Important Notes To All DB Members
~prettyh, carabosse and your humble co-mods & maintainers of DB
** GOODREADS COMMUNITY info is located in THIS POST (LJ Members only) **
** Click HERE to browse the BOOK SWAP POSTS. ** (Last updated: January 2010)
** Looking for a quick rec? We're on Twitter! **
If you post something you'd like other DB members to be able to find on Twitter, make sure you add a hashtag to your tweet! Click #disturbingbooks and/or #dblj to see members' tweets.
This will be our official sticky post for our November read of Iain Banks's "THE WASP FACTORY." I'll be back to flesh it out properly when I'm not stuck in a room with just my tablet, but in the meantime feel free to add to the comments section if you've already started reading the book! As always I'll also set up threads for the Goodreaders among us.
Our post for "THE END OF ALICE" will of course remain up and active as well for everyone who read along with us last month.
Upcoming order of business: Voting on the coming months' reads! I'll be sure to have all of that posted here for you ASAP.
I'm psyched to read "THE WASP FACTORY" with everyone (despite NaNoWriMo likely kicking our backsides; maybe we should extend this one into December and set up our next vote for our January pick?) & will also be keeping an eye on the "...ALICE" post, to which I added my really long review in the comments section.
- Current Location:Toronto
- State Of Mind: rushed
- Background Noise:"Dove Coloured Sky," Neverending White Lights
Welcome to our sticky post for this month's book club read! Just like last month with Neal Shusterman's "UNWIND" (which I hope everyone enjoyed, and the post will remain up forever for discussion), I once again have no self-control, so I've already finished reading "THE END OF ALICE," which is all the more reason for me to say, again: I can't wait to hear what you guys have to say about it as you go.
Feel free to post any and all thoughts, questions, and discussion topics as threads to this post; if you're in doubt about whether you're spoiling plot points, you can simply use the spoiler tags (much like an LJ-cut) in your comments,
As this will remain a public post for the duration of the month, anonymous commenting is enabled here, as promised; if anyone tries it and finds it's not working, please let me know & I'll tweak things until it does.
Since I (and probably at least a few others among you) have read the entire book, there's a ready-made group of us who'll be happy to answer questions and jump into discussions already. Happy October, all, and to those joining us for "THE END OF ALICE," happy (?!?) reading!
- Current Location:Toronto
- State Of Mind: awake
Seeing as we've not had a post for a while, I thought I'd just pop in and provide a few links to stir some discussion, and perhaps inspire folks to write about their own "Most Disturbing Books" while we're at it. Have a look at these, and see if you agree/disagree/can "out-disturb" these wusses! I'm leaving this post open (rare, I know) for Twitter followers to come check us out & see if they'd like to join in, but yes, you DO still need to have a Livejournal account AND be a member of our community to comment or vote.
Now to the lists:
- Popcrunch's Top 10 list
- Another Top 10 courtesy of ListVerse
- A user's Listmania! list on Amazon.Com
- Recommendations from forum users at bloody-disgusting.com
- Some picks over at CuriousTribe
If you find any other great lists or roundups out there, please feel free to link to them in the comments section. There can never be too many resources...
Now to the poll. Surely some of us are rolling our eyes at what mere mortals consider "disturbing," so it's time to weigh in on the list that comes up countless times if you Google "most disturbing books of all time": the Popcrunch one.
( POLL: Here's the list. Which have you read? How would you rate them?Collapse )
Other things worth discussing: Have you seen any of the film versions of the above-mentioned novels? Any you'd consider even more disturbing than the source material? Do any of the choices surprise you? Why?
FYI: I've scheduled each of these list links to be sent out individually on our Twitter feed as well, so if you don't have time to go through them all in one sitting, don't despair: you'll get the bite-sized version over the coming days. :)
Again, welcome to the
~prettyh/Heather/creator & co-mod of disturbingbooks
- State Of Mind: awake
-Carabosse, one of the community mods
- State Of Mind: irritated
Title: The Torn Skirt
Author: Rebecca Godfrey
Availability: I found it at my library, so anywhere.
Though not very disturbing, I found this book enchanting and hard to put down. And it did have a few disturbing moments... I will try to explain the best I can...
