Today’s Top 5 is all about Halloween because the theme is Spooky Book Settings (*imagine ghost noises here*). And, you know what? A spooky setting doesn’t necessarily come from a horror book. You can get scared by a violent crime scene, or when your favorite character gets lost at night or when a totalitarian government spies on teenagers. The possibilities are endless.
That’s why I’m sharing my five favorite spooky things that happen in books. You can visit the Top 5 Wednesday group on Goodreads if you want to read more or join the challenge!
But it has to be a REALLY haunted place. Not just a random house where someone committed a random murder. I’m talking about places basically inhabited by the devil. Because I’ll be reading this book from my very comfy bed, under the blankets, and if I’m going to read about someplace else it better be exciting. That’s why I loved The Wood in Uprooted! It was a dark and mysterious place where people went crazy and got lost. And everyone that dared walking too close to the trees risked getting snatched and infected by the evil forces. I was scared by that wood just by reading about looking at it from a considerable distance.
I don’t think thrillers are particularly scary unless I find them weird or inexplicable. Because when the crime is weird, the perpetrator will be undoubtedly weird, and therefore scary. I also like the atmosphere of complete uncertainty created on this kind of books. Like in The Shadow of the Wind. This story is about a guy who finds a really cool book in an old library and starts looking for other works of the same author, only to discover that someone has been chasing the same books and destroying every copy. He also starts to notice that he’s being watched. (I told you it was spooky!)
Probably nothing is as scary to imagine as the things that could actually happen. I’m not saying that something like The Hunger Games could happen in real life, but when it comes to totalitarian governments controlling its people and leaving no other option but a gruesome revolution… It’s not that hard to feel related. Lately, my dystopian society of choice has been An Ember in the Ashes (I swear no other book title describes YA dystopias so well). What scares me the most about this book is the freedom the privileged have to steal, kill and commit any crime without punishment.
I confess that the scariest part of Rosemary’s Baby was that her neighbors were always visiting unannounced and stalking her. I hate invasions to privacy and, worst of all, hate it when I can’t be comfortable in my own home. And sure, this book might be about pagan rituals and sacrificing babies to the devil but nevermind that. Poor Rosemary could never be relaxed at home and that’s the worst feeling! Avoiding creepy neighbors is now way up on my list of things to consider before moving into a new house. I guess the same scenario applies to stories with stalkers in school or at work, or any other place where you can’t avoid these creepy neighbors.
This one might sound a little weird, but another thing that scares me in books is when people acts primitive and savage. Because savages punch and kill without thinking it and you can’t reason with them. In The Time Machine (psst, the e-book is free for Kindle) a scientist travels to the future to find that the human race has turned into something completely different. Some of them are peaceful, happy and beautiful, while the others living underground are sanguinary and savage. And he happens get stuck thousands of years from home.
What are your favorite (or not-so-favorite) spooky book settings? It doesn’t have to be conventional horror! Just anything with an eerie or eclectic atmosphere 🙂