Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Chat: Scary Reads

This is in response to Misty's post on The Book Rat. Please join in the conversation! This weeks subject is Scary Reads. I'm a huge fan of horror, ever since I was little. I still read and watch a lot of horror, but much of it doesn't scare me in the least. Here are some that still managed to chill me:

1) The Devouring by Simon Holt

Based on the cover, I expected this to be a typical teen paranormal kind of romancey type of book. I knew it was something different when a horror movie magazine I like reviewed it and gave it a very high rating. I was extremely pleased to read the most nightmarish and terrifying situations that were tailored to the characters' personal fears. The Vours are the creatures that created them possess people and take control of the person's body, leaving them trapped in their worst nightmare. Reggie called the Vours, thinking they were fiction, but rapidly found out they were real. Her younger brother was possessed by the Vours and turned from his sweet self into a murderous, abusive thing that no longer even resembles her brother. I was thoroughly creeped out and it felt like a weird reaction to a teen book, but I hope more teen books push the envelope in this way. The second book in the series wasn't as good as The Devouring, but I have high hopes for the third book, Fearscape.

2) House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

It's hard to describe what House of Leaves is about: The Navidson Record is a book that irrevocably changes people after they read it and Johnny Truant experiences this as a reads the book with the reader. The Navidson Record and Johnny Truant's story are told at the same time, which is odd. It's a great piece of metafiction that also manages to be very creepy. The house from the Navidson Record is just a little bit bigger on the inside than the outside. First it's by a very small amount, but then they find an impossible closet that leads to a hallways that leads into the depths of the house where it seems endless with spiral staircases and interminable corridors. This is where the Navidson family explores, gets lost, and starts to break down mentally. The thing that is does best is play with time with stretching or contracting the space that the words take up and using bizarre typography, colors, and languages at times.. I've only read this book once, but it's always stayed with me because of it's complexity and unique mode of story telling. House of Leaves just got under my skin in weird ways and it's hard to explain. I'll eventually write a full review whenever I reread it.

3) American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho is the story of Patrick Bateman, who works on Wall Street and lives in luxury. The most trivial things like business cards are the most important thing in his life. He starts to nonchalantly kill prostitutes, friends, homeless people, even a random child. What's horrific about this novel isn't the detailed accounts of torture and murder (although there are no shortage of those and it's no picnic to read through them), but in the society portrayed. Whether his acts of violence are real or imagined (and this is a definite question by the end of the book), he needs them because of the vast void in his vapid, shallow life that is considered to be the best the 80's society has to offer. This is a polarizing text and many people won't like it because they can't get past the violence, but I think it's a very effective, controversial social commentary.

* posted without pictures for now because Blogger is acting stupid. will try to add them tomorrow.


M.A.D. said...

Thanks for the summary of some great sounding scary reads! I came *this* close to buying House of Leaves when Borders/Walden's was having their closing sale. Drat - now wish I'd bought it lol

M.A.D. said...

ps - we're all still drooling over your *EPIC* Z-read collection hehe

LoriStrongin said...

I really enjoyed American Psycho, and House of Leaves made me sleep with the lights on for three days!

Man, I love this time of year. So many great horror recs!