Monday, October 29, 2012

Freaking Scary Books

Guestblogger Natalie gives us a spooky reading list!

All Hallow's Eve is upon us (really?! Who else just cannot believe that it's almost November?) and if you pay attention to every word Neil Gaiman has ever said you know it's time to gift a few spooky books. While you're gifting, you might as well read a few yourself. I've been reading scary books since I could read chapter books--luckily my parents were of the "read anything as long as you're reading something" camp (still are, by the way) and never really questioned what I wanted to read (given, I wasn't searching out porn or instructions on making a pipe-bomb in the local bookstore or library--I probably wouldn't have found any if I were, actually, given the small Southern town and 1980s and all).

Contemporary book with a movie component: Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist: Give the movies, the Swedish Let the Right One In and the American Let Me In, a skip (if you've been under a rock and not seen them, that is) and read the novel instead. Seriously. The movies are just "eh" in comparison to the book which will keep you awake for nights. Nights. And lots of nights because the book is a doorstop. A creepy might-come-alive-and-eat-your-face-while-you-sleep doorstop. Each of the films reduces some of the content, obviously, but also takes out some of the scariest shit ever. Ever.

Contemporary book from the scary movie dude: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan: I'm including this one because it came to mind when I thought of "scary books" and it has it's moments as a modern-day-holy-shit-we-could-all-be-vampires-any-minute-like-that-virus-in-Hot Zone type book. But, if you really want freaky out of del Toro go watch Pan's Labryinth and see the wtf creepy dude with eyes in his hands. I may have nightmares tonight.

Real-life scary as hell: Anything Glenn Back has ever written. Kidding. Don't read that, you'll never sleep again. And you'll be dumber for it (and that's not purely political commentary, dude gets history wrong incessantly and there isn't much scarier than idiots who get to write books that actually sell).

Vintage {more obscure} Frights: Stephen King: I don't know so much about the man's recent work but pick up something like The Eyes of the Dragon or the short story collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes. You'll avoid the pop-culture burn-out of novels like Carrie or The Shining but keep the scare factor.

Get your flashlight and pretend to be a kid: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz: I can't be sure how great Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters is going to be (probably not at all given Jeremy Renner's inability to play anyone but Jeremy Renner), but Gidwitz's kids' book will give you enough gore to forget that "Hansel and Gretel" was ever whitewashed into Disney acceptability. Apparently he's written a companion book of which I'm just now aware, In a Glass Grimmly, that seems to be about Jack and Jill. Hello, amazon cart.

Get your She-Ra or He-Man flashlight and show the world just how old you are with your nostalgia: (Assuming you're all my age--which I assume everyone is) If you want actual retro-kid scary goodness, check out a few books by Lois Duncan like Don't Look Behind You (Duncan's oeuvre goes back to the late 50s if you're older than me), a little pre-Goosebumps R.L. Stine like The Babysitter, or Christopher Pike's Gimme a Kiss (or go for Pike's adult book, which I totally read as a kid: The Season of Passage). 

Obligatory {former} English Prof. plug: The Classics: Go forth and read Poe, Lovecraft, Bradbury, Shelley (but only if you get it right and call the big dude with bolts, Frankenstein's Monster; Frankenstein was the loony doctor, people!), Stoker, et al

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