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Beach Knitting Blowup, and a Contest

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Dear Kay,
Let’s begin with a view of a seaside paradise, because today’s story is just terrible–a real heartbreaker and by heartbreaker I mean mildly irritating knitting experience.
That’s Chalk Sound up there, in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, where we all decamped for a week that will go down in history as the Shayne family’s least productive week ever. No, we didn’t snorkel or scuba or catamaran or kayak or parasail or regular sail or anything much except sit in a stupor, either on beach or by pool, and eat. It was fantastic. It’s taken me a week even to get up the steam to fix dinner. I don’t know what we’ve been doing for food since we got back. I do know that all the Christmas candy is gone. I ate a stale grapefruit for lunch one day, and a Triscuit.
Anyway, I took three books and read them all.* I took Kate Davies’s Boreal, my latest knitting obsession. I’m going to describe what happened with this project not as a deterrent to making this amazing sweater, but more as a cautionary tale about GAUGE. Because gauge is like the prickly schoolteacher you don’t really like but who holds your entire destiny in her gnarled little hands. You cannot fail to respect gauge.
Here’s what happened.
I was motoring away on this beautiful thing, cranking from the hem upwards to the thrilling Fair Isle portion of the sweater–the party up top. I had made a swatch just as Kate Davies exhorted me to do–a Fair Isle swatch, even, washed and blocked per her advice because we all know that a bath does surprising things to yarn. I went with everybody’s favorite needle size, ol’ number 7, because that was getting me the 18 stitches/4″ I was craving.
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I was rusty on my Fair Isle, having not Fair Isled in a while. I turned it inside out so that the floats wouldn’t pull too tight. I got a groove going, around and around, and I crossed my fingers that the stitches would even out once I monkeyed around with them and blocked it.
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Then it was time to make the sleeves, another tubular project. I decided to make the sleeves using two circular needles rather than five hundred double-pointed needles which I despise. Again with the size 7. Again with the groove.
I was actually on the beach with this sleeve when i decided to slide it onto my arm to admire my handiwork. (I can’t really recommend knitting merino/mohair while sitting on a beach, particularly a snowflake sweater.) If I kept going, I think this sleeve could easily have functioned as a wetsuit. The only thing less pleasant than sliding a wool sleeve on your arm while sitting on a beach is sliding a wool sleeve THAT IS SHOCKINGLY TOO SMALL on your arm while sitting on a beach.
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So dismayed! So awful to discover that your gauge on two circs is about five stitches tighter than it is on a regular circ. I never dreamed I would get such a different gauge. Appalling!
No quick fix to be had. Not a knitting shop to be found on this desert island, no way to get larger needles except by making them out of palm fronds or swizzle sticks.
After a week-long grieving process, and also a departure through a Caribbean airport akin to catching the last helicopter out of Saigon, I revisited this sleeve. I decided to go with double-pointed needles, size 8. I knit looser on DPNs. I figured this would do the trick.
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Back on track. I can’t decide what to do with that awful misfire. Leg warmer?
The moral of the story? Give GAUGE the respect it’s due. Don’t assume your swatch has answered all your questions. Bring tons of knitting equipment wherever you go. And, most important: if you’re knitting a wool and mohair snowflake sweater on a beach, you are a sick, sick person.
Love,
Ann
*The books, the books. I resolved this year to try to read a book a week, or at least give it a try. First finishes:
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TOWNIE by Andre Dubus III. Massachusetts mill town memoir by the haunted son of another writer, Andre Dubus. If page 354 doesn’t make you cry, I do not know what will.
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THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss by Edmund de Waal. More crying, this time about a collection of Japanese antique netsuke, the little carvings that traveled the world with a wealthy Jewish banking family. Vienna 1938 is not a good place for these netsuke nor the family that owned them.
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Finally, and most lusciously, THE TAKER by Alma Katsu. If you loved Interview with a Vampire, and crave paranormal with a literate voice, seriously unrequited love, and a villain with the darkest possible gothic soul, you will love this. Big debut novel, has made lots of Best lists. I had the great luck to meet Alma via this blog, so it has been a special thing to see her book launch so spectacularly. Two more novels in the series coming soon. To celebrate, here’s a contest, with a copy of THE TAKER going to the winner who will be chosen at random:
What’s the most haunting book you’ve read? Leave a comment, deadline Wednesday 10 pm EDT. I’ll email the winner. (Please include your email with your comment.)

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285 Comments

285 Comments

  1. Most haunting book?
    The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams.
    I read it when I was in High School (ie: a long time ago)and found it overwhelmingly poignant, horrifying and enlightening. So much so that I had to copy large parts into my bedside journal so that I could read them over and over again.
    Years later, they could still move me to tears of incredible sadness and joy.

  2. Haunting? All I can think of is Stephen King books. They scared the shit out of me. especially Pet Cemetery. I was reading it at college (Orono, ME) where the book is set. All of the landmarks were right on campus and around town. I was spooked for weeks. I was also an impressionable 20 year old.

  3. Haunting as in stays in my head, not scary in my dreams? The Earthsea Trilogy, all 4 books.

  4. Hmn…perhaps the lone too-small arm could become a coffee cup cozy? Or one of those rice pillows that you warm up and put on your neck to relax after a gauge disaster? Or perhaps just put it in a shadowbox with a little card underneath that says “Gauge: A Cautionary Tale”?
    Most haunting book…I am swooningly in love with Frannie Billingsly’s CHIME right now. So let’s go with that. Finely-crafted plot, gorgeous prose, charming, difficult, wonderful heroine.

  5. If you accept non-fiction, I heartily endorse Possessions by Judith Robertson, who writes of Hudson Valley ghost stories across the ages. If not, then House of Seven Gables, with its own perverse kind of haunting and the most fabulous description of a person’s first encounter with a train ever.

  6. I remember one book which was haunting in that its message has stayed with me for decades. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the book… The message is this: “Your life can change completely in an instant.” I’ll never forget that.

  7. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee.

  8. Most haunting book: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Lovely prose, heartbreaking story.

  9. Euclidean and NonEuclidean Geometries: Development and History by Greenberg haunts me to this day.

  10. The book I’m reading now, “Cutting For Stone” is a hauntingly beautiful story.

  11. You should have e-mailed or phoned. I would have fedexed DPNs.
    By far, the most haunting book was Haven by Ruth Gruber. Personally, I think it should be required reading for high school students.

  12. Haunting and intense: The Lovely Bones. Counted the minutes until my kids/spouse left for school/work so I could sit in the quiet house and soak in this book.

  13. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
    Recently had the same experience with a pair of mittens as you did with your sleeve. I think my first attempt _might_ have fit a midget. With no thumb.

  14. I’m thinking The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Right time, right age to read it, and it stuck with me.

  15. I want to pick something that hasn’t already been named, so I think I’ll go with “Room.”

  16. The Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore. I sobbed straight through the last several chapters of the book, terrifying my husband.

  17. What is the What, by Dave Eggars. Stuck with me for a long time. Also Joan Didion’s ‘A Year of Magical Thinking’.

  18. The Bad Place by Dean Koontz was a doozey as I had to read it for a book report and re-read some key parts for the assignment. The sleeve might make a very nice ipad sock/cover if you were so inclined.

  19. The Lovely Bones, could not stop reading it, could not stop thinking about it.

  20. “A Three Dog Life,” by Abigail Thomas because I read it shortly after my own husband’s life-changing accident, so it felt very personal to me. Also, “Possession,” by A.S. Byatt, because it makes you wondering endlessly about what other mysteries we are unaware, or completely wrong.

