Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Books? Books That Totally Freaked You Out

What Books? Books That Totally Freaked You Out


What is the What Books? Feature?

It's time for another edition of my periodic What Books feature! It's been awhile. I have so many book memories from my childhood. Different books touched me in different ways and had came to me at important times. So with this feature, I'm highlighting books that affected me for various reasons.

See prior editions of What Books? here:

Favorite Not-Super-Popular Book Series
Favorite Ghost/Scary Stories
The Movie Is Better Than The Book - Check out this post for lots of fabulous comments
Favorite Obscure Childhood Book
Favorite Books to Re-Read
Favorite Books That You Didn't Love At First
Favorite Cry Your Eyes Out Books

What Books? Books That Totally Freaked You Out

Have you ever read a book that seriously disturbed you? A book that you couldn't stop thinking about. I'm not thinking of horror so much as a book that shocked you or threatened a deeply held belief. Books that freak me out are not the ones that creep up on you and shout "Boo!" but rather the subtle psychological thrillers that stick with you long after you finish them.

I'm highlighting three books that disturbed me so much that I refused to ever read another book by the respective authors. It's not that I disliked the books. The opposite, in fact. They were so skillfully written and upset me so much that I can never think of the authors or their books without a slight shudder.



I read this in my 7th grade English class. Specifically, I read it in the backseat of the car on the way home from a weekend trip to Flagstaff, Arizona. The ending was so freaky that I wanted nothing more to do with this book. Cormier takes the reader on a literary ride down a dark and twisty path. Then he ends with a proverbial car crash.



One of Australia's great YA authors. It's unfortunate that this has kept me from reading more of his books. I recognize Marsden's talent. Looking back, I am impressed at the quiet switch from normalcy to dysfunction in this book that kept building and building until ending with a BANG! I was completely shocked with the twist at the end of the book (ironic that Cormier blurbs the book on the front cover). My 13 year old mind couldn't handle it.



The Handmaid's Tale is a prime example of why I don't like dystopia very much. The book was interesting and reflective, in an extreme way, of what stereotypes and prejudices that exist today can lead to. I'd rather read about fluffy bunnies or sparkly vampires than contemplate a dark and dreary life with little chance of redemption. The Handmaid's Tale was too disturbing for me.

What book seriously disturbed you? Did you continue reading books by that author?

24 comments:

  1. Keep Sweet really disturbed me. It is easier for me to read books with hard themes if it is fantasy rather than fiction.

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  2. I am the Cheese twisted my head up like crazy.

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  3. Letters from the Inside freaked me out as a kid too, and you're right about The Handmaid's Tale being disturbing.

    The one that's always stuck with me is The Long Walk by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman. That still haunts me.

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  4. Hmm, good question. I don't have too many books that freaked me out but It by Stephen King did it. I swear I would never read another book like that again.

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  5. Great question, I will have to try one of your books.

    I am currently reading IT by Stephen King, Savannah has me intrigued more.

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  6. Oh I haven't read any of those! This is a tough question, I can't think of too many that truly disturbed me. The only one that comes to mind would be Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon only because the first 500 pages of that book are pages I will never in my life read again. Ash is a favorite character of mine and we didn't get his full story until book 15 and what happens to him to make him into the leader of the Dark Hunters was enough to just double me over and make me cry. So, not really one that freaked me out, but definitely one I won't pick up again even though I loved it:)

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  7. Most of Mary Higgins Clark's books freaked me out in some way or the other, and I did continue to read them. I don't know which book freaked me out the most, but I remember being in Albany, for business, at the time and the story took place in Albany. I was alone in my hotel room reading. I had to call my husband so that I wouldn't be too afraid to sleep, lol.

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  8. I haven't read any of those and now will make sure to stay away from them! I've toyed with reading The Handmaid's Tale.

    The one book that bothered me and still affects my dreams is The Stand by Stephen King. I'll never read another of his books again. I read it in college and even during naps I had daymares!

