Tuesdays after a Long Weekend are always a struggle, right Savvy Readers? You get all nice and relaxed after the 3 day weekend and BAM, you’re suddenly expecting to get back into the groove of things and cram 5 days of work into 4! If you’re struggling to get back into the working mood, hopefully this week’s 50 Book Pledge Featured Read will do the trick!
If you’ve been paying attention to the blog for the last little while, you may have seen us publish an article heralding the author of this week’s 50 Book Pledge Featured Read as the next great horror writer. So, I suppose you can assume we’re fans, right? Well, get prepared to do a bit of a deeper dive into Paul Tremblay‘s latest novel, Growing Things, because it is absurdly good!
Growing Things is a collection of short horror stories that are scary enough to scare even this *points to self* lifelong horror fan. Made up of nineteen very unique, very disturbing stories, Growing Things explores the wonderful world of horror, from the effects of global catastrophes to the demons inside our head and everything in between. Let’s discuss some of my favourite stories, shall we?
The first standout for me was, unsurprisingly, “The Teacher.” In this story, a student is forced to watch a disturbing video – frame by disturbing frame – that will haunt and torment her and her classmates’ lives. While that don’t sound that scary, I can’t give away exactly what happens in the video, because that’s where the sheer horror of the situation comes into play. To be honest, this story made me think, “Hmm… maybe my high school experience wasn’t that bad after all.” (Author’s Note: It was.)
With the most noteworthy story out of the way, my next favourite story was “Notes For ‘The Barn in the Wild’.” Told via editors’ notes, interviews, and a firsthand look into the journal of a haunted man, this story is basically what you’d get if you mixed Into The Wild with Nick Cutter’s The Troop. A young man, perhaps hoping to do his best Christopher McCandless impression, learns of a potentially haunted barn in the middle of the woods and decides its in his best interest to find it. What he finds there is more than any one of us would ever dream of encountering, and is solely responsible for the nightmares I’ve been having since reading it. I don’t want to give anything away, but I promise you that this story – in particular, the ending – will have you sleeping with the lights on for a little while. And things that slither.
Let’s clear the air here, for a second. I’m in my late twenties, so I’m a child of the Goosebumps era. The books, the shows, the VHS tapes… I consumed all of it. And one of my absolute favourite things about the Goosebumps series was the Choose Your Own Adventure storylines. Well, guess what, Savvy Readers and Goosebumps fans alike… there’s a Choose Your Own Adventure story right in the middle of this collection! “A Haunted House Is A Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken” is a haunting, intimate portrait of loss, grief, and the ghosts that we struggle to part with. It’s also the story that really shored up just how special this collection truly is.
And then there’s the story “Something About Birds”… Where do I even start with this one? A young journalist interviews his favourite horror author. After said interview is completed, the horror author gives the young journalist a bird’s head and invites him to a special meeting with no other details. Most of us would politely decline, right? Well, thankfully for our entertainment, our young journalist does not and… that’s about all I can tell you. When I say the ending of this story is truly shocking, I mean exactly that. It is truly shocking. I nearly missed my stop on the train ride home because I had to re-read it to make sure my eyes weren’t tricking me!
And that’s not even mentioning the equally brilliant “Nineteen Snapshots of Denisport,” “Notes from the Dog Walkers,” “The Thirteenth Temple,” “It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks,” and the titular “Growing Things.” Listen, I can go on and on about this book all day, but we all have to get back to work, right? If you read this incredible collection, please, please reach out to us on Twitter, because I need someone to talk about this with! Needless to say, I liked this collection a little bit (read: a lot) and I think you will too, which is why Growing Things by Paul Tremblay is this week’s 50 Book Pledge Featured Read! Add it to your shelf today.
What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read, Savvy Readers? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SavvyReader!
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