I worried a bit about our last Summer Reading post, since it was slightly discriminatory to psychopaths. It was keeping me up last night, but then I realized that I could address the problem by simply tailoring a post to the specific literary needs of psychopaths! Bravo, me! So without further ado, here are some books you should look into if the non-psycho books aren’t your cup of tea or other preferred beverage. (No one’s saying blood! But, maybe blood.)
Classics such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and the works of Edgar Allan Poe: There was a time, back in the day, when creepy monster stories were all the rage. That time is pretty much all the time, so sure, there are modern tales of monstrous villains and their victims, but Stoker, Shelley, and Poe were some of the seminal writers in this genre. More refined than the gory horror of later days, the tension, uncertainty, and fear are what set these classics apart.
The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft: If there’s anything more horrible than Lovecraft’s conviction that humanity would literally be driven insane if forced to acknowledge its own insignificance, I’m not sure what it is. That plus slumbering primeval monsters and jabbering cultists is what I call a good time!
“[The Call of Cthulhu is] a masterpiece, which I am sure will live as one of the highest achievements of literature.… Mr. Lovecraft holds a unique position in the literary world; he has grasped, to all intents, the worlds outside our paltry ken.” -Robert E. Howard (the creator of Conan)
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson: Perhaps one of the most disturbing books to come out of the American Noir genre, Thompson’s first person narration forces the reader, in true noir style, to be complicit in the crimes of a sadistic, psychopathic killer.
“Probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered.” —Stanley Kubrick
Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson: The book that launched the crazy gonzo reporter’s career as a writer, Hell’s Angels is an in-depth, inside look at one of the most famous Motorcycle Clubs in the country and was also his first attempt at writing a “non-fiction novel.”
“Hunter Thompson has presented us with a close view of a world most of us would never dare encounter, yet one with which we should be familiar. He has brought on stage men who have lost all options and are not reconciled to the loss.” — NY Times review by Leo Litwak, 1967
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler: A classic, hardboiled crime story! Chandler introduces his iconic investigator of several stories, Philip Marlowe, and sets a dark tone that pervades the settings and characters of the story.
“As a study in depravity, the story is excellent, with Marlowe standing out as almost the only fundamentally decent person in it.” — NY Times review by Isaac Anderson, 1939
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King: Stephen King is one of those authors whose fans always have something to keep them entertained. Last year’s Doctor Sleep is definitely no exception. Long awaited sequel to one of King’s most famous and beloved books, The Shining, Doctor Sleep is a book to pick up if you’re into King’s specific brand of crazy.
“Wild ectoplasmic partly decayed vampire horses would not tear from me the story of what happens next, but let me assure you King is a pro: by the end of this book your fingers will be mere stubs of their former selves, and you will be looking askance at the people in the supermarket line, because if they turn around they might have metallic eyes.” — NY Times review (by Margaret Atwood!), 2013