Posts Tagged ‘morbid’

Pet Sematary

October 26, 2011

Author: King, Stephen

Title:  Pet Sematary

Genre:  Horror

Publication Date: 2001

Number of pages: 562

Geographical Setting: Ludlow, Maine

Time period: Contemporary

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary: A young family moves from Chicago to a country house in Ludlow, a small college town in Maine. The doctor, Louis Creed, his pretty wife, his sweet little daughter, and a toddler boy settle in quickly and make friends with a local, elderly couple from across the street. It all starts well but the first signs of menace can be felt when the neighbor, Jud Crandall, warns the Creeds against the dangers of the busy road that separates their houses, and then shows them an old “Pet Sematary” located in the back of their property. When the family cat gets killed, Jud secretly takes Louis and the corpse into the woods, past the “sematary” and into the old, supernatural Indian burying ground known for sending dead animals back, and sure enough, the cat appears alive. But is it really? What is the price of the resurrection? What are the limits?  What does the neighbor’s statement “sometimes dead is better” mean? The rest of this bone-chilling story rapidly descends into a psychological horror tale of unimaginable loss, macabre death, undead evil, and supernatural powers of a place that “went sour.”

Subject Headings: Undead, Pets, Pet Cemeteries, Loss (Psychology), Supernatural, Small town life—Maine.

Appeal: creepy, menacing, horrifying, visceral, disturbing, nightmarish, chilling, dark, morbid, ghoulish, revolting, heart-wrenching, compelling, character-driven, suspenseful, fast-paced.

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe this Book: creepy, menacing, character-driven.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) The Stephen King Illustrated Companion: Manuscripts, Correspondence, Drawings and Memorabilia from the Master of Modern Horror by Bev Vincent: the book discusses King’s most iconic works and monsters, and tries to connect them to King’s personal experiences, thoughts and memories. Parts of the plot of “Pet Sematary” are based on King’s real-life experience and the connections are discussed in this companion book.

2) Encyclopedia of the Undead by Bob Curran: this book collects a wide range of vampires, werewolves, ghouls and monsters from around the world, traces their origins, and connects them to our psychology and archetypical fears.

3) Dark Woods, Chill Waters: Ghost Tales from Down East Maine by Marcus LiBrizzi: a collection of most chilling and menacing stories about Maine where deep, dark forests and harsh cliffs are reflected in the supernatural lore and stories of unimaginable horror and evil.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1) The Walking by Bentley Little: a story of a chilling quest to uncover the source of a strange epidemic that turn people into walking dead and propels them to an unknown destination. Similarly to “Pet Sematary,” the story has a disturbing and menacing mood. It’s also fast-paced, character-driven and suspenseful.

2) Second Child by John Saul: a tale of an idyllic town of Secret Cove disturbed by a hundred-years-old legacy of an unspeakable evil act and channeled through a young girl, Melissa Holloway. The story is disturbing, menacing, fast-paced and addresses similar subject of disturbed “old evil” leading toward horrifying consequence.

3) The Good House by Tananarive Due: Angela Toussaint, the protagonist of the story, travels back to her family house to put a closure to the memory of her son’s suicide, only to realize that the town is possessed by evil ancestral spirits driving seemingly balanced people to suicide. Both “Pet Sematary” and this book are fast-paced and creepy horror stories about small town life, menacing supernatural and the psychology of loss.

Megan R.

The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar

March 30, 2011

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Author: Terri Cheney

Title: The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication Date: March 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 288 pages

Geographical Setting: Los Angeles, CA

Time Period: Late 1960’s – 1970’s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Terri Cheney chronicles her life as a young girl struggling with bipolar disorder while growing up in a suburban Los Angeles home in this engaging memoir.  She eloquently retells stories about her childhood and teen years, pulling the reader in with a sense of urgency through every incident.  Throughout the book, she is hiding a secret that she herself is too young to understand, even though on the outside she was a smart and successful student, beloved by her father.  Candid and straight-forward, Cheney doesn’t hide anything that happened to her as a child, nor does she make excuses for why she did those things, other than the fact that a force inside of her, whom she named as the “Black Beast”, drove her into this destructive, manic lifestyle.

Subject Headings: Bipolar Disorder, Childhood, Dysfunctional Families, Self-Discovery, Sexual Experimentation, Spirituality and Religion, Writing, Suburban Life

Appeal terms: Intense, dramatic, ominous, sexual, volatile, urgent, hostile, bittersweet, angst-ridden, complex, uneasy, evocative, candid, character-centered, morbid, bleak, angry

3 terms that best describes this book: Disturbing, intensely dramatic, emotional

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bipolar but Were Too Freaked Out to Ask by Hilary Smith

A funny and insightful book that dives deep into a difficult issue with humor only someone who has been there can truly write about.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir by Kay Redfield Jamison

A psychiatrist opens up about her life struggles with depression, varying from her personal stories to scientific knowledge about the disease that both distraught and thrilled her.

Where Are the Cocoa Puffs? A Family’s Journey Through Bipolar Disorder by Karen Winters Schwartz

The teenage daughter of a psychiatrist is bipolar, and every member of the family is affected by her behavior, though they handle it in different ways.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Written in free verse, this is the story of three psychologically troubled teens connecting after they are committed to a mental health facility after suicide attempts.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Largely seen as autobiographical, this is a fictional work about a young female writer in the 1950’s whose talent was overshadowed by her constant struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg

A young teenage girl struggling with schizophrenia has to fight for a way to live sanely and escape the torments of her fantasies.

