My Dad and my StepDad are both big readers, and big fans of horror novels. There was a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koontz around when I was a kid, picking through the bookshelves (and book boxes and book stacks and old trunks full of books) And when I discovered the horror novel, I discovered a world of wicked fun.
I believe the first King book I ever read was Pet Semetery, when I was about 10 or 11. Right after that, I dove into the three existing Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles. (not exactly horror, but for a fifth grader, scary enough) Mom got me Tale of the Body Thief and Memnoch the Devil when they were released, but I haven't kept up with the series since.
I recently read Rick Yancey's The Monstrumologist, thinking it might be a good read-together type book, and was a little thrown by the very graphic gore. We might wait a little while for that one. Several times as I read, I went "Oh, gross." Usually, text acts as a bit of a buffer And there's always something about reading something gory or violent that can soften it a bit from, say, watching it on screen, or seeing an illustration.
Graphic horror is one of those genres I read, but I haven't had any inclination to tackle as a writer.I like the scary, and the macabre, and the chilling, but gory and bloody are usually a little too much for me. My favorite horror movies are stuff like The Ring, where all the scary is in the atmosphere and the ever escalating tension, and also usually with the really horrifying stuff off screen. But that's the sneaky trick with horror stories. To know just how crazy things are going to get, you're going to have to suck it up and read them!
What about you? Do you read horror novels? Like them atmospheric or spattered in red corn syrup? :D