  21. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell, which I haven’t finished because I know it’s just going to wreck me.

  22. It’s a toss-up between A Planet Called Treason by Orson Scott Card, and Anathem by Neil Stephenson. Probably A Planet Called Treason, though. I especially love the ending. Card later revised the book, calling it simply Treason, and while there are large sections that are better as simply Treason, the end is written a bit differently, and I like the original better.
    I also love, love, love Turks & Caicos, Provo specifically. I’ve been there several times and am dying to go back! But much as I love knitting, I can’t imagine knitting anything on the beach… maybe linen? Then again I can’t stay out of the water so my knitting would get all salty.

  23. Haunting novels. I have been having a hard time personally and one thing that really helps me is to read children’s book. Right now I am going through the skulduggery pleasant series, Harry Potter, Arabat, and audio books.
    There was also a contest locally a number of years back and one story has always stuck in my head. Scratchy beard, child awakes in the night, a horror story to celebrate Halloween–of course this was back in the 80′s when our newspaper was the highlight at the end of the day, or the best thing on Sunday.

  24. The Book Thief. I weep.

  25. I empathize with the challenges of Fair Isle; I recently had to rip something out twice.
    Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery continues to haunt. The philosophy passages almost made me give up, but I persevered and, oh, what a beautiful, touching payoff in the end.

  26. Only 2 books have ever moved me to tears – the 6th Harry Potter book (Dumbledore’s death) and Where the Red Fern Grows. I wonder what it says about me that both of these are children’s books??

  27. 2011 was a great book-reading year for me, including “Townie” which I liked a lot and which then led me to short stories by Andre Dubus II. Most haunting read of 2011: “To The End of the Land”, David Grossman. Most haunting read ever: possibly “Atonement”, Ian McEwan.

  28. I read Loving Frank a couple of years ago – the story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the woman he left his family for (and she left hers for him).
    Firstly, I was completely unaware that he was a cheating bastard, and secondly the end of the story kept me up until 3 in the morning, sobbing. I was not expecting such a shocking and horrifying ending.
    Gah. The book was sad all along, because Mamah had abandoned her children for Frank and as a mother of two tiny kids I could not even fathom that; but the ending! The ending! I was heartbroken for days.
    It was one of those books that you tell people about years later (obviously).

  29. The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips. Set in Carbon Hill, Alabama during the depression. Hauntingly beautiful.

  30. I’ll take haunting as in “sticks with you” as I don’t read many “scary” books. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand was unbelievable. I could not read it fast enough and I have recommended it to anybody and anyone that will listen to me!

  31. oooh, and I second The Lovely Bones. I read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake last year, and it was on my mind for a LONG time afterward because it was so weird.

  32. Well, the sweater looks lovely, and Townie has been on my “to-read” list for a while, but now I’ve gotten a bunch more. Glad you had a relaxing, non-busy week at the beach.

  33. I don’t need to be entered in the contest, (although thanks for holding it!) I just wanted to share a knitterly giggle over this admonition: “Bring tons of knitting equipment wherever you go.”
    It is a knitters curse that we often carry every thing we think we’ll ever need… and still manage to leave that one important thing at home…

  34. I’d have to say The Corrections by Jonathon Franzen. I read it during a particularly bleak and gray January week and it took me down. I was so depressed while reading this book, it took finishing it to realize that The Corrections was the problem.
    laureni526 at yahoo dot com

  35. I love all the different definitions of “haunting”. I’ll go with a classic: “Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier.

  36. The book that made me cry was Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card. My two boys were about 4 and 6 at the time, so I really could relate to the theme. A book that sticks with you and changes how you live. That’s haunting.

  37. lol at your description of catching your plane…I pick Edgar Sawtelle for a book that haunted me for awhile, or Water for Elephants

  38. Haunting? House of Sand and Fog, also by Dubus. Hands down my winner for that descriptor.

  39. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold has stuck with me since I read it…

  40. I’m not entering the book contest – although I’ll read just about ANYTHING in the English language I can lay my sticky little mitts on – but I want to express my love for Erica’s idea of turning the sleevette into a heatable rice-filled cushion for times of gauge-induced stress!

  41. “The Life of Pi” haunted me for weeks after I read it – and still does whenever it comes up in conversation or something I am reading.
    Gauge is my nemesis.

  42. Totally, To Kill a Mockingbird. Nothing since then has measured up, and I am an avid reader.

  43. I’ll second “The Sparrow” — it’s devastating, but so full of interesting ideas that it’s worth finishing, mulling over, and hashing out with friends later. But I’d like to add “Where the Red Fern Grows,” which made a room full of fifth-graders try not to let each other see our crying at the end when our teacher read it to us, and still rewards periodic re-reading almost 40 years later.

  44. Is it this Wednesday, as in, tomorrow?
    Does the checkbook count? Hmmm… Haunting isn’t really my genre, but I really like Dorothy Sayers mysteries, and Patricia Wentworth. So, maybe the Nine Taylors by Sayers.

  45. All Quiet On the Western Front
    Such a painful story that still resonates.

  46. The Green Mile by Stephen King. UNFORGETABLE!

  47. Haunting…The ‘Child Called It’ Series. I have ‘The Shack’, but haven’t been able to bring myself to read it yet.

  48. I just finished The Hare with Amber Eyes…heartily recommend!

  49. Non fiction: Half The Sky
    Fiction: The Man Who Was Magic. I read it decades ago and I still think about it sometimes.

  50. I would have to say that the most haunting book I’ve ever read is The Time Traveler’s Wife. I found it so bittersweet, this tale of two lives passing each other in time. I cried at the end more than I have ever done before with any other book. And I read a lot of books!

  51. Haunting as in “ethereal” and I’ll go with The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip. In its darker connotation, I’d say A Darker Place by Laurie King.

  52. I’m almost finished with Cutting for Stone. Whew! It’s blowing me away. And I love it.

  53. “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguru was hauntingly sad.

  54. I just finished Julian Barnes’ “The Sense of an Ending” and it is sticking with me, too.

  55. You want haunting? Which will it be, slavery or war?
    “The Chaneysville Incident” by David Bradley
    or
    “Going After Cacciato” by Tim O’Brien

  56. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion warning make sure a box of tissues close to hand.

  57. Most haunting? Neil Gaiman’s American Gods – it has what Pratchett might call miffic power, an astonishing sense of being just part of a huge and fairly tragic universe. (I believe HBO have signed a *seven-season* deal to adapt this, which means more books must be written!)
    (Although, for a different value of haunting, Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance wins: desperately mundane, totally non-paranormal human misery and tragic inevitability. It just keeps punching you in the gut. But it’s brilliant and totally, totally worth the very painful read.)

  58. So— you were knitting the sleeve on TWO circular needles. Hmmm. Why didn’t I ever think of that? Why didn’t I ever even hear about that? Did you do this because you had two small circs but didn’t have one that was long enough? Or is it because it would be easier because things wouldn’t be bunching up or falling off the DPNs? I think this means that you knit halfway around on one needle and the other half way around on the other needle, maybe with a DPN in your right hand, if you knit Continental. I think I’m having an epiphany about this. This could change my life….

