October 1book140 Shortlist: Scary Reads


Hello Bookies!!! It's time to vote for our second annual Scary Book Read-Along. As most of you know, I've been largely absent from the group for the last few months. Unsurprisingly (and to my great relief), that hasn't slowed anyone down. 

These are the #1book140 community's choices for the October shortlist, summarized from the noms page and the hashtag discussion. We hope that it will be a horrifically chilling discussion in October at the #1book140 hashtags.

Click here to vote or use the pop-up module on the page. Polls close Friday at 5 pm Eastern.

The City, The City by China Mielville. Longtime bookie @CarolJago says: "[This book] is a truly terrifying tale of one geographical city that is shared by two populations that are invisible to one another. Sound like a familiar nightmare? A compelling, powerful novel. I couldn't put it down."

Horns by Joe Hill. We love Joe Hill and his books are scaaaaaary. In a nutshell it's a tale of a hell of a hangover, literally! [Ed's Note: You'll remember we read Joe's Heart-Shaped Box last year, and had a rollicking good time of it. Not an endorsement; just a reminder.]

Zone One by Colson Whitehead. Whitehead has agreed to participate in our discussion should we choose his book. It's a different take on the zombie apocalypse. "Whitehead's recent article in the New Yorker concerning his childhood fascination with 50s B-grade horror and sci-fi really illuminated how Whitehead--as "literary" a writer as any you'll find on shelves--is influenced by 'genre' writing," writes bookie Greg Cwik. "As with Chabon and Lethem, pulp fiction and low-to-middle-brow art seeps into Whitehead's work; he doesn't really transcend genre, but rather uses it like a vessel to get at social criticism and cultural observations; an atomic-age flaneur, perhaps?" 

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. This title's nominator, @Velveetahead, said that "this book is bizarre, mind-bending (a second story takes place in the footnotes) and parts of it are scary as hell!" [Ed's Note: We like "scary as hell." In fact, one might argue it's a crucial element in the "scary book" formula.]

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. It's an old-fashioned ghost story set in England with the haunting ambience, unforgettable characters, and vengeful spirits that define the genre. It's the basis of the recent movie of the same name starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame. 

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. @DemonLover, this title's nominator, tells us that this title is "a little older, no gore and guts. Simply brilliant." And @billward79 says that he "participated in that side read last year, and would read again. It packs an emotional punch, even without the 'gore and guts' .... I found it more 'literary fiction' than 'genre fiction', if those labels even matter." [Ed's Note: I read it last year, too, as did many bookies. A great book, but we might want to pick an entirely new read this year.] 

We hope that it will be a horrifically chilling discussion in October at the #1book140 hashtags.

Presented by

Jeff Howe is a professor of journalism at Northeastern University in Boston and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He helps run @1book140, The Atlantic's Twitter book club. More

Jeff Howe is a professor of journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He previously worked as a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, where he covered the media and entertainment industries. In June 2006 he published "The Rise of Crowdsourcing" in Wired. In September 2008 he published a book on the subject for Random House. The book has been translated into 11 languages. Before coming to Wired in 2001 he was a senior editor at Inside.com and a writer at the Village Voice. In his 20 years as a journalist he has traveled around the world working on stories ranging from the impending water crisis in Central Asia to the implications of gene patenting. He has written for Time, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, Mother Jones and numerous other publications. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and two children.

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