The Torn Skirt is about a girl named Sara, 16, who finds out her boyfriend and his stoner buddies gang-raped a girl Sara has admired from afar. The incident is told to her by the guys, and they laughed as they told her how afterword, they stuck a garden hose inside her to "clean her out"... And when she confronts the girl in question, she says something along the lines of not caring. Confused, Sara skips school the next day and goes downtown, where she meets Justine, a runaway Sara's age, for the first time. Sara becomes obsessed with her, and meets some other guys downtown, putting her in a dangerous situation she doesn't realize. This book is fast-paced, a whirlwind of prostitution, drugs, violence, sex, rape, sex communes,and runaways... I loved this book. It was short, but worth the read. :)
Rating: 4/5 stars!
If my description was confusing, here are Amazon reviews:
"As a teen in the mid-'80s in British Columbia, Sara Shaw has two lives. At home, she is the responsible daughter who cleans, launders, and manages the bills for her feckless, addicted father. At school, aptly nicknamed "Mount Drug," she hangs out with a group of stoned delinquents. When her father suddenly abandons her, she leaves home for the back alleys of Victoria where she is swept into the world of runaways, pimps, prostitutes, and addicts. Despite the graphic sexual situations and language, this is a touching book about a sensitive, articulate teen who longs for security while recklessly courting danger. She misses her mother who still lives in the commune Sara and her father had left. She regrets not befriending a girl at her school, and tries to compensate by helping the young women she meets on the streets and in a shelter. She imagines life with the kind foster family she is offered, but can't make herself leave the streets and go to them. This first novel is suspenseful, surprisingly funny, and thought provoking. Godfrey's portrayal of the anguish and hope of troubled teens has a searing authenticity."
Kathy Tewell, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
From Publishers Weekly"When Sara's hippie father catches her masturbating after school, he can't handle what he's witnessed. In one of this whip-smart debut's many surreal scenes, he decides to move out effective immediately. Godfrey's novel is full of equally disconcerting episodes, but its brash honesty gives them a giddily delightful spin. The departure of 16-year-old Sara's single father leaves her to fend for herself, and she quickly heads down the wrong path in mid-'80s Victoria, British Columbia. An obsession with Justine, a strangely alluring street girl, leads her into the red-light district, where she meets China, a teenage prostitute who persuades Sara to help her rob a john. As the new friends flee the crime scene, the deceived man threatens Sara, vowing to get revenge. Sure enough, just as she finally finds Justine again, she is accosted by the man, and Justine nearly kills him with a knife belonging to Sara. Though the book is a hell-ride through the lives of burned-out teens killing time in homeless shelters and drug houses, the scenery is transformed by Godfrey's angry cleverness: one character is "like the rising rowdy moment of a party just before the cops arrive and send everyone home." Though secondary figures like Sara's father and China don't get the thorough treatment Godfrey gives Sara, Godfrey's singular voice is a perfect barometer of teenage rage and insecurity."
- Current Location:Comfy Chair
- State Of Mind: crazy
- Background Noise:sirens of cop cars
Especially if you are using your entry to review or discuss a particular book.
Even if you aren't posting about a particular book, subject headers are a Good Thing.
In English, our teacher has asked us to pick a book to do God knows what with. Her specifications were that it must be American Literature and it must be from a long time ago (vague instructions are vague). No Stephen King, no Poppy Z. Brite D:.
That being said, the subject is negotiable. (Which, of course, had me taking advantage of it like nobody's business.)
Any really creepy/scary/disgustingly wonderful suggestions?
I really enjoyed Exquisite Corpse by Brite and Pet Semetary by King.
edit: the book must be from before the 1970's
Available on Amazon and in most libraries
Triggers: stalking, kidnap, imprisonment
Frederick/Ferdinand Clegg collects butterflies and works at a sterile job as a clerk. Bereft of social skills he admires and stalks a pretty young art student, Miranda Grey. Winning a large amount of money in a lottery allows him to extend his collection to a living specimen, secured in the basement of a country house he is able to buy. Here he hopes for love, and catalogues his captive's behaviour. His captive keeps a diary, and tries various means of escape.
