Ten Scary Yet Fascinating Story Elements

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (#TTT) book meme is a Halloween freebie. Here in the Netherlands, Halloween is becoming more popular than it used to be, but it’s still celebrated not nearly as much as in the United States.

I don’t really care for ghost stories or the like. I just can’t be fazed by them. That being said, there are a number of story topics I find scary. Yet most of these I also find fascinating.

1. Murderers. It’s interesting in this respect that I don’t often read thrillers or crime fiction, as I do love crime podcasts. I find it fascinating to understand what makes murderers tick, but I also find it pretty scary.

2. Epidemics. Okay, I haven’t read any book about an epidemic so far, except for an educational historical children’s book about the bubonic plague. That being said, I find it fascinating and scary at the same time when I come across books with this topic. I recently heard about a book by Dutch thriller author Tomas Ross about a fictional pandemic. The book was originally published in 1987 and was set in 1996. The book was recently republished because Ross’s pandemic bore interesting similarities to COVID-19.

3. Strange neurological diseases. I used to be fascinated by Oliver Sacks’s books, but still found them a little scary. The same goes for Lisa Genova’s Inside the O’Briens (see my review). That one really got me worried even though I have no reason to think I might develop Huntington’s Disease. Also, I remember once watching a documentary on a disease called fatal familial insomnia. It’d almost be funny to say I had trouble sleeping afterwards.

4. Medical stuff that doesn’t go well. I am fascinated by intriguing medical stories, but they also scare me, particularly when something goes wrong.

5. Poison. I find it generally fascinating to learn about how poisons work, but still I find it incredibly scary when someone in a story is poisoned even when they survive.

6. Dictatorships. This is one reason I have a love-hate relationship with dystopian novels. I loved Brave New World but still haven’t gotten down to reading 1984 and don’t think I ever will.

7. Insects. And snakes. And other dangerous animals. When I had a Netflix subscription, I loved watching 72 Dangerous Animals and the like. I am also still looking forward to reading Hatch, the sequel to Kenneth Oppel’s Bloom. Still, the topic does scare me.

8. Locked institutions such as prisons, insane asylums, etc. Particularly if strange/creepy things happen there. Like, I still want to read The Institute by Stephen King, but I’m not sure it might be too scary.

9. Cults. These are really scary and yet fascinating in a similar way that dictatorships are.

10. Nuclear weapons. Okay, I haven’t read any books on this topic, but I find the topic very frightening (of course) but also fascinating. I remember listening to Dutch historian Maarten van Rossem’s audio lecture on the atomic bomb some years ago and finding it so intriguing to know exactly what time the bomb exploded over Hiroshima.

What “scary” topics do you find fascinating in books or other media?

Friendly Fill-Ins Week #119

Today, I’m wanting to write but am feeling terribly uninspired. A lot of thoughts float through my mind, but none are clear enough to capture on the page. I’m noticing how I’m not as active in my writing endeavors as I was when I started this blog. I hope this doesn’t mean the blog turns as inactive as my other one.

Anyway, to get me to write about something, I’m participating in the Friendly Fill-Ins again. The questions are:


  1. ______________________ brings out the best in me.

  2. ______________________ makes me grumpier than Grumpy Cat.

  3. If money grew on trees, I would _________.

  4. I have a fear of _________.

1. Laughter brings out the best in me. My husband and I have a lot of inside jokes that we together laugh about. This truly helps me feel a connection to him. I also love laughing with other people, as laughter definitely helps me forget my inner turmoil.

2. The coming of fall makes me grumper than Grumpy Cat. Yeah, I know, it’s part of the cycle of life, but I just hate the gloomy fall weather, rain and darkness.

3. If money grew on trees, I’d wish I coud climb them. I’d love to climb trees once again anyway, but with my neither terribly youthful nor athletic body, I’m pretty sure I can’t. That being said, maybe the money would fall off the trees like apples. That would be awesome.

4. I have a fear of too many things. Abandonment, criticism, being left alone. These are my more abstract fears. Other fears are primarily focused on my health, such as a phobia of poison. This phobia isso bad that I wouldn’t get onto the balcony of my husband’s and my old home because there was a poisonous plant there.

How about you? What brings out the best in you?

Share Your World (August 13, 2018)

Oh wow, now that I’m taking off with this new’ish blogging adventure, I keep discovering new challenges to participate in. I had seen posts titled Share Your World on other blogs, but never took the time to actually read those posts, so I never found out about the challenge. I did read one today and wow, what an amazing challenge. The idea is that Cee, the challenge organizer, provides four questions which you then answer on your blog (or in the comments on her blog). This week, the questions are very inspiring. Here goes.

A class you wish you would have taken?
Too many to mention. When I was planning for college in high school, I was thinking of studying something in the humanities field, such as Dutch, English or history. I ultimately officially (as in, for yearbook purposes) settled on English, but never actually took an English college class. Several years later, I studied linguistics instead – for two months. I still wish I would’ve taken the language acquisition class I dropped out of after only a week.

I also wish I’d actually finished more psychology classes. I started on five or six of them at Open University, but only actually finished two.

And then there are the countless creative writing courses I’ve looked at on school sites but never took. Oh and I would reallly like to learn more about social work someday. Oh and alternative medicine. Oh and … you get the idea.

Are you scared of heights?
No. I remember crossing a hanging foot bridge with my husband one day several years ago, unaware that he was afraid of heights. I felt mostly scared because he was and I had to depend on him to keep me safe.

Are you a good cook? If so, do you consider yourself a chef?
No, not at all. I could probably cook a simple pasta if I really had to, but I haven’t actually cooked a meal in years.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.
I try to appreciate something everyday. That being said, what comes to mind now is my husband bringing me a delicious bakery sausage roll all the way from a town about 70 miles away where he’d had to drive to in his truck. This happened on Thursday or Friday and I didn’t even include it in my gratitude list.