  59. I am not sure why, but the first story that jumps in my head is Pat Conroy’s “Beach Music”.
    Happy New Year, Ann!

  60. My first thought with Haunting has to be The Stand, which creeped me out but good when I read it in high school–I think I pulled an all-nighter to finish it because I was too scared to sleep. And that’s not even really a creepy book as far as King goes. But really the book that has haunted me for years is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I wander back to it every few years to marvel at the way she makes me adore and despise characters that are, after all, fictional. It’s bananas. I’ve read it at least four times since it came out in the early nineties, and I still hate to love it.

  61. I would have to go with good old _Wuthering Heights_. I read it too young (maybe 9th grade?) and didn’t understand how someone could love someone who treated them so bad. Or how love could make you so angry to treat someone so badly. I reread it as an adult and well … then it all made sense.
    Will the yarn not frog? In the pic it looks a bit felted already. I second felting it and make a warm rice pack.

  62. Haunting book: I really liked =The Tao of Physics= by Fritjof Capra, because it showed the similarities between quantum physics and Eastern philosophy in a way that really made sense.

  63. The most hauntingly beautiful book I’ve read is “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”. I read it last year and it remains deeply embedded in my memory.
    Have a wonderful 2012

  64. “Mapping Fate” by Alice Wexler. This story is about a family afflicted by Huntington’s diesease, which is a hereditary, incurable, and fatal disorder. The author’s mother dies of it while her father and sister become leading researchers to isolate the gene, develop a genetic test, and search for a cure. The author struggles over the decision to be tested, and how the outcome will affect her life.

  65. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier… I was 9 and my dad bought it for me unbeknown to my mother… I loved it but was really haunting… I shouldn’t have read it soooo young!
    Bless my dad

  66. This isn’t an entry – just sharing the most haunting book I’ve ever read. ‘La Suite Francaise’ by Irene Nemirovsky. It’s been translated into English and is just as haunting in whichever language you choose. Like most things that haunt, it was hard too.

  67. I think that “Sarah’s Key” is the most haunting book I have ever read, and I read a lot. I can hardly think of that book without feeling sick and wanting to cry. Having said that, I love your ‘gauge’ cautionary tale.

  68. A Prayer for Owen Meany–i must have read this a thousand times. i just loved it. i actually had dreams about owen meany after i read it the first time.

  69. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is the most haunting book I’ve ever read. I don’t think it right to recommend to anyone.

  70. I would say that Brenda Dayne jogged my memory of haunting books with The Giver. That one has stayed with me and I’ve chewed over it’s themes and meanings for the better part of a decade….

  71. Cat’s Eye, by Margaret Atwood

  72. Hmmm. To Kill A Mockingbird. City of Thieves. Stephen King’s “The Body”. And for pure creeped-out-ness, Tom Tryon’s “The Other”.

  73. East of Eden. It’s been at least 10 years since I read it, and I still can’t get it out of my head.

  74. It may seem like I’m making this up, but the most haunting book I’ve read is The Giver. For kids, maybe, but a story that sticks with you.

  75. The most recent one to come to mind is definitely Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger.

  76. I can’t tell you how amazed I am that the gauge on 2-circs on the body is so different from the gauge on 2-circs on the sleeve. As for haunting, well I’m listening to Erik Larsen’s Garden of the Beast for my book club just now (1933 Berlin with the new US Ambassador and his family) and it’s giving me nightmares. Is that haunting enough?

  77. I am an inhaler of books- 4 or 5 a week. I like mysteries, paranormals, and suspense. A series with recurring characters is even better (like a favorite TV show). One of the most haunting series I’ve ever read was The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Shephen R Donaldson. I read it 20+ years ago and still remember how bleak and desolate the landscape Thomas wandered was. *shudder* I saw some new books in the series but I don’t think I’ll be delving back into it any time soon.

  78. The Harvester by Gene Stratton-Porter.

  79. A Parcel of Patterns by Jill Paton Walsh. It’s the story of a 17th century English village that chooses to isolate itself during an outbreak of the plague. The story is told from the point of view of a young woman who watches most of her neighbours and family die. The most haunting details are taken from historical events-the father who digs his grave and lies down in it, because his sons are too young to be able to bury him; the mother who buries all seven of her children and her husband, each grave a little closer to the house because she has less help and less strength. A really powerful book.

  80. My vote for haunting reads? Atonement by Ian McEwan or Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, for sure. I also thought Mystic River was disturbing on a couple of levels. For non-fiction, I’d say The Last Czar or In Cold Blood…you just know how it’s going to end and all you can feel is this impending sense of doom. Wow. I read some pretty depressing books.
    Speaking of haunting, that photo of your arm is kind of creepy. It looks disembodied!

  81. Most haunting book I’ve read has to be the Road by Cormac McCarthy. I finished it about two months ago, but the feelings associated with McCarthy’s description of the difficulties in living in post-apocolyptic America and trying to keep your child have not faded in the least.

  82. Most haunting book I’ve read has to be the Road by Cormac McCarthy. I finished it about two months ago, but the feelings associated with McCarthy’s description of the difficulties in living in post-apocolyptic America and trying to keep your child have not faded in the least.

  83. The two that leap to mind (because I read them recently) are The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Oh, and The Time Traveller’s Wife, of course.

  84. The Island and No Great Mischief, both by Alistair Macleod, set in Canada and particularly on Cape Breton Island. There is a story about a horse in The Island that is making me shiver this very minute, and I last read it years ago. The hauntedness is that of a disappearing way of life. The same is true of something completely different, The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, set in Sicily at the time of the battle for the unification of Italy.

  85. Choose? I have to choose? #1: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett-terrible beauty, terrible violence, the two surviving protagonists marrying at the end with the only other two survivors as witnesses because of course, no one else in the wide world understands. #2: A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle of the Commitments and the Snapper fame. Essentially the story of a young man’s need to find a moral compass in a world that gives him no reason to do so. Sucks all available air out of the room. #3: The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon. Meyer Landsman is such an unlikely protagonist- -so sad, funny, and profane that he broke my heart in the first 10 pages while making me laugh hysterically.

  86. With a review like that who could not want to read it?! I second another commenter’s suggestion of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. But I’m also in the middle of The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern and have to stay that it is pretty haunting and enchanting so far.

  87. I don’t – knowingly – read books that will make me sad. So my take on haunting is “unsettling.” I’ll choose Nevil Shute’s On the Beach. But I think short stories haunt me more, so I’ll add “Inconstant Moon” (Larry Niven) and “The Yellow Wallpaper” (Charlotte Perkins Gilman).

  88. The Last of the Just, by Andre Schwarz-Bart. Published in France in 1959, still in print in English. Of all the Holocaust fiction I’ve read, the most haunting.

  89. My most haunting novel has to be John Crowley’s Little Big. I have re-read it so many times I’ve replaced the paperback copy four times and just ordered the 25th anniversary edition (with art! – so now I can check my imagination with the artist selected by the author!) It will also be available in February as an audiobook read by the author. I will still have to buy another copy, maybe this one as an ebook so I don’t wear out the “fancy” one.

  90. Pre reusable grocery bags, I’d have said make a lovely place to stuff your Harris Teeter bags as an alternate use for that tight arm. But the last time I had such a blunder, I bought a skinny bottle of vodka and gave it a koozie. Made a great gift. The recipient never knew it was “a design element,” which is what I’ve taught the ladies in my knit class to call mistakes. :)

  91. Most recently, “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro.

  92. The Time Traveler’s Wife, without a doubt. The scene where certain person dies and other person “senses” something. heartbreaking, poignant, haunting….