Name: Lian Sze

Let the Right One In

November 4, 2009

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Title: Let the Right One In (Let Me In) (Låt den rätte komma in)

Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 480

Geographical Setting: Sweden (suburbs of Stockholm)

Time Period: Present day

Series: no

Plot Summary:

Oskar is a struggling 12 year old who collects articles about serial killers and murders. He is tortured at school, and since his parents divorce his home life is not much better. Life in general is gray and lonely for Oskar until his new neighbors move in, an old man and his young daughter. Late one night Oskar meets Eli, the young androgynous looking girl. Right away Oskar notices that she is odd. She is pale like Oskar, but smells bad (like rotten meat) and in the dead of winter and she has no coat, and no socks and shoes. They form a friendship as lonely outcasts of a small town. She encourages him to stand up to the bullies at school, and he becomes her closest confident. Due to Oskar’s slightly morbid side he is neither shocked or frightened when Eli tells him that she survives on blood, and that the old man is not her father, but an aging pedophile who kills for her in exchange for money and the promise that one day he can touch her. The old man is soon caught by the police, and now Eli must fend for herself. Fearing that the town is suspicious of her she says her goodbyes to Oskar and leaves. Life goes on with out his only friend, until it is almost ended at the hands of his bullies. In the midst of a swim practice the boys gang up on Oskar and try to drown him. Eli intervenes in a gruesome way, she pulls Oskar from the blood filled pool and they escape together.

Subject Headings: Vampires, 12 year old boys, Revenge, Swedish Horror

Appeal: Vampire, Horror, coming of age, Sweden, Bullies, twisted love story, Dark, Sad, Lonely, Gruesome, character centered, Controversial, Mysterious, Suburban, Cold, Morbid, Divorce.

3 Terms that best describe this book: Lonely, Dark, Friendship

3 fiction read alikes

Popular music from Vittula: a novel by Mikael Niemi

(Looks at life in a small Swedish village during the 1960s and its colorful inhabitants, including an African missionary, a German tourist who happens to be an ex-Nazi, and a music teacher who has no fingers on his right hand.)

The princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson

(When the mutilated body of the local reformed troublemaker is found, Inspector Ann Lindell takes time off from maternity leave to uncover the killer and is drawn into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a vicious murderer.)

Depths: a novel by Henning Mankell

(Swedish naval officer Lars Tobiasson-Svartman finds himself attracted to a young widow whose wild nature is in total contrast to his wife’s reserved personality.)

3 non-fiction read alikes

The dead travel fast: stalking vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula by Eric Nuzum

(A cultural exploration of vampire lore and the lifestyles it has inspired)

Fight scenes by Greg Bottoms

(Suburban male coming of age vignettes from around the U.S.)

Real Vampires by Daniel Cohen

(Argues that vampires are not merely creatures of fiction, and provides instances of real-life encounters with vampires from Middle Europe to Middle America, from medieval to modern times)

Name: Laura

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

March 25, 2009

Author: Jeff Lindsay
Title: Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publication Date: 2004
Number of Pages: 304
Geographical Setting: Miami, Florida
Time Period: 2004
Series: Dexter, Book 1
Plot Summary: Dexter Morgan is a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami-Dade Police Department. He’s also a sociopathic serial killer with an aversion to blood. However, Dexter is the good guy; he only kills other serial killers, particularly those who target children. When prostitutes start dying in a manner startlingly similar to Dexter’s M.O., he is torn between catching the new killer in town and sitting back and admiring his work.
Subject Headings: Adoptees; Brothers and Sisters; Crime Laboratories; Crime Scene Searches; Father and Son; Florida; Forensic Scientists – Fiction; Men/Women Relations; Miami – Fiction; Murderer-Detectives; Mutilation; Personal Conduct; Police – Miami, Policewomen – Miami; Psychological Fiction; Psychopathic Criminals; Secrets; Serial Murder Investigation; Serial Murderers – Fiction; Serial Murders – Fiction; Suspense – Fiction; Vigilantes – Fiction;
Appeal: accessible, atmospheric, black humor, candid, cinematic, conclusive, contemplative, contemporary, dark, eccentric, edgy, details of forensic investigation, direct, fast-paced, flashbacks, frank, grim, interior, intriguing, introspective, investigative, ironic, light, macabre, morbid, offbeat, plot twists, political, psychological, quirky, resolved ending, sarcastic, series characters, smart, strong language, suspenseful, thought-provoking, unusual, urban, violent, vivid, witty
Red Flags: Strong language, murder, torture, mutilation and dismemberment.
Similar Authors and Works (Fiction):
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Serial murderers, psychopathic criminals, psychological, suspenseful, violence, grim, child abuse victims, interior, action, chilling, smart.
The Serial Killers Club by Jeff Povey. Serial murderers, psychopathic criminals, black humor, satire, quirky, offbeat.
Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff. Vigilantes, psychological, suspenseful, secret organizations, assassins, fantastical, fast-paced, smart, well-developed, quirky, satirical.
Similar Authors and Works (Non-Fiction):
In Broad Daylight by Harry N. MacLean. Ken Rex McElroy terrorized the people of Skidmore, Missouri for years. When the law failed the community, several citizens decided to kill him themselves.
Wicked Intentions: the Sheila LaBarre Murders by Kevin Flynn. Sheila LaBarre killed two developmentally disabled young men, claiming she was “an avenging angel sent to kill pedophiles.”
The Forensic Casebook: The Science of Crime Scene Investigation by N.E. Genge. This book contains step-by-step descriptions of the forensic investigation process with real and fictitious examples and plenty of references to television, film, and literature.
Name: Tori