Warning: Any one of these books might leave you feeling more than a little depressed.
A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” which spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and raping women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers-among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears-through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing.
9. Requiem For A Dream
In this searing novel, two young hoods, Harry and Tyrone, and a girlfriend fantasize about scoring a pound of uncut heroin and getting rich. But their habit gets the better of them, consumes them and destroys their dreams.
8. Naked Lunch
An absolutely devastating ridicule of all that is false, primitive, and vicious in current American life: the abuses of power, hero worship, aimless violence, materialistic obsession, intolerance, and every form of hypocrisy.
7. We Need to Talk About Kevin
Eva never really wanted to be a mother—and certainly not the mother of a boy who ends up murdering seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday.
6. The Road
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food-—and each other
5. American Psycho
Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.
4. Johnny Got His Gun
This was no ordinary war. This was a war to make the world safe for democracy. And if democracy was made safe, then nothing else mattered–not the millions of dead bodies, nor the thousands of ruined lives…This is no ordinary novel. This is a novel that never takes the easy way out: it is shocking, violent, terrifying, horrible, uncompromising, brutal, remorseless and gruesome…but so is war.
3. The 120 Days of Sodom
The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade relates the story of four wealthy men who enslave 24 mostly teenaged victims and sexually torture them while listening to stories told by old prostitutes.
2. The Turner Diaries
It has been considered by the Justice Department and other government agencies as the bible of right-wing militia groups, and the FBI believes it provided the blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing. Barricade Books has published it so America can better understand the cause of racism and extremism.
1. The Girl Next Door
Suburbia. Shady, tree-lined streets, well-tended lawns and cozy homes. A nice, quiet place to grow up. Unless you are teenage Meg or her crippled sister, Susan. On a dead-end street, in the dark, damp basement of the Chandler house, Meg and Susan are left captive to the savage whims and rages of a distant aunt who is rapidly descending into madness. It is a madness that infects all three of her sons—and finally the entire neighborhood. Only one troubled boy stands hesitantly between Meg and Susan and their cruel, torturous deaths. A boy with a very adult decision to make…
The Story of O, should probably be on this list somewhere, or at least get a mention.
O is a young, beautiful fashion photographer in Paris. One day her lover, Rene, takes her to a chateau, where she is enslaved, with Rene’s approval, and systematically sexually assaulted by various other men. Later, Rene turns O over to Sir Stephen, an English friend who intensifies the brutality. But the final humiliation is yet to come.