The story is told in three parts, and switches between the two main characters so that both points of view are given. Fowles uses the story to reflect on class differences, the nature of art, and other preoccupations that are highlighted by the differences between the characters. A chilling conclusion is reached.
The novel was made into a film in 1965, starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, directed by William Wyler.
John Fowles wrote another disturbing book, "The Magus" (separate post), and went on to find international fame as the author of "The French Lieutenant's Woman", made into a film starring Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep.
- Current Location:England
Triggers: Mild blood/gore, animal 'abuse' (I wouldn't really call it abuse, but I can't say anything more without giving it away).
"Set in a small town in Maine to which a doctor, Louis Creed, and his family have moved from Chicago, "Pet Semetary" begins with a visit to the graveyard in the woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets. But behind the "pet sematary," there is another burial ground, one that lures people to it with seductive promises . . . and ungodly temptations."
I'm pretty sure most people have read this book at this point, but I'm still going to recommend it for anyone who hasn't.
I, myself, just finished reading it and WOW. My favourite King books are the Dark Half and the Shining, but I think this one just blew those out of the water.
What I think I loved the most about this book was that crawling, creeping sense of unease that starts the minute they visit the Sematary for the first time, and it never, ever goes away throughout the whole book. I'm not sure about anyone else, but when I read this book, there was just this heavy doom-ish feeling throughout the entire book. It wasn't outright frightening, but I just loved the whole air it had about it.
It might just be my overactive imagination, but I could see everything in this book in my head in vivid detail. What really got me, I don't know why, was that laughing thing in the swamp- I could just hear it.
The last 50 pages were amazing. The pace suddenly just rockets, and it doesn't relent until you close the back cover of the book.
I don't want to say anything else, since I don't want to give any details away, so I'm just going to say- if you haven't read this, you must.
- Current Location:Living Room
- State Of Mind: awake
Sleeping Beauty by Stanley Burns
Sleeping Beauty on Amazon
There was a specific little boy in Sleeping Beauty who affected me. I got my mitts on this book back in 1996, and when I finally got my own copy in 2006, I immediately paged until I found him. The sight of him didn't leave me in over a decade.
( Pic of the boy and explanation of my obsession with poor, dead CharleyCollapse )
I just wanted to give everyone a heads up, in case folks are wondering what on earth your humble mods are up to in the coming days: We'll be closing down new memberships, just for a day or two, while we catch up on archiving the massive number of posts we've been getting each day. (I've been sick & am the main reason we're behind at all - my apologies!) I don't think we'll need to moderate post submissions while we're at it, but on the off chance you do submit an entry and you get a note saying it's been put into the moderation queue, that's why. It's a very temporary measure, as I said - a couple of days, probably - so no worries!
In the meantime, my co-mods have been working like crazy to add more tags to incoming entries (and you're welcome and encouraged to tag the entries you post with the keywords we've made available, too - that helps keep it more accurate, since you know more about the book than we do!); that means that you'll be able to find a ton of recs for each topic we have listed so far. For that reason, we ask that the posts asking for general "what should I read next?" or "can someone tell me a good book about...?" be eliminated whenever possible. The reason for this is twofold: 1) That's what the tags and Memories are for! and 2) You might run into some displeased members who've just recommended some good titles in the last page or two, which are easily find-able before posting to ask. Just looking to keep things as simple and organized as possible!
Also likely of interest to many of you: We've been discussing setting up a sister community that will act as a "book club" of sorts, or a reading group/book list. One of our enterprising members approached me with the suggestion, and it's a great one; it would allow for any of us who are interested to join and read the same twisted books at the same time, and be able to discuss them with fellow members. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted as this develops, and we'll post a link once it's been created.
It's back to bed for this sickly mod, but I hope everyone is finding some great new reads here, and I extend a big "WELCOME!" to all of our new members, as well as a huge THANK YOU to our original clan who've weathered this past week's changes graciously and, in some cases, very helpfully!
- State Of Mind: sick
AUTHOR: Joseph R. Sims
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?:
family drama, straight & gay sex, murder, drugs, rape, you name it!
