25 Oct 2012

Scary Reads for Halloween

It's that time of year when you can smell the dry cold in the air, there are leaves rustling around your feet and every shop window is packet with monsters and ghouls. Halloween is my favourite time of year, it means I have excuse to spend loads of time making an outlandish costume, which I can then flounce about town in. It got me thinking about all the creepy books I've read over the years. Here are just a few;

Shrine by James Herbert: I read this in my early teens, and don't really remember a huge amount of it, except the overwhelming feeling of dread every time I picked up the book.  It's about a deaf mute little girl who after seeing visions can hear and speak again. It was a compulsion to keep reading, somehow I thought I could prove that there was no boogeyman under the bed if I just kept reading. But with a book as opposed to a film it's a much slower eking sense of terror, there is no such thing as ripping off the plaster quickly. Even the front cover freaked my out, look at her!

It by Stephen King: This is another one of my early teen reads, thanks to my much older brother's book collection I read a plethora if inappropriate books quite young. It is to blame for a large number of people of a certain generation being terrified of clowns. They are creepy anyway, but he dialed up the notch to about 11. It's the usual mix for King with the ensemble cast fighting the supernatural; in this case a clown that terrified a group of teens and has now returned to them in adult life. When a book follows you around during the day and makes you terrified of simple things like a drain plug you know you are onto a winner.

The Body Artist by Don DeLillo: This is not meant to be a scary book, and it wasn't, not in the way the two previous ones are. But I found it unsettling. DeLillo is lauded as a giant in literature, his writings are an exploration of prose, the self, and are an experiment in reading. The Body Artist isn't really about much, there is a woman in a house who has recently lost her husband. The book is like a wisp of their relationship,and their roots in their house, her deceased husband is very present by his absence. A third presence enters the story(non story), he is never fully described, he is just there, sometimes he speaks in different voices, yet he has no voice. It was this character that gave me a major case of the willies. I had to stop reading it for a few weeks as I was too scared by this non entity, I went back to it eventually, which I'm glad of as it was a beautiful quiet book.

So what books have given you the heebie jeebies?

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