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  • Jenny Kawecki 4:30 pm on 2015/11/02 Permalink
    Tags: , scary things,   

    More (Totally Founded) Fears That Keep Book Nerds Up at Night 

    Scary StoriesSure, there are loads of things to be scared of out there—your favorite coffee shop closing down, finding out you’ve been doing your taxes wrong for the past 7 years, gravity—but if you’re a book nerd, you’ve got access to an entire world of related concerns. And when we shared some of our slightly irrational (or are they?) fears, you responded with some that are definitely justified. These are the things that haunt us every day of our book-loving lives.

    “The very very worst thing in my opinion is when you find that a book series you’ve taken a liking to suddenly stops without an ending. Not getting the ending of a story is maddening.”
    –Adriel Morgan


    “Buying a used book only to find it is damaged and the end is missing (this has happened to me before).”
    –Jane M.

    “Some of the print is blurred beyond recognition, such that you miss an important plot point.”
    –Joan F.

    “Cheap looking amateurish book cover art that doesn’t even match the extraordinary contents of the book.”
    –Kent M.


    “People writing in borrowed books—especially when they’re from the library.”
    –Marcie O.

    “Reading by candlelight or near a campfire.”
    –Sarah B.

    “Running out of books when stuck somewhere (airplane, dmv…)”
    –Lisa E.

    “Broken spines, dog-eared pages, and highlighter marks. Highlighter marks! Why would you need to highlight passages from a fantasy?”
    –Katie B.

    “When you’re reading a book that seems very innocent at first, and someone looks over your shoulder to only catch it at the smutty part you just found out about.”
    –Aja J.

    And we’re all scared about loaning our books out to undeserving acquaintances…

    “Someone borrows my favorite book and doesn’t return it.”
    –Holly M.

    “Never getting a book back that I lent to someone.”
    –Amber M.

    “Lending a brand new book to someone and it gets returned with stains on the pages and a water stain on the cover.”
    –Laura H.

    What’s your biggest book nerd fear?

  • BN Editors 3:30 pm on 2014/10/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , patrick suskind, perfume, , , , scary things, , the veldt, ,   

    The Scariest Stories We’ve Ever Read 

    Scariest. Books. EVER.To celebrate Halloween, we asked our bloggers to name the scariest books they’ve ever read, and most of them got the heebie-jeebies just thinking about their answer. They explored the deepest, darkest parts of their minds to recall that story still haunting them today. We recommend these horrifying books with caution—they could make you sleep with the lights on for weeks. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

    Nicole: Boom. Hands down. No contest. “The Veldt,” by Ray Bradbury 
    There are a number of books that have scared the pants off me­—the collected works of Edgar Allan Poe, Say Cheese and Die, 1984—but legitimately nothing has frightened me more than Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Veldt,” in which a family is destroyed by its not-made-for-Disney Smart House. From the first ominous line, “George, I wish you’d look at the nursery,” to the last sinister cup of tea, the heebie-jeebies are set to stun, probably because the idea that our technology will one day be our downfall seems so plausible. I’ve never been able to look at children, nurseries, or lions the same way.

    Joel: Night Shift, by Stephen King
    The scariest book I’ve ever read is Stephen King’s Night Shift. I know, real original, but there’s something about King’s short fiction that burrows into my brain and refuses to leave (and I suss I’m not the only one, as 10 of the stories in this collection have been adapted for film or TV). Of course, it’s best read on a frigid, sleepless winter night, lest you realize that the climax of “The Mangler” is really quite ludicrous.

    Dell: Perfume, by Patrick Suskind
    In the grimy slums of 18th-century Paris, a baby is born and abandoned. Christened Jean-Babtiste Grenouille by the nuns who raise him, the peculiar boy grows into a sinister man possessed by a cool, dark rage and an unparalleled sense of smell. Though he oddly possesses no odor himself, Grenouille’s exceptional olfactory sense shapes his future, and his demise, and his obsession eventually leads to murder. This novel, originally published in German in 1986, is utterly depraved and diabolical. Indeed, I should’ve turned back the instant I started it, but instead I devoured it. Do you dare?

    Lauren: Helter Skelter, by Vincent Bugliosi
    I became a tad obsessed with the story of Charles Manson after reading Helter Skelter. It consumed my thoughts—I couldn’t stop looking up pictures of the crime scene. I set google alerts for Manson’s followers so I’d know if they were released from prison. I spent hours glued to my peep hole, positive my (kind, sweet, Mormon) neighbor was going to murder me in my sleep. It’s because the story was honestly the most horrifying thing I could possibly imagine, and Bugliosi’s crafty telling is so raw (Bugliosi was the prosecutor in the case against Manson) I couldn’t categorize it into a safe little corner of my brain called “stuff that isn’t real.” This is the weirdest, most gruesome story I have encountered. And it totally happened.