Kale Helmer needs to escape his pathetically bland existence in suburbia. His answer is college. In particular, the small college town, Grover, notorious for its wild party scene. To cope with all of the family drama back home, including his younger brother's eating disorder, his father's abuse, and his best friend's volatile relationship; Kale embraces a variety of new addictions to clear his head. The most addictive of which, is his new found relationship with his college roommate's friend's younger brother, Jordan. A relationship, his family would never approve of.
In the whirlwind that ensues, Kale has to sort out what takes precedence in his life; the drugs, the friendships, the boy or the extended family back home that still wants to control his life from hundreds of miles away. Kale must juggle it all, while trying to save his own sanity from his father who wants to see him fail most of all.
- State Of Mind: tired
The Woods are Dark by Richard Laymon
There are 2 versions of this novel - it was released in 1981 only after it was heavily butchered by the editors (almost 50 pages were removed). In 2008 the original, unedited version was released and this is the version that I just read, last night in one shot, lol.
I don't want to give too much away so all I have to say is that the novel is fucked up on page 1 and after that I really don't think there were any pages that weren't fucked up, lol.
( Little bit of a summary - not really a spoiler but just in case...Collapse )
There were a few opinions on the original post but I thought we could talk about it again.
I thought it was a good novel but I felt that it was lacking a certain "something" when compared to some of my other favorite novels such as 1984, Brave New World, and The Giver.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?
- State Of Mind: curious
"Exquisite Corpse" and "Drawing Blood" by Poppy Z. Brite.
The former is downright graphic and haunted me with the sex/death combo, and the latter was just gutwrenching with the first chapter's graphic description of a little boy witnessing murders.
2) Do you like George Orwell?
3) Are you pissed that Al Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize for all his "Global Warming" BS?
If you answered "Yes" to any of those questions then I highly recommend State of Fear by Michael Crichton.
I'm a big fan of dystopian and conspiracy theory novels and I loved this novel. I own a copy of all fictional novels by Michael Crichton however I discovered that for some reason I have 2 Hard Cover copies of this novel; Therefore I'm having a contest to give it away :)
THE FIRST PERSON TO ANSWER MY QUESTION CORRECTLY RECEIVES MY EXTRA COPY OF THIS BOOK - PLEASE DON'T ANSWER UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY WANT THE BOOK EVEN IF YOU KNOW THE ANSWER!!
Michael Crichton makes reference to George Orwell in this novel so I think it's only fitting that the question be about one of his most well-known novels - Here is your question:
In the novel "1984" by George Orwell what is the character Winston Smith's greatest fear?
- All about Banned Books Week
- The most challenged books of 2007
- The 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990-2000
- The 10 most frequently challenged authors from 1990-2004 (Judy Blume?? Seriously??)
- And, apparently, the top 10 most challenged authors of '07 are:
1) Robert Cormier
2) Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3) Mark Twain
4) Toni Morrison
5) Philip Pullman
6) Kevin Henkes
7) Lois Lowry
8) Chris Crutcher
9) Lauren Myracle
10) Joann Sfar
Nary a one of those have appeared in our recs (or...did Lois Lowry...?). Clearly these judges don't know what sorts of horrors are really out there!
** ETA (Nov. 7/08): PLEASE NOTE THAT NON-MEMBERS' COMMENTS APPEAR TO BE SCREENED BY DEFAULT. We haven't figured out why or how to change this, so while we're working on it, our only suggestion is to JOIN! All of the past week's posts are Members Only, too, so if you're not a member, you're missing out on a massive selection of entries. **
- State Of Mind: calm
AUTHOR: Jonathan Maberry
AVAILABILITY? 2008 release date, so it should be widely available in stores.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? I debated with myself whether this really counted as a disturbing book. Is the book truly traumatizing? No, not really. However, learning that it is medically possible to have some form of real-life zombie plague bothered me rather a lot, because pandemics already freak me out without adding that extra element. ( Read more...Collapse )
Last summer sometime, I was lazing about on a Sunday morning and happened to catch an HBO movie about which I'd heard nothing before. It was called "Longford", and it opened up a whole new world of books to hunt down. The movie chronicled the Moors Murders, committed by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and between the amazing performances (Andy Serkis as a serial killer? Oh, hell, yeah!) and the gruesome subject matter, I was hooked.
