Clowning Around: 5 Books About Clowns of All Kinds

Shout the word “clown” in a room full of people and at least one person will flinch.

That’s probably thanks to Stephen King’s It, the horror classic whose original film adaptation traumatized generations of accidental viewers with ominous whispers and blood-filled balloons. Now the villainous Pennywise is getting another turn on the big screen, this time portrayed by the uncanny Bill Skarsgård and featuring Finn Wolfhard from Netflix favorite Stranger Things. If you love clowns as much as I do, check out these titles about clowns of all kinds: sad, silly and sinister.

It is available in other formats.

Clown Girl tells the story of Nita, a down-on-her-luck performer barely scraping by as Sniffles the Clown in the seedy metropolis of Baloneytown. With dark humor reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk and gritty scenes that would be at home in Requiem for a Dream, will this clown girl make ends meet, or meet an untimely end?

If you like your killer clowns with a side of slapstick, try a taste of The Chocolate Clown Corpse. Moe Davidson was the most-hated clown in town… until he turned up dead. Resident amateur detective and chocolatier Lee Woodyard is on the case, but things get complicated when Clown Week starts and the streets are filled with red noses (and black hearts).

The Chocolate Clown Corpse is available in other formats. 

Lest we forget, clowns weren’t always the foreboding figures that haunt our nightmares today—their primary purpose was to make us laugh. In Clown Paintings, actress, director and fellow clown aficionado Diane Keaton curates a hilarious and horrifying collection of amateur clown paintings with commentary from famous comedians like Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin.

If you’re wondering how clowns earned their dubious reputation, you might also be interested in Bad Clowns, a scholarly work that examines the pop culture phenomenon of evil clowns that inspire the “contradictory human feelings of horror and humor.”

Happy reading—and don’t take a paper boat from anyone you meet in the sewer!