College Students! discussion

693 views
Genre or Topic/Theme Related > most disturbing books you've ever read

Comments Showing 1-50 of 110 (110 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1 3

message 1: by jessi (new)

jessi (infinitevantage) | 157 comments I don't know what it is about books that freak me out that I like so much, but I do. I have a running list of books that are supposed to be incredibly disturbing that I want to read, like Johnny Got His Gun, Blindness, American Psycho, etc.

So far, the most messed up books I've read are The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum and The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski.

So, what books have you read that you found most disturbing?


message 2: by Bárbara (new)

Bárbara (leviathan_) Definitely JT Leroy's The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. To make matters worse, the author tried to sell that off as some sort of memoir...


message 3: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Good topic!

I think that Gemma was the most disturbing book I've ever read.


message 4: by Alaa (last edited Feb 13, 2010 07:19AM) (new)

Alaa | 5 comments A mercy and The bluest eyes by Toni Morrison. I loved them but they made my head spin!


message 5: by Tami (new)

Tami | 3103 comments Mod
Sleepers got to me. I am not sure if it was because I was so much younger when I read it or for the fact that things like that probably happen way more often than I think. Funny side note though. I heard they decided to make it a movie right after I finished. I had pictured Kevin Bacon as the guard and when the movie came out, he played the guard. Dead on casting.


message 6: by jessi (new)

jessi (infinitevantage) | 157 comments Oh, speaking of "memoirs," I guess A Million Little Pieces was rather disturbing. But I didn't like the book much because the writing style is terrible and then so much of it just sounds fabricated, it's hard to believe that it took people so long to realize some of it was exaggerated.


message 7: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberlywithat) | 2140 comments I'd say A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive is one of the most disturbing books I've read. I was younger when I read it though, I was 12 I think.


message 8: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Kimberly--I read that in high school and found it incredibly disturbing too!


message 9: by Zach (new)

Zach Irvin | 27 comments in all actuality, 'the things they carried' was really disturbing to me. the way that o'brian showed how life during war is taken so easily and quickly made me shiver. either that or wozzeck


message 10: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
The Things They Carried...definitely disturbing!


message 11: by Jane (new)

Jane (JaneLitChic) | 14 comments The violence in L.A. Confidential was disturbing for me - especially one particular event involving a hand and an insinkerator garbage disposal unit.


message 12: by Amelia, free market Puritan (last edited Feb 15, 2010 09:52PM) (new)

Amelia, free market Puritan (aeimaginer12) Kimberly wrote: "I'd say A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive is one of the most disturbing books I've read. I was younger when I read it though, I was 12 I think. "

Ohh I've read that! Okay, yay now I can participate in the discussion now that I actually have one!
Oh and this one book I read completely by accident when I was like 12 and it scarred me for life - Flowers in the Attic
Just thinking about that book makes me want to cry and hide in my closet


message 13: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberlywithat) | 2140 comments Oh me too Amelia! I was the same age too. I picked it up in my schools library (I still can't believe that they had it in a Jr. High library.)


message 14: by Bárbara (new)

Bárbara (leviathan_) I've never read those books, but the synopsis sounds hilariously bad - I want to read them because of that. Then again, I'm 19, not 12, and not that easily disturbed.


message 15: by Jess (new)

Jess Amelia, I agree - the V.C. Andrews books are extremely disturbing. I can't believe I read these when I was 12-13! The ghostwritten ones are even worse, and just as twisted.


message 16: by Natanya (last edited Feb 16, 2010 09:27PM) (new)

Natanya (vraisemble) | 255 comments I completely agree about Flowers in the Attic. I read it also when I was around 12, and was like, "WHAT IS HE DOING TO HER?!". I did kind of like the series at the time, though I never finished all of them because they got really bad and confusing. What's funny is that my mom recommended to me to read it, and when I did and told her what happened, she said she didn't remember that.


message 17: by Kayla (last edited Feb 17, 2010 02:19PM) (new)

Kayla | 604 comments Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean P. Sasson

This book still haunts me. It's horrible how women were treated there, and the punishments inflicted on them. One woman was sentenced to death because she got raped and another was forced to live inside a windowless room for the rest of her life for the same reason!!


message 18: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (officersophie) | 5 comments We So Seldom Look on Love: Stories by Barbara Gowdy, definitely.
It was good... but really creepy. I guess that's what you'd expect from a collection of short stories with characters ranging from a female necrophile to Siamese twins to a two-headed man.


message 19: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Kayla wrote: "Princess:A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean P. Sasson.

