Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday's List: You Don't Wanta Go There has posted a list of Ten Novels That Will Disturb Even the Coldest of Hearts. The post by Kathleen Massara features "books that expose the darker side of humanity — a roundup of the most disturbing novels and short stories through time, if you will." For a look at the covers and a little description of each book, drop by the website here.

And the titles are:
  1. A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O'Connor
  2. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  3. Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee
  4. Blindness, by Jose Saramago
  5. American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
  6. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  7. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
  8. The 120 Days of Sodom, by Marquis de Sade
  9. Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
  10. Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy
I'm sort of happy to say, I've only read two of the books -- The Handmaid's Tale and Invisible Man -- and both of those were, indeed, pretty disturbing.

And I'm a little surprised that George Orwell's 1984 didn't make the list. Maybe the fact that we're so accustomed to living in the world of constant warfare and Big Brother, we don't find that one quite as disturbing as we once did.

If I had to suggest a book for the list, I think it would be The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist. Not as well-known as the books on Flavorwire's list, but it's a portrait of a society that's certainly one of the most chilling I've ever encountered (see why in my review here). I'm sure I could come up with other possibilities if I thought about it a while, but in general I try to stay away from books that expose me to the darker side of humanity. If I want that kind of exposure, I just watch TV.


  1. I read A Good Man is Hard to Find in college but can't remember the story. I don't recall being struck by its message, but I must re-read!

  2. I haven't read any of them, but I've seen American Psycho and it is disturbing. I have the book here to read, but I'm not sure I'm brave enough.

  3. The only one I've read is The Handmaid's Tale.

  4. Must agree with Flannery O'Connor...he works are generally disturbing.

  5. I've only read A Handmaid's Tale, and that was quite a few years ago. It's interesting to see Game of Thrones on the list. Possibly because it seems to new to me (it came out in the mid-90's I think), even though I know that it is disturbing. Perhaps that filled the slot 1984 would have occupied...

  6. Man, anything by Brett Easton Ellis is a creepy something for that list!


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