What Are Some Good Books Where Spiders Feature Prominently?
Posted on 9th of September, 2019


This is a rather unusual question and, surprisingly, books that feature spiders are not as niche as people might think. I've actually read quite a few of them, so here is what I can suggest:

1 American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Yes, I know that technically Mr. Nancy is not an actual spider, but he is the Trickster God Anansi who has the ability to turn into a spider and command other spiders, so I still think this counts.

2 It by Stephen King

Once again, I know that everyone remembers Pennywise as a scary clown, but in his real form he is actually a giant spider, which is even more terrifying.

3 The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

I would say that Shelob featured prominently enough in the book to be included in this list. I actually remember having nightmares about her after reading The Lord of the Rings as a youngster, and I think a lot of authors who included giant spiders in their books got the idea from Tolkien.

4 Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Just the cover art of this novel is already enough to send any arachnophobes screaming, so I would recommend this book if you are into giant spiders. The Great Mother is the most terrifying spider in the story, but when one of her spawns takes on a human like form, things get even more disturbing. At least it doesn't wear a clown costume like IT.

5. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

This book features a character called "The Weaver"and it wins my vote as the most disturbing spider in literature. It's not an actual spider and more of a multi-dimensional being who just happens to look like an enormous spider, but still. Oh and another thing, it constantly babbles out free-verse poetry, which is about the last thing that I would want to hear coming from a giant spider, especially one that can move through dimensions.
Ironically enough, the most disturbing book that I have ever read where spiders feature very prominently was a non-fiction book by Gordon Grice. The book came out quite a few years ago and contain the kind of stuff that would probably cause it to get blacklisted by PETA if it was released in this day and age. The title of the book is The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators and while it does include chapters on rattlesnakes and mantids, but the scariest ones are about black widows, brown recluses and tarantulas. If you ever doubted that a nature book could give you nightmares, then read The Red Hourglass. A lot of the stuff in this book is very disturbing as the author had no qualms pitting spiders against each other and writing in great detail about the ensuing carnage. Before I read this book I was cautious of spiders, but not exactly terrified. After reading it I shivered whenever I saw anything with eight legs, so be warned.

New to Manybooks Discuss?

This is where readers and authors alike can submit any questions they have about books. Browse through all the questions previously asked by our community here, or post a new question using the button below.