Most disturbing books I have read…

1. 1984 by George Orwell

Dystopian novel set in the future, 1984. The thing that makes this book so disturbing is howMost Disturbing Books much of it has actually happened. The screens that are watching you as you watch them and Big Brother. It’s the kind of novel that I hope does not become reality with it’s harsh censorship and the complete control the government has over the people. The concept of Room 101 came from this book and it does have a way of playing on your mind after reading. Great book, very disturbing.

2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I think what makes this book so disturbing is the autobiographical nature of it, written about Sylvia and her experience of depression and attempted suicide attempts. A few days after this novel was published she killed herself which may hint at the state of mind she was when she wrote Most Disturbing Books 2this novel. Beautifully written however does not attempt to hide the truth. Everything in this novel seems to be tainted with something shocking, even down to sex where she becomes hospitalised. Again, what makes it so disturbing is how it is not far from the truth, it is about looking through the world like a baby in a bell jar and how you can feel isolated and separate from the world. And many people do feel this way at different periods of their life, the feeling of having no control over anything.

3. We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver 

Written about a boy who commits a high school massacre. Specially disturbing due to his age but also due to how Kevin makes sense, he is right. You can’t just say that there was something wrong mentally with him or that he Most Disturbing Books 3has extreme views, or he had a particularly bad upbringing. Kevin is a very intelligent boy who just wants to do something which he feels  he hasn’t done before. It is almost as though he wants to make a name for himself. But the way he carries it out it shows he has thought about this and carefully selected his victims, it is clever but also incredibly sinister. It shows how people can be brutally harsh and his treatment of everyone in the novel proves this. His inability to love or feel grateful of anything. Shriver said that she writes about the things that scare her and honestly this is something that would be all parents worst nightmare. It poses the question, are people born evil?

4. The Collector by John Fowles 

The collector lives alone and collects butterflies, he captures their beauty by sticking Most Disturbing Books 3pins through them and keeping them in his house forever. The collector has a mental illness of some sort and when he sees a beautiful woman near to where he lives he wants to capture her too. Things take a disturbing twist though as although his intentions are just to keep her forever so that she may love him and he loves her, it just can’t last long. The ending also surprised me but also scared me because you don’t expect it, although you probably should. The book leaves you wanting to find goodness in him and hoping that he will let her go but knowing that he won’t.

5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Another dystopian, and also very frightening. It shows another extreme and militant Most Disturbing Books 4regime taking hold. The scariness is in the fact that it flashes back to how things use to be to show you how things have changed and the complete take over of the government. The setting being America makes it much easier to imagine. This novel seems to regress human civilisation to get back to the bear essentials and basic s of life.  It also shows how the identity of the Handmaids have been taken away as to be unique defies the system.

6. The Stuff of Nightmares by Malorie Blackman 

I read this years ago and remember it keeping me up, the most disturbing things I find are usually not so far from the truth and if you read this you will see what I mean. A train crashes and then you are able to go into the nightmaresMost Disturbing Books 5 of all aboard, all nightmares are things that could potentially happen which is what makes them so frightening. One man is in the army and fights with another man, one is seriously injured. The man phones his father to ask if the man who was injured can stay with them as he was wounded trying to save his life but his father says that he cannot because he would be a burden and hard work and they would not be able to manage as their house would need to be completely changed. The son kills himself as it is later discovered that he is the wounded soldier who just doesn’t want to be a burden. This is made up of many short stories of nightmares, so I have not just ruined the entire book for you!

7. Liver by Will Self 

Also made up of short stories which all have a disturbing take on Liver. From the Most Disturbing Books 6barman the just drinks too much to a spin on Greek mythology. Issues such as euthanasia and excessive drug use are also raised. This was disturbing just due to the suffering of every character, not just physically but physiologically  As I have never read a book similar to this it made it yet more disturbing.  The way Self has written this also adds to the feel with it almost having sarcastic undertones and the idea that “it is good to be having a good time” so that no matter the cost of your body you had a good time doing it. Which alas is not the case for many characters as Val who received a surprise Liver transplant will tell you!

8. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini 

This may surprise but in it’s own right there are certain parts of this novel which are disturbing Most Disturbing Books 7to the reader. It shows very extreme Islamic views in regards to women (extreme, please don’t get offended, do not mean the average Muslim) and the idea that they can treat them however they want to, and they do. There is one part I remember when reading it when the woman does not cook well and so he forces her to eat rocks and tells her that this is what eating her food is like. The way it describes the event is yet more disturbing as her teeth are broken and her gums are bleeding and you can almost feel the pain the girl must be going through, take account that it is a girl, showing that the arranged marriage did not need an age restriction. This shows a friendship in an unlikely place and doe resonate with the reader.

9. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold 

The first chapter especially of this book is disturbing as it is a novel written about a Most Disturbing Books 8young girl who is raped and murdered by her estranged neighbour. Very disturbing reading what human beings are capable of, especially human beings who you assume are normal but end up having a twisted background and the characters realising they have happily been living next door is a murderer for so many years. The film does not fully show the disturbing nature as it tries to prove itself to a wide ranging audience but this book, especially the first chapter, is in places very hard to read.

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