15 November 2012

8. book that scares you

[Real quick, guys: I just got off of work and, after a block or two of vacillating, decided to come to Starbucks and do work instead of going home and eating dinner/watching Grey's Anatomy.

I had no sooner opened up my computer than one of the baristas came up to my table and, without a word, handed me a latte.
Sign: accepted!]


Hello, friends! Long time, no see.
If you've been following along with this li'l books series, you know by now that sometimes I have difficulty making decisions. Today's post illustrates another situation where, much like the Favorite Young Adult Book post, I'm probably just getting hung up on semantics.

I mean, books can be scary in different ways. When I was thirteen, I read a book called The Oath that was all about demons or something and was pretty scary, but once I closed the cover and walked off, the effect went away. I listened to Dracula on audio book with much the same result, only I did tip the scales in Mr. Stoker's favor by cranking it up in the middle of the night, while it was raining and I was alone in the house (because that's the kind of thing I used to do for fun, guys).

I nearly picked Lord of the Flies, but honestly, that was another book I read really young and, aside from the infamous pig's head scene, I pretty much came away from that with, "Yeah, kids can be pretty horrifying. Just like regular people. Is this news?" The Chocolate War suffered much the same fate (although seriously, if you have not read that book, DO IT, because it's amazing. You can get LotF on Sparknotes; it's fine).

This is about the point at which I realized that I was thinking MUCH too hard.
Right. What made me cringe while reading it, close the cover, stop and look out the window for a reality check because the Creeps were getting way too severe?
Two books spring to mind. For the life of me, I cannot decide which one freaked me out more.

This is the book that made me stop and realize that 'scary' is a really, really subjective concept. Because, as Mr. Gaiman has said multiple times, lots of children don't find Coraline that scary. I, however, have A Thing about eyes, and insects, and kids getting hurt. This story is about a girl who travels into a parallel world where people have BUTTONS for eyes, they EAT cockroaches, and her Other Mother is trying to KILL her.
I think I read this in the middle of the day, at the ripe old age of sixteen, and halfway through had to put it down and go take a walk.
Also, Mr. Gaiman is just really good at the creeps. He is, like, the Creeps King. (Not counting Stephen King, of course, who has essentially achieved godhood in this respect.)

... Then again, maybe he's not, or at the very least, China Mieville gives him a damn good run for his money. Perdido Street Station occupies a very special, very dysfunctional place in my heart, because it is about so many things I love - urban fantasy settings, steampunk technology, magic, mobsters, mad science and free verse (okay, I made that last one up but it really is in the book!) - and it is also very centrally about something that I, in a pretty visceral way, Can Not Stand. That would be, monsters. Monsters that mess with your brains.
Some people like monsters. They think they're cool and fun and make awesome Halloween costumes. Some people also went through an OMG HORSES phase as children. Whatever. I'm sure they're great people. We have very little in common.
I can't stand monsters, guys. Whether they're Aliens, Predators, or giant Dune sand worms...just, no. No.

In sum, you should read all of these books, because they are great and will give you an intense case of the heebie-jeebies. Then, once you've gotten over them, you should tell me all about it.

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