Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Scariest Books

It's Tuesday again, meaning another installment of the Top Ten meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's subject is scariest books, in honor of Halloween.  It took some scraping for me to pull together a complete list (including stealing from other people's lists) as well as a modification of how I think about the word "scary."  Normally I think of scary as being ghosts and demons and things hiding under the bed, and scary books mean me hopping around at night hoping that the things under the bed won't be able to slash/grab/bite at my ankles if I keep moving.  Most of my choices don't include that kind of fear but all involve some sort of creeped-outedness which continues to haunt me.  Getting started…

1. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews: I admit it.  I went through a shameful V.C. Andrews phase in late middle school that my mother really shouldn't have allowed considering the number of extravagantly-descripted sex scenes that take place in her novels.  In my mother's defense, I think that Flowers in the Attic was the only Andrews novel my mother ever read and while it does have incest, it's also probably the most prude of Andrews's novels.  Anywho.  This is creepy, upsetting, disturbing…  You'll never look at a donut the same way again.
2. My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews: The only author to make the list twice!  This is also creepy, upsetting, and disturbing.  It also features distorted time, death-by-prism, sex in a freshly dug grave, and a really mean cousin.  Scary.
3. Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo: This is not at all scary in the Halloween sense but terrifying in the "Holy shit, I'm so glad it's okay to pee in the ocean but wait I'm never getting in the ocean again because that shit's scary!" way.  Yes, it will make you say "shit" twice in one sentence.  I never knew that I was afraid of sharks until I read about the shark that ended up in the middle of New Jersey by swimming up a freaking river and remembered that beach that I was at in Bermuda where I swam farther from shore than ever before to jump off of a rock into crazily deep water and cut myself and bled into what were probably shark infested waters and oh my god a shark probably followed me to shore.  Oh, and don't go swimming in the ocean with your dog because you'll most likely get eaten.  I've completely forgotten what I'm supposed to be talking about.
4. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis: I wouldn't have thought of this on my own but a lot of other bloggers mentioned it and they are absolutely right.  This is completely disturbing and despite the fact that it's been at least eight years since I read it there are certain…er…things I still can't do as a result.  Cough.  Awkward.
5. Coraline by Neil Gaiman: In the interest of full disclosure, I never read this.  I did however watch the movie while flying to France last summer and that was the most unsettling plane ride I've ever been including the time when the pilot came on to say "We're really smoking now!" and I started hyperventilating.  These people have buttons for eyes.  Eyes.  Need I say more?  Yes - don't watch it in French.  It makes it even worse.
6. More Than You Know by Beth Gutcheon:  I barely remember anything about this novel except huddling in my old loft bed in my room at my parents' house terrified that ghosts were going to climb up the latter and that I would have to jump for it and all the ghosts waiting below would get me.  That's really all I remember.  I had to search "New England ghosts" on bn.com to even find the name of the book, which really isn't helpful because New England is the ghost epicenter of the universe.
7. Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix: I also had to search for the title of this book, which I accomplished by going to the "Plagiarism Allegation" section of the wikipedia page for The Village because M. Night Shyamalan totally ripped this book off.  It's about a girl living in 1840s Indiana except it's actually a tourist attraction and she doesn't know it and somebody stopped bringing in the modern medicine (sound familiar?).  What if this is happening to me?
8. Pet Sematary by Stephen King: This was my first Stephen King novel, which I read i when I was about twelve in the middle of the night when my parents were asleep.  Ditto my comment about the ghosts/monsters under my bed.  Did I mention that my parents' old house was built on what was once an Indian graveyard?  Or at least the golf course next to it was.  (I normally say "Native American" but "Native American graveyard" just doesn't sound the same.)
9. Welcome to Camp Nightmare by R.L. Stine: I knew that I had to include at least one R.L. Stine or Christopher Pike book on here and since I couldn't remember the specifics of any Pike book and living dolls didn't start creeping me out until just a few years ago, Camp Nightmare was the obvious choice.  It's all a test.  Ditto the crazed What if this is happening to me? comment.
10. Dracula by Bram Stoker: Okay, I haven't actually read this either.  Nor have I seen any of the many adaptations.  In fact, when I got this card while playing Cranium the other night, I was unsure whether to pretend to be a vampire or an evil dinosaur/dragon hybrid (we still got it).  However, I will begin Dracula tonight and since I found myself unable to round out the list with a tenth, I think it counts.

What's on yours list?


  1. Oh my goodness! I never read American Psycho but I found the movie to be sooo creepy! Camp Nightmare was SO good! I devoured RL Stine and Christopher Pike novels in middle and high school. Soo creepy to me back then!

  2. Totally agree about the VC Andrews novels, her whole catalogue basically made my list! And I've read More Than You Know as well, it really was quite freaky! I'd almost put it out of my mind until now.

  3. Haha I haven't seen Coraline in English, never mind French, but I can imagine! I did read the book so I definitely see the creepy factor there.

  4. I heard American Psycho is a lot more gruesome in the book. Now I really want to read it! Also I have never read anything by V.C. Andrews. How sad!

    My Top Ten

  5. There is something horrifying to me about end times.

    Here's my list:

  6. I have read just 'Dracula' and 'Coraline' from your list and I found both of them scary. I read the graphic novel version of 'Coraline' and so it gave me the combined experience of reading a book and watching a movie :) I didn't know that M.Night Shyamalan ripped the story from Margaret Peterson Haddix' book. That is really sad and he goes down several notches, in terms of respect, in my heart.