By: Christina Samek, OverDrive Marketing Specialist
You’re alone, reading your favorite story by the fire, tucked in for the night. You are comfortable, trusting the warm, quiet of your home. You think you’re safe. You reach for your tea, finally cooled down enough for you to take a sip. As you reach, you feel a quick rush of air against your neck. Immediately every hair stands at attention. In that moment, your mind has caught up to your basic instincts. You understand you are not alone. There’s someone there, reading over your shoulder.
So what are you reading?
Need a recommendation? Here are a few titles to keep you up at night.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: Considered one of the best in literary ghost stories for a reason. From it’s innocuous beginning to it’s jaw-dropping end, this story slowly peels away layer after layer from it’s cast of characters. The arrogant but well-meaning Doctor Montague, the wild and seductive Theodora, the bumbling host and heir, Luke, and of course poor, disturbed Eleanor. It is through Eleanor that the reader experiences the height of terror. In her slow descent towards madness, you may find yourself slipping as well.
City Infernal by Edward Lee: Tread carefully dear readers, Lee is known for his blatant disregard to taste. He is perhaps the Human Centipede of literary horror–and revels in it. This story, a stand-alone in his impressive collection, details the city of Hell. Cassie, our protagonist (or is it the antagonist, considering a blatant disregard to morals…), travels to hell to save her twin sister, Lisa’s soul. I won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say you don’t want to know what’s on the 666th floor of the Mephisto Building.
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes: Set in one of America’s broken cities, Beukes gives us a cast of equally broken characters. It takes a look at a horror that we’ve all imagined looming in all of our backyards, a very familiar monster, a serial killer hell-bent on ruining the world. When broken bodies start turning up, part animal, part man, fused together in horrific and grotesque fashion, a city of nightmares is born. What’s so great about this one, is how much the reader hopes to escape reality. You’ll hope, beyond anything, for something supernatural by it’s end. Because the worst scary stories are those that are very real.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski: While I am pleased to see a digital offering, I am about to go rogue and suggest you read this in it’s intended form: in print. This is art. This is true madness. Perhaps the greatest work there is to capture the true essence of the horror genre. You will lose sleep. You will lose a little bit of yourself. You cannot breeze through this. There are passages that require you to transcribe the first letter of each sentence to reveal another chapter. You need to pay attention. And while it’s panic-inducing at times, as you peel away bits and pieces of this story within a story, within a story, within a story…keep going. Or if you aren’t sure, take Danielewski’s advice: this book is not for you.
Sleep carefully, my friends.