Friday, March 4, 2016

FF Friday: To All The Horror Books I’ve Loved Before


Feature & Follow is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. This week, I’m supposed to write a letter to my favorite author. I tried writing a letter to Stephen King, but it came out fangirly on a cringe-inducing level. So, I deleted all evidence of my fangirling and tried to write a letter to horror books, but that just sounded sad. You know your social life sucks when you’re talking to a bookshelf. I deleted it and tried again. I hope what I came up with is close enough to the prompt.



To all the horror books I’ve loved before:

When I was a preteen, I went through a phase where I hated every fiction book I read. I would wander the school library and come away with nothing. I’d read a few chapters of a book and then give up on it. I had a few fiction favorites that I’d reread over and over, but even those were starting to lose their appeal. At one point, I gave up on fiction entirely and just read nonfiction about animals or dead Arctic explorers. (The best books were the ones about animals and dead Arctic explorers. I knew I’d struck gold when I found one of those.)

I think my fiction problem actually had to do with my age. Being a preteen sucks. Kids at that age are going through a lot of physical and mental changes. Also, preteen girls can be vicious to anyone who doesn’t “fit in.” I definitely did not fit in. I didn’t care about boys, makeup, parties, or music. Preteen-me was a neurotic, antisocial, control-freak who incessantly quoted Homer Simpson. The other girls treated me like a deranged mental institution patient. The school environment + being bullied = massive amounts of angst for young me.



I couldn’t find many books about characters who were like me. All of the problems that book characters faced were solved neatly by the end of the story. Fictional issues never seemed too difficult to fix. There was nothing that the young characters couldn’t overcome. Preteen-me felt like my real-life problems were unsolvable, and seeing characters overcome issues so easily made me feel like I was failing at life.

When I was 11 or 12 years old, I noticed that the gifted kids in my class were reading adult books that didn’t come from the elementary school library. These were thick books with tiny font and no pictures. I was immediately in love with them. My school didn’t consider me advanced enough to read at an adult level (how rude), but preteen-me became desperate to obtain a grownup book of my own.

The problem was that the school library didn’t have adult books, and my parents aren’t readers. We didn’t have many books in our house when I was growing up. However, I knew that my parents had a few books in the bottom drawer of their dresser. One day, I snuck into their bedroom to steal myself a grownup book. (We’re getting to the horror part of this story. I promise.)



If I remember correctly, the drawer mostly contained Bibles and old college textbooks, but there were a few novels. I book I chose was The Tommyknockers by Stephen King. It was a thick book with tiny writing and no pictures.

I grabbed the book, slammed the drawer shut, ran for my life, and started reading. And . . . The Tommyknockers completely blew my little mind.

If you’ve never had the pleasure (or misfortune?) of reading The Tommyknockers, it’s about a woman who finds a huge metal object buried in the forest. She becomes obsessed with digging it up. The object slowly poisons her with radiation, but she refuses to stop digging. The woman (I think her name is Bobbi?) has some serious issues. Her problems made my problems look insignificant. School bullies were bad, but at least I wasn’t losing my teeth, bleeding uncontrollably from my lady-parts, and trying to turn my dog into a battery.



I read the majority of The Tommyknockers before my parents discovered that I had it and took it away, but it was enough to get me hooked on horror. I went to the public library and discovered YA horror—which was disappointingly tame compared to adult horror—but it fed my addiction until I had successfully whined enough that my parents let me go back to Stephen King.

Horror became pretty much the only genre I read. And I read a lot of it. Middle school and high school were even worse than elementary school, and horror helped me cope. Teenage-me struggled hardcore with depression and had a terrible attitude about everything. It probably sounds weird, but horror was one of the few things that made me happy. Horror books provided an escape from reality. They were intense enough to distract me from my problems, and they always reminded me that life could be much, much worse.



I could probably keep blathering about this forever, but I’m going to stop here. That’s my twisted love letter to all the horror books I’ve loved before. If you read the entire thing, you deserve a cookie.





The follow part of FF Friday: If you are a book blogger and you leave a link to your blog in the comments below, I will follow you on Bloglovin’. If you want to be friends on Goodreads, TwitterBookLikes, or G+, that would be awesome, too. Click the links to go to my pages on those sites. I’m looking forward to “meeting” you. 




21 comments:

  1. Oh man! I don't really read horror books - the last one I've read was The Dead House by Dawn Kuragitch, and I loved it!

