The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group discussion

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General Chat > How do you stay calm/unparanoid when reading a dark book?

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message 1: by Mairéad (last edited Jul 11, 2011 01:53AM) (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments I like reading darker books like horrors and thrillers. I also read mostly at night. I have a highly overactive imagination which is both a blessing and a curse.
If the book draws me in and is detailed enough, the characters really come to life for me!
This is great except I start thinking that there is someone outside my window watching me at night or waiting to pounce on me on my way to the bathroom, so often, that sometimes I'm afraid to go. Sometimes I think I'll get shot by someone through our huge kitchen windows if I go down to the kitchen to get some water at night. I live in the country and I know that this is all nonsense but it still happens and it's difficult to shake and keep my cool when it does!

I end up really scaring myself silly!
I can't be alone in this!

How do the rest of keep your cool and not get too freaked out when reading such novels (particularly at night!) ?


message 2: by Dena (new)

Dena | 97 comments That's why I don't read books like that very often. I also will have flashbacks long after I've read a scary or gruesome book. My 8 year old grand-daughter told me she just keeps telling herself "It's not real, it's just a story". It seems to work for her.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I gave up thrillers and horror stories for the same reason, too. The older I get, the more active my imagination. So, now I stick to cozy mysteries, without so many vivid details.


Elizabeth (Alaska) I rarely read them because they are too far-fetched. I guess that's why they don't frighten me.


message 5: by Carol (new)

Carol Keogh (Goodfellow) (carolgoodfellowkeogh) | 16 comments I used to read Stephen King et al when I was younger, but now I have kids I cannot read or even watch scary things. Must be old age, lol


message 6: by Gatorman (new)

Gatorman | 7679 comments The part of me that knows it's not real controls the part of me that gets into the story just enough to allow a book to be scary without any lasting effects.


message 7: by Karendenice (new)

Karendenice Excellent explanation Gatorman. My feelings exactly. The only thing that sometimes gives me scary feelings and sometimes nightmares are movie. In these days they just seem to be so much more realistic.


message 8: by aprilla (new)

aprilla I love it if a book can make me react in such a real way Mairead! Great comment :)
Similar to Gatorman, if I'm listening to fiction I can actually enjoy the fright, in a way it's fun to be scared - that quick run across the hall to the safety of the bathroom, then back LOL... while knowing it's just a book, maybe...

... and I have dogs, they'll bark if there really is something out there outside the imagination!


message 9: by Gail (new)

Gail | 15 comments I try to do like Gatorman, but when I can't I don't read at night or when my husband isn't coming home that night! I LOVE this type of books! But I get nightmares from movies and tv shows way more than books! I guess it's like the roller coaster effect- we like to be scared to a point.


message 10: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35958 comments I don't usually read scary books. If I do, it is in the daylight hours in the living room. The last spooky book I read - I read on public transportation. This way I don't get into the story quite as much - always have to keep an ear out for my stop.

Also the reason why I read mysteries and not history on public transport.


message 11: by M.A. (last edited Jul 12, 2011 01:28PM) (new)

M.A. Demers I think P.D. James put it well when she said that, paradoxically, murder mysteries or scary books actually make us feel safer because the killer is always caught in the end, unlike real life. So you get the thrill of being scared but the security of knowing it'll be alright in the end...

Michelle

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message 12: by J.E. (new)

J.E. (jejtx) | 7 comments Funny, I don't like watching scary movies really at all, if I can talk my husband out of it....but those thriller, dangerous, "NO WAY!" kind of page-turners....love them! Esp. with just the bedside lamp on, etc.....with shadows on the wall.....I just can't stop reading if the author has hooked me from the start!


message 13: by Pauline (new)

Pauline  | 349 comments Interesting point J.E, I also love those dangerous thrillers that suck you into the story. Reading really scary gruesome horror/thrillers never really scare me though, but I do get freaked out when watching scary movies. Even so I still like to watch them...must be the spike of adrenaline that come from getting scared - and I scare really easy too.


message 14: by aprilla (last edited Jul 12, 2011 03:54PM) (new)

aprilla J.E. wrote: "....but those thriller, dangerous, "NO WAY!" kind of page-turners....love them! Esp. with just the bedside lamp on, etc..... with shadows on the wall..... I just can't stop reading if the author has hooked me from the start!
..."