  93. Not haunting woo-woo, but haunting in that I couldn’t stop thinking about it and talking about it for weeks after I finished it: Have You Found Her? by Janice Erlbaum

  94. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. It might be the teenage girl in me, but this story really touched me.

  95. Honestly, I haven’t read much horror lit–I scare pretty easily. But I’d be willing to give it another go with this one!

  96. So many good books in these comments. I would second Atonement, Never Let Me Go, The Stand, The Lovely Bones, The House of Sand and Fog (so many tiny bad decision that lead to such sadness), Bel Canto (my take on the book: music is everyday magic for people), On the Beach; and add Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod. It is a non-fiction account of training for and twice running that dogsled race. There is a scene of two buffalo playing on a frozen lake that converted the author to being a vegetarian; he could not endure the thought of eating animals that might possibly be capable of having as much fun as those two buffalo were. (I am most assuredly NOT a vegetarian. I only told you about the buffalo to make the point about the book. It is both hilarious and spiritual in roughly equal parts.)
    A Prayer for Owen Meany was, imho, an awfully long and tedious book to read just to get to the payoff at the end. Clearly, other’s mileage has varied.
    If you have set yourself a reading goal this year, you might be interested in this: http://bumpsintheroad1.blogspot.com/2011/10/2012-support-your-local-library.html

  97. for me, it’s clearly Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. train. off bridge. under water. all those souls missed.
    yikes. thanks for making me recall that! just kidding. one of my favorite reads. ever. thanks.

  98. Two of the most haunting books for me in that “What will come next, how will it all end, how is love so SPOOKY” way? would have to be two classics: Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, when I read them for the first time, somewhere between nine and eleven years old…

  99. Most haunting book: “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova. Sad, haunting and a bit worrisome (especially when I can’t find something).
    Double points every time-two circulars just never worked for me.

  100. My glib answer is my son’s math textbook. It makes my face hurt. But Lisa Sees’ “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” stayed with me.

  101. “The Road”. I started it after the family went to bed one night and accidentally stayed up the entire night reading it. I love the book lists!!!!

  102. Pet cemetary by Mr. King. when that little boy come back to life….jus awful…can’t talk about it anymore…

  103. Pet cemetary by Mr. King. when that little boy come back to life….jus awful…can’t talk about it anymore…

  104. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I’m a little afraid that when I finally read it, Dracula will be a disappointment after this book.

  105. Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker.

  106. LOVE the beach Boreal. Most haunting book is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

  107. LOVE the beach Boreal. Most haunting book is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

  108. I never could pick up the book The Lovely Bones. The plot is too horrifying for me to even contemplate. I have to agree about a lot of the other suggestions: A Prayer for Owen Meany, To Kill a Mockingbird, Rebecca, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I’d add to that all the books by Edith Pargeter (aka Ellis Peters of Brother Cadfael fame), the Year of Wonder and People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and most recently Night Circus.

  109. Hey, Ann-hope all is good and well in Tennessee-
    Henry James’s THE TURNING OF THE SCREW that I read on an overnight train ride from London to Edinburgh 25 years ago has to count as the creepiest full goose bozo kids book for me(although QUEEN OF THE DAMNED is a close(oh so close)2nd-
    Y’ah ah tee, yeh goh nash nish-

  110. Hey, Ann-hope all is good and well in Tennessee-
    Henry James’s THE TURNING OF THE SCREW that I read on an overnight train ride from London to Edinburgh 25 years ago has to count as the creepiest full goose bozo kids book for me(although QUEEN OF THE DAMNED is a close(oh so close)2nd-
    Y’ah ah tee, yeh goh nash nish-

  111. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

  112. Knitting content AND a book discussion? Two of my favorites! I too wondered, “Haunting as it is stays in my head, not scary in my dreams?”
    I also loved seeing some of my (in some cases more obscure) favorites and favorite authors mentioned by others: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip, A Darker Place by Laurie King, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers.
    Oh, and “haunting” as in paranormal and scary? As a child the scariest books I read were The Thing at the Foot of the Bed and Other Scary Tales, and Spooks of Our Valley.
    The creepiest thing I’ve read as an adult? Maybe Coraline by Neil Gaiman. As Library Journal said, “one of the most horrifying worlds brought to print.” I would not give that book to a child I liked.

  113. So many haunting books come to mind! But I’ll go with Hopscotch, by Julio Cortázar.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  114. Perfume by Patrick Suskind. Haunting, creepy, beautifully written!

  115. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

  116. Pet Sematary by Stephen King has haunted me for the entire 35 years since I read it. I have always hated him just a little for making me fall in love with that sweet little boy, and then killing him off like that. A very talented writer is Mr. King, although I have looked far and wide, there are very few in his league in any genre. Haunted…something that holds you in its grip….

  117. Haunting in the paranormal sense> The Hundred Secret Senses, by Amy Tan
    Haunting in the recurring sense> Night Comes to the Cumberlands by Harry Caudill
    Look forward to reading your suggestions! MNR

  118. A couple years ago, I knitted a pile of mohair and wool into the Kiki Mariko rug. In July. In Tucson. It made sense at the time. No, it didn’t.

  119. Somebody else said House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III, and I second that. Sat up til 3 am to finish it, which I rarely do. (I’m a librarian and it takes a lot to impress me.)It was such a horrible conflict because BOTH of the protagonists were RIGHT and you just knew there was no good way this was going to end. I thank you for your recommendation of his new book and I’ll probably check it out.

  120. The Poisonwood Bible
    Not haunting in the traditional sense, but it has stayed in my brain ever since; I have reread it many times; Africa and the breakdown of the Prince family have haunted me.
    Hope I get this book! Your blurb has intrigued me; I might just go buy it anyways!

  121. I loved the Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, but I had to stop reading it in the winter and finish it in the summer when it wasn’t so dark and eerie outside.

  122. Love Kostova. Currently hooked on Louise penny. Also McCall Smith-very knitterly books even though there isn’t actually any knitting in them.

  123. oh so many books that have already been names
    House of Sand and Fog
    Water For Elephants
    Hundred Secret Senses
    Book Thief
    so, so many
    the Boreal is beautiful in those colours…
    mmm, stale grapefruit and a triscuit is my favourite lunch….

  124. then again for just plain strange and a little creepy try
    Gargoyle

  125. Housekeeping by Maryanne Robinson. It’s not a horror story or anything like that, but there are several images from the book that come back to me all the time, especially that of a train slipping soundlessly into a river at night. There’s a similar image in The Sweetheart Season by Karen Joy Fowler, also haunting!

  126. I don’t read much scarey type of haunting but for Fiction The Lovely Bones stands out.
    For Non-Fiction the Diary of Ann Frank the updated uncut edition.
    Lots of good book suggestions.

  127. Lord of the Flies. Five Smooth Stones. The Art of Racing in the Rain. 3 completely different books, but all haunting in their own way.

  128. Has to be “Children of Men.” What would you do for the rest of your life if the world had no future?

  129. Room by Emma Donoghue

  130. Many that folks already mentioned. I’ll add a few that I didn’t see, although they may be there anyway: The World According to Garp by John Irving and The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler, also Davita’s Harp by Chaim Potok and Slouching Toward Bethlehem by joan Didion in the non-fiction category.

  131. I just love The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood.

  132. I didn’t even have to pause to ponder the question – Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Yikes!

  133. No haunting book comment, just that I listened to Townie on CD and love-love-loved it. I think it was read by the author!!

