100 books that were just too disturbing to finish
Most of us will read across the genres and inevitably that means that we will encounter one or two titles that push us out of our comfort zone; sometimes the subject matter can be so disturbing that it even stops us from finishing a book. This list of 100 books that were just too disturbing to finish is compiled from the answers given to our poll question asked on our social media sites and the results below are the books you, our followers chose.
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
With almost twice as many votes as the second placed book Lolita is a novel that divides opinion. Humbert Humbert is a man with abominable desires and the determination to fulfil them through whatever means he can. The subject matter of paedophilia especially when written from the adult point of view was just too upsetting for many of you to cope with and 89 of you closed your copies before reaching the end.
A Child Called It – Dave Pelzer
Dave Pelzer’s harrowing childhood memoir details some of the most appalling abuse of a child that has ever been written by a survivor; the fact that it is an account of something that actually occurred to a real child rather than the fictional imaginings of an author lifts this book from being merely nauseating and moves it into the realms of the truly disturbing.
American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
Swinging between the label obsessed decadence of the yuppie dominated eighties and the psychopathic mindset of the book’s protagonist Patrick Bateman coupled with the intricately detailed descriptions of his crimes makes this novel a worthy entry into our featured top ten.
Insomnia – Stephen King
Stephen King’s tale of Ralph Roberts’ inability to sleep, Low Men in Yellow Coats, life measuring balloon strings and the three fates is in fourth position left 40 of you too disturbed to finish off this typically hefty tome.
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
The rape and murder of a 14 year old girl is just the beginning of this book and the way in which her death affects her family and friends as witnessed by the murder victim from her own personal Heaven was just too much for many of you to bear.
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The multi generational tale of the Buendia family and their never ending misfortunes is your sixth placed choice. Whether it was the unrelenting sadness that is present throughout the tale or the family’s seeming inability or even interest in trying to improve their lot, 38 of you just had to put this title back on the shelf before reaching its conclusion.
The Shining – Stephen King
King returns in seventh place with probably his best known work; Jack Torrance’s decent into madness whilst he and his family are acting caretakers at The Overlook Hotel and his family’s fight to survive his insanity had 36 of you checking under the bed before throwing this book into the freezer in horror!
Room – Emma Donoghue
In eighth is Room; The story of a mother and son held captive in a single room and told from the perspective of five year old Jack, this novel’s similarities to real life situations such as the Fritzl case and the unquestioning acceptance of his lot in life and was just too uncomfortable for many of you.
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Our penultimate pick for the featured top ten is Cormac McCarthy’s post apocalyptic novel of a father and son’s quest to find sanctuary from a burning world. Unremittingly desolate and depressingly final, The Road is definitely worthy of top ten status.
House of Leaves – Mark Danielewski
And finally, a book that refuses to give up its story easily. Mark Danielewski’s uniquely presented debut novel is a genre defying novel of love and horror and has the ability to leave you unsettled in a way you cannot quite put your finger on, you only know that you feel happier with the book closed while you gather your courage for another chapter or two.
11. Intensity – Dean Koontz
12. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty – Anne Rice
13. The Naked Lunch – William Burroughs
14. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
15. 50 Shades of Grey – EL James
16. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
17. IT – Stephen King
18. Pet Sematary – Stephen King
19. Gerald’s Game – Stephen King
20. Out of the Shadows – Ann Marie West
And after the featured top 20, here we take the list to cover the top 100:
Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill
The Wasp Factory – Ian Banks
Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
The Dead Wife’s Handbook – Hannah Beckerman
Dr Sleep – Stephen King
Wideacre – Philippa Gregory
Consequences – J.E. Sparks
We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
The I5 killer – Anne Rule
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Others – James Herbert
Salems Lot – Stephen King
Flowers in the Attic – V.C. Andrews
The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Bag of Bones – Stephen King
Helter Skelter – Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
The Long Walk – Stephen King
The Laws of Magic series – Terry Goodkind
Under the Dome – Stephen King
Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
White Oleander – Janet Fitch
The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
From a Buick 8 – Stephen King
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
Filth -Irvine Welsh
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
Bastard Out of Carolina – Dorothy Allison
Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
After The Quake – Haruki Murakami
Roots – Alex Haley
The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
Lucky – Alice Sebold
Trilobites & other stories – Breece Pancake
120 Days of Sodom – De Sade
After The War Ended. The story of Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia.
American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination – Kristian Williams
Ciderhouse Rules – John Irving
Endurance – Jack Kilborn
Ghost Story – Peter Straub
Juliette – Marquis de Sade
Mein Kampf – Hitler
The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
The Dentist of Auschwitz – Benjamin Jacobs
The Entity – Frank Defelitta
An Obedient Father – Akhil Sharma
Skeleton crew – Stephen King
When Rabbit Howls – Trudi Chase
An American Tragedy – Dreiser
Coraline – Neil Gaiman
NOS4ATU – Joe Hill
Black House – Stephen King & Peter Straub
Talisman – Stephen King & Peter Straub
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Killing Lessons – Saul Black
The story of O – Pauline Reage
Naomis Room – Jonathan Aycliffe
Tar Baby – Toni Morrison
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
Damned – Chuck Palahniuk
The Museum of Innocence – Orhan Pamuk
Hannibal Rising – Thomas Harris
He Sold Me For A Few Cigarettes – Martha Long
Lasher – Anne Rice
One Last Summer – Caitrin Collier
Running with Scissors – Augusten Burroughs
Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë
The Bastard of Istanbul – Elif Shafak
The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury
The Rats – James Herbert
Wave – Sonali Deraniyagala
The Shack – William P. Young
The Bone Tree – Greg Isles
Wow, what a long, and eclectic list, but with over 180 different titles mentioned in the poll we had to extend our usual list length in order to give a fair representation of the books our followers chose.
As always, if there are any books you feel should be added to this list, please let us know in the comments section.