Ooooooh! Gross! Can't Finish Reading This!
December 5, 2011 7:39 AM   Subscribe

A recent question asked for recommendations for "trash" reading. I am also interested in reading some "trash", particularly horror or suspense trash, but I am squeamish. Please hope me.

One person recommended Draculas, which I started but was too gory for me. I did read Beat the Reaper, which many people recommended, and I pretty much enjoyed it though that scene near the very end where he creates a weapon (trying not too give too much away here) was a good example of the kind of thing that makes me squeamish. Is there horror for the squeamish?

As to suspense, I am open to anything that people have read lately that has made an impression on them. Bonus points for books with Kindle editions. Thanks!
posted by wittgenstein to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
HP Lovecraft? Pretty much everything he wrote is here, for free, and you can format it yourself for the Kindle.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:41 AM on December 5, 2011

If you're squeamish, why would you want to read horror? What's appealing about it to you? Because even fairly anodyne horror like Steven King can get really gross-out from time to time.
posted by empath at 7:50 AM on December 5, 2011

I'm going to be really cruel, though, and recommend Clive Barker's Books of Blood collections. Both nauseating and nail-bitingly suspenseful. You'll hate it, but you won't be able to stop reading it.
posted by empath at 7:52 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't consider The Historian trash, but I'm not the only person who stayed up all night plowing through it. When you get to the actual vampire part, it's not grody.
posted by Madamina at 8:03 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lovecraft is worth a try - there's very little outright gore in it, and a lot of suspense, but his style can take some getting used to. Off the very top of my head I recommend the short stories Cool Air and The Colour Out of Space. You can get a free Kindle-compatible version of his complete works here.

I heartily second The Historian. I thought it was wonderful.

I might be back in here later tonight, if I can think of some ideas for you myself rather than just seconding other people's!
posted by daisyk at 8:39 AM on December 5, 2011

I don't like gore either, so I end up reading a lot of 19th century trashy pulp fiction. There's a lot out there, and much of it is free for the kindle. For ghost stories, start with M.R. James, and E. Benson, or F. Marion Crawford. For novels, good ole Bram Stoker has several, and Richard Marsh I find fun. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote some fun adventures, separate from Sherlock Holmes.

For more detective, suspense oriented fiction, I enjoy Dashiel Hammett and the other noir writers. Lots of action, and plenty of violence without too much gore.
posted by Malla at 8:53 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been reading The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (free on Kindle!) and it's an old-fashioned horror story. No gore so far though I'm only about 80% through so I can't absolutely swear it doesn't come up at the end. However, that would be really unlike the rest of the book.
posted by tuesdayschild at 9:05 AM on December 5, 2011

Thomas Ligotti's work is horror, but basically gore-free. He's like Lovecraft meets Schulz, Kafka, Borges.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:14 AM on December 5, 2011

At a go, Fred Saberhagen's detailed and credible infrastructure-- as well as his pure story-telling ability, vivified by moral vision-- raised the entire Dracula business from a rather repellently slimy slug/leech state to something whose beautiful pelt anyone might long to stroke despite the danger, if you can find those books.
posted by jamjam at 9:32 AM on December 5, 2011

Stephen King's kind of "High Trash", but a lot of his older stuff is trashy fun. Especially the short story collections like Skeleton Crew and Graveyard Shift.
posted by mkultra at 9:36 AM on December 5, 2011

Beaten again. I just came in to suggest M.R. James.

I love Carnacki, the Ghost Finder by William Hope Hodgson (here on Project Gutenberg) - he's a sort of psychic-scientific gentleman investigator, inventor of the Electric Pentacle, and his adventures are often pretty scary but not gory at all.

You might like Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. I don't remember it being too bloody, but looking at the synopsis on Amazon I wonder if I'm wrong - maybe someone who has read it more recently than me could confirm whether it would be all right for you.
posted by daisyk at 12:18 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan.
Roland Topor's The Tenant.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:44 PM on December 5, 2011

How about the Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson? It's creepy but not gross. Though more suspense than horror.
posted by interplanetjanet at 2:48 PM on December 5, 2011

The older books are less explicit, but plenty trashy. Try Mickey Spillane. Then George v. Higgins.
posted by KRS at 3:13 PM on December 5, 2011

I wholeheartedly recommend any of Jim Butcher's books. The Dresden Files are urban fantasy with a bit of horror thrown in and are superb.

I'm currently re-reading his Codex Alera (I'm on the sixth and final book) and although they aren't horror, per se, they have some non-icky creepy stuff in them.
posted by tacodave at 3:41 PM on December 5, 2011

I've read Lovecraft and Barker years ago, so they did not get marked as best answer for that reason only. Also, if you like Lovecraft, it's worth also reading Frank Belknap Long.

Let me say the Logotti suggestion was fantastic. I downloaded the sample of this book, read almost all of the first story (until the sample ran out) and immediately bought it.

Thanks for all of the suggestions.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:49 AM on December 6, 2011

I'll add Richard Matheson if you're still taking suggestions - he takes a Twilight Zone-ish approach in most of his horror writing (and wrote a number of TZ episodes, actually). I Am Legend is a good one to start with.

Fritz Leiber's Conjure Wife is very Mathesonian and has a high horror/gore ratio, too.

Might be worth checking out the McSweeney's genre anthologies for newer writers doing old-fashioned (hence usually low-gore) writing. McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories has the China Mieville story "Reports of Certain Events in London" - sounds like it would be right up your alley.
posted by snoe at 9:21 AM on December 6, 2011

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