Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Face Your Fears Day

Wednesday October 13th is Face Your Fears Day. It's the day we should question what frightens us and how is this affecting our lives. How better to confront our fears than through the safety of fiction.

Fear is a very useful emotion. It keeps us safe. It is perfectly reasonable and logical to fear things that can hurt us. Snakes are way up on the list of things that frighten us. Awakening by S.J. Bolton was inspired by her picturesque village outside of London teeming with inspirational characters and snakes. Described by reviewers as atmospheric and Gothic, Awakening tells the story of Clara Benning a veterinary surgeon in a small English village who uncovers an ancient secret when she becomes involved in the case of a snake bite victim.

Sweaty palms, pounding heart, some people say that they would rather have a root canal, pay their taxes or even die than speak in public. Take courage from that great orator Winston Churchill and overcome your own glossophobia with Churchill's Hour by Michael Dobbs. Blending fact and fiction, in 1941 Britain is battered and desperate. Churchill faces his darkest hours while negotiating an alliance with the United States. It is a fascinating mixture of Churchill's military, political and personal lives.

Some fears are reasonable and logical. Fear of vicious, rabid dogs is probably one that should not be overcome. Cujo by Stephen King has the Camber family terrorized by their rabid St. Bernard. A cautionary tale which will have you racing to your vet for Rover's rabies vaccination.

Falling From Heights by Chris F. Needham is a complex story about a family of disreputable men who have behaved badly in so many ways. Teacher Robert abandoned his wife and small child and impregnated one of his high school students. He may or may not have assisted her in falling from bridge. Neither she nor the baby survived. Robert himself is involved in a parachuting mishap in which he mysteriously survives while his fellow jumper did not. Falling From Heights combines the two stories of two families thirty years apart with narrative, letters and blog posts.

Fear makes us vulnerable, but none are as vulnerable as the victims in Jonathan Nasaw's Fear Itself which features a very unkind serial killer who targets victims of phobias (some of them quite unusual) and devises a death based on their worst fears. It's a combination of dark humour, terror and riveting plotting.

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