Does anyone else feel like January has been ongoing for approximately three years now? The holidays have passed, everyone is back to work and back to class, the light at the end of the January tunnel has never felt so far away. To help you through the remaining two weeks (three months in Jan time), we’ve compiled a list of lengthy books that you can lose yourself in this month. Before you know it, it’ll be February, and you’ll have serious bragging rights.
Stephen King’s spooky It is as long as it is creepy. Coming in at 1138 pages, it is one of his longest novels. The story takes place over twenty eight years which is equal to one single January. Plus, if you factor in all the time you’ll spend having nightmares from reading it, you’ll definitely make it to the end of the month.
James Joyce’s Ulysses is the ultimate way to get through the month. Instead of focusing on the January blues, lose yourself in Bloom’s instead! The infamous novel has a page count of 730 and with the time it’ll take to figure the story out, plus the time you’ll spend bragging about it after, spring will be hurtling towards you when you’re finished.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (as one unit) rings in at 1178 pages. If you get through that too quickly, try teaching yourself elvish. Before you know it, you’ll be one language smarter and ready to woo your S.O. for Valentine’s Day.
Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables chronicles the misery of life in 1800s Paris in a hefty 1900 pages, making it the perfect length to see out the rest of the month. Compound this with the film adaption for the full experience. If you learn the musical’s songs, too, you could make it through January 2021, too!
The fifth installment of Rowling’s Harry Potter series spans 870 pages. To read the entire series from beginning to end, it would take the average reader around two months. So if you start now, you can be finished by January 24th, and fit in another long read before February.
Happy reading! Two weeks to go, folks. We can do this.
featured image via kath walker illustration, flickr
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Horror is a genre that intrigues us because of its ability to terrify us and poke at our greatest fears. I believe that any mind-provoking book is a good book, but horror does more than provoke—it picks at our minds, invades us, and for whatever reason, this gives us a sense of excitement. So what’s the science behind scary stuff, and why do we love that adrenaline rush of fear?
The human body has hormones that trigger a flight or fight response as a reaction to fear, but when the body is in a setting that it knows its safe such as a roller coaster or haunted house, we’re able to enjoy that high-energy sensation of wanting to run or hide. Your frontal lobe is able to convince your body that you are physically okay, activating a response more akin to pleasure than panic. It’s similar to the adrenaline we get from being extremely happy or surprised, except fear is interpreted in a different way. Horror also represents creativity and allows us to delve into an unknown part of our minds.
Image by the occult museum
It’s not just a matter of taste and adrenaline, either— there are two types of personalities in relation to fear and horror: those who are sensation-seeking, the avid readers of Stephen King who laugh at the worst jump scares because they enjoy being scared and want to be mentally challenged, versus those who exhibit more sensitive and fearful traits.
If you’re a horror lover who has seen every horror movie down to the goriest and the most disturbing, and you own a complete collection of Stephen King books, you’re probably sensation-seeking. You’ll probably also be the one who laughs at your friends when they hide their eyes in the movie theater. If you force your friends to prep you for every scary scene in advance and wake up screaming from nightmares of Pennywise from IT or, even worse, Charlie from Hereditary, you’re probably more sensitive and shy.
image by alchetron
Those who love horror books or any type of spook tend to be extroverted and open to new experiences, but loving horror isn’t only for the bravest souls—it’s also a trait common in people with high levels of empathy. Understanding the emotions of a character on the page, even if it’s fear, helps us feel connected to the characters in books and movies.
Everyone is into horror nowadays and it’s hardly a disconcerting hobby, but readers still question the minds of horror writers like Stephen King.
The ideas for some of King’s books, like The Shining, came from his dreams (this interesting article lists the specific creation stories and original ideas for some of King’s novels), and it makes his readers wonder if he’s truly as twisted and creepy as the characters he creates. Who would dream up a man as terrible as Jack Torrance for fun, and who would write such a terrifying clown?
image by the telegraph
Yet it’s still fun for us to read about these characters, and we’d be devastated if Stephen King stopped writing. There’s an article on Quora that asks, “Do you ever think Stephen King could be a seriously twisted person?” The responses to this question come from King fans who cite him as a family man and defend the uncontrollableness of the creative mind. So it’s more likely that Stephen King is just as creative and obsessed with adrenaline-inducing fear as the rest of us.
