I know, I know, Halloween was yesterday, but last Monday was too early for this discussion. Also, I am totally preoccupied with finishing the second edition of the horror book that I don't have much else on my mind these days.
One of the reasons people read horror books is that they like to feel scared. But what frightens a specific reader is a completely personal thing. And, what is terror inducing to a reader one day, may not frighten them in the least the next.
Let's take me as an example. I am fine with zombies, vampires, mummies, monsters, ghosts, etc... You name a traditional horror character and I will love reading the book it is in, but I will not be terrified. The most fear I have ever felt reading a novel came 5 years ago when I read The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks for the second time.
I realize this is a strange statement, since The Year of Wonders is a historical fiction book about a town that was infected with the plague and closed itself off to stop it from spreading. So, let me elaborate. I read this book the first time and enjoyed it. When I first read it, I had no children. The second time I read it, it was for a book discussion, and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.
The book revolves around a female narrator, who tells you from the start that she was the only surviving member of her family. As she goes back to the beginning of the story, I read along as her 3 year old and 3 month old children catch the plague and die from it. At that moment, as I read the book for the second time, I happened to be the mother of a 3 year old and a 3 month old. I was terrified. I was constantly checking my kids for fever. I couldn't sleep. It was horrible. Now that my kids are 8 and 5, I am sure that this book would not affect me in the same way.
Right now, I am avoiding books about writers not finishing their books because that is my current nightmare.
So for today's post-Halloween Monday discussion, what terrifies you when you read?
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