So I now come bearing the book that Ian Brady has written whilst serving his bazillion life sentences in an English asylum for the criminally insane. (I guess he wrote it between hunger strikes...?) I've only just begun reading, but it's definitely grabbed my interest. Also, fans of Peter Sotos, take note: he wrote the afterword about the horrifying audiotapes that would eventually blow the lid off Myra Hindley's involvement in the rapes and murders.
TITLE: THE GATES OF JANUS: Serial Killing And Its Analysis (also titled "The Gates Of Janus: An Analysis of Serial Murder by England's Most Hated Criminal")
AUTHOR: Ian Brady
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?: Having not read it to its completion yet, I defer to the wise words of Amazon and such to explain why this book might be of interest to you...although I think a book about serial murder BY a serial killer automatically scores some points on the "WTF" scale.
From Publisher's Weekly:
The infamous "Moors Murderer," writing from his U.K. jail cell, Brady provides a rambling account of the socio-philosophical and psychological genesis of the modern day serial killer, but it's emphatically "not an apologia." The child pornographer and convicted killer (of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey, 12-year-old John Kilbride and others) spends the first half of the book contending that killers such as himself, who are free from societal, religious and moral chains, are able to provide greater insight into the criminal mind than psychiatrists, crime reporters or police. But this argument, in and of itself, is unsurprising, and any logical authority Brady might have been able to build up is undermined by page after page of his nihilistic ranting. Pointing to myriad problems present in overpopulated, self-satisfied, privileged societies, Brady imagines contemporary culture as a breeding ground for serial killers. To prove his point, he attempts psychological profiles of Henry Lee Lucas, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy and other notorious killers. But these chapters are not profiles so much as they are detailed accounts of the gruesome crimes committed. While revisiting such felonies might be enjoyable for the hardcore true crime fan, for most readers the depictions will feel as gratuitous as the heinous crimes they describe. The relentlessly abrasive and controversial social critic [Peter] Sotos (Pure), an aficionado of murders recorded on audio tape, adds a provocative afterword.
I'd have to agree; Brady does seem to spend a lot of time peacocking about and discussing how much smarter he is than anyone who's tried to analyze him. But that makes the book fascinating in a way that's different from your average "let's look into the mind of a killer" tome. To actually read Brady's words, arrogant and nihilistic though they may be, is a breed of chilling that's all its own.
NOTE! Our first anniversary (September 18th) is fast approaching, and we the Mods are contemplating various ways to mark it (giveaways, for instance; a PayPal raffle ticket setup where $1 buys you 3 shots at one of the books we've featured; etc.). If you have any suggestions, please feel free to add them to the Suggestion Post! We're also looking into the possibility of a community-wide Book Trade, which would give members a chance to unload their old titles in exchange for those they haven't yet read. Stay tuned!
- State Of Mind: busy
AUTHOR: Dalton Trumbo
AVAILABILITY?: Still in print, easily available online from sites like amazon.com
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?: A soldier serving in WWI is hit by a mortar shell that has destroyed most of his body, leaving him a faceless torso without sight, hearing, smell, or taste. His mind still functions perfectly, though, and the book details his struggles to deal with his condition. Our narrator is essentially trapped in his mind, either dreaming or remembering facets of his life, until finally his attempts to communicate bear fruit. It's dizzying and claustrophobic, with the only saving grace being that the story is from the omniscient point of view rather than true first-person narrative. I have yet to finish the book in one sitting, even though it's rather short, just because of the tension it induces. Some of you might be familiar with this story through the Metallica song and/or video, "One", which uses clips from the 1971 film adaptation. (I apologize if the video link is deemed inappropriate for a book community. I just think it's a very good visual introduction to the novel.)
MY INTRODUCTION: Hello, this is my first post. :-) My 'nym is Carabosse, after the wicked fairy in the ballet version of "Sleeping Beauty", and I will read almost anything. I came here after searching online for reviews of "Josie and Jack" (I liked it and wondered if I was aberrant), and after reading each of the posts so far, decided to join. I look forward to having my horizons expanded!