On November 8th we’re all going to see Doctor Sleep. Oh, wait, you’re not? Why? Because you don’t know the story? Well, let me fill you in…
Ewan McGregor, also known as young Obi-Wan Kenobi, will star as Danny in the film adaptation for Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, a story which follows an adult Danny Torence, the child from The Shining, as he struggles to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence.
He goes to New Hampshire where he establishes a nursing home where he can use his shining power for good, comforting the dying before they go. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival.
In preparation for this movie, we’re going to go through eight Stephen King Books we gotta re-read or just read for the first time (no shame here!) before this movie hits a silver screen near you!
Yep, you knew this would be on this list. Even if you haven’t read It, you’ve heard of It. Loser’s Club, killer clown, weird orgy scene, a giant cosmic turtle, it’s all there. This gem has heart, has scares, has everything Steven King. The book is as big as a stone but it won’t weigh you down.
Juggling themes of adulthood, childhood, and trauma, this story has stuck with us throughout the ages for a reason.
Instead of a scary clown, we meet the the Cujo, the good-natured St. Bernard. Good dog! But he gets bit by a rabid bat. Then when Donna’s car breaks down, she and her young son Tad are trapped while a crazed Cujo tries to kill them. Bad dog!
In his book, On Writing, King notes that due to his alcoholism and cocaine addiction he can barely remember writing this book, and that might be for the best. It’s not bad or anything, far from it, in fact it’s so real, so visceral, so in-your-face-horrifying that it might have even scared Stephen King himself away from writing.
What can I say except thank God there’s only one evil animal in this story.
Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, along with their two younger children move to Maine. Bad move, because in a Stephen King novel Maine is a terrible place. Their cat, Church, dies, so they bury it out in the woods.
Are you sad yet?
Well, things get worse when the cat comes back to life. Turns out that the woods are an ancient burial ground and anything buried there comes back to life with an intent to kill.
With two film adaptations, you’ll have to check out this book, “Darling.”
A post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy, The Standis Stephen King’s fourth novel (can you believe it?).
After a patient escapes from a biological testing facility, he unknowingly unleashes upon the world a mutated strain of super-flu that starts to wipe out 99% of the world’s population.
With the fate of humanity at stake, Mother Abigail—a benevolent one-hundred-eight-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community—and Randall Flagg—the nefarious “Dark Man” who delights in chaos and violence—rise up to lead humanity, and force the survivors to choose between them.
Let’s go back to 1974. Here we get the first novel published by Stephen King, Carrie.
Carrie is relentlessly bullied by her peers and tormented by her overly-religious mother who, after reaching puberty, discovers she has telekinetic powers.
A bloodbath, this novel is one of the most frequently on the banned books. Multiple adaptations have been made, from the stage to the silver screen, but the book proves to be the most terrifying. It’s a good thing that Tabitha King fished the first draft of the first chapter out of the garbage and convinced her husband to keep writing, otherwise Stephen King wouldn’t be the King of horror we know today.
Writer Paul Sheldon is injured in a car accident but is saved by nurse Annie Wilkes. However, Annie is a super-fan of Paul’s writing and is keeping him prisoner, refusing to let him go until he finishes another book in her favorite series.
The title comes from the feeling it evoked not only in Paul Sheldon, but within King himself.
The novel got a film adaptation in 1990, staring James Caan and Kathy Bates in a performance that won Bates an Oscar. Funny enough, the director of the film, Rob Reiner, only took the film on because he wanted to include the infamous ‘axe’ scene but, when it came time to shooting, decided to change the scene into an ‘ankle-breaking’ one instead.
You won’t be miserable when reading this novel, but it might just get under your skin and tear it right off.
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
Stephen King started the Dark Tower series with that line and, for the longest time, it seemed like he wouldn’t finish the series. Years went by, and then he was almost killed, run over by a drunk-driver while he was on the side street during his routine morning walk.
He survived, and afterwards flew through the rest of the series just to get to this ending. And trust me, you all, it’s Stephen King at his Stephen-King-est. If you want crazy insanity to the ninth degree, then this is the book for you.
Of course this would be number one, but let’s refresh your memory.
Jack Torrance has a new job at the Overlook Hotel. This is the perfect chance for a fresh start. He’ll have plenty of time reconnecting with his family and his writing his magnum opus. But as the harsh winter winds blow and snow falls, Jack Torrance falls back into his old vices as his young son, Danny Torrance, feels malicious spirits gather around him, attracted to his unique gift called ‘the shining.’
