Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor
As many of you probably already know, I’m a huge fan of Neil Gaiman. (If not, my declaration of undying love should be a dead giveaway.) So I was reading Gaiman’s Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/neilhimself), where he posted an idea: that people should give away scary books on Halloween, starting a new tradition that he’s calling, “All Hallow’s Read.” And we here at CC2K conferred and said “Hey, that’s an awesome idea! Books are way cooler than candy, and they don’t give you cavities.”
We wanted first crack at branding this new tradition. Our graphics wizard went to work right away, crafting the kick-ass logo you see here. And for my part, I was tasked with writing an in-depth article on scary books as a vehicle to announce CC2K’S ALL HALLOW’S READ SCARY BOOK (AND GIFT CARD) GIVEAWAY!
Except crap, I don’t know any scary books. Which is why I need your help.
I really don’t remember the last time I read a book that truly scared me–not the heart-pounding, keep-you-up-at-night kind of scary. I’ve read Frankenstein, long considered a “classic” horror novel, and I loved it. I thought it was sad and tragic, but not particularly scary
maybe because I thought Dr. Frankenstein was a tool, and I was rooting for the monster the whole time.
My mom’s a big Stephen King fan. I’ve read a few of his books, but I’ve never gotten on board with his writing the way she has. (Maybe it’s because, when I was growing up and really wanted to read his books, she wouldn’t let me!) Misery managed to creep me out a bit, but since I’m not a bestselling author killing off a beloved character, I’m probably safe. Actually, my favorite King book–not that I’m an expert–is Lisey’s Story, which is romantic, weird, and twisted but not scary. This is probably the reason my mother never managed to make it all the way through that particular book.
When I was a pre-teen (about ages 9-11), I read a lot of R.L. Stein’s Fear Street series books. And they scared me a bit, at the time, but then they all got to be the same: serial killer/ghost/demon/etc. goes after pretty, popular teenagers. The first few books I read actually seemed original at the time, since I had never actually watched a horror movie at that point, but afterwards well, imagine filling your tween years with endless variations on Friday the 13th and Halloween. Just like the uninspired sequels to those films, the books got boring after awhile. And by the time I was actually the same age as the characters in the stories, I knew I was neither pretty nor popular enough to ever get stalked by the supernatural creature/mass murderer of the week.
Truthfully, the last time I can remember being really, really scared wasn’t even caused by a book. It was when I watched Child’s Play 2 and 3 on HBO. My heart was pounding the whole time, and I couldn’t sleep that night. That was 1996, and I was 13. By my estimation, I’m way past due for another sleepless night.
I don’t know whether I am difficult to scare, or if I’m just reading the wrong books. So I’m asking all of you to comment below and tell me this: What is the scariest book you’ve ever read?
One commenter will be selected at random to win, in honor of Halloween and Neil Gaiman, a scary book (which, since I am scary book impaired, will not be selected by me), and–just in case our selection isn’t horrifying enough for you–a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card. (And don’t worry: if you–like me–decidedly lack scary bookage to talk about, we’ll still enter you in the giveaway if you comment.)
All comments must be posted by 11:59 PM PACIFIC TIME, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28. The winner will be announced on Friday.
And now, let the literary enFRIGHTENment begin!