Notes From The Underground - Fyodor Dostoevsky. It's a dark mirror that presents itself to me. And while I detest looking at it, I also find it difficult not to.


Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted(a collection of short stories). It made me close my legs and squirm, and feel disgusted. The first story ''Guts'' made me put down the book and not touch it due to fear of what i am about to read next.

As Wikipedia describes it : It is a tale of violent accidents involving masturbation, in which the reader is instructed to hold their breath in the very first line.

Yeah, reader beware.

@hybridhavoc@darkfriend.social avatar

Same experience.

@SeverianWolf @literature


@SeverianWolf > Haunted

I came here to post this!

I am not much of a horror/disturbing stories fan, but Guts was simply astonishing, I read this more than 10 years ago and still remember the story vividly.


The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. The narrator and main character is a psychotic teenager, and being inside their head just feels so gross. Fantastic book, but genuinely disturbing.

In close second is Earthlings by Sayaka Murata. The main character goes through some stuff as a child, and comes to believe that she isn't human. Meets some others like herself and it gets weird. Great book, not for the faint of heart!


Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

It was an assigned reading in 11th grade. When I finally finished it, I remember feeling like my skin was crawling, and my thoughts were a jumbled mess - I was questioning everything, how I viewed others and how they viewed me, was it right or wrong, how would I have behaved in those situations...

I remember l just staring out my bedroom window into the pitch black night for an hour just digesting it all. I also remember sleeping with the lights on because I was a little creeped out.

Being an impressionable teen probably helped, but that book left a profound impact on my way of thinking about how I interact with the world and the people in it.

It was also my gateway book to classic literature and how good it can actually be!


Exquisite Corpse by Poppt Z. Brite. It's the only book I've ever loved that it recommend to exactly nobody. It's very graphic (violent).


Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. The supernatural monsters in the novel are rank amateurs at being horrific compared to some of the human characters. While well written and a smooth read, I could not finish it.


I picked up for a book club but then dropped after prolonged distress, Call Me by Your Name by Aciman.

It's not so much the age-gap aspect (which is pushing the limits of acceptable for a reader socialised in Europe, but it's not over those limits), but it's the entire trope of sexual abuse as a playful flirting ritual that permeates the book that I found truly sickening.


American Psycho made me so claustrophobic reading it I had to give up really quickly. Which means it was terribly effective, but not something I can make myself read.

demvoter avatar

Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr. I still can’t believe I actually read the whole damn nightmare.

@davefischer@beehaw.org avatar

The House in the Dark by Tarjei Vesaas. It's a surrealist account of life under the Nazi occupation. It was written in Norway during the occupation. After writing it, Vesaas immediately buried the manuscript in the forest until the war was over - being caught with it would have meant immediate death.

1962 cold-war drama Fail-Safe is also very disturbing.

SnowboardBum avatar

In the Tall Grass by Steven King and Joe Hill.

So unsettling until the scary. And then the scary got worse!

Deliverator, (edited )
Deliverator avatar

A Scanner Darkly is an incredibly moving and haunting novel to anyone who's ever struggled with drug addiction. For a nonfiction book probably "Kill Anything That Moves" which is about the horrifying and infuriatting reality of the U.S. war in Vietnam, and "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston

@davefischer@beehaw.org avatar

That afterword in A Scanner Darkly! Intense.

"This has been a novel about some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed—run over, maimed, destroyed—but they continued to play anyhow. We really all were very happy for a while, sitting around not toiling but just bullshitting and playing, but it was for such a terrible brief time, and then the punishment was beyond belief: even when we could see it, we could not believe it…."


Loved The Hot Zone! Nonfiction that reads like a thriller.

@Witch@beehaw.org avatar

The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. It wasn't scary per say but I had an interesting experience where I had a manic episode reading it, barely slept, and got absolutely obsessed with the idea of it as I read it.

10/10 loved the immersion aspect.


This book also didn’t scare me in a traditional way but is definitely one of the most unsettling things I’ve read.


oh gosh I read this one quite recently, the incredibly esoteric nature of it was utterly fascinating and somewhat terrifying..


Came here to say exactly this! That one puts the reader in the narrator's situation if you're not careful. Which is pretty genius, but also terrifying. Stroooooong mental health warning like nothing else I've ever read, but sooo good. It took me three or four tries to get through it, just because of the ahem. Atmosphere it manifested in my brain. But it's one of my favorite books ever.


Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. The main character has no name, no parents and his life is full of violence and death. It's all he knows, so much as he knows anything.


This sounds a little like Justine my De Sade. A bleak tale about ever escalating horrible events.


It’s being adapted into a film now. I don’t know how they’re going to pull it off.


I don't know if I'd want to see it, it'd be hard to watch on two counts:

  1. They do it well, somehow, and I have to look away for a lot of the scenes.
  2. It's been done horribly and the book is irreparably marred by it.

I feel like it would need to be a television show instead and even then.... I don't think it's possible to give it credit.


I feel like there are multiple levels of terrifying to this book.

I can't get The Judge out of my head, he has a supernatural quality to him but in a horrible, intelligent way that makes him horrifying.

But then the other terrifying thing is just the depiction of the normal characters and what they go through and the actions they commit.

And then finally another level is the depiction of everything else they face. That scene where the boy first witnesses an attack by the Comanche is blood curdling and yet mesmerising within one sentence. For anybody looking for context, search for 'Blood Meridian Legion of horribles quote' for the whole sentence.


I don't know if disturbing is the word I'd use but Empire Falls left me feeling profoundly sad for a few weeks after finishing it. It was a beautiful book and I'd recommend it to anyone but it definitely stuck with me for a bit and was hard to shake


As long as it unsettles you in some way, it counts.

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