The best, and/or my favorite, horror reads of the year. List is random because I'm so lazy.
The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris (1988) - A pinnacle of pop success that is also a damn great novel. Don't avoid it, as I did, because of the iconic nature of the movie adaptation.
The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty (1972) - Ditto. It's kinda like if Dostoevsky's novel Possession (aka Demons) were about, well, literally that.
The Amulet, Michael McDowell (1979) - Paperback original that transcends its origins. The grim South and a series of strange murders. Find a copy.
Son of the Endless Night, John Farris (1984) - Large-scale horror with heft that doesn't stint on the quality of writing nor on the blood and gore.
The Shining, Stephen King (1977) - Third read's the charm.
Anno Dracula, Kim Newman (1992) - A must-read for Dracula fans, a delightful mash-up of history and horror. One of the most enthralling books I've read in years.
The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum (1989) - What you've heard about it is true. What you haven't heard about it is that it's got a soul, and that makes all the difference.
Incubus, Ray Russell (1976) - Wish more vintage novels were this outrageously tasteless and fun to read. Gruesomely sexual and terribly sexist... or sexy. I can't decide which.
The October Country, Ray Bradbury (1955) - A must-read horror classic. Why I didn't read this 20-odd years ago I have no idea.
Echoes from the Macabre, Daphne du Maurier (1978) - Merciless stories of the random fates of men and women. The way she wields a pen is murder.
The Dark Country, Dennis Etchison (1982) - Jim Morrison once described the Doors' music as feeling "like someone not quite at home." Etchison's stories are the same... and he's not afraid to aptly quote Mr. Morrison once in a while either.
Other good stuff: Clive Barker's In the Flesh and The Inhuman Condition; the anthologies Cutting Edge and Shadows; The Tenant by Roland Topor; and Peter Straub's Ghost Story. I hope to get to review/collect some Machen, Blackwood, Crawford, and other classic writers in 2012... see you guys then.