This book still haunts me. It's horrible how women were treated there, and the punishments inflicted on them. O..."


Wow. I might have to pick that one up.


message 20: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Sophie wrote: "We So Seldom Look on Love: Stories by Barbara Gowdy, definitely.
It was good... but really creepy. I guess that's what you'd expect from a collection of short stories with characters..."


LOL that sounds VERY interesting/disturbing!


message 21: by jessi (new)

jessi (infinitevantage) | 157 comments Kayla wrote: "Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean P. Sasson"

Reminds me a little bit of things I've read about in Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and also A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It's so messed up the way many women are treated in Islamic societies.


message 22: by Jess (new)

Jess Jessi, I also though A Thousand Splendid Suns was both messed up and frustrating at times. (And terribly sad! In my opinion.) But I do argue that not all women in Muslim societies are treated like that (though I'm not Muslim). I think that partially these people are published because they present more extreme glimpses or perspectives on women's issues and "radical Islam" and "Islamicization" and "jihadism" without really addressing a religious tradition that's just as complex and human as any other religion. (Sorry, I ramble sometimes. Not criticizing you - just the authors and the publishing industry!) :)


message 23: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 279 comments The Things They Carried
The Jungle

Both where really creepy


message 24: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie | 58 comments Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk made me dizzy/nauseous when reading it. I don't particular enjoy his work; I don't like shock books.

The part about the ants in The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver also freaked me out.


message 25: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 279 comments Sweet.... The Poisonwood Bible is on my summer reading list.


message 26: by jessi (new)

jessi (infinitevantage) | 157 comments Both Haunted and The Poisonwood Bible are on my list for upcoming books, as well as some other freaky books. I don't have a good feeling about The Poisonwood Bible, though; I've owned like three copies of it and I have no idea where they keep going. It doesn't seem to like me very much lol.


message 27: by Kaion (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) I'm with the Flowers in the Attic-is-hilarious crowd. It's works as a melodrama in the first one, but part way into the second, you sort of realize the Andrews just has some issues to work through, and so the chraacters keep making the same mistakes and have the same fixations.

The most disturbing... in the negative way, probably The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea (there's ... bad kids... and cat killing/mutilation). In the positive way, probably Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. But in the really really good way.


message 28: by Annie (new)

Annie Hartman (anniebananie) | 242 comments Kaion: I read Sadako when I was in 4th grade and I cried my eyes out. So incredibly sad but also extremely moving.


message 29: by Leanna (new)

Leanna (leannerd) | 46 comments Ketchum is definitely a disturbing author. I got two of his books, Off-Season and Off-Spring and they were fantastic. I read them both in about three days. I loved them, but watch out if you're squeamish because they're extremely graphic.

Another book I found disturbing, but totally awesome, in much the same way as the Ketchum novels was Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker. I read this in about two days and loved it.


message 30: by Chrissie (new)


message 31: by Denise (new)

Denise Melissa wrote: "The Things They Carried
The Jungle

Both where really creepy"


The Jungle was required reading for me in high school. I loved it overall, but there were a lot of parts where I was literally squirming in my seat reading it.


message 32: by Kellie (new)

Kellie (kellieag) Some of the scenes/dialogue in Push literally made me nauseous.


message 33: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberlywithat) | 2140 comments Oh I forgot about one, The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story was required reading my sophomore year of high school. Some parts of it made me feel a bit sick, and on top of that it's a true story.


message 34: by Kaion (last edited Mar 01, 2010 05:41PM) (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) Kellie wrote: "Some of the scenes/dialogue in Push literally made me nauseous."

I hope you mean nauseated. ;) Definitely an intense read.

Annie wrote: "Kaion: I read Sadako when I was in 4th grade and I cried my eyes out. So incredibly sad but also extremely moving."

Same- must be required reading for fourth graders? Definitely unforgettable, and the subject can still spring tears from me unawares.


message 35: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Kellie wrote: "Some of the scenes/dialogue in Push literally made me nauseous."

I can only imagine. Some parts in the movie made me feel that way.


message 36: by Amy (new)

Amy (signgirlamy) The Cement Garden was incredibly disturbing to me. I don't get embarrassed very easily, but I was afraid that someone I knew would see me reading it and know what was going on. Even though I'm quite sure none of my friends/acquaintances have read it.

I really enjoyed The Things They Carried. It was a disturbing book, but I'm up for anything that brings more awareness to PTSD. The most shocking thing about that book to me is that there are MANY more people coming back from the Iraq war with PTSD then this country ever saw from Vietnam. The US isn't doing nearly as much as it should be about the disorder, and more people should read books that raise awareness about it.

