Well written “good” books create worlds and characters you don’t want to leave. Dark and disturbing books create worlds so disgusting and inhuman that all you can ever think about is how to escape them.
In what might be an ironic twist of fate, it’s the dark and disturbing books that teach one to be optimistic. No matter how bad your life is, at least you aren’t eaten from the inside out by hungry rats.
The list below contains some of the most depraved, violent, creepy and disgusting books ever written. You’ll feel the need to throw them at the wall, you’ll feel something that conventional “good” books can’t really transmit, at least not at the same intensity.
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Without further ado, here is the list of books:
A list of dark and disturbing books
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison
In a post-apocalyptic world, a sentient and super-intelligent AI spends every second of its existence torturing the last few human survivors, healing them, then torturing them again.
When I first read it I just had circulating thoughts about it for weeks. Kept me up at night.– Readers quote
Recommended edition: I have no mouth and I must scream
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
A World War 1 soldier is hit by an exploding artillery shell and loses his arms, legs, eyes, teeth, tongue and ears. His mind however is intact, and he learns to communicate in Morse code by banging his head against the pillow.
I got shell shock from reading it.– Readers quote
Recommended edition: Johnny Got His Gun
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
After doing detailed measurements, a family discovers their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside and do not understand how this is possible.
It doesn’t scare you outright, but it sits in the pit if your stomach and stays there. It comes out when it’s dark.– Readers quote
Recommended edition: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
On The Beach by Nevil Shute
Australians prepare to die as the radioactive fallout that destroyed the rest of humanity slowly reaches their country.
“Maybe we’ve been too silly to deserve a world like this.”– Character quote
Recommended edition: On The Beach by Nevil Shute
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
A middle-aged professor becomes the step-father of a 12 year old girl, and then starts a physically intimate relationship with her.
Lolita is a wonderful book abut a disturbing situation. Some people just can’t handle facing the fact that situations like this actually happen, or they refuse to expose themselves to a book that might make them (gasp) empathize or understand how it might happen.– Readers quote
Recommended edition: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
A kind hearted, but mentally disabled man, undergoes experimental surgery that dramatically increases his intelligence.
F*** that book, I don’t want to talk about it. I’m going to go drown in my tears now, just for considering it.– Readers quote
Recommended edition: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
In the 1850’s, a 14 year old teenager joins a band of wild west criminals that kills Indians, peels away their scalps from the head and then sell them.
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian. An attack, not just an attack, a seizure. A seizure on your gut belief that life is important. After I finished the book it took me three days to figure out I wasn’t sick. I went to the prison doctor twice. I put the book away several times and picked it up again.– from The God File, by Frank Turner Hollon.
Quote: It’s pure poetry in the most horrifying way possible.
Recommended edition: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Night by Elie Wiesel
Life of a Jew in the Auschwitz concentration camp, as written by a Jew who survived Auschwitz concentration camp.
Huge flames were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children.
Recommended edition: Night by Elie Wiesel
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
A salesman wakes up one morning and discovers he has transformed into an insect.
“Kafka is always challenging and an excellent example of there being no ‘right’ answer in interpreting a work of literature, and it seems to actively try to resist interpretation.”– Readers quote
Recommended edition: The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Collector by John Fowles
A psychotic bureaucrat captures a young art student and holds her captive in the basement of his country house.
’I am one in a row of specimens. It’s when I try to flutter out of line that he hates me. I’m meant to be dead, pinned, always the same, always beautiful. He knows that part of my beauty is being alive, but it’s the dead me he wants. He wants me living-but-dead.’– Miranda, The Collector
Just finished this book. No idea what to feel. Can’t even think straight. Anger, Pain, Sadness. It was so brilliant. And so creepy. Awful. But absolutely perfect in its awfulness. I just needed to get it out.– Reader’s quote
Recommended edition: The Collector by John Fowles
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Patrick Bateman, a New York investment banker, narrates his day to day life of going to clubs, musical tastes, fashion advice, snorting cocaine, troubled relationship with his senile mother, going to prostitutes, murdering prostitutes, mutilating prostitutes, butchering colleagues, rape, necrophilia and torture.
“American Psycho was the only book I’ve ever had to put down because it made me physically ill.”– Readers quote
Recommended edition: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
A step by step recounting of the brutal and pointless killing of the Clutter family. A true story, based on interviews Capote had with the murderers.
