January 10, 2013

Haunted Between the Covers

Mama Kat offered a writing prompt that got me thinking:

Tell us about something that is haunting you

Haunting? I have no stories about poltergeists or nagging events from my past that plague my waking hours and prevent me from sleeping (not today, at least).

I was forced to look up the definition of haunting to get inspiration. 

Haunting (adjective): Poignant and evocative; difficult to ignore or forget

Right away, I thought of books that I've read, their stories staying with me long after I've read the last page. Whether the subject matter was riveting or particularly melancholy, fiction or non-fiction, the plots and passages are still with me, even though I haven't looked between the covers of these books in years, in some cases.

Here's a list (and I've provided Amazon links so you can find out more):

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
The harrowing story of a WWII soldier who gets captured and tortured by the Japanese - and his ability to forgive his captors and live an inspiring life.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Disturbing on so many levels. Cathy must choose between her husband and the love of her life. Creepy stuff.

Room by Emma Donoghue (Fiction)
Ma and Jack live as prisoners in Room, the only home five-year old Jack has ever known. I'm not sure I can explain the rest - you need to read it.

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman (Fiction)
A story of isolation and aching need...and a choice - and consequences that occur from that choice.

Liars' Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr
Dysfunctional family dynamics with an extremely unstable (and alcoholic) mother.

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson (Fiction)
Imagine having no memory, no history. Waking each day not knowing who, or where you are. Harrowing.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Creative Non-fiction)
Brutal murder of a family. A chilling story of cruelty and evil.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, is fighting for his life after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. His last lecture is like a hopeful love letter to his young children. He dispenses lessons learned and leaves his legacy for students and his family to help them after his death.

Dracula by Bram Stoker (Fiction)
No sparkly vampires here. This is the real deal, the classic that started it all, vampire-wise.

Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry (Fiction)
Overbearing mom, daughter who just wants to get married, have babies and be nothing like the woman who gave birth to her. Daughter Emma's life doesn't turn out exactly as she hoped...and mom Aurora is there to catch her even before she falls. I can't think of this book without thinking about the movie of the same name. Let's just say it was not one of my best ideas to see the movie right after the death of my dad from cancer. You'll laugh, you'll cry. If you don't want to read the book, then find the DVD.

Finally, a quote about reading that proves my point:

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” 
― Mortimer J. Adler


  1. Love this post! You've named a few books I've read, a few I want to read, and a few I've not heard of. Adding to my list. :) The book that has haunted me the most is Helter Skelter. I read it in high school and didn't sleep for weeks.

  2. OH VC Andrews, her stories of love and money and the things money will cover up.. every one of HER stories, ripped into me. Little House on the Prairie. Loved the whole series and read them over and over. To kill a Mockingbird the truth of segregation and how quickly we as humans are ready to point fingers at those who are different. The strength to stand up to them that do.. all some of my favorites. Wait one more Woman thou art loosed.. TD Jakes

  3. I have got to read Unbroken! Heard nothing but amazing things about it

  4. I love how you chose to answer the prompt!! And I need to read the ones I haven't read yet.

  5. One of the first books that haunted me, I read when I was 13 or so? Maybe even 12, and I still remember, so that tells you something! A Patch of Blue. The ending was very sad, not the "Hollywood Happy Ending" as in the movie.
    I loved The Last Lecture, and also saw the video of Prof Pausch giving that lecture. Truly amazing and inspiring. I loved the movie Terms of Endearment, but never read the book. I'd like to, though. Does the movie stay close to it? And I understand exactly what you meant by seeing the movie after your dad died from cancer. My sister, JoAnn, had just died from a brain tumor when the movie came out....and I couldn't watch it for a couple of years, because I knew what it was about.


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