This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a Halloween freebie. At first I wanted to do a list of eerie books. I’m not generally big on horror, but I love creepiness. Unfortunately, this topic was a little too close to my TTT from a few weeks ago when I did Best Fall Books, which included a few of my favorite eerie choices. So instead I’m going with the top ten books I found gross, unsettling, and altogether disturbing. This post is spoiler free, so you can be just as distressed as I was if you choose to read any of these books. I listed them from least favorite to favorite, so if you’re looking for recommendations, look towards the bottom of the list.
1. A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews: I think this is the only book on the list that I actually hated. I read it for a class that I ended up dropping because the material was too disturbing. It focuses on a few days in a small southern town and the people that live there. It was incredibly hard to read. I think I’m still scarred.
2. The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel: As far as mysteries go, it was pretty mediocre, but the ending was disturbing in a way that earns it a place on this list. I did that thing where I read over a part about four times just because I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Does anyone else do that?
3. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix: This was my first foray into horror and I didn’t find it scary. The presentation of the book is pretty awesome, though. It made it onto my list partially because the ending is fairly gross, but mostly because there’s this one moment where I turned the page expecting a normal page of text and what I saw made my blood run cold. Some books would be worth reading just for that one moment of perfect creepiness.
4. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman: If you’re going to do a Gaiman short story anthology, go with the one further down the list. I was looking forward to reading this so I could finally read the story about Susan Pevensie that I had heard about. It was not what I was expecting and made me super uncomfortable. That was definitely the intention, but it still wasn’t my favorite story.
5. Room by Emma Donoghue: So fascinating, but so hard to read. Though Jack is too young and sheltered to know what’s going on, the realities of this situation were heartbreaking.
6. Swerve by Vicki Pettersson: Not the best book in terms of setting up a gratifying twist, but I have to give credit where credit is due. The description of what happens to Kristine over the course of the novel was some pretty impressive grossness.
7. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith: I really like Rowling’s new series, but one of the characters in this second book is an author whose work is really surreal and sexually charged. I found reading the plot descriptions of Quine’s work pretty disturbing.
8. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman: My favorite of Gaiman’s short story anthologies. This makes it on the list because Snow, Glass, Apples was both disgusting and amazing. It’s a re-imagining of Snow White and as you’ll see further down the list, I love a really creepy fairy tale retelling.
9. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes: This is such a great book, and most of it is just at the right level of creepy. But there’s one reveal at the end so shocking and sad that I had to add this to the list.
10. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter: I first read The Company of Wolves for a fairy tale class in college and while I loved it, it was definitely unsettling. I read the rest of the book and the whole anthology toes the same line between fascinating and disturbing. I saved the best for last. I like the anthology as a whole, but loved specific stories within it.
Let me know what books you found disturbing. I like to think I have a thick skin, but I’m eager to know whether I’m being a baby about some of these.