“I’ve never read a book that is so chillingly cold yet somehow portrays some empathy for the killers like In Cold Blood. Truly a masterpiece.”– Readers quote
Recommended edition: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Describes the psychopathic life and development of Kevin from the perspective of his mother.
“The emotional build up to the last chapter is incredible. I was on the metro when I finished it. I had to get off a stop early to go throw up, not because of gore but just how horrible it made me feel.”– Readers Quote
Recommended edition: We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Unwind by Neil Shusterman
A Civil War breaks out over reproductive rights and ends with abortion becoming illegal. However, from ages 13 to 18 parents have the right to dismember their children organ by organ and give them up for donation in a process called “unwinding”.
Recommended edition: Unwind by Neil Shusterman
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A religious sect overthrows the USA government and institutes a religious dictatorship where women capable of reproduction are used as child making slaves.
I like that we see the beginning, how it started. Usually with dystopias the book starts and the dystopia is well in place and we never really get to know how it happened or evolved to that. But in this book, you feel the transition, the panic that the main character goes through when she understands her new reality. I liked that.– Readers review
Recommended edition: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
Two teenage girls come into the care of their aunt and her three sons. After an initially happy welcome, their relationships degenerate into a hateful cycle of violence.
“In the basement, with Ruth, I began to learn that anger, hate, fear and loneliness are all one button awaiting the touch of just a single finger to set them blazing toward destruction.”
Recommended edition: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
Gerald’s Game by Stephen King
A troubled couple tries to resurrect their love lives with a bondage game. The husband suddenly dies of a heart attack while his wife is handcuffed to the bed.
“You’re not real. You’re only made of the moonlight.”– Book quote
Recommended edition: Gerald’s Game by Stephen King
Blindness by Jose Saramago
Social order and common human decency evaporate as a city is struck by a mass epidemic of blindness.
Recommended edition: Blindness by Jose Saramago
It by Stephen King
A dancing clown hunts and eats children.
“I’m glad that I’m not the only one that was disturbed by that scene. Obviously the rest of the book is next-level horror compared to a lot of other books but that section, the first time I finished reading it I kind of just marked my place, set the book down and just sat there staring into space. I was just numbed by it.”– Readers quote in regards to a particularly gruesome scene
Recommended edition: It by Stephen King
Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs
A novel written by a drug addict about a drug addict who is trying to find his next drug dose and somehow survive the process.
“Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch quite a while after shooting his wife Joan in Mexico. He was living in Morocco, in a state of constant derangement and heavy drug use. The pages were written in no particular order, and after having finished one page he would simply throw it to the ground and write another bizarre and outlandish scenario.”– On the history of the book.
Recommended edition: Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs
Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr
Multiple stories that cover the hidden and rotten world of New York in the 1960’s.
“Hubert Selby, Jr. just has a way of ripping out your soul and shitting on it. Amazing and heartbreaking book.”– Readers quote
“Just absolutely bleak at best and horrifying at worst.”– Readers quote
Recommended edition: Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Frank is a troubled 16-year old from a deeply broken family. His idea of fun is to kill and torture animals. Frank has no genital organs because of a dog attack.
“A work of unparalleled depravity.” – The Irish Times
Recommended edition: The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A violent, psychopathic teenager gets imprisoned for his crimes. He then undergoes an experimental technique that makes him physically incapable of violence.
“Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?”– Book quote
Recommended edition: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A father and his son try to survive a journey to the coast after a cataclysm has destroyed almost all life on Earth.
Recommended edition: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Escape from Camp 14 by Barbara Demick
The story of a man born in a North Korean prison camp and his escape.
Recommended edition: Escape from Camp 14 by Barbara Demick
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
A gang of Scottish drug addicts try to survive their criminal underworld and get their next hit.
“Love does not exist, it’s like religion, the state wants you to believe in that kind of crap so they can control you, and f**k your head up.”– Book quote
Recommended edition: Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
|1||1984 by George Orwell 4.19 avg rating — 3,843,942 ratings score: 26,247, and 266 people voted|
|2||American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis 3.81 avg rating — 268,862 ratings score: 22,974, and 239 people voted|
|3||The Road by Cormac McCarthy 3.98 avg rating — 799,428 ratings score: 22,217, and 228 people voted|
House of Leaves by Mark Z.
House of Leaves is a twisty horror novel that really tops this list for me personally. The experience of reading this novel is so strange and immersive that you truly feel like you are sinking in to the story.
