October: The Perfect Month to Reminisce on the Books that have Terrified Me

When I was 13 I tried to read The Lord of the Rings. Five days in and I was having horribly vivid nightmares about the Ringwraiths. I came home from school that Thursday and couldn’t find my paperback copy anywhere. My mother had hidden it when I insisted that I would continue reading it until I was done (to be fair, I was crawling into her bed at night crying about the Nazgul).

Since then, I have been more or less terrified by a handful of books, and what better month than October to revisit these truly horrifying works of literary genius?

Scary books

Most recently, I was unable to sleep while reading Echo Park by Michael Connelly. I finished this book three years ago now and I still think about the final scene in that crawl space in the garage way too often. I had to stop reading this book as well and pick it back up when I was home for Christmas Break (I feel much safer in a full house). Connelly has that raw talent to make his readers feel as if they are in danger. My heart rate was up and my palms were sweaty for the entire last 50 pages of that novel. DEFINITELY a recommended October read.

Let’s move on to the King of Horror, Stephen. I have not given Stephen a real shot at terrifying me, because I know he will do a marvelous job. I stood in a bookstore in Philadelphia last November and I read the first 25 pages of It, at which point I fled the bookstore with sweaty palms and the conviction that I was about to get murdered.

Tana French. French scares the CRAP out of me. I had to put In The Woods away halfway through because it was getting to me too much. After I finally finished it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had to point out every flaw in the storyline to convince myself that it was just another novel. The fact that I needed to convince myself of this proves what an amazing writer French is. I also recently finished Broken Harbor. BH disturbed me so much that I don’t see myself recommending it to anyone other than M, who is made of a much more hearty stock than myself.

Last but not least, Defending Jacob by William Landay definitely falls under the category of haunting. This book centers around the death of a young student and the subsequent trial of another student, the son of the assistant district attorney. The twist at the end of this will keep you awake for many nights while you contemplate how well you really know the people around you. Creepy thoughts on this October 1st….

-A

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