The Horror, the Horror…or, an Idiosyncratic Guide to What to Read (or Possibly Watch) as Your Country Disintegrates

Waves, I tell you. These things go in waves: sometimes I sit down to breakfast, (dead tree) newspaper in hand, prepared to face everything it brings, and I go ahead and read that thing, taking in information like a champ. Other times, especially lately, it's more like driving by a bloody accident, where I allow myself to catch one headline from the corner of my eye, then quickly look away, or turn the page—and keep turning—until I have gotten to the arts section and the crossword puzzle (and the kenken!).

So what to read in these uncertain times? When the world is a mess (is the world always a mess? probably), I go with a "like dissolves like" approach. Which seems off: I know that in the 1930s, silly happy musicals really worked for people wanting to forget the Depression, for instance. For me? Now? Reading scary books is just the thing.

I have always, sometimes unwillingly, been a Stephen King fan, but right now I'm reading The Outsider (I know, I know, the show is supposed to be great, I can't quite go there), and…it helps. I have a bunch of half-assed theories as to why this should be so—you look at terrible things that you can say aren't real! Some people in the book aren't terrible! A book offers hope for resolution! Fear makes you focus, so you don't think about…other stuff.

But the main thing is that these books are working, and I'm leaning into them.

My old way was to have people write in here to We Recommend, and I would give them the perfect* book for the person they wanted a book for. But now, in this new foray into the blogosphere, I'm thinking: I should ask you. What comforting horror can you offer me? What will simultaneously scare the crap out of me and also reassure me that there is good in the world?

*No book is perfect. But if you know of one, write it in the comments! If comments are still a thing!


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