- State Of Mind: contemplative
( warning: not for the easily offendedCollapse )
And oh yes, my bitches, feast your eyes on this bad boy. [jumps up and down like a kid at Christmas who just got a Red Ryder BB gun]
- Background Noise:Bodychoke - Cruelty | Scrobbled by Last.fm
The novel follows the Bundren family on their quest to bury their mother. No cremation, no preservation, they're just lugging her corpse across the countryside in a wagon. These aren't spoilers, by the way - they're on the back of the book. :) My personal favorite character is Darl Bundren, the second oldest child - he had a depth I couldn't find in the others. Anyhoo, this book is set in the deep South, and it's somewhat hard to read, as anyone who's familar with Faulkner will know. But if you're into symbolism and you're up for a bit of a challenge, I highly, highly recommend it.
Now, the other book I've read by him, The Sound and the Fury, is even harder than As I Lay Dying. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and it said scholars studied Quentin Compson's section, because it was so obscure and impossible to understand. Once again, though, if you want a challenge and love obscure symbolism, really, these books are amazing. :)
If you're craving more information, I'd suggest lookin' these two novels up on Wikipedia. Thanks for listening!
I just finished reading this (it's 3am if that's any indication of how enthralling this novel is) and... wow. Just wow. DEVASTATING. I've gotta say, guys, this book is beyond chilling. By the time I reached the epilogue, I was shaking uncontrollably and bawling my eyes out. I know I tend to get pretty emotional over characters (who doesn't, right?) but, honestly, I don't think a novel has really had an impact like this novel has. It was really just an entirely different level of disturbing. I think the fact that it's based on real life events makes it that much more haunting.
Did anyone else have a strong reaction? What are your thoughts/feelings on the book? I'd think it's definitely not for someone who wants to continue wearing their rose coloured glasses haha =). But despite this, I still give it 5/5 stars, because any book that can stir that much emotion in a person deserves an applause. I'm so glad I read it.
Now to sit through the movie...
- State Of Mind: sleepy
Find it on Amazon here. You'll have to buy it used though. I couldn't find it in any local bookstores, but I did find it on the local bookstores' websites so that might be the way to go for you.
A sprawling saga about five generations of a family from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Fall on Your Knees is the impressive first fiction from Canadian playwright and actor Ann-Marie MacDonald. This epic tale of family history, family secrets, and music centers on four sisters and their relationships with each other and with their father. Set in the coal-mining communities of Nova Scotia in the early part of this century, the story also shifts to the battlefields of World War I and the jazz scene of New York City in the 1920s.
I hope you don't mind, but I thought I'd post this excerpt I found here. The excerpt on Amazon doesn't do this novel justice.
So yes. I think it really paints a picture. The first time I read the above passage sent shivers down my spine. By reading the book all the things that don't make sense in the excerpt start to come together, and it really blows you away how twisted this family is. You'll be floored by the end; MacDonald really takes you for a ride as you struggle to piece together the small bits of info she throws at you.
Once again, incesty, so maybe not the book for you if you can't stomach that. And it's also subtly disturbing... it creeps up on you, I must admit. You don't quite realise what you're in for until you're nose to nose, and by then you can't back away. The father is especially.. *shudders*
- State Of Mind: procrastinating
Anyway, I wanted to bring to you Haunted by Palahniuk (my diehard favourite!), but I have a feeling it's already been heavily discussed on here ;) so insteaaaad I'll bring to you...
The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan.
Because I suck at descriptions, I'll snag this from Amazon:
"In the oppressive, claustrophobic atmosphere of an old house, one of the few left standing in a London urban renewal area strewn with rubble, a family of four children, ranging in age from six to seventeen, try to survive on their own after the death of their father, first, and then, their mother. Because the three younger children will have to go into "care" if their mother's death is known, they dispose of her body themselves in the basement of their decaying house and carry on as if their parents are still alive."
