The Psychology of Fear

23 Sep

Why do we like to be scared?  Is it the rush of adrenaline that we get? Do we like knowing deep down that we’re actually safe in our house, even when we’re watching a really frightening movie?  I’m sure psychologists have pondered this question and come up with some very sound reasons as to why.  But I don’t have a good one.  Because each time I read a scary book or watch a spooky movie, I ALWAYS end up regretting it.  Always.  I couldn’t sleep the entire summer after watching “The Sixth Sense,” which, by the way, is not scary to most people!  

So, because I never learn my lesson apparently, I decided the library’s Main Street Book Club, in keeping with Halloween, should read a scary book next month.  We’re trying something different, though.  We call it “You Pick,” and everyone in the club gets to choose their own book (if you’re a wimp like me, perhaps just read a suspenseful novel or a cozy mystery).  Then, on October 18th, at 6:30 p.m., we’ll all meet to talk about what we liked, didn’t like, and hopefully find some good ideas for what to read next.   

I just finished “The House Next Door,” which was just creepy enough to be fun to read but not at all gory or overdone.  It was creepy, though.  I literally found myself checking closets to make sure they were in fact empty, and I fell asleep with the light on two nights in a row.  I’d never read any novels by Anne Rivers Siddons, but she’s an excellent writer, with great character development and a knack for describing scenes and emotions so that readers feel like they’re experiencing events right along with the characters.  It’s a story about a wealthy, middle-aged couple who live in a beautiful neighborhood.  They love each other very much and are extremely content with their lives.  That is, until two newlyweds buy the piece of property next door on which they plan to build a house.  The couple is upset about this disruption to their neighborhood, but once they see the plans for the house, they no longer complain.  Because it is a stunning home, one that seems to have grown up right out of the ground.  The couple also befriends the architect, an absolute genius who is already receiving other commissions because of the beauty of his first project.  However, as the house is being built, strange events take place – mauled animals are found on the property, and the future owner suffers a bad accident while checking out the site.  Soon the newlyweds move in, and life seems to return to normal.  They soon throw a housewarming party, which is where things quickly unravel.  I don’t want to go into much detail because the beauty of this story rests in the momentum and suspense Siddons is able to create, with terrifying, goosebump raising events happening every so often.  Suffice it to say that you’ll be glad you checked this one out!  

Next, I’ve decided to try a Stephen King.  We’ll see how long I last…

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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Book Reviews


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