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On this week’s books podcast, we discuss the works that we struggled to finish – or even had to hide – because they were so shocking. Share your literary terrors in the comments below “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us,” Franz Kafka once wrote. “If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for?” That’s all very well, Kafka, but how about the books literally about wounding and stabbing? On this week’s books podcast, the Guardian’s resident thriller fan Alison Flood struggled to finish The Flower Girls, a new thriller by Alice Clark-Platts, the plot of which contains similarities to the James Bulger murder case. This sparked a discussion on the books desk about the books that have most disturbed us: commissioning editor Richard Lea had nightmares after reading Colson Whitehead’s zombie novel Zone One; I once had someone hide my copy of American Psycho so I’d stop dwelling on it; and associate culture editor Claire Armitstead once destroyed a copy of Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, because she was so disturbed by a particular scene: “I put it in the fire! I have never destroyed another book … but I didn’t want anyone else to read what I’ve read.” Continue reading...