    Melissa: “Harold,” by Alvin Schwartz
    Raise your hand if you, too, were traumatized by the blotched, spindly embodied terrors ink drawings accompanying Schwartz’s children’s horror staple, a collection of stories so ghoulish I STILL can’t believe I found them on my third-grade teacher’s bookshelf. “Harold,” the most terrifying of the bunch, tells the story of two disenchanted farmers who take their anger out on a scarecrow they name Harold—until the night they hear his footsteps walking back and forth across the roof of their cottage. It’s not long before the men are driven out of their home by fear of their vindictive living scarecrow, but, of course, they leave something crucial behind. One brother goes to retrieve it and never comes back. What’s waiting for the other brother when he follows is a vision of such singular horror I can still quote it from memory. I’ll spare you: read and discover it yourself.

    Ginni: Child of God, by Cormac McCarthy
    An unparalleled novel of gruesome depravity told in beautiful, raw prose. Falsely accused of rape and then released back into the world, Lester Ballard is a violent social outcast roaming the hills of Tennessee. What he does in the caves out there is shudder-inducing and unforgettably disturbing.

    Shaun: It, by Stephen King
    I first read It when I was a freshman in college, though I had been terrified by the movie for years. If I thought Tim Curry’s Pennywise the Dancing Clown was scary, it was nothing compared to the book version. I spent two sleepless nights staring suspiciously at my roommate’s birthday balloons, waiting for IT to peek out from behind them. After all, what could be scary than a terrifying god-clown that can turn into a spider and feeds on children’s fears? I’ll never look at a storm drain the same way again. Enjoy your nightmares!

    Tori: In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
    UGH! THIS BOOK IS SO SCARY! There are books that are scary—like, “whoa, the mom was just a corpse in a rocking chair this whole time?”—and then there are books that are scarring, which is much much worse. In Cold Blood is the latter. Sure, it’s a work of genius, the suspense is unbearable, and the empathetic treatment of the antihero is something to marvel at, but I wish I’d never read it. The utter randomness of the brutal crime is so, so terrifying, and the fact that it’s nonfiction makes it that much worse. My takeaway from the book? You can live in the cutest farmhouse in the sweetest, most innocent town in Kansas, and you will still probably be gunned down after midnight.

    What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?

  • Ginni Chen 5:00 pm on 2014/08/01 Permalink
    Tags: alvin schwartz, , , , , , , , , , patrick mccabe, scary stories to tell in the dark, scary things, stephen gammell, , the butcher boy, , ,   

    Beat the Summer Heat with 8 Bone-Chilling Books 


    I grew up in Japan, where, in addition to fireworks and temple festivals, it’s a cultural tradition to tell scary stories during the humid summer months. Spooky stories are popular during that time of year for a couple different reasons. First, Japanese Buddhists believe that spirits return to their ancestral home during the month of August, so it’s the prime time to tell ghost stories.

    Secondly, there is a cultural belief that scary stories will both figuratively and literally “chill” you in hot weather. After all, when you’re frightened, the hair on your neck stands on end and chills run up and down your spine. Thus, theoretically, your body’s physiological response to fear effectively cools you off and you don’t feel the heat anymore.

    To test it out, here are 8 bone-chilling books. Give them a read and see if the creeps keep you cool!

    Child of God, by Cormac McCarthy
    By far the most disturbing book I’ve ever read, but also one of the most beautifully written. In a mere 200 pages, McCarthy takes you through one social outcast’s descent into isolation, violence, and depravity in the deep South.

    The Butcher Boy, by Patrick McCabe
    I couldn’t sleep after finishing this ghastly masterpiece about a young Irish boy. It’s narrated from the point of view of Francie Brady, the only child of an unstable mother and a drunken father. Like all young boys he loves comics, candy, and his best friend, Joe. He’s also a monster.

    The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, by Edgar Allan Poe
    Nobody can give you goosebumps like the Master of the Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. I get shivers imagining the dungeons in “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Pit and the Pendulum,” even when it’s a blistering 90 degrees outside.

    In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
    Capote’s nonfiction book is based on his own investigation into the murder of a Kansas family and interviews he conducted with the convicted murderers. There are innumerable true-crime novels out there, but something about Capote’s classic will haunt you long after you finish it.

    Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, by Alvin Schwartz
    These stories might be for kids, but mark my words, they’ll make an adult’s hair stand on end, too. I still get the heebie-jeebies from these classic tales, especially when they’re accompanied by Stephen Gammell’s creepy, drippy, oozy illustrations.

    Haunted, by Chuck Palahniuk
    Though not in the vein of classic ghost stories, Palahniuk’s collection of short stories will nonetheless make your blood curdle. The premise? A bunch of writers think they’re on a retreat, then realize they’ve signed up for something much more sinister. What they do in response is incredibly unnerving, gory, and entertaining. You’ll get pangs of phantom pain alongside the shivers.

    Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
    Shelley’s classic never fails to make me shudder while still pulling on my heartstrings. Frankenstein’s monster has been a ubiquitous and influential character in pop culture, but he’s become increasingly less scary over the years. Go back to the original Frankenstein and get properly frightened, the good ol’ Gothic way.

    The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
    It’s not a ghost story, it’s not a horror story—it’s even written for young adults to read. It’s nonetheless one of the most brutal, ominous books I’ve ever read. So far this reading list has been about murderers and monsters, but I’ve added one cult classic about a band of British schoolboys, stuck alone on an island with a conch shell. Why’s it on this list? If you haven’t already, just read it and see.

    What books have given you the chills?

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