  134. Can I pick three??
    I agree with those who’ve said Tha Handmaid’s Tale.
    Also, The Green Mile by Stephen King. A classic and one of the few movies that actually did justice to the book.
    And a fairly new book…Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

  135. So many great books. But since someone already mentioned “All Quiet on the Western Front” (hands-down the book that broke open the horror of war for me and ended up ruining my relationship with a West Point cadet), I’ll go with Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country, which opened up the tyranny of racism.
    Love to read new authors, so pick me for THE TAKER

  136. Shackleton’s “Endurance”–the story of the explorer’s attempt to reach the south pole– gives me the fantods. To be on an ice floe, and watch your ship break up in the ice thousands of miles from home has got to be the scariest thing going. Then, someone has to travel hundreds of miles thru the arctic ocean to go get help in an open boat–remarkable.

  137. oh, and “Not Wanted On The Voyage” about Noah’s Ark- creepily preserves all the world’s evil for the post-ark world. And I’m an atheist!

  138. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I can’t go walking or running in the winter w/out thinking of the road. Very troubling, disturbing book, but excellent.

  139. Ernie Gann’s Fate is the Hunter. Give a pilot a few hundred hours flying time, a close call, and this book. Haunting in a good way.

  140. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara – most haunting and an all time fave.
    Were your two circs of the same material as your DPNs? I find my guage is tighter with Addi’s than with bamboo or wood. Anyhoo – your snowflakes are terrif.

  141. Australian term for gauge is tension – also a very accurate description! Interestingly I always tend to end up with more problems when I do try and make sure I match the pattern’s gauge / tension than when I just wing it!
    Most haunting book for me is Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl – particularly as I was about her age when I first read it.

  142. One Hundred Years of Solitude is haunting and has haunted me for years.
    I have an antique Japanese netsuke of a mother hare, covering her cowering baby with her body and looking beseechingly up at whomever is planning to eat them both. Turned me vegetarian for several years, it did.

  143. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

  144. Ugh. A few years ago I read _Beautiful Children_ by Richard Bock, thanks to one of those NYTimesBR cover reviews falling near my birthday. I cannot recommend it to anyone who is, was or will be a parent, and it haunts me still. The only reason it’s still on the shelf if because I don’t wish it upon anyone.

  145. I tend to avoid haunting books, but that’s all because of 1984.

  146. Easily the most haunting book I have read is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

  147. I don’t read scary books, but stories that have haunted me, in the sense of staying in my thoughts for days after I finished them: The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell; The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (I’ve read it twice, and I cried both times…). I’m looking forward to reading The Hare with Amber Eyes — I heard the author tell much of the story in a radio interview. So interesting!

  148. A Green Darkness , by Anya Seton
    Is it historical fiction? Is it a love story?
    Enticing snippets: a tangerine colored dress, a dead priest
    minm

  149. It’s a tie between One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Eyelids of Morning by Alistair and Beard.
    If you need an antidote to haunting books, try googling Goths In Trees. Hilarious.

  150. The Girls Who Went Away, stories of pregnant girls in the 50′s who could not spend their pregnancies at home with their families and most could not keep their babies…haunting is the best word to describe their memories. Highy recommend.

  151. Most haunting…in that the images and sadness and melancholy have stayed with me over the years and all the intervening books…
    Either The Time Traveler’s Wife or Anna Karenina. The final scene of each of those is a doozy.
    (I’m sure I’ll think of more later and go d’oh.)

  152. The most haunting book I’ve ever read is, hands down, “Sophie’s Choice” by William Styron. I’ve probably read it 100 times, maybe more. Also “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “In Cold Blood”. And even “The World According to Garp”. All have stuck with me in one way or another over the years.

  153. Carrie by Stephen King, which I read in high school and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens which I recently reread

  154. I’ve gotta say, it’s The Shining. I remember staying up through the night reading, just because I couldn’t bear to turn out the lights.

  155. Anything by Virginia Woolf. I don’t know why but she haunts me.

  156. Possession by A.S. Byatt. Not haunting in the traditional sense, but in a beautifully written, I’ll-never-forget-it sense.

  157. Okay, I can’t remember the name of it, more’s the pity, but it was this book about 3 or maybe 4 kids in their late teens or early 20s, and one of them is a larger than life kind of guy, they’re all in college or dropping out but not telling the grown-ups, and then there’s this couple within the group, that so love and understand each other – really it’s quite a good love story, and then, somewhere near the end, when all the group is falling apart and dissolving, you find out the couple are really brother/sister. Shockingly icky since you (the reader) buys the love story hook, line and sinker. And you like them and are rooting for them, and then BLAM. You’re forced to think back thru the book when you could have seen this was coming but you didn’t. And then further forced to think thru the whole incest thing, which, I think, by definition is not going to enjoyable. It was really good, and I would read it again, if I could remember the title.
    But if you have to remember the title to win, then I go with To Kill A Mockingbird, because, really, who could forget Atticus, Jem, Scout and Boo…

  158. “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak. (Somewhat unsure of last name’s spelling.) Haunting not so much as in spirits, vampires and poltergeists, but haunting in that it is a book that will not leave me alone, haunting in that I tell everyone about it. Fantastic read.

  159. Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” definitely was one for me. I agree about Mary Doria Russell’s “The Sparrow,” too (and, subsequently, its sequel, “Children of God”.

  160. Anne Frank’s Diary. The cruelty and the kindness of people was amazing. It was the first exposure I remember to the cruelty of bigotry.

  161. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. The movie was beautiful in its own way, but Ondaatje’s prose reads like poetry, and the way he gathers his damaged characters around the shadow of a man is absolutely haunting. There really is no other word for it. =)

  162. Frankenstein. The original.

  163. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
    I read it at least 6 years ago and to this day I recall I scene from it when ER doctors ask anyone to rate their pain on a scale from 1 to 10. With that pain as 10, nothing else can be greater than 1.

  164. There are so many great books! I vote for The Book Thief, also Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

  165. Oh, gauge, how you love to slap us down. We all know that there can be a difference in gauge, depending on which type of needles we use, but I must admit that I was quite surprized at how much of a difference the dpns made on that sleeve. Shocked, I tell you!
    As for books that have haunted me (and I’m going with the “kept me thinking about the characters long after I’d finished reading the book” definition here), I would have to agree with woolythinker and go with Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance”. He wrote “Such a Long Journey”, too, also excellent.
    I am working and going to school at the moment, and sorely miss time for reading things I want to read rather than required reading. Oh, well. This too shall pass. Now I have a wonderful reference list!

  166. Haunting, as stayed with me: The Time Traveler’s Wife. Loved it. Read it three times…

  167. Anything by Stephen King. Read them all when I was in High School and scared myself silly. Even just seeing the covers of “Cujo” or “Firestarter” sends shivers up my spine. However, LOVED the vampire tales. Will look for this book eagerly, even if I don’t win. One has to presume she is a knitter, no? And who better to support than that?!
    liisabalzar at mac dot com

  168. Not Wuthering Heights which I have just finished and did not see what all the fuss was about. I have an e-reader and am catching up with some of the classics that I missed up to now. Gutenberg Project rocks.
    Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi.
    Dawn in NL

  169. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I still think about that book from time to time, and I read it five or six years ago.
    I could look at that beach/water shot all day long. We’ve got another rainy, yucky day here in Metro Atlanta and I’d love to see the sun and surf!

  170. I felt haunted by “Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger. Shivery.

  171. I felt haunted by “Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger. Shivery.

  172. Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card. The ending took me by surprise and tore my heart out at the same time.

