Thursday, 17 November 2016

Discussion: Why I Read Thrillers


Gone Girl is one my favourite books. As soon as I finished reading it, my main goal was to get my boyfriend to read it. 2 years later, he finally cracked and after finishing it, called it ‘the most evil book he’d ever read’. He then asked me something that ever since has got me thinking: “why do you read this stuff?” - ‘stuff’ here being the creepy, violent, harrowing content of the type of books I like.

  1. Excitement

Like others, one of the main reasons I read books is to escape. Whilst most of the thriller books I read are set in the real world, they still offer an element of escape because they happen in a world where nobody is telling the truth, where anybody is capable of anything - a world I like to think (potentially idealistically) I don’t live in. The fact that this world is entirely plausible - no magic, no fantastical creatures, no new worlds - is exciting. It’s the idea of what could happen, what might be, and what if all was not all it seemed?

  1. Schadenfreude

If you’re not familiar with this brilliant German word, it means the joy you feel at another’s misfortune. Just because exciting things happen in thrillers, doesn’t mean that I want them to happen to me. When I read a thriller, there’s certainly an element of ‘wow okay my life is fine compared to this, at least it isn’t me’.

  1. Understanding people and their emotions

Amy Dunne in Gone Girl and Eileen from Ottessa Moshfegh’s Man Booker shortlisted novel are not people I’d want to be friends with or even have in my life. But here’s the thing: characters don’t need to be likeable for me to be able to understand them or to enjoy the books they’re in. Going back to the example of Amy Dunne: whilst I don’t agree with the things she does (a bit of an understatement), I can understand what motivates her and how she feels. Chances are, I won’t meet people who are exactly like these characters, but it’s still worth reading about them and learning.
  1. My inner Sherlock Holmes

Most of these type of books I read involve some kind of mystery element/multiple plot twists, and I like to try to predict what’s going to happen before anyone else. I suspect anyone and anything. The amount of times that I have convinced myself that the nicest, most respectable character in a book is the culprit/secret murderer without any evidence at all is ridiculous. But I enjoy doing that and it’s why I keep going back to these books.

If you’re a fan of thriller fiction, my top recommendations would be:


Do you read thrillers? Can you pinpoint why? I’d love to hear what you guys think! Also, if you don’t read thrillers, why not? Let me know by commenting below.
Happy reading all and have a good rest of the week,

Zoe