I’ve put my Stephen King books where I can’t see them. Two shelves of my bookcase are filled to the brim with his novels, yet I don’t want to be constantly remided of them . They frighten me, and I like to think that pretending they don’t exist means they aren’t there in the first place. Ironically, I really do love reading scary books, and always have. So why would I feel the need to hide them? Let’s find out…
When I was a young girl, I devoured scary books. Whether they were bad Dutch books or the Goosebumps series (and let’s face it, they’re not that good, either), I must have borrowed them all from the library. I read about vampires, about werewolves, witches and ghosts – or, of course, all of them together. I couldn’t get enough of them, even though I sometimes wouldn’t go to the bathroom in the middle of the night for fear there would be something lurking in the shadows. I was scared, but I loved it. Somehow closing the book for the night and going to sleep in my warm bed made me feel safe.
It all changed when I started reading Stephen King’s It when I was twelve years old (read the full story here – and again: don’t worry dad, no hard feelings!). That one frightened me so much I couldn’t bear reading even one more letter of it. From then on, being scared wasn’t as fun anymore. I really felt like something could attack, kill, and eat me at any given moment, and even pictures of that monstrous clown would fill me with dread. I would shut my eyes, shout at anyone who was evil enough to show me that horrendous picture that I hated them, and throw stuff at it. My warm bed wasn’t safe enough anymore, and I would line up all my toy animals to keep evil away. Still, however, I kept reading these scary books – all of them, but It.
Horror is such a great escape from our daily lives. We have to face our fears, real ones, every single day, and it’s quite tiresome. So when we watch a book about monsters that couldn’t possibly exist and are scared of them, we’re experiencing a different, safe kind of fear. We can simply close the book (or, when it comes to movies, close our eyes and hug a pillow) when it becomes too scary, or switch on the lights if we are really scared. We need the fear to remind us that we’re safe, just as we need the darkness to remind us there’s still light.
We don’t have to read horror novels or watch scary movies. To be honest, I’m still afraid of the dark, and sometimes I the mere thought of reading a scary book makes my imagination run wild. Some nights I still refuse to go to the bathroom, because I’m convinced there’s a monster underneath my bed. On nights like these, I refuse to read anything horror related, and pretend the genre doesn’t exist.
And that’s why I hide my Stephen King novels. I don’t want to be scared all the time – but I always know where I can find them when I do.
What’s your favourite horror novel? Which fictional monster is your favourite? Do let me know in the comments! Also, don’t forget to follow me for more (non-scary) book posts!