Is it cliche to be writing about scary book in October? You know, what with Halloween and whatnots? Probably it is indeed cliche, but will it stop me from actually writing one? Definitely not.
I had my fair share of scary books, from one that is mildly scary to ones that actually became the fruit of my nightmare.
But, are all scary books always ghost related? Not according to me. Anything that cause me to put the book down is definitely a scary book. So, without further ado and in no particular order, let us all pee in our pants over these scary books that I’ve read.
A/N: I can’t promise you this will be spoiler free, so read at your own risk (but I’ll try my best not to spoil everything) and the level of scariness is measured by the number of the screaming emoji with one being the least and five being the most.
Fatherland by Robert Harris 😱😱😱
If you think the book has Nazi-like ghosts, you’re wrong. There’s not one single ghost but it is still creepy and scary beyond measures. I was always clutching my chest whilst reading this book, thinking that the worst is yet to come. It was so thrilling, and not the good kind, mind you. There was a part in the book where the author was describing some sort of torture which completely traumatised me (the torture has something to do with a broken glass and a penis, you do the conclusion yourself). I am sure that if there was a chance this book is adapted into a movie, I would never watch it.
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier 😱😱
I know this is a children’s story, but let me tell you based on experience that the scariest story is always the one that you read as a kid, and although I did not read this as a kid, I have the mental bravery of a scaredy cat, therefore this is scary for me, okay? The evil character in this book, The Night Gardener itself, is like the seeds to my fruit of nightmare. The top hat, the long slender fingers, the sucking of people’s soul, I mean, whyyyy?? Why must you be so scary to my 28 year old self?
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra 😱😱😱
The same reason Fatherland scares me, scenes of torture that leaves me want to poke my eye balls out, wipe everything I’ve read from my brain, and chastised myself for reading it and traumatise myself to no end. I mean, don’t get me wrong, this is such an incredible book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to people, but it doesn’t change the fact that the vivid description of torture is scary af.
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami 😱😱😱
Now, I know this is going to sound stupid, but after finishing this book (whilst waiting for RAM in a very crowded Incheon Airport), my immediate thought was, “glad I never liked going to libraries.” This book tells the story of the main character who really enjoys going to a library and one day he was locked in the library with little to no chance of escape. Imagine that? Being locked up in your favourite place? Oh and there are some freaky things that left little to desire when he was locked in the strange library. You think that does not sound scary? Well, read the book for yourself then.
The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey 😱😱
I’m not a big fan of anything zombie-related, mostly because it’s just stupid. Seriously, nothing about zombie scares me, well that was before I read this book. This book convince me of the probability of a zombie outbreak and what it would be like to have humans outnumbered by zombies. This book was crazy good, fast paced and scary af. No ghosts but enough to scared the shit out of me. From now on, I promise I would never make fun of people believing that zombie outbreak is possible, because it is quite possible, I tell you.
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix 😱😱😱😱😱
Now, to be perfectly honest, the books before were scary in their own rights, but this particular one is by far the most horrible one I’ve read, and I am not planning to read anything remotely close to this. I think there were a lot of reasons why this book was particularly traumatising to me, even today as I am recalling my memories to write this post, (1) I don’t like anything gore; (2) I don’t like anything to do with urban legends; (3) I read this book on a cold winter break whilst half of my dorm was empty of its occupants as they all went on their merry way to spend winter break, Christmas, and New Year with their loved ones; (4) I am just naturally a know-it-all with a timid heart. I finished this book in one sitting because I was curious, even though I am also scared. This is a story about an IKEA-like place and how it has a sinister history behind it, and the story centres on the people that stayed the night to capture what they thought was a homeless man taking refuge for free in their shop. Scary. That’s all I’m going to say.
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami 😱😱😱😱
The thing with Haruki Murakami’s stories are that, I never quite able to tell people what the plot is about. To put it simply, this story started of as a man in search of his wife’s cat and then unfurl a truck load of absurdities. Much like Fatherland and A Constellation of Phenomena, this book scares me due to its vivid description of torture. There even was a particular chapter in the book the detailed the process of skinning a human’s skin. I had to stop reading the book and distance myself from it for a couple of months.
The Witches by Roald Dahl 😱😱😱😱😱
Drum roll please, for we have been reunited with the first book that started it all. Yep, the book that cemented by conviction that I don’t like ghosts and/or scary things is none other than the children’s book written by Roald Dahl. I honestly cannot understand why my aunt would buy this book for my 10 year old self and consider it a wise decision. I don’t have to spell the book out, right? Surely, you all know what this book is about and why this is such a traumatising book for children, and yet if I could found my copy of this book, I wouldn’t mind reading it again just to proof whether or not this was a legit scary book or I’m just too much of a coward. Oh, and if you haven’t seen the movie adaptation, go and see it, it’s quite traumatising also.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind 😱😱😱😱😱
Now, this is another book with its own movie adaptation that I have sworn never to watch after being traumatised by the book. This is a story of someone with an exceptional sense of smell, and one day he smells the ultimate perfume, the smell of virgins (yikes!). The story then revolves on his quest making the perfect perfume, by taking the essence (whatever that means) of virgins (yikes again!). I read it back when I was in Uni and living alone, and I swear I had stopped reading it halfway through because I was so disturbed by the story to the point that I feared for my own safety thinking that some psycho might be on a quest for the perfect perfume and were on its way to get to me (stupid, I know). And if you think stopping the book halfway was all I did, you’re wrong, because I actually hid the book so deep in my cupboard that I only remembered about the book on my last year of Uni as I was cleaning up my cupboard. That, my friend, is how disturbing and scary the book was for me.