With Halloween upon us, now is the perfect time to curl up with a good, scary book. But if you’ve already read such standbys as Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Shining, you might be in need of a suggestion. With that in mind, here are five absolute chillers that will have you turning pages deep into the night — and are guaranteed to have your teeth a-chattering as you pray for the sun to rise!
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
The elderly, disease-wracked Morrie is dying — immobile and helpless in what is soon to be his deathbed. Outside his New England home, the pained echoes of atrocities past — witch burnings, the slaughter of native peoples — can still be faintly heard. Once each week, as regular as the doomsday clock, he is visited by a much younger man — a man known, terrifyingly, as “Mitch” — who has arrived from the murder-pocked wastelands of Detroit. Mitch hovers above Morrie’s bed, extracting stories, memories, and anecdotes from the elder as if withdrawing his very blood. Morrie, unsurprisingly, withers as Mitch’s visits mount. Is Morrie’s terminal illness sapping his will to live? Or is he a victim of Mitch’s vampiric need for enough material to fill an easily giftable book?
It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow
In It’s All Good, a pallid wraith of a woman named Gwyneth, all eerie eyes and jutting bones, drags us into the depths of her madness — a state in which simple, good-hearted folk might gobble down such witchy horrors as preserved lemons and quail eggs. Early on, we learn that Gwenyth shuns red meat — it is, perhaps, too close to the taste of human flesh — and any poultry raised inorganically. Her goal, she proclaims, is to “cleanse” her “system.” This obsession with scouring her bowels of the merest impurity raises a troubling question: what is so vile within her that it must be so harshly scrubbed away? And if we read her book, are we just as poisoned as she?
Crippled America by Donald Trump
In Crippled America, a glaring, angry madman called Donald guides us through a harrowing realm of poverty, violence, and ruin — a shattered deathscape that, if viewed through a certain prism, can begin to look like our own. As in other works of dystopian horror, Crippled America is vague on what has brought such pestilence, and at times Donald’s prose, as H.P. Lovecraft’s, becomes difficult to follow (“If you have laws that you don’t enforce, then you don’t have laws,” he writes. “This leads to lawlessness.”). At other times, however, he is as convincingly menacing as the Cryptkeeper himself — as when he declares his lunatic intentions to rule this ravaged land. It’s a far-fetched bit of plotting, to be sure — but just plausible enough to send a shiver down your spine.
Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
Like Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Chicken Soup for the Soul is a collection of stories that, taken as a whole, form a mosaic of punishing psychological horror. Taking place in an eerie world in which humanity’s quirks and edges have been worn away — shades of Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives — Chicken Soup for the Soul pounds the reader with sun-dappled tales of love, flowers, and workplace hugging. Chicken Soup for the Soul succeeds in terrifying by relentlessly piling false “goodness” upon false “goodness” — and for the quivering, goose-pimpled reader, the effect is that of being forced to eat an entire sheet cake at riflepoint.
The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
A modern classic of terror, The Carrie Diaries tells the story of Carrie White, a fragile teenager who is born with telekinetic powers — powers that, as she matures, will allow her to avenge the high-school abusers who torment her endlessly. Bushnell controls the action with a firm and expert grip, allowing the horror of The Carrie Diaries to slowly build, a sense of dread permeating each page, until a catastrophic climax that stands as one of the…wait a minute — what? Oh. Really? Oh. Okay. So then..what’s The Carrie Diaries? Oh. Like a Sex and the City prequel? For fuck’s sake. That’s even scarier than whatever the hell it was I was originally talking about.
Image Credit: Pixabay.
Who is the greatest American writer? In any such conversation, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner must be considered. And when discussing anything both great and American, Donald Trump — who has written more books than either aforementioned novelist and is perhaps the greatest American of all — obviously merits mention. But of the three, who is the greatest writer? The following comparison should move the discussion along:
Number of Books Written:
Hemingway: Gertrude Stein
Faulkner: James Joyce
Trump: Scriptwriters for The A-Team, Airwolf
Often Compared To:
Hemingway: Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
Faulkner: Henry James (Daisy Miller)
Trump: Benito Mussolini (The Doctrine of Fascism)
Hemingway: “The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” — A Farewell to Arms
Faulkner: “Memory believes before knowing remembers.” — Light in August
Trump: “If you have laws that you don’t enforce, then you don’t have laws. This leads to lawlessness.” — Crippled America
Hemingway: “You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.” (A Moveable Feast)
Faulkner: “They say love dies between two people. That’s wrong. It doesn’t die. It just leaves you, goes away, if you aren’t good enough, worthy enough.” (“The Wild Palms”)
Trump: “There’s nothing more terrible than an ex-spouse with a ten-ton axe to grind, and no agreement on how your common property is to be divided.” (Think BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life)
Attitude Towards Women:
Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls, starring Gary Cooper
Faulkner: Tomorrow, starring Robert Duvall
Trump: Cameo in Home Alone 2, starring Macaulay Culkin
Hemingway: Life is a constant test of man’s will and fortitude.
Faulkner: We must confront the darkness that lurks within ourselves.
Trump: Donald Trump is like Scrooge McDuck, but with pants. Also, he hates himself.
Titles that Reference Thinking “BIG” While Assaulting Acquaintances and Business Associates:
Trump: 1 (Think BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life)
Hemingway: Martha Gellhorn, fellow war correspondent
Faulkner: Meta Carpenter, Howard Hawks’s secretary
Trump: Donald Trump, clothed orangutan
Politically Notable For:
Hemingway: Siding with the Republicans while covering the Spanish Civil War
Faulkner: Keeping his affiliations to himself at a time of great social upheaval
Trump: Running for president to extend his brand, then at some point realizing, Oh fuck, it’s for real
Image Credit: LPW.