Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ten Books That Stayed With Me

E. A. Black writes horror, dark fiction, and fantasy. She writes erotica and erotic romance under the pen name Elizabeth Black. Ms. Black lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband and four cats. You may find her on Facebook or on her web site.


There's a meme going around Facebook - Ten books that stayed with you. I love writing horror above all else so it's only natural that horror books have stayed with me since childhood, but some of the books I classify as horror may surprise you. Here's my list, in no particular order.

1. "The Screaming Skulls and Other Ghosts" by Elliott O'Donnell. Obvious choice. This book is chock full of ghost legends from the U. K. that scared the piss out of me when I was a child. I still have it and read it on occasion and it continues to spook me.

2. The Bible - Total horror, without a doubt. I actually read the thing, too, which is one reason I am not religious at all today.

3. Everything by Edgar Allan Poe. More horror. I grew up in Baltimore so Poe was very special to me. I visited his grave and his home. I even dated the curator of the Poe museum for awhile there. I was surprised that Poe had such a wicked sense of humor. My favorite story of his is not a horror story. It's "Never Bet The Devil Your Head", a dark comedy.

4. "Claudia" by Barbara Brooks Wallace. Horror in the sense that it's about a child who doesn't fit in with her classmates. That was me in elementary school. This book taught me how to cope with being a nerdy, clutzy reject.

5. My first Home Owner's Association manual. Most people posted fiction books but I had to include a few non-fiction. This manual was pure horror. I lived in one of the first planned communities in the United States. They're as surreal as you've heard. That "X Files" episode "Arcadia" got it right. No window air conditioners. No visible children's toys on front lawns. Doors and trim could be painted only in HOA-approved colors. No trash cans visible from the street. Lawns and gardens must meet HOA specifications down to the length of the grass. Neighbors tattling to the HOA board if they think you violated any codes.

6. "The Art Of War" by Sun Tzu. This book has been invaluable to me. It taught me not only the proper way to pick my battles, but also how to inspire my enemies to bring themselves down with little effort from myself.

7. "The Complete Works Of Calvin and Hobbes". This book was my baby raising manual, along with the Coen brothers movie "Raising Arizona". The main child-rearing lesson I learned from that movie - do not sit the car seat with child inside on top of the car before driving away.

8. "The Catcher In The Rye" by J. D. Salinger. Another book about a misfit kid. I could relate.

9. Ikea instructional manual on how to put together my bed. Pure, unadulterated horror. No further explanation necessary. Ikea instructional manuals are probably responsible for the rising tide of insanity in America.

10. "Mothers On Trial" by Dr. Phyllis Chesler. True-life horror. It's about all the grief mothers go through in divorce and custody cases to protect themselves and their children. At the time I read it I was going through a very ugly divorce, and it kept me sane.

So there's my list with explanations. What about you? What are your ten books that stayed with you?


  1. I tweeted this, to which Josh Hanagarne (the world's strongest librarian) replied "Calvin and Hobbes. Yes!" Congratulations on your brush with greatness, E.A.

  2. Alright, Michael! Thank you. :) Plus "Calvin and Hobbes" for the win. ;D