  173. Gosh, this is such a hard question for me, so many books have haunted me. Official answer, the classic, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I read it recently and it took a hold of me and would not let me go, even after I finished it. I recommend it to anyone!

  174. There are a lot of good books mentioned here; it’s so hard to narrow it down. I’ll have to go with The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

  175. I only had to think for 2 seconds before remembering “The Other” by Thomas Tryon. Still gives me the shivers.

  176. A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving. I laughed, I cried, I hated for it to end.

  177. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison. It’s a book that I think about often.

  178. Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, the original. Still frightens the life out of me. x x x

  179. Jaws!!!!!! I read it through the night, in Mar

  180. JAWS!
    I read it through the night, in March, in the City, and as the story progressed, (well, pretty early on, actually) my feet were up off the floor, tucked under my botton, elbows in, eyes shaded by a trembling hand scanning the horizon, salt drying on my face, with an occasional swipe at the bourbon bottle….

  181. Wilkie Collins: Moonstone and Ann Rice: Interview. Each writer’s vision enthralled.

  182. Hey, Ann! I was definitely going to read The Hare with Amber Eyes. You’ve sold me on The Taker.

  183. Too many definitions of “haunting.” I love many of the books people have mentioned, but the one I return to almost every year is Absalom, Absalom by Faulkner. So I guess that’s my most haunting book.

  184. The sweater is lovely but what i really envy is that beach!

  185. Most haunting book and a great for me was ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ by Audrey Niffenegger. Essentially, it is a ghost story, but a very modern one. I read this a year ago and still think about it from time to time.

  186. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. About 8 years ago I listened to the audiobook during my work commute at the same time my daughter was reading it for school. Fantastic narration.
    P.S. Your knitting is impeccable, leg warmer sleeve notwithstanding. :o)

  187. The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski

  188. If by “haunting” you mean so-scary-you-can’t-forget-it-even-40-years-later, the it has to be The Dark Secret of Harvest Home by Tom Tryon. I read it in high school (I know – back when the Earth was cooling!) and I still have dreams about it when I’m super tired.

  189. Goody Hall, a kids book, back when I was like 10. It was a mystery, I think there actually were ghosts in it. I think I read that book 100 times. More recently, Snowflower and the Secret Fan. I’d love a good read. c-

  190. “The Ghost Road” by Pat Barker, actually that whole trilogy (“Regeneration” and “The Eye In The Door” are the first 2). And “Goodbye to All That” by Robert Graves.

  191. interesting question – is it a haunting book, which scares you, or, are you haunted by the book because it imprints on your soul. the latter for me, most definitely – The Bone People, by Keri Hulme, for which she won the Booker Prize in 1984. this book is like no other you will ever read – on so many levels; plot, rhythm, prose. ms. hulme is part maori, as is the lead character in her book, and whe writes the book in a part maori/part english patois, which can be difficult to follow, at times. especially at the beginning, but do stick with it. i was so moved (haunted) by this book, i wrote her in NZ, c/o her publisher, but sadly, never heard back from her. i will end my saying, if you are a mother, read this, but bear up – it will haunt you.

  192. I love Stephan King books when I want something to stick with me. I think Insomnia was a fabulous read when I got it for Christmas years ago, I remember staying up far too late reading more and more each night. I want to re-read it, but as a stay at home mom I kind of need more sleep than I used to and I’m afraid it would still keep me up.

  193. I’m going to take ‘haunting’ loosely, to mean ‘a book that stays with you,’ and for me it’s Vikram Seth’s _A Suitable Boy_. It has one of the best opening sentences ever — “‘You too will marry a boy of my choosing,’ said Mrs Rupa Mehra to her daughter Lata” — and the rest of the novel is everything that literary realism can and should be. A book to be a friend for life.

  194. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I will never forget the summer (I was 15) I read it while being a counselor at a summer camp. Miles creeped me out.

  195. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I will never forget the summer (I was 15) I read it while being a counselor at a summer camp. Miles creeped me out.

  196. I thought of Louise Erdrich’s The Antelope Wife and Tales of Burning Love. Her characters are suffused with mystery and the are so authentic that I wouldn’t be surprised if they materialized off the page. They make me wonder what is going on behind the facade of all of the people I pass in my life, but will never know. What are their stories, their mysteries. What propels them to keep going through heartache and challenge? Anyway, some of the Louise’s work is haunting in the traditional sense- like ghostly, but I feel haunted bu her characters.

  197. The most haunting book I’ve ever read is “We Need to Talk About Kevin”, by Lionel Shriver. I actually “read” it as an audiobook. The story is told through a series of letters from a woman to her estranged husband. You quickly learn that their 17-year-old son was the perpetrator of a high school massacre, and is now in prison. Through Eva’s letters, you learn of her initial ambivalence about motherhood, her struggles with her son from the moment of his birth, and her despair as he grows into an angry, sullen, spiteful child. The honesty with which Eva writes of her own antipathy toward this child, and her grief over the growing distance between her husband and herself is amazing. This book is shocking and harrowing, and occupied lots of my brainspace for months after finishing it. The book has been made into a movie staring Tilda Swinton, which is scheduled for release later this month.

  198. Saddest: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” by Mark Haddon, about an autistic teenager. Having an autistic son and a son with Asperger’s syndrome, I was sobbing all the way through the book.

  199. The book that has most recently haunted me is Little Bee by Chris Cleave. There is a darkness about that book that I just couldn’t shake.
    Also – totally agree with the comment about Louise Erdrich’s characters!

  200. Most haunting ever would take much thought (but “The Painted Bird” would be up there near the top – one of the two books I actually threw in the trash and didn’t finish.) Most haunting recently would be Kate Atkinson’s “Case Histories” which is both haunting and funny, an unusual combo, and the three books that follow with the same protagonist. Recently made into a Masterpiece Theater presentation on PBS, by the way. “The Hare with Amber Eyes” was a fascinating book, I agree.

  201. Also loved The Time Traveler’s Wife…..and The Kite Runner.

  202. A Gift Upon the Shore by M.K. Wren. Survivors of a worldwide apocalypse live on the Oregon coast and decide to try to preserve the history of human culture by rescuing and protecting all the great books they can find. It’s been many years since I’ve read it and I can still put myself in that terrifying and hopeful place.

  203. When I was a kid I read “The Faraway Lurs” and it bothered me for a long time.

  204. I always go back to Shirley Jackson. ‘We Have Always Lived in the Castle’ explores her favorite topic – how a house becomes haunted — and ‘The Sundial’ STILL blows my mind – and I haven’t read it in 20 years!

  205. The Secret History–hands down. I re-read it every winter and the description of the Vermont winter and the gradual unraveling of everything into a greek tragedy is amazing.
    And haunting.

  206. “The Exorcist” would be the most haunting thus far.

  207. “Confederates in the Attic” — I felt like I was being pulled into the graves for months after reading it.

  208. The Last Convertible by Anton Myrer

  209. By far, “Her Fearful Symetry.” I usually know what’s coming in a book, but the final chapters of that one hit me hard and out of the blue. When I figured out what was going to happen, I said out loud, “NO, SHE WOULDN’T REALLY DO THAT?!” Truly awesome book.

