Baby is his favorite, and Stine has even praised Levin's other book, A Kiss Before Dying, but has expressed disappoint that Levin didn't write more. We've all had that feeling, haven't we?