19 October 2011

Writer, You Are Far Too Effective

I was just on Goodreads' Listopia, which is crack for a tech-savvy bookworm btw, and was playing on the list about books you've read at least twice. That got me thinking about another kind of book: The book that was absolutely amazing, searing, a true literary achievement...and which you will never read again, because it was just too damned traumatizing. Truthfully, you don't even want to think about it. Here's mine. Please tell me yours.

1984 - George Orwell
We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
Bastard Out of Carolina - Dorothy Allison
Carrie - Stephen King (this is when I made the decision not to read any Stephen King that is strictly horror. I can read The Eyes of the Dragon or Dolores Claiborne, but not The Shining.)

I am sure there are others, but it is possible they have been blocked out.


  1. I'll second Never Let Me Go.

    Another that comes immediately to mind is William T. Vollmann's The Royal Family. Loved it, though it grossed me out viscerally. I felt ill at times reading it -- a compliment to Vollmann's artistry, not a complaint. But I doubt I'll ever pick it up again.

    I've no intention of ever touching We Need to Talk About Kevin, as I hear it hits too close to home -- out of control kid in your home -- to my family's own experience. Lived it, don't wanna read about it.

    Great idea, Girl. I'll post here again as more titles come to me.

  2. I was wondering if the The Handmaid's Tale would go on this list, but I think I might like to give it another try. I've never heard of the Royal Family. Gonna go look it up.

  3. I've yet read Handmaid's Tale -- those dystopias just don't lend themselves for second reads for you, eh? I'm like that with holocaust material. Elie Wiesel's Night -- a masterpiece, superb, powerful and profound beyond words -- I won't be reading again. Too damn depressing in the all-too-truest of ways.

    If you have the time and can stomach it, I reviewed The Royal Family a few years ago here.