There are a few scenes free of violence and peril, but the scenes that are violent and perilous are deeply disturbing and stay with you long after the movie finishes.
An engaging novel is disturbing. It presents chaos and upheaval—either within the characters' minds or in their lives. These clashing interactions and relationships between people are at its core. As readers, we crave disturbance and uncertainty.
It is worth a read. A very good novel. Yes it is dark & disturbing but not uncomfortably so. You will think about it for a long while after finishing & will never forget it.
There are two common forms of violence: when a character harms himself or others, and when narrative harm happens to a character.
Dark fiction is fiction that contains dark elements. It deals with pain and death. Sometimes it elicits fear. Other times, it evokes despair. Dark fiction takes an unflinching look at the things that make us uncomfortable and doesn't sugarcoat them.
- The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene. ...
- In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People by George Simon. ...
- 30 Covert Emotional Manipulation Tactics: How Manipulators Take Control in Personal Relationships by Adelyn Birch.
In The Cement Garden, the father of four children dies. Soon after, the children's mother also dies. In order to avoid being taken into foster care, the children hide their mother's death from the outside world by encasing her corpse in cement in the cellar. The children then attempt to live on their own.
Dark is a German science fiction thriller television series co-created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese. It ran for three seasons from 2017 to 2020. In the aftermath of a child's disappearance, Dark follows characters from the fictional German town of Winden as they pursue the truth.
A Twisted Tale is an anthology series of books based around alternate "what-if" spins on classic animated Disney films. They are written by Liz Braswell, Jen Calonita, Elizabeth Lim and more recently Farrah Rochon. There are currently 12 books, with four more set to be released between 2022 and 2025.
|First edition cover|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Pages||373 (1st ed.)|
Just like reading literature can make you more empathetic by focusing on the psychology, relationships, and motivations of the characters in the story, horror novels can make you feel more terrified by drawing you into those intense emotions felt by the characters in the book.
The "Master of Horror" Stephen King is the author of nearly 90 books, most of them worldwide bestsellers. His latest novel, BILLY SUMMERS, may even be his best work ever.
The famous shower scene never shows the knife touching flesh, but it's still terrifying. There are also several very frightening scenes involving a corpse. On a less scary note, a character steals money from her boss' client, and a couple is shown post-sex, though they are clothed. There's some drinking and smoking.
A great movie for mature teens who can handle a lot of blood.
To make a character a bit more unsettling and potentially reveal more about their creepy nature, consider giving them one, two, or many of the traits and behaviors listed below: Erratic and unpredictable emotions. Unapologetic non-conformance to societal norms. A careless appearance; especially messy or greasy hair.
- Use the environment. ...
- Use your own fears. ...
- Write longer sentences. ...
- Make your readers breathe faster. ...
- Leverage fear of the unknown. ...
- Avoid clichés. ...
- Explore what scares you. Start with one of your greatest fears—not to be confused with things generically considered scary. ...
- Identify your main character. ...
- Work the suspense. ...
- Warning: Avoid the tropes.
The Wasp Factory is a Gothic novel: the island and the big old house are analogous to the Gothic castle, and both Frank and his father are grotesques, lonely people whose lives are steered by a single 'truth' which has become obsession.
There is a major twist at the conclusion of the story. Frank finally sneaks into the study and finds a set of tiny genitals preserved in a jar of liquid. He also finds male hormones and other mysterious items. He confronts his father who finally admits that the genitals in the jar are made of plastic.
The average reader will spend 3 hours and 4 minutes reading this book at 250 WPM (words per minute).
Violence is the flash point at which the tensions aroused by conflicting interests reach critical mass. In literature as in life, violence reveals the underlying structure of human motives and passions.
Violence may be interpersonal, but it is almost always related to larger cultural forces. Furthermore, while in real life violence can be meaningless, in literature it often has multiple layers of meaning, whether symbolic, allegorical, religious, political, etc.
Narrative violence is violence which emerges through the mechanism of story-telling and story-listening that interpellates the listener as a deceived subject.
[ Editor’s note: While your Flavorwire editors take a much-needed holiday break, we’re revisiting some of our most popular features of the year.. Jezebel-writer Anna North’s debut novel, America Pacifica , is out today.. The story centers around an impoverished teenage girl who is struggling to survive on an increasingly toxic island in the Pacific Ocean after a future Ice Age sets in and freezes the mainland.. Though the writing can be a little clunky — especially with respect to class issues — North provides good lens into the many ways an aggrieved soul can turn against the world, and how difficult it is to get back our dignity once we’ve lost it.. With this in mind, we decided to run a post on books that expose the darker side of humanity — a roundup of the most disturbing novels and short stories through time, if you will.