Oh yes! but the window must be closed... a large moth getting in can scare the lights out of you, banging around in those shadows LOL


message 15: by Karendenice (new)

Karendenice aprilla, you are so right! And thank you so much for the biggest laugh of my day!!!


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

If I lived alone I would never read dark crime novels.


message 17: by Richard (new)

Richard Hemingway | 7 comments In the end you have to decide whether you have learned something about life. A scary book without some meaning might provide a few thrills but little else.


message 18: by J.E. (new)

J.E. (jejtx) | 7 comments Funny comments! The best, hands down, though, is when the phone rings suddenly...if only there were video of me, not only with the race of the heartbeat and sudden jump of panic, but often actually a slight "shriek" of sorts---out loud!! Makes for a good laugh at myself!!!


message 19: by aprilla (new)

aprilla Richard wrote: "In the end you have to decide whether you have learned something about life. A scary book without some meaning might provide a few thrills but little else."

I wonder if it's possible to read an not learn something? Whatever it be... from the content or from your reactions. But I seldom select my favourite serial killer thrillers for the learning curve, though... hmmm... maybe I do?


message 20: by J.E. (new)

J.E. (jejtx) | 7 comments First, I like the way you think, Aprilla!
Secondly....Richard, yes, I read mostly as an "escape" of sorts...but always manage to find one new word I had not heard used before...does that count? ;-)


message 21: by Nick (new)

Nick Wastnage (nickwastnage) | 32 comments As a crime writer I find all the comments interesting. The scary frightening bits are put in there to draw the reader in to the story and turn over the page. They need to be compelling and powerful. If they weren't the book would be weak and uninteresting. However, I shake a bit when I read some of Stephen King's books.


message 22: by Mairéad (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments J.E. wrote: "Funny comments! The best, hands down, though, is when the phone rings suddenly...if only there were video of me, not only with the race of the heartbeat and sudden jump of panic, but often actually..."

Hahaha too true J.E! There have been so many stories made drawn that concept! Ever heard of that movie "One Missed Call" ??
Or even that episode of Spongebob Squarepants where he goes off the edge of Bikini Bottom and he's in this weird place and the payphone keeps ringing and there's nobody else around and all he can hear is this heavy breathing on the line!! Hahaha


message 23: by Mairéad (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments aprilla wrote: "J.E. wrote: "....but those thriller, dangerous, "NO WAY!" kind of page-turners....love them! Esp. with just the bedside lamp on, etc..... with shadows on the wall..... I just can't stop reading if ..."

And the door must be closed! My Jack Russell terrier has a habit of escaping from his basket at night and sneaking up the hall, pouncing on me in bed wanting to snuggle under the covers! Haha sometimes he doesn't pounce and I'm so consumed by a book I don't notice he's there until he starts licking my feet!!!!!!!! That always ensures a scream, frightening both the dog and I! Hahaha


message 24: by Mairéad (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments Pauline wrote: "Interesting point J.E, I also love those dangerous thrillers that suck you into the story. Reading really scary gruesome horror/thrillers never really scare me though, but I do get freaked out when..."

Yeah I can't watch watch gory horrors anymore! I watched 'Sleeping With The Enemy' the other night for the first time and I nearly wet myself! And it's not even a horror movie!! I watched it with my younger sister and we screamed our throats raw! My Dad thought it was hilarious! He kept going outside the sitting room window and making creepy faces until we noticed and tapping on the window (it was night time) or opening our sitting room door very slowly so that it creaked. We screamed every single time! Hahaha


message 25: by Mairéad (last edited Jul 14, 2011 09:07AM) (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments M.A. wrote: "I think P.D. James put it well when she said that, paradoxically, murder mysteries or scary books actually make us feel safer because the killer is always caught in the end, unlike real life. So yo..."

Good point Michelle! With horror though it isn't always the case!
It's so weird, we want good to prevail in the end and wish for a happy ending, while at the same time not wanting that cliché!!


message 26: by Mairéad (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments Jan C wrote: "I don't usually read scary books. If I do, it is in the daylight hours in the living room. The last spooky book I read - I read on public transportation. This way I don't get into the story quite a..."

