Well that was unexpected.

Whittling away at my To-Read List, my three most recent reads were this:

  1. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka [depressing]
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green [more depressing]
  3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath [MAIN CHARACTER TRIES TO KILL HERSELF.]

I don’t know if you’re familiar with these books, but if not, let me break it down for you:

The Metamorphosis is about a guy who wakes up one morning as a monster– something like a beetle– and becomes totally useless and repulsive to his family.  They keep him locked out of sight in his room, feed him scraps and crumbs, and when he gets out he tends to upset the guests. (It’s unclear whether Gregor has had a mental lapse or is actually a bug. Some scholars think the story is a metaphor for the life of a writer. HOW ENCOURAGING.)

The Fault in Our Stars is about children (well, okay, mostly snarky teenagers) with cancer.

The Bell Jar is about a woman who loses interest in life and tries to kill herself, only to be sent to shock therapy and later institutionalized. NOT FUN FACT: author Sylvia Plath struggled with depression herself, and ended her life shortly after the book was published.

Now, while The Fault in Our Stars admittedly also made me laugh aloud more than any other book I can remember, isolationism, cancer, and mental illness are all pretty depressing subjects. Stack the three back to back and add several chapters about the violence-ridden dealings of an organized crime family (my latest beta reading which, despite its dark nature, I am very much enjoying) and you’ll get something close to the DOOM CLOUDS OF MISERY AND DEVASTATION brewing over my head.

Anyway, as I was finishing up The Bell Jar, I got an email saying that my latest library reservation was in.

Me: Oh thank god. Finally I can end this sadness.

*Opens email to see what book is in*

Me: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

The Good News: despite the morbid nature of the title and the fact that there is a dismembered arm on the cover, I’m 61 pages in and can safely report that the book is HILARIOUS. Turns out David Wong, the eponymous main character and listed author of John Dies at the End, is the pseudonym of Jason Pargin, the editor in chief of Cracked.com.

THANK JESUS.

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7 thoughts on “Well that was unexpected.

  1. Ah, I hope my sypnosis warned you it’s quite a dark read. Warning: the second half will be more dark! The most depressing book I’ve read, but one of my favourites, is Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino. I had to keep putting it down because it affected my mood so much!

    • I did suspect I was not in for rainbows and ponies 😉 And I really am enjoying it! It just happened to come after this odd, unintended chain of dark books.

      Today I read the scene in the barn, Laura, and OH MAN. If anything, the winces/shivers it caused are a testament to how strong the writing is!

      • So glad you’re enjoying it – your comment really made me smile (thank you!). I remember feeling stuck for months, maybe years, after writing the funeral scene, not knowing what to write next. Then one day I just wrote for hours and out came the barn scene – it was creepy how easy it was to tap into Vincent’s sadistic side actually!

  2. That is a depressing trio! Have you ever read Douglas Coupland’s “Girlfriend in a Coma”? Sounds like it might have what you’re looking for!

    • Oh man, that looks heavy, too! I think I will steer clear of the depressing stuff for a while. Another couple books, at least! But thank you for mentioning it. I do like to hear what books resonate with others.

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