  210. For me, the book that haunts my dreams is The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. This book is set in Germany at the start of/during World War II and is narrated by Death, and that’s a good start for haunting any day. The narrator says that he (she? it’s possible) is haunted by humans, and the personalities of Himmel Street in Molching have come to haunt my brain too: Hans and Rosa Hubermann, silver-eyed accordionist and wardrobe-built good woman for a crisis; Max Vandenburg, Jewish boxer with hair like feathers; Rudy Steiner, who paints himself black to imitate Jessie Owens; and the book theif herself, Liesel Meminger. I’m re-reading it right now, and it has lost none of its power.
    E-mail: tophamem@msu.edu

  211. Good question! House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton. I’m not sure a heroine’s fate has ever touched me so deeply.

  212. Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry
    He is the barber of his small town in Kentucky. It spans from the thirties to the sixties. It has observations of what it was like to live in community (neighbors helping neighbors). How community is less now. It watches as television arrives. It has some environmentalism that isn’t preachy. The switch from horses to machines. A (heartbreaking)love story. Capitalism vs. old time trade. It comments on the silliness of some of the new bureaucracy. I loved Jayber by the end.
    The Longest Journey by E.M. Forster
    It reminded me a little of Anna Karenina. Perhaps just due to the train at the end.

  213. My checkbook. It breaks my soul.

  214. We Need t o Talk About Kevin…scary right to the end. I love all the book suggestions.

  215. Zodiac. Creepiness.

  216. Haunting in both senses: A Child in Time by Ian McEwan, which is about a child who goes missing during a supermarket shopping trip. Besides McEwan being an incredibly powerful and taut writer who holds the reader at his mercy, the image of the parent looking for a child in a public place has stayed with me for years, and I can think of no other book which has permeated my consciousness in such a way. I almost wish sometimes I had never read it. The selections chosen by the above commenters have inspired my list of to be reads for 2012 and I am grateful…many thanks for the challenge, Ann.

  217. Well, how come it’s taken me all this time to see this? Time warp, baby.
    Haunting book: Well, how about Jane Eyre.

  218. I think the most haunting book I’ve read recently was A Long, Long Way by Sebastian Barry. It’s about a young Irish boy fighting in WWI – a very interesting and quite forgotten part of history – Ireland was fighting for independence, but also being asked to send men to fight for England. Sad and haunting.

  219. All I can think of is just plain scared right now. Christine by Stephen King. I was literally scared of my car for weeks after reading it.

  220. PASSAGE by Connie Willis — I would read it in the shower, because I just could not stop reading.

  221. I hope you keep posting your books – I am always looking for new ideas!
    Most haunting book? The Bone People by Keri Hulme

  222. I hope you keep posting your books – I am always looking for new ideas!
    Most haunting book? The Bone People by Keri Hulme

  223. Edinburgh by Alexander Chee
    Egypt Game Zilpha Keatley Snyder
    Housekeeping Marilynne Robinson

  224. Autobiography of a Face, by Lucy Grealy, has haunted me since I read it five years ago — less like a malevolent ghost than a hovering spectre, tapping me on the shoulder as I navigate my life. Grealy’s memoir of social rejection after she loses much of her lower jaw to a rare form of childhood cancer reads beautifully — she is a gifted writer and puts into words what it feels like to be judged, rejected, and feel utterly lost and vulnerable. The way she relates responding to a difficult childhood has stuck with me so long because it gets at the heart of what it means to be living: always wanting to be loved, fearing that that love may disappear, and the necessity of trusting even in the face of that fear. A beautiful, and indeed haunting, memoir that I can’t recommend highly enough.

  225. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. If I hear the word “piggy” or think of a campfire surrounded by boys with sticks, I still get the creeps.

  226. You definitely inspired me to actually take that radical step and Really Check Gauge before a major project! I’m trying to get better about that, and be more of a planner and have less of a fudge-and-frog approach… Hope it’ll last!
    As for haunting books, quite a few have already been mentioned (Handmaid’s Tale, Earthsea, Time Traveller’s Wife…), but I believe “The Traveller” and sequels by John Twelve Hawks is among the most haunting books, if by that you mean a story that stays in your head and is hard to let go of. (Or maybe the feeling from this book is more like paranoia?) On an emotional, wistful, romantic level, “The Forgotten Beasts of Eld” by Patricia McKillip, definitely.

  227. Hands down it has to be Her Fearful Symmetry. The connection between the sisters and the nearly sinister selfishness of the aunt, had me up all night reading (yes I read it in 48 hours).

  228. Around 1975 I read a book called Black and Blue Magic. A month ago I googled it and it is still in print, so I ordered it from my local book store. I’m so excited to re-read it; it has haunted me for over 35 years.

  229. have to say….the bone people.. by keri hume…whew..

  230. As a teen my favorite book was The Child From the Sea by Elizabeth Goudge. I loved the descriptions of growing up on the coast of Wales. I have reread it several times and think I might again.

  231. As a teen my favorite book was The Child From the Sea by Elizabeth Goudge. I loved the descriptions of growing up on the coast of Wales. I have reread it several times and think I might again.

  232. Most haunting by far – both literally and figuratively – was House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. People either love it or hate it. I loaned it once to a friend who returned it saying “I had to stop reading when the nightmares started.” Intriguing and scary all at once.

  233. The Giving Tree, without a doubt. “…and the tree was happy.” Happy? seriously?
    Still gives me the creeps.

  234. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. 20 years on, probably, since I read it, and I am still in its thrall.

  235. I’m seconding Nancy -”The Bone People” by Keri Hulme – the characters get into your soul.

  236. Just finished reading Joseph Monninger’s “Eternal on the Water”, recommended to me by a friend who said no other book had stayed with her as this one did. I am having the same reaction — it is absolutely haunting. Not scary — haunting. A love story that I will not soon forget.

  237. cold mountain came to mind first

  238. I can’t decide between two books…”sarah’s key” by Tatiana de Rosnay or “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” by Lisa See…both made me cry, and I’m not a cryer, so I was shocked when they did…and I read constantly, so these stood out when I think of all the books I’ve read! But with so many listed, I find myself nodding in agreement…a great reference for future use!

  239. Mine was “Flowers for Algernon.” Not a scary book, but I read it in middle school, and the idea of degenerating from your own mind freaked me the heck out.

  240. My most haunting reading experience was the Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. That was many years ago. More recently, The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling Given a day or so I could make a much longer list….

  241. not an entry
    books about the ghost of pawleys island
    and the first nancy drew books i read

  242. Most haunting? Turn of the Screw, or Bridge to Terabithia are the ones that come to mind.

  243. I see I’m too late for the contest, but I really want to vote for “The House of Lost Souls” by Francis Cottam.

  244. Well, I am too late as well, but I have to go with The Loevely Bones and Sarah’s Key. Also, while not necessarly haunting, book that has stuck with me is The House of Sand and Fog. I downloaded The Taker to my Kindle based on the link you provided.

  245. Most haunting book?? The Book Theif. It stays with you. And Sarah’s Key. Clearly I’m on a WWII/Holocaust kick lately. How can that not be haunting.

  246. First, I must thank Ann for her generosity in mentioning my novel and for running this contest, and then to thank everyone for suggesting haunting novels. Funny, there were so many mentions of The Time Traveler’s Wife (Niffenegger) because that is one of my favorite books & an inspiration for how to handle jumping back and forth in time in the narrative. Also, the Historian, because The Taker has had a lot of comparisons to it. Thanks to you all, I have a new list of books to read because I love a book that sweeps you away.

  247. Sophie’s Choice. I read it in high school and I am still haunted by it.

  248. Sophie’s Choice. I read it in high school and I am still haunted by it.

  249. I am never quite sure what people mean by haunting, but there are books that while the story is not frightening use a language that just speaks to me and stays. The one that comes to mind for that is Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia McKillip. Now I want to go and read it again!

