Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Improper Poll: Adventures in Reading

I grew up in an old, 2 ½ story colonial that was known among the neighborhood children for “The Attic Man,” the ghost who stomped and slammed around our third floor. My copy of Amityville Horror came with floor plans of the house in which the tale took place. Except for the fact that we had a second-story sunroom addition, it was the mirror image of my house.

But my favorite adventure with scary books was when I read ‘Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King.

I was in high school, and I had the good luck to be reading the book during a violent thunderstorm. My house was groaning under the assault of the driving wind and rain just as the vampires in the book were sneaking into the main character’s house. I seem to remember the vampires couldn’t go upstairs because the lights were on. So they cut the power.

At the exact moment I finished reading about the lights going off, there was a loud crash of thunder outside my window and the lights went out, leaving it so black you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.

It was the most perfect timing ever. I’ve read a lot of scary books, but that one will forever stand out to me because of that freak incident. What’s your favorite scary book?


  1. As a younger reader (and writer), I loved Stephen King's "The Shining."

    As an older reader and writer, I love Joe Hill's "Heart Shaped Box" (which I would gladly loan you). It grabs you almost from the beginning and does not let you go until the very end. (Joe Hill is King's son.)

    Now, however, the scariest book I MIGHT read, if it were published, would be "Todd Aiken is Elected." (Sorry. I could not resist, but he's such a blithering idiot, I would indeed be petrified if he were elected.)

  2. Not a favorite, but the book that most scared me was The Exorcist. I will not re-read it. I have never watched the movie. I won't be tuning in this week to the local news station that is going to report on the actual incident. No. Just NO!

    I am a Stephen King fan, but his books don't scare me like that. The most creepy one for me is Pet Sematary, when Louis Creed wakes up from what he thought was a dream, and finds his feet muddy and caked with pine needles from his nocturnal trip following a dead jogger to the Pet Sematary.

  3. OMG, Tammy, I don't have favorite scary books. To me, Rear Window is a terrifying movie, and I refuse to see anything worse.
    You are very brave: the consequence, I suppose, of growing up in a house the neighbor kids considered haunted.

  4. I love Stephen King's writing, but don't read the super scary ones. My earliest memory of a scary story was Rod Serling's "The House on the Square." It has been over 40 yrs. since I read it, but I still remember the main character was Bruce Barlow. There was nothing graphic...there didn't need to be. Serling was a master, and my imagination worked overtime. :)

  5. Another King fan, I liked "Misery" as the scary one. I may just have to write about that... and you are BRAVE!

  6. I'll second that - you are very brave! To this day, I can't even look at the cover of Salem's Lot without the hairs on the back of my neck standing at attention. Stephen King's books always were the scariest to me because they were so damn believable!

  7. Tammy--I read Lynn's comment and have to concur that "Misery" IS one terrifying book. King's "Delores Claiborne" is also scary but like "Misery," it's frightening because it is so believable. Delores' voice is so genuine...(Beth is right on the mark, too.)

    And "Rosemary's Baby," read decades ago--I still remember that one, too.

    This was a wonderful post, Tammy, because it really jarred loose memories. Thanks.

  8. Oh, Tammy, I was 19 when I read that book; it was my first Stephen King. It scared me so bad! I remember the vampires being outside the second story window, beckoning the person in bed to open it up so that they could come in!

    A few years later, I read The Stand, and that one stayed with me forever. I tried it again a few years ago, and it was pretty gross.

    Over at Melissa's Imaginarium today, she has trailers of The Exorcist and The Entity, which are both super scary books and movies.

    Hope that you have a fun Halloween!

  9. I generally try to avoid scary books or movies. The paranormal stuff really gets to me. I don't want to add to my lengthy list of phobias anything about ghosts silently stalking me...yikes!

    Critter Alley

  10. I ain't afraid of no ghosts! Misery made me clench my knees when she lifted that sledge hammer.


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