Given my absolute wimpiness in all things scary, you are probably not terribly likely to take my advice on creepy books but that doesn't mean I won't jump on the Halloween bandwagon and offer my advice anyway. The scariest book I've ever read, hands down, was The Other by Thomas Tryon. Quite honestly, it still haunts me to this day. It is a terrifying pschological thriller and the reveal can still give me a good nightmare. I think it's long out of print but it is worth hunting down if you want a lock the doors, leave all the lights on, and wet your pants at every stray house creak kind of read. I made the mistake of reading it at our cottage on an island in the woods by flashlight when I was twelve (and no, I am not making this up even if it does have the whiff of the "I walked uphill to school in a blizzard" exaggeration common to we old fogies). I had found it on the shelf of a friend's cottage and had no idea I was about to torment myself for almost 30 years simply by reading it. Truly horrifying! The book that was scary at the time but has faded with time, I'd have to say Thinner by Steven King. The book put me off reading any more of the master of horror but now in my current incarnation, I sort of half wish I could have just a small piece of the pie in the book. OK, starving to death wouldn't be nice, but not being able to gain weight no matter what I ate is rather more appealing now than it was back when I read it originally. And finally (because I really don't read much of this stuff so I have few recommendations), for the creepiest book I've read recently, I'd suggest The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. It was a book club choice several years ago and I can still see the scene with the man crawling with maggots and yet inexplicably still alive. (This is not a spoiler as it happens in the first 25-50 pages of the book.) Horrifying and I set it down at the time with no plans to go back to it, ever. But anal retentiveness won out and I suffered through graphic and appalling descriptions of murders and crime scenes. I really think I'm going to have to quit reading along with book club in October!
Do you like scary books? Do you avoid them like I do? Which books still haunt your nightmares, many years on? Do you have any fluffy bunny reads to scrub the scary books from my brain?
This week I made my way through a charming read set in a cooking school populated by damaged people, watched as a middle-aged woman let the past overwhelm and almost sabotage her happy present, and went along for the ride as two Hollywood outsiders had to make the choice of their lives. What did you read this week?