Don’t worry, this will be the only Stephen King adaptation on this list. There’s an ocean full of adaptations to choose from but we picked this adaptation because of its heart, its scares, and its optimistic light.
Image Via Digital Spy
Plus, it’s a close adaptation to the book (unlike Kubrick’s brilliant but unfaithful version of The Shining) that manages to capture both the scares and the comedic self-aware tone that King is most known for, although it does forgo some of the stranger elements.
In 1971 William Blatty brought us The Exorcist. The book goes through horrifying and skin-crawling descriptions of the demonic possession of eleven-year-old Regan MacNeil.
Image Via EOnline
While Regan herself is fictional, the book is inspired by a terrifying case in 1949 of reported demonic possession and exorcism that Blatty heard about while he was a student in the class of 1950 at Georgetown University.
Image Via Amazon
Two years later the iconic film adaptation hit the silver screens, sending audiences everywhere in a fright. While the film plays fast-and-loose with some of the details, as well as adding its odd terrifying touch, Blatty himself was the screenwriter and producer, marking this adaptation as one of the closest to the original novel.
A sequel to the disturbing police procedure with stunning descriptions, The Silence of the Lambs follows Clarice Starling, who must speak to a confined serial killer in order to track down another serial killer. Skin crawling in more ways than one, this novel shoots through twists and turns and shows that even a confined killer can be deadly.
Image Via Amazon
Top it off with a film adaptation that won all the Academy Awards in the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay (the third film in the history of the Oscars to do so) the characters of Hannibal Lecter and Agent Starling have become cemented into the public consciousness.
Image Via Syfy
It’s horrifying, its disturbing, its uplifting, it’s everything you want in a horror film and its a masterclass in adaptation.
Possibly the scariest incarnation of the Dracula story, the 1958 movie departs from the source material only when it wishes to elevate it. At the time, Bram Stoker’s story was horrifying and shocking to readers everywhere. However, sensibilities have changed and the novel was considered tame.
Image Via Diabolique Magazine
In an effort to strike fear back into the hearts of anyone who heard the name of “Dracula”, the movie displayed the brutal nature of Dracula for the first time in all his onscreen glory. A true movie monster, this adaptation proved to be the scariest depiction Dracula and has kept that title ever since.
Image VIa BFI
Plus, Christopher “His mother was a Countess and he was a real-life spy” Lee portrayed Dracula, he was basically a vampire incarnate.
Did you know this was based on a book? Most people don’t, and they should because the book is just as enticing and awe-inspiring and downright horrifying as its film adaptation.
John W Campell, Jr’s 1938 novella Who Goes There? follows a group of scientific researches isolated in Antarctica who discover an alien spaceship buried inside the ice. They encounter what can only be described as a “thing”—a shape-shifter that takes on the personality of any living thing it devours.
Image Via Amazon
The novella made such an impact that it spawned two movie adaptations, one in 1951 titled Thing from Another World and one in 1982 simply titled The Thing. While Thing from Another World is a great movie on its own, the 1982 became a cult classic and later a mainstream classic thanks due to its memorable characters and its horrifying images.
Warning! Watching this film will make you questions everything, and everyone, around you. Could the Thing be lurking behind you? Is it your loving dog or your cute cat? Or is it your best friend?
David Pinner’s 1967 novel was praised for its “opulent dialogue” but was given a warning because “it is quite likely to test your dreams of leaving the city for a shady nook by a babbling brook”.
Image Via Amazon
While the remake has its moments (not the bees!), the original 1973 starring many a cast, including Christopher Lee, entices us with this seemingly perfect cult with dark undertones. With themes of religiosity and faith, this film will reach down to your core and make you question everything you believe.
This is a horror novel. The bright colors might throw you off, but a humanoid cat breaks into the home of two innocent children and proceeds to have ‘fun’ with them through various chaotic games of growing insanity. Yes, the children take the whole thing in strides, but I think this is because they know that resistance is futile against this feline furry.
Image Via IMDB
This is what the live action film understood perfectly well about the character. It might be overly longer, but like the novel its horrifying how much they have FUN FUN FUN.
Image Thanks to Megan Bomar
I’m going to see that phrase smeared in blood when I get home, won’t I?