  250. ‘It’ by Stephen King — even though I read it many years ago – I’m still very leery of clowns !!

  251. Ann, forget the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels! If you create a list of the 100 Most Haunting Books gleaned from these comments, I’ll gladly substitute it for the 100 Best. So many of the books mentioned are books to be read and reread, experienced and experienced again. Humanity at its best and worst. As for my most haunting novel, AKA the book that made me a wus for life: In Cold Blood. I’ve been afraid of axe-murderers ever since I read it in the ninth grade. Other stand outs are The Sparrow and The Secret History.

  252. Favourite haunting books – my two have been previously mentioned above. I’ve recently got hold of a 2nd hand copy of “The Handmaids Tale” and re-read it. Also managed to get through “Leave Before You Go” last year – both novels about dysfunctional, dystopian future societies. Disturbing and haunting in equal measure.

  253. The Lovely Bones
    could not put it down…
    Diane

  254. A true story about grizzly bears. I was about 12, and I was fasinated and repulsed, and I still am. But I can’t remember the title…

  255. The House of Sand and Fog. A haunting tale of the power of hate. The movie was drivel, as they often are. First time commenter, long-time lurker. Thanks to Ann for an inspiring reading resolution and all who contributed to this great book list!

  256. The book that currently haunts me is “Feed” by Mira Grant. It’s such a gorgeous tragedy!

  257. Anna’s Book by Ruth Rendell. She writes such wonderful dark books, also under the name Barbara Vine.
    The Shining by Stephen King is the scariest book I have ever read.

  258. The Dollmaker .. Wish I’d taken it to heart.. But the Plague Dogs are a close second. A Field of Buttercups . High School Book. The turn of the screw What a wonderful list this is>>

  259. Not entering the contest, but just had to say I got a giggle out of your description of the airport. I’ve been there and you are exactly right!

  260. Haunting? There have been many, but Einstein’s Dreams come first to mind.
    Now about that sleeve. Finish the motif, close it at the shoulder and you’ve got one swell yoga bag. See…all is not lost!

  261. Tethered by Amy McKinnon. Amazing book. lennetteknits at gmail dot com

  262. Chiming in a little late here: Moby Dick still haunts me. Some of the imagery haunts my dreams, and that book ruined me from being able to read anything else for an entire year. It’s haunting in a transcendent way, not a frightening way.

  263. Can’t believe I missed this, but I love the list. I’d put “The Stress of Her Regard” by Tim Powers on it. Goth paranormal romance before Goth paranormal romance was cool, it has horror, science fiction, and mythological elements set against a backdrop of the lives of the Romantic Poets.

  264. A fairly old book that haunted me for years was Arthur C. Clarke’s A Childhood’s End. The ending is an amazing scene and was my first exposure to a really strange idea.

  265. The Cider House Rules is a good one to come again and again in your mind, i.e. haunting.

  266. I know the contest is over, but I wanted to say that I thought Sala’s Gift, Room & also The 13th Tale were the most haunting books that come to mind.

  267. Most haunting in a good way: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
    Most haunting in a horrifying way: A Simple Plan by Scott B. Smith

  268. The most haunting book, more haunting than the scary ones with ghosts, or the ones that haunt you because of the poignancy (like Sarah’s Key),is It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis….because it is happening here.

  269. so glad you liked TOWNIE – my cousin’s book. pretty devastating really.

  270. The girl with the dragon tattoo series, especially the last book. Great books, but incredibly disturbing. I stayed up to finish it so that I would be finished and not have to think about it anymore. Which of course I did.

  271. I haven’t read all the comments, so I don’t know if someone suggested this: The Picture of Dorian Gray. Also I second: A Prayer for Owen Meany. That one stuck with me for a long time.

  272. Hi, y’all–
    I hope that when y’all write your third book, you’ll include the shawl from Feb. 2009. I was enjoying the archives between the old year and new and was struck again by what an elegant set of shawls those were.

  273. Hi, y’all–
    I hope that when y’all write your third book, you’ll include the shawl from Feb. 2009. I was enjoying the archives between the old year and new and was struck again by what an elegant set of shawls those were.

  274. Wow! That was a really interesting list. I read them all and added a couple titles to my “to read” shelf on Goodreads. I was surprised that Sarah’s Key was mentioned so much b/c it actually just pissed me off because it was such a contrived plot that, in my mind, wasn’t believable for one little second. I agreed with several people on The Time Traveler’s Wife and Anne Frank and The Elegance of the Hedgehog and both Bel Canto & State of Wonder by Ann Patchett and the Curious Incident of the Dog… But as I read this I remembered so many books that haunt me and realized that this is exactly why I love reading. I love being haunted (reminded) of books I’ve read & loved.

  275. Has to be Dracula. I don’t know if it’s because of the time when it was written, but it’s a very creepy piece of literature, even amidst an age of vampires and gothic culture…

  276. The first creepy book that I ever read was The Bad Seed. I was way too young and read it without my parents knowing that I had it. It still haunts me in my dreams sometimes. It was made into a movie and I am still too creeped out to see it.

  277. The contest is closed… but I’ve just had such a great time procrastinating and reading through all these comments that I wanted to add my own suggestion.
    One of the most haunting books I have read recently is “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton. Something about the mixture of the mystery interspered with the fairytales made it eerily unforgettable. I found it heartbreakingly sad. So much so, that the first time I read it, I read the last page and then turned immediately to the front and started it again.

  278. Blindness by Jose Saramago. I read it at least 10 years ago & it still informs how I read and think about other books.

  279. Well, I knit dishclothes on the beach in Grand Turk, which is one of the other Turks and Caicos islands. (http://www.ravelry.com/projects/skathstring/baby-genius-burp-cloth)
    I’m too late for the contest, but American Gods by Neil Gaiman is definitely my creepy haunting choice, and the Titan series by John Varley would be my science fiction new-mind-blowing ideas one.

  280. The Lovely Bones.
    Another haunting thing : sand in a wool sweater.

  281. Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairburn
    I know I’m late to this party…but this was my first adult read….I was in grade 8, it was dinner time and my Mom kept calling for me to come to the table…..but I was so close to the end, I could not stop….and I was silently crying……I’ve never forgotten this book and I’m going out today to get another copy…..I passed the original one to a friend to read…..I wonder how many people read that copy and where it is now……
    I was 12…….I’m 58 and that book still haunts me.

  282. Oops…it was by Ann Fairbairn

  283. Forget haunting books–although I never got over “Never Let Me Go”–that photo of the disembodied arm with the suffocating fingers made me dizzy. I couldn’t figure out what the hell I was looking at. And then, of course, it cracked me up.

  284. I hope there’s always room for more on a book list. I read Kristin Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset many years ago, when my two children were about 8 and 10, and they both have vivid memories of their mother sobbing over the book. (Well, they are both avid readers, so maybe I didn’t harm their little psyches too much.) This story of the life of a woman in medieval Norway is mesmerizing–I felt like I’d suffered and celebrated right along with her to the end. So powerful, so haunting. (And The Haunting of Hill House and Turn of the Screw…please, don’t mention them after dark.)

  285. The most haunting book I know is “The War of Wars” by Robert Harvey. This is not a book for the faint hearted. It’s 926 pages. If the description of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow, pages 796 – 804, do not stick in your mind, I don’t know what could. There are 2 lessons here. 1. Lots of pride goeth before a very bad fall. 2. Do not under any circumstances mess with Mother Nature.