    Heather

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  9. I love Robert Comier's books! I've only read two of his so far: The Chocolate War and I am the Cheese. Both are gritty and hard hitting. I never heard of the James Mardsen book. He's usually known for his "Tomorrow series". I'll have to go and look that one up. :)

    As for me, "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess really screwed up my head. Also "Interview with the Vampire" by Anne Rice. Couldn't sleep for 2 weeks after finishing those. Check out my Top 10 Tuesday post on scary books.

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  10. I Am the Cheese is still one of my all-time favorite books. So, so good!

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  11. To add to the discussion - I might have to say Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. Eek.

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  12. I love I Am the Cheese!

    As for books that scared me in a horror-type of way: Helter Skelter (for non-fiction), which terrified me the first time I read it. My 3 subsequent reads were not as bad. I don't scare easily with fiction titles, but Stephen King's IT always creeps me out a little bit. I was also a little creeped out the first time I read some of his other titles (mainly Christine, From a Buick 8 and Bag of Bones), but he doesn't scare me exactly. However, there are a also a few Stephen King titles that have stuck with me long after I've finished them. Christine is one of them; it's my favorite of his novels. Misery is another, since I'm a writer, so it really makes you think. The Long Walk is the last one; it's fabulous.

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  13. THE GIVER by Lois Lowry completely freaked me out. Especially the end! And I'm with Kelly -- IT really creeped me out (anything with clowns, really. *shiver*).
    Mary @ BookSwarm

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  14. When I was younger, I was addicted the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books. Honestly. I'm still afraid of dogs that come from Mexico and I'm often afraid that a spider is going to land its eggs under the skin of my face. *Shudders*
    Ruby

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  15. I don't tend to get overly freaked out by a book. I've read Letters from the Inside and for the life of me can't remember what it's about.

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  16. Haven't read any of those but I've been meaning to read The Handmaid's Tale for ages! The first book that comes to mind as having freaked me out is Life of Pi... odd choice, I know. I'm referring to one scene specifically involving a carnivorous plant... for some reason it really freaked me out! The rest of the book was non freaky though.

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  17. Dark Song seriously disturbed me...in a good but weird way. I gave it five stars because it was THAT powerful, but still. Wintergirls disturbed me in a whole other way...never again shall I read a potentially triggering book.

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  18. The opening scene in The Gargoyle really freaked me out. GAH! It took me forever to get through it because I kept having to put it down and walk away.

    Very interesting post and comments. Now I'm interesting in reading I am the Cheese just to find out more about what you're referring to.

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  19. Great feature! Of these, I've only read The Handmaid's Tale, and I know what you mean. What a crazy depressing book!

    I'm curious about the other two books now.

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  20. Rubita: I loved The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books when I was a kid, even though they terrified me! The stories, the pictures. . . . The only ones that didn't creep me out were The Big Toe and Bloody Fingers. Those just made me laugh. I was flipping through the books about a year ago, and I was worried that they would still creep me out, but now that I'm older, they're not that creepy. Kinda makes me sad.

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  21. After Obsession was totally creepy. There's another one I read recently that was creepy, but I can't remember what it was at the moment.

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  22. amityville horror. gah. i couldn't put it down. then i couldn't sleep!

    i also found the handmaid's tale quite disturbing - a bit of challenge to read, but i discovered atwood because of it!

    http://guiltlessreading.blogspot.com/

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  23. Love this feature, great idea! I haven't read too many that freaked me out. One thing that seriously disturbs me is reading a rape scene though. The one that comes to mind off hand is the one in The Lovely Bones. I haven't read too many "scary" books though. I think I might change that though this year. Maybe I'll try some scary books out in October. :)

    ♥ Sarah @ I'm Loving Books

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  24. Haven't read any of these stories and I make it a point to stay away from anything psychologically disturbing or just disturbing really. Though, I am getting into survival horror books so I'm not sure how long this will last >.> Luminous and Ominous by Noah K.
    Mullette-Gillman definitely a book world I never want to visit and I hope what happened there never takes place in reality.

    I don't think I've ever read a book that has freaked me out -looks at goodreads list- oh Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson most of the book was normal or not disturbing but there was a moment in the middle when something really unexpected and tragic happened and upset me so much that I didn't care about the rest of the book same goes for Prophecy of the Sisters but it happened near the end. I was so upset that I dropped the series even though the book was really good I couldn't continue.

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