Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wimps Can Enjoy Scary Books Too!

If you're like me and scared of pretty much anything that goes bump-in-the-night, then Halloween might not be your favorite holiday. (But the fact that there's free candy and dressing up saves this holiday from being ranked dead last for me.) I hate being scared, I'm not a fan of horror movies, and I'm terrified of the dark and of spiders (both of which are pretty much synonymous with All Hallows Eve). And yet, I love books that are able to put me on edge. I haven't read many "traditional" horror books, but I have read a fair amount of creepy, thrilling, dark books that make you want to look over your shoulder or check under your bed. I'll call them horror-esque. And while some of them aren't considered horror, they still have that element of gore or scare, or "oh my gosh turn around it's right behind you TURN AROUND!" element to them. So here's a short list of books that I've read and liked (but aren't too scary for those wimps out there like me) that you might want to give a try:

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Aliens invade! But they look like humans.)
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (People suddenly die from a mysterious cause.)
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (An environmental anomaly consumes all who enter.)
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (The only survivor of a mass killing tries to find the real killer.)
Day Four by Sarah Lotz (Cruise ship stops dead in the water. Very strange events begin to happen.)
Fiend by Peter Stenson (The only way to stave off the zombie apocalypse is with... drugs?)
Fragment by Warren Fahy (Jurrasic Park + Reality TV show)
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (Young girl wonders why she's hated and why people suddenly smell so tasty.)
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (Based on real-life events of a close encounter with Ebola in the US.)
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (Family buys house. House reveals terrifying secrets.)
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Scandanavian child vampire seeks a friend.)
One Second After by William R. Forstchen (Scary-real account of what could happen after an EMP detonation.)
The Passage by Justin Cronin (Epic tale of how an immortality experiment turned most of the population into blood-thirsty killers.)
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson (Exactly what the title sounds like. AI becomes self-aware. Decides to take over.)
The Three by Sarah Lotz (Three children survive unsurvivable plane crashes. That happen at the exact same time in different parts of the world.)
World War Z by Max Brooks (A "first-hand" account of the survivors of the zombie apocalypse.)

Out of these, I'd have to say that House of Leaves is the scariest one for me. If you've never heard of it, I urge you to go to your nearest bookstore and just take a look at it. It's unique in that there are stories within stories, footnotes that go on for pages, passages that are written in spirals (literally) and more. It takes commitment to read and is certainly not for everyone. It can be very confusing at times and gives the sense of what "going mad" must feel like. It's a book that stays with the reader (I'm getting goosebumps as I think about it) and has a cult following intent on breaking a supposed code that is written within the stories. It may not sound like a horror book from my description, but it leaves you feeling extremely uneasy every time you put it down.

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite horror books and why? What is the scariest book you've ever read?


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

I am such a scaredy cat. Of course books that I fear the most are the ones that feel too real -- like serial killer thrillers and stuff. My favorite YA horror books are Anna Dressed in Blood and The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. Both creepy, scary and awesome!

Stephen Kozeniewski said...

WORLD WAR Z is my favorite of these. But as an actual horror fan, I stand behind Edward Lee's BRAIN CHEESE BUFFET as the most soul-searingly horrifying read I've ever picked up.

Carrie Beckort said...

I'm like you, Tara! I used to be able to handle a horror book/movie, but not so much any more. I used to read a lot of Stephen King. I could pick any one of his books - they all gave me what I call "The King Chill". I've not read a single book on your list, but I do happen to have The Andromeda Strain in my TBR pile. It was given to me a long time ago, and I've never gotten around to reading it. I suppose I'll have to move it up on my list.

Brenda St John Brown said...

The Fifth Wave is one of my favorite books of all time. I swear, I DREAMED about it for a week after I read it. Another one that freaked me out so much I couldn't actually read it was The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. It's about a time traveling serial killer, although I'm not sure it's classified as actual horror. When I was young, I used to binge read Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Why doesn't perplex me as much as how. Those books would freak me out now!

Leandra Wallace said...

Long Lankin is one of the scariest books I've read in a long time. I highly recommend it! Though it'll definitely have you checking out the dark spaces around you. ;)

Tara said...

I've heard good things about Anna Dressed In Blood. I'll have to check that one out and add it to my TRB pile!

Tara said...

World War Z is amazing. It's a very close second in my list. As for Brain Cheese Buffet... just the title alone creeps me out! ;)

Tara said...

I've been very slowly chipping away at Kings' The Stand. It's the first book I've read of his but I love it. He truly is a master writer. The Andromeda Strain is very good and it's a surprisingly quick read too!

Tara said...

I've heard of The Shining Girls and have wanted to pick it up for some time now. I recently read a newish book called Love Is Red and Goodreads recommended that I read The Shining Girls. Love Is Red isn't really horror either but it has that mysterious possibly otherworldly killer element to it. And the writing is absolutely gorgeous. You should check it out!

Tara said...

I think I've heard of Long Lankin but I don't remember much of anything about it. I'll have to refresh my memory and look it up...

Tara said...

I think I've heard of Long Lankin but I don't remember much of anything about it. I'll have to refresh my memory and look it up...

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