Great tips Jan! I shall implement them! (:


message 27: by Mairéad (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments aprilla wrote: "I love it if a book can make me react in such a real way Mairead! Great comment :)
Similar to Gatorman, if I'm listening to fiction I can actually enjoy the fright, in a way it's fun to be scared ..."


Yeah I can't go out into the darkness without my dog, but at night he barks at ANYTHING! He's got a Napoleon complex! Haha


message 28: by Mairéad (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments Gatorman wrote: "The part of me that knows it's not real controls the part of me that gets into the story just enough to allow a book to be scary without any lasting effects."

I wish I could do that!!


message 29: by Karendenice (new)

Karendenice J.E. wrote: "Funny comments! The best, hands down, though, is when the phone rings suddenly...if only there were video of me, not only with the race of the heartbeat and sudden jump of panic, but often actually..."
J.E. I also find that that happens to me with my cell phone even if it's just a text and it even happens if someone slams a car door out side.

Also even though I've been reading for /? years I still keep my cell phone with the Dictionary.com app right next to me when I'm reading. It's become a habit to lay my phone on top of the book that I'm reading so I'll be able to look up a word right then. :)


message 30: by Nick (new)

Nick Wastnage (nickwastnage) | 32 comments What about when you're alone in your house and it's about 10pm and you just reach a scary bit and feel something move up your leg. It's a spider, but I haven't you been too dammed scared to look.


message 31: by Kaye (new)

Kaye George It's a lot easier to read scary books in the day, or when someone else is around. But I like to get the full flavor, at night, alone. There's a thrill that comes from being frightened out of your wits. :)


message 32: by Nick (new)

Nick Wastnage (nickwastnage) | 32 comments You're brave Kaye. Hope the wind doesn't whistle too much around where you live.


message 33: by Kaye (new)

Kaye George Wind, creaky old house. As long as I know I'm reading fiction. There's some true crime I won't read alone!


message 34: by Jill (last edited Jul 20, 2011 06:23PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I remember reading The Exorcist when I was alone......I ended up sitting with my back against the living room wall!!!!
I make it a point to avoid books where victims are buried alive......that is guaranteed to give me nightmares. Otherwise, I depend on my four dogs to keep me calm........but if they begin barking, I start turning on all the lights!!!!


message 35: by Mairéad (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments Jill wrote: "I remember reading The Exorcist when I was alone......I ended up sitting with my back against the living room wall!!!!
I make it a point to avoid books where victims are buried alive..."


Hahaha you sound just like me! Haha ya I try and block off all possible entrances or places where something weird could be looking in at me! :/


message 36: by aprilla (last edited Jul 21, 2011 02:29PM) (new)

aprilla Jill wrote: "I make it a point to avoid books where victims are buried alive......that is guaranteed to give me nightmares. Otherwise, I depend on my four dogs to keep me calm........but if they begin barking, I start turning on all the lights!!!!..."

It's a long time ago but I once went to the kitchen for a knife when my dog showed anxiety while I was reading... I think it was a Stephen King book...
:/

ps I consider that a Good Book!!


message 37: by Mairéad (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments aprilla wrote: "Jill wrote: "I make it a point to avoid books where victims are buried alive......that is guaranteed to give me nightmares. Otherwise, I depend on my four dogs to keep me calm........but if they be..."

Hahaha BRILLIANT! At least your fear caused to do more than run and hide!


message 38: by Kaye (new)

Kaye George long time ago but I once went to the kitchen for a knife when my dog showed anxiety while I was reading... I think it was a Stephen King book...

Funny, Aprilla! Not at the time, or course.


message 39: by Mary (new)

Mary J.E. wrote: "Funny, I don't like watching scary movies really at all, if I can talk my husband out of it....but those thriller, dangerous, "NO WAY!" kind of page-turners....love them! Esp. with just the bedside..."