Presentation Transcript Top Ten Most Disturbing Books of All Time Submitted by Brittany Hanners, Resident Assistant, Middle Tennessee State University (http://www.popcrunch.com/the-10-most-disturbing-books-of-all-time/). Most people are more familiar with the movie, which was a pretty faithful translation of the book that deals with four characters who all see their lives ruined by various addictions.. As the book moves on his killings becomes more and more sadistic, leading to quite a few scenes that will never, ever completely leave your mind, including a particularly repugnant sequence involving a starved rat, some cheese, and a tube.. Timothy McVeigh was a big promoter of the book, and may have used a scene in the book as inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing.. The book details the abuse of a teenage girl by her aunt, who enlists neighborhood children to help torture the girl over the course of a summer.. This is a very twisted tale that leaves you feeling ill, until you find out the story is based on the real life murder of Sylvia Likens, who was left with her aunt by her parents, and then really was tortured to death by her aunt and neighborhood children.
With that in mind, here’s a selection of 13 great dark and twisty novels that will have you asking, “what the heck did I just read?”. At first, the Shitos seem like the perfect family to marry into, but Noriko quickly discovers there are dark secrets lying beneath the surface of their cheerful exterior.. Reporter Camille Preaker is forced to return to her hometown and face her dark and troubled past in order to investigate the disturbing murders of two preteen girls.. This dark, disturbing thriller is the story of Maya, a young girl who is interviewed after escaping a man she only knows as The Gardener.. This is a haunted house novel that is unlike any haunted house story you’ve ever read before.. In this chilling and strange novel, a woman lies on her death bed as a young boy who is not her son asks her to tell the story of the events leading up to her death.. Investigative journalist Scott McGrath becomes obsessed with the death of Ashley Cordova, the daughter of reclusive horror film director Stanislas Cordova.. This is another one of those novels that at times reads like a dark, imaginative nightmare.. For this one, think dark and twisty thriller, but outside in nature.. In these final words to her students, Yuko sets into motion a dark and devious revenge plot that will surprise readers and force her students to reexamine their perceptions of one another.. Thirteen dark and twisty novels to read straight away.
We did a quick sweep of the books desk – and here are some of our most disturbing reads, and some that our readers came up with on this week’s Tips, Links and Suggestions blog .. “I can’t remember how I came into possession of a copy of Naked Lunch in my teens but it so horrified me that it’s the only book I have actually, physically destroyed.. “In the 1966 trial that cleared the book of obscenity, Gore Vidal argued: “Just as Hieronymus Bosch set down the most diabolical and blood-curdling details with a delicacy of line and a Puckish humor which left one with a sense of the mansions of horror attendant upon Hell, so, too, does Burroughs leave you with an intimate, detailed vision of what Hell might be like, a Hell which may be waiting as the culmination, the final product, of the scientific revolution.” Yes, yes, the adult me assents.. “It is not what one expects when reading a Murakami novel – especially one where you find yourself in a world of cats, pasta, music, domestic problems and dreams – to be abruptly faced by a horrifically detailed torture scene.. The shock factor makes even worse the impact of a painfully slow and thorough account of the murder of a Japanese soldier in Mongolia during the second Sino-Japanese war, told in one of the flashbacks that abound in the book.. “For me it’s American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – I read it two years ago and I’m still haunted by certain passages …” — judgeDAmNation. “There’s a Karin Slaughter book about paedophilia that I mistakenly picked up as a light criminal/cop-type read some years ago.. “Certain passages throughout the book are incredibly disturbing.. And so many other scenes: the description of the awful child porn films Oryx was forced to perform in, after being sold by her parents to a slimy shyster (the stench of urine in the backseat of his car); the genetically modified chickens with no brains, just mouths to take in food to produce meat (think animals without a face); the pandemic that wipes out almost all of humanity leaving Snowman with those unintelligent subhumans for company; all of it an endless horror.. “It’s a short story, not a novel, but Chuck Palahniuk’s Guts is the single most disturbing thing I have ever read.