I think I'd have to describe it as one of those subtly disturbing novels. The concept freaked me out the moment I heard it and I just had to read it. I think what makes this book so disturbing is the fact that these children are so convincing - they believe what they're doing is the right course of action, that burying their mother in a pile of cement is perfectly normal. I don't want to give anything away - although I'm pretty sure the amazon reviews already do - but this book is
It's also pretty short - you'll be able to finish it off in an afternoon, but it leaves such an impact on you. It ends on such a big BANG. There's also a movie which I haven't seen - if anyone has, please let me know what you think!
I'd love to know if anyone has read this. I haven't been able to convince anyone to read it and I'm dying to hear other people's thoughts.
Also, and since I'm here (LOL gotta love how I'm avoiding writing an essay by writing a mini one)... what are everyone's thoughts on incest in fiction? I personally find it unbelievably fascinating and disturbing all at once. It's such a huge car crash - you can't watch but you can't look away either. Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie Donald would be another disturbing incesty novel (I could write another review on this if anyone wants it?).
- State Of Mind: amused
AUTHOR: Lois Lowry
I looked in the Memories and was very surprised when I didn't find this novel in there. A lot of my friends had to read this in High School - I didn't but I got along well with my 10th grade English teacher and we made a deal that she would read my favorite novel if I read hers; she handed me this novel.
7 years after originally reading it I came upon it in a discount/overstock store for $2.50 and grabbed it immediately. I re-read it and still feel that it is very powerful and definitely disturbing in the way that 1984, Animal Farm, and Brave New World are.
( WHAT'S IT ABOUT?Collapse )
( Spoilers of the South Park ep that aired tonightCollapse )
Just thought I'd share because it relates to how distrubing the original story by Shirley Jackson is - if this doesn't really belong I won't be offended if it gets deleted.
- State Of Mind: cold
Title: Omnibus - Kiss Kiss, Someone Like You, Switch Bitch, Over to You, Four Tales of the Unexpected, and My Uncle Oswald.
Author: Roald Dahl
About? A collection of short stories. Some of them surreal, some of them cruel, some darkly funny, but all disturbing in their own way. This is quite a large collection, so it is difficult to summarise. We have murder, intrigue, revenge, manipulation, animal and human cruelty, crazy schemes and inventions, ethically dubious practices of sperm harvesting, infidelity, despair, war stories, reincarnated classical composers and the story that inspired my long-time suspicion of rabbits. And that's not even scratching the surface.
Some Amazon reviews here.
I also want to include a picture of my copy (which I now see may actually have been worth something if not for...well, you'll see.) My brother's dog came across it one day, had a few bites of it, and the results were... amusing.
( Irony, you say?Collapse )
- State Of Mind: amused
Title: Uzumaki - Spiral into Horror
Author: Junji Ito
What it's about: From the back of the first volume - Kurozu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral - the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in everything from seashells and whirlpools in water to the spiral marks on people's bodies, the insane obessions of Shuichi's father and the voice from the cochlea in our inner ear. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurozu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool of no return!
There are three volumes that I know of, and I am in possession of the first two.
Now, as a girl who read Chuck Palahniuk while she was still in elementary school, things stopped disturbing me at a very early age. But this has definitely done it. I am currently 60 pages into the first volume and several times I have had to close the book and put it down for fear that I really would vomit. Unfortunately, it has me so riveted that I just as soon pick it back up and continue reading against my better judgement. In a word, it's grotesque, though not exactly in the gory type of way. But definitely not for those with weak stomachs.
- State Of Mind: nauseated
- "MAUS I - A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History"
- "MAUS II - A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began"
- "MAUS I & II: Boxed Set"
AUTHOR: Art Spiegelman
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Spiegelman has turned his family's history in the concentration camps into a very clever, and very moving, set of graphic novels.
Some historical events simply beggar any attempt at description--the Holocaust is one of these. Therefore, as it recedes and the people able to bear witness die, it becomes more and more essential that novel, vigorous methods are used to describe the indescribable. Examined in these terms, Art Spiegelman's Maus is a tremendous achievement, from a historical perspective as well as an artistic one.