I like psychological thrillers on video, but I could not watch on DVD, what I actually read. I can read about it, the gorier, the better, there is nothing taboo for me to read, nothing too shockable, but I could not watch it visually. Funny really. I never get freaked out by what I read, I read mostly at night, I think it's years of conditioning from starting reading Stephen King, James Herbert and murder mysteries when I was in my teens. And, really important to note, it's fiction, remind yourself of that once and a while.


message 40: by Dena (new)

Dena | 97 comments Just starting to read The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo. My GR friend and hopefully someday soon daughter-in-law Louise sent it to me for my birthday. It will be scary so I'll need to get my guard cats in here to watch out.
The cover shows a scene in deep snow so that will be a bonus since the temp outside is now 104F.


message 41: by aprilla (last edited Jul 22, 2011 02:57PM) (new)

aprilla Mary wrote: "I like psychological thrillers on video, but I could not watch on DVD, what I actually read. I can read about it, the gorier, the better, there is nothing taboo for me to read, nothing too shockable, but I could not watch it visually. Funny really. I never get freaked out by what I read, I read mostly at night, I think it's years of conditioning from starting reading Stephen King, James Herbert and murder mysteries when I was in my teens. And, really important to note, it's fiction, remind yourself of that once and a while...."

I totally agree Mary, well almost... I would watch them but don't have the patience to sit through them anymore, the shortest 'dull' bit and I'm off doing something else, movie forgotten.
Bookwise, sometimes I even wonder at the level of 'shock' that I enjoy now to get me to be able to say.... whew! that was good! instead of, yeah it was ok.


message 42: by Natasha (new)

Natasha (asanat) | 3 comments I guess as a writer of dark books, nothing scares me. But I can get worry and bite my nailes if the character is in trouble, otherwise no. Love dark tales. For some reason "The running man" made my heart pumping.


message 43: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 674 comments Mairead wrote: "I like reading darker books like horrors and thrillers. I also read mostly at night. I have a highly overactive imagination which is both a blessing and a curse.

How do the rest of keep your cool and not get too freaked out when reading such novels (particularly at night!) ? "


I'm usually pretty laid back when it comes to getting 'spooked' at night ... grew up on a remote ranch with very few people, have been alone a lot and much of that by choice, so tend to be comfortable when I'm alone and/or at night.

The one book I can remember vividly that really did make me check the doors, close windows and *not* want to make the trip to the outhouse after dark (yes, really we did have one) was a book by Barbara Michaels, "The Dark on the Other Side".

I have read it since but I am cautious about reading it at night even now.


message 44: by Laurin (new)

Laurin (llooloo) I usually read them in bed, all snuggled under the covers. I make sure my phone is next to me, a light is on, and the room is quiet so that I can hear things going on.


message 45: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 234 comments I recently read so many books in a row that scared me that I had to stop & read a couple of funny memoirs before going back to murder mysteries. I'm usually not scared easily, and I was surprised that I got so frightened.


message 46: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 335 comments Gatorman wrote: "The part of me that knows it's not real controls the part of me that gets into the story just enough to allow a book to be scary without any lasting effects."

I think I am that way as well Gatorman, when I am reading the book, or watching a movie, I am totally into it - but once I stop reading or the movie is over, I'm done - neither one of the phases me at all. And I love scary movies as much as I love reading thrillers - and Stephen King will always be one of my favorties!!


message 47: by aprilla (last edited Jul 31, 2011 04:14AM) (new)

aprilla Sandra wrote: "I recently read so many books in a row that scared me that I had to stop & read a couple of funny memoirs before going back to murder mysteries. I'm usually not scared easily, and I was surprised t..."

Me too, singly the books scare and usually I'm off to the next scare, but there is a sortof commulative effect after a while. Then (when I feel the paranoia coming on) I like to go to cozy mysteries or a non-fiction like a bio or tutorial, clear the brain LOL :)


message 48: by Nick (new)

Nick Wastnage (nickwastnage) | 32 comments I agree with Aprilla. After a scary read I move to something less heart palpitating and calmer, but soon return to a good thriller. I guess that's because I write them and like to learn from other authors.


message 49: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ | 155 comments I tend to put the book aside a read a little of something else when the book is intense, I did this several times when reading the first 50 pgs. of The Hypnotist.


message 50: by Wendy (new)

Wendy | 571 comments Lights ON, doors LOCKED, bat Nearby


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