    New Follower via BlogLovin!

    Aditi @ http://athousandwordsamillionbooks.blogspot.in/

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    1. I’ll have to check that book out. I don’t think I’ve heard of it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. I absolutely love this post. I didn't read adult horror as a youngin' but I loved the creepy books. "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" was my go-to check out book, even after I'd already read them. I'm ashamed of the publishing industry for changing the covers and illustrations to be more "kid friendly". I was a kid! I was a wussy kid too, but I loved being creeped out by those drawings!

    I read a lot of Christopher Pike and Fear Street as a preteen/young teen and any ghost stories I could get a hold of, but no adult horror until later in life. Even now I prefer YA and MG horror, because I'm still a wuss.

    Anyway, highfive for your letter!

    Also - Cult books - If you've never read "Brides of Eden" by Linda Crew, I'd recommend that. It's fiction, but it's based on a true story and utilizes a lot of original documents/diaries/letters.

    Old follower. :)

    Auggie's FFF

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    1. I loved Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. I still have my copy from when I was a kid. Thanks for the cult book recommendation. I added it to my TBR list.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. This is a great post!

    I've not read much horror personally, but I think it's fascinating that you became so interested at such a young age. I'm really an advocate for letting people read what they want to read, so even though it's important to monitor what you're kids are reading, only letting them read "kid" books or "books on their level" can be more damaging than helpful. Books can help us cope with so many things!

    Again, great post.

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    1. Yes! I was so happy that I discovered Stephen King when I did.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. OOh nice post! Yeah...horror books and me don't really get along. My imagination is too active! I can just barely handle some of the YA horrors and thrillers I read! I feel like those are just at my level of scary, though they can be pretty freaking terrifying as well!! LOL! Great post!

    Thanks for visiting my post!

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  5. Hey, don't worry, I talk to my books to and also incessantly quote Homer Simpson and I'm well out of my preteens!

    I love your letter! I love horror books, even though my overactive imagination always ends up leaving me scared stupid. Stephen King is my favourite horror author, although I think The Woman In Black by Susan Hill is probably my favourite horror book. That one was seriously creepy!

    Old follower, happy F&F Friday!

    My F&F.

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    1. Yeah . . . I’m an adult, and I still quote Homer all the time . . .

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. Great post! I am now wishing that we had had a few horror books in my house growing up. My dad never read and my mom's tastes run more along a harlequin romance. Being a teen and tween is really tough and I am glad that you found books that helped you cope.

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    1. Books are such a great way of coping with life.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  7. Oh my! The Tommyknockers blew my mind as well, and I didn't read that when I was a teen! I'm glad you were able to find books to help you escape from the harsh reality of school in those years, AJ! I think being able to just think of problems that have nothing to do with our own lives is really good sometimes.
    I also think that YA has evolved, and that some of those stories aren't always neatly tied up in the end now.
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. YES! I’m so happy that YA/MG has evolved. I think it’s a lot easier now to find realistic books about difficult subjects.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. I loved reading this. I had a similar experience, only I cannot remember the title of the first adult book that really scared me and got me hooked on horror. I've been searching for it forever so I can re-read it as an adult, but all I can remember is the plot (not that helpful!). I was given to me at the end of a yard sale (I think I was 11 or 12 also) and I devoured it. Since then, I've read hundreds of horror novels.

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  9. I totally understand going into books to escape real life! I dove into YA rather then horror, but they're all books :) Really fantastic letter! Thanks for stopping by! Old Bloglovin' Follower! Happy reading!

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    1. I read some YA when I was a young adult, but I read a lot more of it as an adult. Isn’t that strange?

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  10. This is a terrific post. I do not like horror at all, but your post is such a great explanation of why people should be allowed to read whatever speaks to them. I try really hard to not just fill my classroom library with books I like, because I know my students will have different tastes and interests.

    I didn't have the reading slump as a preteen, but I too discovered the books hidden in my parents' bedroom--which were my dad's incredibly smutty spy novels. Very educational!

    I don't know anything about this FF thing, but I am a follower, and my blog is at http://falconerslibrary.blogspot.com.

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    1. Lol, parents have the most interesting books. :) I followed you on Bloglovin’.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  11. Wow great letter I love it. I have not read a lot of horror book but I really need too remedy that because I absolutely love horror movies especially horror & sci-fy movies. I just know I will really love and enjoy more horror books. Thank you for stopping by and following my blog. Old follower

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