Thursday, October 31, 2013

Librarians' Line-Up: Scary Stories

As it is October, it is pretty well mandated that we do a post on scary stories. So this month, here are our librarians' picks for their favorite scary stories. Happy Halloween!

I really enjoyed Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. This young adult dystopian zombie apocalypse novel is one of the books I recommend to teens the most often. How would you like to grow up trapped in a village where the only thing that protects you from the “Unconsecrated” (zombies) is an old fence surrounding the town? Then, for the first time in a generation, an outsider comes to the village gate. Soon, the unconsecrated are overrunning the town and a small group of survivors are forced out – beyond everything they have ever known. Pretty creepy… and don’t expect everyone to survive the journey.  
~Mary P.

I like a good scary story like a lot of people, but what scares me the most are when there are no monsters or ghosts. The Road by Cormac McCarthy was the scariest book I've read in recent years, for a number of reasons. There is no "bad guy" in this book. We don't know what happened to make the world the way it is. The only enemies are other survivors, and this man and his child are just trying to survive. It's heartbreaking and terrifying.
~Cailey W.
One of the scariest books I’ve ever read is Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye. The book is a series of interconnected vignettes told from a shifting point of view as four friends come of age in a secluded village steeped in superstition. The stories vary from mildly unsettling to downright disturbing and while they often include otherworldly elements, more often than not, the spiteful, gossip mongering villagers are more terrifying than any monster.
~Meredith T.

I don’t do very well with scary things. As a rule I try to avoid horror movies and similar things, since the normal world makes me nervous enough. But I have read Stephen King’s The Shining and it really scared the pants off me. Stanley Kubrick did a good job of creating sheer terror, but as is so often the case with King’s novels (The Dead Zone being another example of this), something is lost in the translation to film. Film being a visual medium, it is difficult to use it to effectively convey the internal experiences of the characters. Thus, those who have only seen the movies will miss out on much of the depth of Jack Torrance’s struggles, with alcohol, with anger, and with his inability to work effectively on his writing (a topic to which King seems to return with some frequency). In the face of all this, demonic possession almost seems like the next logical step. The Shining is the quintessential Halloween season book, but one you’ll probably want to read with a lot of people around.
~John F.
I'm the worst storyteller ever, but I love to hear a good story. And there's nothing more powerful than hearing a really good storyteller tell a scary story. Urban legends are the scariest type of horror because they seem like they could be true. Hearing a babysitter sitting alone in a house and getting a creepy phone call, or a couple sitting in a car hearing scraping on their windows sound like plausible stories. Of course they're not called legends for nothing. I know that flashing my lights at a car coming the other way won't trigger that driver to start following me, but I don't flash my lights at a car with no lights on just in case. It's that shred of believability in urban legends that keep them scary. So I say the scariest books I ever read were the Scary Stories collection by Alvin Schwartz, accompanied by some of the creepiest illustrations ever by Stephen Gammell. These stories are even better told by a great storyteller, but they're also creepy and memorable just reading at home alone on a dark and stormy night. Happy Halloween!
~Amanda D.

Although Halloween may be known for its creepy and macabre themes, it’s sitting around a campfire in the summer with just the right story that will give me the willies. So it was when I was a kid that my Grandma read us The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe. Poe is already a writer that knows how to twist words into just the right arrangement to psychologically scare you. The Black Cat is a descriptive and freaky story about a crazy man, a crazy cat, and (surprise, surprise) entombment. While around that campfire, you have nothing else to do but imagine a one eyed hissing cat with a taste for blood. Creepy, creepy, creepy.
~Kristin M.

What's your creepiest read?

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