( More from the reviews...Collapse )
It's quite haunting to see how carefully Speigelman picked out which animals would - perhaps satirically - represent which ethnicities; obviously he has his family, Polish Jews, drawn as mice (the Nazis are cats). There's a more complete study of the meanings behind the drawings at Wikipedia, but I think the most effective way to take it all in is to get your hands on a copy of these books ASAP and marvel at the unique way one man has of telling a story that has, tragically, been told too many times before.
I still think of Vladek and Anja to this day.
[a couple of excerpts now in comments.]
- State Of Mind: blah
AUTHOR: Elie Wiesel
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The briefest summary one can give is this: It's the story of a young boy who lives through watching his entire family die at the hands of those who lead the Nazi death camps.
Not sure how much more disturbing you can get than that, really, since it's a true story.
As always, there are better sources for synopses and outlines than I, so I shall defer to them:
Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's wrenching attempt to find meaning in the horror of the Holocaust is technically a novel, but it's based so closely on his own experiences in Birkenau, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald that it's generally--and not inaccurately--read as an autobiography. Like Wiesel himself, the protagonist of Night is a scholarly, pious teenager racked with guilt at having survived the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel's lifelong project to bear witness for those who died.
Yeah, it kind of bugs me that this has become one of Oprah's Book Club picks (argh), but the fact is that it's an amazing, simple, affecting book. My copy is a very slim 109 pages, so you can imagine how little filler there is; the book gets to the brutal point very quickly and effectively. Having studied in university the MAUS books (Art Spiegelman's graphic novels about the Holocaust - I strongly recommend them & will definitely do a post on them in the near future), I thought I'd never feel the same stab at my heart when reading about that unspeakably horrifying time in history, but Elie's account has a simplicity and straightforwardness that just...hurts. And once you pick it up, you can't put it down. Once you've read it, you won't forget it.
Worth looking at: www.nightthebook.com.
I'm curious to know if any of you have read this, and if anyone's read the author's other related works:
...and there are others, too, if you search the author's name on Amazon. Thoughts? Reviews? Recommendations?
- State Of Mind: distressed
Hello, all - I hope you're having a marvellous time celebrating whatever you may celebrate, or not celebrating at all! If nothing else, it's the weekend, right??
Now, I have only just begun reading this book, so I can't say much for it on my own behalf (other than the fact that I've found it quite compelling so far), but several of my friends have recommended it, and one friend finally just mailed me a copy to make me see for myself!
TITLE: JOSIE AND JACK
AUTHOR: Kelly Braffett (click for official author's site)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?: Again, probably best left to the passages from Amazon and the like, since I haven't finished it. But I think it sounds like something that would appeal to a lot of folks in our community. The whole atmosphere of the book is unsettling, especially the strange, possibly (read: um, YES) incestuous relationship between the two main characters. The review that mentioned "Flowers In The Attic" had a good point, although this feels more sophisticated and DECIDEDLY less soapy. (Even so, I think someone - possibly me? - should eventually do a "Flowers..." post, because that book really haunted me when I read it as a 12-year-old; some of the more graphic scenes of abuse and sex and death are still in my head.)
The siblings Josie, age 16, and Jack, 18, in Braffet's haunting debut are unusually close. Their mother is long dead, and their arrogant father is a university professor who rages and fumes about the ills of mankind. Josie sees Jack as her whole world, but gradually he forces her to go out in the world, first to seduce Kevin, the son of a local pharmacist. But Josie starts to develop real feelings for Kevin, and Jack reacts with a powerful rage and envy. When a confrontation with their father causes Jack to take off, Josie is devastated. She feels as though she's lost her anchor, but it isn't long before he comes back for her, to take her to live with him in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he is staying with a girl named Becka. But Josie and Jack's relationship has never been one to permit outsiders for long, and soon the pair is adrift and headed for disaster. Braffet's first novel packs a powerful punch, and readers won't soon forget the chilling, unexpected ending.
I can't WAIT to see what that ending is!!
( More from Publishers Weekly...Collapse )
You can click on the photo of the book cover to read excerpts, too. I'll put the first chapter under a cut, to give everyone a taste (they were published in the New York Times when the book came out in 2005).
( NY Times excerpts - first chapterCollapse )
- State Of Mind: it's pouring rain...blah!
- Background Noise:"Capital G", Nine Inch Nails