The answer is actually somewhat predictable, but that doesn’t lessen the bleakness as society collapses quickly in this novel by Portugese author José Saramago.. Most people are more familiar with the movie, which was a pretty faithful translation of the book that deals with four characters who all see their lives ruined by various addictions.. This book is easily one of the most bizarre I’ve ever read.. The 120 Days of Sodom was turned into a film called Sado, widely considered to be one of the most unpleasant and disturbing films of all time.. This is a very twisted tale that leaves you feeling ill, until you find out the story is based on the real life murder of Sylvia Likens, who was left with her aunt by her parents, and then really was tortured to death by her aunt and neighborhood children.. Once you read the book and then learn all of the above you pretty much lose all faith in humanity.. I've only read Blindness and American Psycho.
How could such a wildly popular, kid-friendly franchise be anything but cheerful?. You awake to a crunching sound.. The berries mix with its body fluids to become a juice.”. Pokedex entry (Black): “Each of them carries a mask that used to be its face when it was human.. Pokdeex entry (Silver): “It always wears the skull of its dead mother, so no one has any idea what its hidden face looks like.”. Pokedex entry (Silver): “It remembers every dream it eats.. Pokedex entry (Silver): “Its brain cells multiply continually until it dies.. Maybe Cubone can find a good use for it?. Pokedex entry (Diamond): “Its cries sound like incantations.. As with Grimer, this effect suggests a hostile, nearly unlivable world filled with terrifying creatures.. Where are all of these people in the games?
Apparently, somebody at Game Freak likes the idea of monsters that lure away children, because Drowzee and Hypno aren’t alone in their kidnapping antics.. Lampent’s penchant for waiting around in hospitals for people to die makes it among the more sinister Pokémon and the idea of a Pokémon trainer trying to find food for their beloved Lampent is probably not worth thinking about.. The dead white eyes of Parasect indicate how far along this disease is, as the original bug underneath is completely taken over by a brain parasite.. Some Pokémon, like Pidgeys and Ratattas, are clearly inspired by real world creature.. Pokémon Y provides a tiny insight into yet another case of human souls being transformed into Pokémon within the games, and where Phantumps come from: “According to old tales, these Pokémon are stumps possessed by the spirits of children who died while lost in the forest.”. One of the original 150 Pokémon, Mr.. At times, Mr.
Posted By. dinesh. On 4:49 PM. Under The 10 Most Disturbing Books Of All Time In my younger days if I heard a book or movie was disturbing or hard to handle I generally took that as a challenge.. Many think the book is an allegory dealing with spiritual blindness, but to me the book is all the more devastating when taken literally.. I read this book shortly after my wife and I had our first child, making the story of a father who is unable to provide much comfort to his small son in a post apocalyptic world all the more devastating.. The rest of the plot is too crazy to even go into (let’s just say it’s about as well written and realistic as you’d expect a book like this to be), but the book gets bumped up a few notches on our list due to the fact that Timothy McVeigh was a big promoter of the book, and may have used a scene in the book as inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing.. The horrid nature of Ketchum’s book combined with the real life events it was based on easily makes The Girl Next Door , for us at least, the most disturbing book of all time.
Most books generally turned out to not be too bad, but occasionally I’d come across something that would leave me with a sick feeling in my stomach for weeks.. Many think the book is an allegory dealing with spiritual blindness, but to me the book is all the more devastating when taken literally.. Most people are more familiar with the movie, which was a pretty faithful translation of the book that deals with four characters who all see their lives ruined by various addictions.. I read this book shortly after my wife and I had our first child, making the story of a father who is unable to provide much comfort to his small son in a post apocalyptic world all the more devastating.. As powerful a book as this might be I still generally don’t recommend it to people, as it is pretty much guaranteed to leave you morose and feeling like you’ve been repeatedly hit in the stomach.. You are guaranteed to feel a little filthy, at the least, after reading this book.. The rest of the plot is too crazy to even go into (let’s just say it’s about as well written and realistic as you’d expect a book like this to be), but the book gets bumped up a few notches on our list due to the fact that Timothy McVeigh was a big promoter of the book, and may have used a scene in the book as inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing.. This is a very twisted tale that leaves you feeling ill, until you find out the story is based on the real life murder of Sylvia Likens, who was left with her aunt by her parents, and then really was tortured to death by her aunt and neighborhood children.. Once you read the book and then learn all of the above you pretty much lose all faith in humanity.. The horrid nature of Ketchum’s book combined with the real life events it was based on easily makes The Girl Next Door, for us at least, the most disturbing book of all time.