5 — Babs Yagg’s Store, Vassa in The Night by Sarah Porter
Inspired by Russian folklore, namely Vasilisa The Beautiful and Baba Yaga, this strange and creepy book is great for fans of, well, strangeness and Russian folklore. The main character, Vassa, has a living doll who lives in her pocket, and the penalty for shoplifting at the local convenience store is beheading. It sounds weird, but it works. It’s dark and whimsical at the same time. I liked it so much that I read the entire thing in one sitting, which I rarely do.
4 — The farmhouse, Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
Jeremy works at a video rental place in a small town. He finds out that someone has taped over parts of some of the videos, and it’s truly weird and disconcerting stuff. This book is not for everyone. The mystery of who and why never really gets solved. The ending is not very satisfying, but for some reason I adored this strange little book. I think it has something to do with the dark and melancholic atmosphere and the writing style. I’m a sucker for atmospheric nonsense. I feel like this might be one of those books where you get more out of it every time you reread it.
3 — The Lisbon family’s house, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Where do I even begin. I’ve been working on a review of The Virgin Suicides since I read it for the first time this summer. I remember watching the movie adaptation a couple of years after it came out. Since then I’ve rewatched it at least 10 times without ever knowing it was based on a book. This summer I saw it at a bookstore, almost ran to it and immediately started reading the first chapter. Like Universal Harvester, this is very atmospheric and melancholy, which is what I enjoy the most.
2 — On board the Discovery, 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
An AI possibly gone rogue on a spaceship on its way to Jupiter. Sounds terrifying doesn’t it? Hell, even thinking about being on a spaceship that far from Earth scares the shit out of me. Add a creepy AI and you get something far worse than your average horror movies. But don’t let that scare you off this book, because it’s one of the best I’ve ever read, and I think everyone, even remotely interested, should do themselves a favor and read it too.
1 — The high-rise apartment complex, High-Rise by J. G. Ballard
My feelings about High-Rise are difficult to describe. I loved it because it’s both horrible and fun in a way. It depicts a ‘civil war’ within this new and advanced apartment complex. People turn on each other, but also stay together. This war that plays out is at the same time out of control and completely contained. It’s almost as if the people living and fighting there are addicted to the violence and primal forces that has overtaken them and their lives. It’s a blast.
If you’ve read any of these books let me know what you thought of them. What are some of your favorite creepy settings?