*Whew* okay, off my psych major rant :)


message 37: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Amy wrote: "The Cement Garden was incredibly disturbing to me. I don't get embarrassed very easily, but I was afraid that someone I knew would see me reading it and know what was going on. Even tho..."

I agree with you on the PTSD and how people should really be more aware of it. As an aside, I really enjoyed that book too.


message 38: by Lynn (new)

Lynn I have a friend who was in Iraq during the first invasion (he actually got to spend the night at Saddam's palace!) and he has talked to me some about PTSD issues (It was also thought that I may have had some minor PTSD things going on after a bad car accident, which is how we first started talking about it.) It's so true that not enough people think about it.

Sidenote: The Things They Carried is one of his favorite books


message 39: by Alicia (new)

Alicia (amazingact21) I just finished The Silence of the Lambs and normally I'm really hard to gross out, but this book definitely freaked me out a little. The way the author took on the perspective of the seriel killer and the details in his methods was not a pleasent read for me. I'm aware that people do some sick stuff, I watch Criminal Minds, but having that much information about the processes and such creeped me out, for sure.


message 40: by R (new)

R (feste) Oh yes, Alicia. A few years ago, I attempted to read Red Dragon (the first book in the Hannibal Lecter series). I put it down after a few dozen pages because I simply couldn't go on. My horror threshold is usually pretty high too, so I seriously didn't expect to be so freaked out.


message 41: by Steph (new)

Steph | 9 comments Oh gosh, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things was so disturbing. The movie was just as bad, if not worse for the visuals. The Road was pretty disturbing too, I agree. It also scared the crap out of me. I had nightmares, and daymares. Such a depressing book. I LOVED Haunted, though. It's probably my favourite Chuck P book. It was a bit excessive about trying to shock, though. When I heard about the reactions to the first story in that book I was a bit nervous to even read it, but I was really disappointed to find it was just gross-out shock. Bleh.

My addition would be The Wasp Factory: A Novel. I really enjoyed reading it, but it kind of reminded me of how I felt after reading Lord of the Flies. There was this really dark feeling that lingered after I finished it. Such a strange book.

Oh, and I have the Poisonwood Bible sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. Now I can't wait!


message 42: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberlywithat) | 2140 comments I just remembered a book that I read when I was younger, about 5th grade or younger, that really bothered me. I don't remember the title or the author although it might be R.L.Stine. (loved his books) I just remember that the guy in it gets scared of a dog so he grabs the dog by the head and pulled it backwards until the neck broke. I was horrified. I love dogs. I had nightmares for weeks. Even typing out the story just now it makes me shudder a little bit.


message 43: by Alicia (new)

Alicia (kalypso) | 214 comments Chrissie wrote: "Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk made me dizzy/nauseous when reading it. I don't particular enjoy his work; I don't like shock books.

The part about the ants in [book:The Pois..."


I heard Haunted has some pretty gruesome parts. A couple of my friends mentioned almost throwing up after reading parts. I have it but haven't read it yet.


message 44: by Bárbara (new)

Bárbara (leviathan_) Haunted is one of the two books by Palahniuk I have yet to read. The other one is Pygmy.


message 45: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey (xtoloveistolivex) | 534 comments I loved the whole Silence of the Lambs series. It definitely freaked me out too, but I was kind of weirded out because I ended up liking the character of Hannibal. I was like, "Uh...am I supposed to be liking this serial killer? Anyone else? Anyone?..." I think it's just me.
A Child Called It was probably the most disturbing book I've ever read. I remember that I finished it in 7th grade during reading time, and I was sobbing my eyes out for the rest of the day.


message 46: by Kallie (new)

Kallie | 42 comments Well not disturbing in a creepy or scary way, but more of a poignant and sad way... She's Come Undone really resonated with me in a way that I would consider disturbing


message 47: by Candace (new)

Candace Petersen Martineau The Road by Cormac McCarthy - scary, intense, edge-of-your-seat read.


message 48: by Emma (last edited May 12, 2010 08:56PM) (new)

Emma Of all the books I've read (and I've read a lot of the books mentioned so far), Naked Lunch: The Restored Text disturbed me the most. It was the style more than the content though.


message 49: by Jess (new)

Jess I read Shutter Island last month, which was CRAZY. Such a trippy book.


message 50: by Jessika (new)

Jessika (jessalittlenerdy) I recently watched Precious and I think I'd have a really hard time reading Push. It usually takes a lot for me to get distraught (I'm an avid Stephen King fan), but after watching that, I thinking reading it would be even worse.


« previous 1 3
back to top