Persnickety sounds nicer than picky. So let’s call the human race wrong and me right. My tastes in books get weird. I hate sitting around and guessing the endings. My personal book collection is filled with half-reads and never-to-be-read-agains. So I present my reading list to all you persnickety peeps.
What is in a Top 10?
These are simply books or stories I remember well and re-read from time to time.
Don’t expect high art from half of them.
10. Animal Farm
A classic is a classic for a reason. Animal Farm cemented itself in my heart by never becoming dated. When I was young, I read this and it helped form my political opinions and the way I looked at politics. In the end, it lives as an unsung horror novel.
Animals on a farm reclaim power from humans and rebuild a society to their liking. They run into a few bumps (and a glue factory).
9. Ghost Hunter book series
Call me a schmuck. Victoria Laurie is my trash and I love her. We won’t debate whether or not this author is a real psychic. I’m serious, by the way.
By night she writes psychic detective/ghost hunter books. What’s a Ghoul to Do?, Ghouls Gone Wild, Ghoul Interrupted, ect. I love the names almost as much as all M.J.’s stereotype friends.
I will say Laurie has a less conventional means of ghost hunting. She portrays the science of it, but magic totally comes into play in some stories. But it works together somehow. I think.
. . .
A parrot calls her first boyfriend Dr. Sexy. Moving on.
8. Wicked Plants/Wicked Bugs
Both I read together. Both changed my life. One made me horribly interested in gardening and helped me entertain majoring in botany. (That shit’s expensive though) The other gave me an unholy fear that forces me to this day to never watch parasitic bug movies. Or think about them.
(Fuck The Perfection.)
The books are fun, scientific, and simplistic. Except for priapism. I first read these in middle school and I made that car ride awkward fast.
7. Lullaby – Chuck Palahnuik
A hippie creates cow Jesus. Is this the plot? No. It just happens.
You think R.L. Stine just wrote Goosebumps and Fear Street? Nah, brah. He wrote a grown up novel about a woman who married a man obsessed with superstitions. There is a body count.
Going back and re-reading books from my childhood, high brow poetics Stine is not. It took effort dissociating him from that, but this book is in his graphic style with less jump-scare teasing ending every chapter. The places he takes it surprised me.
Also, somebody stole my copy and I’m pissed.
5. Archie vs. Predator
My list; fuck off.
I love “Predator” stories, especially AvP ones. A for Aliens, not Archie, but I’ll take what I can get. It’s a comic series. Archie and friends die horrible, but epic deaths.
The schlocky intention doesn’t detract from the story. All I ask for from my stupid fun reading is logical progression.
Storytime! So many years ago, I shuffled through Borders. Borders was a book place that I loved more than B&N. I could actually find the shit I wanted to read. So, I bought a book called Nightmare House by Douglas Clegg. That book sucks. Attached to that book is a novella called Purity. Looking back, this probably first sparked my Cthulu interest. It features Dagon. I totally read this before Lovecraft. Fight me bro.
A slow descent in madness combines with a twisted love story. The kid was doomed the second he found the Dagon idol.
3. Hell House
I reread this more often than I watched the movie. I barely remember the film; hopefully it’ll never be remade. Film cannot bring to life this story in its full glory.
Certain scenes can easily fall in the “only for shock value” corner with any artist other than Richard Matheson behind the wheel.
Scientists take psychics to a famously haunted house for research. The described depravity, the blasphemy, creates this uncomfortable and paranoid atmosphere. Reading it can be hard. Especially Christians. I wasn’t kidding about the depravity and blasphemy.
By the author Otsuichi, it’s translated from Japanese. I’m telling you this first because pitfalls always emerge when languages change hands. In this case, I remember rereading the final few pages to make sure I understood what was going on. Further explaining will spoil the book. Sorry.
I reread this book so often and lent it out whenever possible so my friends could read it. It’s currently at my friend’s who I just realized I only have their snapchat info, but whatever.
A movie version came out over a decade ago. It didn’t wow me, but it didn’t frustrate me either. The movies stays a neatly contained story while missing half of the book’s plot. Make of it what you will.
Goth is a collection of short stories focusing on two characters. All the stories focus on death, most of it murder. The point of view switches around and plays tricks on the reader. Murder mysteries are a big draw for me. The great visuals and strong character building moments bring together the stories beautifully.
I can’t definitively say this is the only book of it’s kind, but it’s so different from what I usually read or find.
#1 Shadows in the Asylum
I cannot stress enough how much I love this book. Does anyone remember the book House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski? Shadows in the Asylum by D. A. Stern reminds me how I wanted that book to be.
First, it’s 1/4 the size. This means the story is welled contained and easy to read through. The set up is so similiar to House of Leaves. Though, Shadows manages to better intertwine the background stories.
Please note reading House of Leave is a maddening slog on a library return timeline.
Second, I never lose sight of the message to the madness. The multiple stories in House of Leaves end up distracting from each other. I still remember “The Navigator’s Tale”, but the eight subplots going on? I couldn’t tell you.
Third, I actually feel the horror. I read House of Leaves assuming it was a horror story. The genre told me so. Instead, the fantasy/romance part stuck most in my mind. The horror parts were obviously horror, but I didn’t feel anything from them.
You won’t find a simply typed story. The book is a collection of newspaper articles, journal entries, transcribed patient records.
This book is an experience. Everytime you read through it you find new plot threads tying everything together.
Recommend me reading material
Suddenly, you know my tastes. These are my favorites. Sadly, I’m pretending you read every review I make and know what I hate. (cough
CODE . . . something . . . and FLETCHER
cough) So what books and stories do y’all still carry with you?