Top 5 Wednesdays: Books with Creepy Settings

So this is a first — I got completely mixed up about what this week’s topic was. I had today’s topic confused with next week’s Top 10 Tuesday theme (Top 10 Foods Mentioned in Books), which I’ve been stressing about since it is not something I pay attention to at all. I was surprised to go online today to see Sam’s video about books with creepy settings. I have no idea how that happened! Luckily for me, this topic is much easier and there were several books that immediately stood out. I’m scared of true horror books, but I love books that have a creepy or chilling atmosphere. There are so many examples of books where the atmosphere completely makes the story, and it is the creepy ones that tend to really stay with me.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Aunt Cath’s House from And the Trees Crept In (Dawn Kurtagich)

28449150Due to the poor planning on my part, this is my second time this week talking about this book, but it is a book that is definitely worth mentioning. This book is set in a blood-red manor house, surrounded by a creepy woods that seems to be coming closer and closer each day. The main character, Silla, and her sister Nori are trapped in the house due to their fear of the “Creeper Man,” a demonic creature who lives in the woods, and who Aunt Cath tells the girls might hurt them if they go in the woods. Aunt Cath’s manor is full of strange noises and the haunting atmosphere takes a toll on the sanity of the people living there. It was a very creepy book, and well-worth reading!

2) Laurie’s House from Little Girls (Ronald Malfi)

little_girlsI know we were not limited to horror stories for this week’s topic, but this was one of the first that came to mind. This is one of the only true horror stories I ever read and I loved it, although I’m still a bit scared of it. In this book, a woman named Laurie returns to her childhood home to settle her father’s estate after his apparent suicide, and soon realizes that the girl next door remarkably resembles the cruel neighbour and “friend” who lived next-door and who died when they were children. The house in this book almost feels like a character of its own given the elaborate descriptions and the huge presence it has throughout the story. This is by far one of the scariest books I have ever read, and the setting was a huge part of it.

3) The Peculiars’ Home from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)

missperegrinecoverI know a lot of people felt that the eerie pictures in this series were a gimmick, but for me, they worked. The Peculiars are a group of children who live on a remote island off the coast of Wales. In this book, the main character Jacob has always loved his grandfather’s stories of the unusual home where he lived with other strange children, guarded by a bird. After his grandfather’s brutal death by what appears to be a monster, Jacob convinces his parents to let him follow his grandfather’s stories to a remote island near Wales, where he explores the abandoned remains of the home his grandfather claimed to live in, and eventually comes to meet the peculiar children he has always heard so much about. This book was not scary at all, like many people were expecting, but I thought the Peculiars’ home was quite creepy, even when we got to see it fully-functioning and inhabited.

4) Elspeth’s Apartment from Her Fearful Symmetry (Audrey Niffenegger)

7106736It’s been quite a while since I read this book, but I remember the atmosphere being very creepy. This book focuses on Julia and Valentina, twins who move to an apartment in London beside the cemetery, after their aunt Elspeth dies of cancer. Elspeth is their mother’s estranged twin sister, who promises her apartment to the girls on the condition that their parents never enter it. The twins eventually come to realize that their aunt may never have left the apartment, and get to know the eccentric neighbours. This was another brilliant story by Audrey Niffenegger, and I think any home that is right beside a cemetery is bound to be pretty creepy! I also thought the book was a little creepy because of the twins and their relationship. I know that in real life, twins are not really creepy but they often are in books and in this case, it is a little creepy how entwined the girls are toward the beginning.

5) John Comestor’s Apartment in Lost (Gregory Maguire)

24929This is another case of a book with a creepy, haunted apartment. In this book, Winifred travels to London to work on her latest novel about a woman who is haunted by the ghost of Jack the Ripper. She gets to the apartment to find that her step-cousin and friend John Comestor has disappeared and his place seems to be haunted. There is a strange knocking noise on the wall, and other creepy events that lead Winnie to try to figure out if there really is a ghost. This is another book that it’s been quite a while since I picked up, so I can’t remember all of the details, but I remember finding a lot of it quite creepy. Any book where the walls make strange noises will pretty much creep me out, but I have a pretty low tolerance threshold for creepy things.


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