Lots of psychological and physical chasms and subsequently deaths.
Of the Bachmann books I enjoyed reading 'Blaze' the most.
My dad actually bought me my first Stephen King book. I really don't think they gave it much thought to be honest. When I was around 10 I also read a book Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, which has rape and incest and masturbation and stuff, and my parents never said a word to me about it! I only realised when a teacher said it to me in school that maybe I shouldn't have been reading it. I also read American Psycho when I was about 13 or 14 - that was the one book my mom ever told me I couldn't read - so naturally I read it. I think reading that at such a young age accounts for my high tolerance (and enjoyment) of gore and violence in books and films.
I don't think I ever had any bad experiences with reading King - I'm sure a few scenes in The Shining were disturbing to me, and I remember having nightmares about a scene in The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (the wasp scene), but nothing drastic.
I agree that its quite funny in a way that books never really receive the same level of censorship as a film, despite the fact that books have changed the world and can be extremely influential on a person - it seems to be this general consensus that books are boring and the people who read them are the innocent nerds. A lot of my friends would never even pick up a book because they don't think it could ever be exciting. As you say, you can really immerse yourself in a book and make deep connections to the characters - perhaps when reading a book you are able to create your own images of them, and almost invent subconsciously some other traits for them, whereas in other media you aren't really allowed do that - book characters can be made your own in a way. And then it can be really heart-wrenching when something happens to them, because in a weird small way, they are also your character.
Wow, I really think I'm talking shit here!
I'm weird when it comes to violence and gore. I love it, particularly in some sort of battle scene, but at some point in my twenties I stopped being able to enjoy movies like Saw. The whole torture-porn genre just makes me feel ill. I guess it is the sadistic element rather than the violence or gore itself. I empathize too much and it's just not a fun time.
Yeah, I'm really straying off-topic, but the bbs is dead and I have nothing better to be doing.
I do wonder how much books can shape who we are - I guess its a hard one to find out. But in general reading books increases your intelligence, and intelligent people are more likely to be depressed - maybe you can sue the literary world in general then. And some studies say that reading fiction increases a person's empathy.
But I am sure there must be some link with particular books and genres people read too. I love to read melancholy books about loneliness that are heart-wrenchingly depressing, and I really don't know why. I literally cannot resist buying books that look like they're going to depress the hell out of me (I bought Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal just because of the title).
It's a very interesting topic. Books can really expose you to things that would otherwise be censored. No matter how they may have messed me up, I'm kind of happy that they did...I think...
I Think that images/movies/games are more censored because it can be definitely more shocking than reading a terrifying scene...
When you watch a movie or play a game, you're watching somebody else's vision of horror.
When you read, even if it's scary, I think your brain always makes it bearable. You create the vision.
When I was 11, my older brother started to read "It". The cover of the book had that horrible clown on it, sneaking through a manhole. I didn't sleep for a week just because of the cover and didn't walk on a manhole for... years.
But a year later, I read the book and other King's stuff... It was scary but it NEVER had the same effect on me than this book cover.
The funny thing is you never feel closer to the characters feelings and thoughts than when reading a book. Game of Thrones is a perfect example. Especially because of the way it's narrated. It's a lot easier to feel close to the characters with the books than with the TV show...
But the Red Wedding felt more shocking in the TV show than in the book...
I find that hard to judge, myself. In the books it was literally shocking in the sense that I had no suspicion it was coming. When I later watched the show I couldn't really be shocked because I knew what to expect. I just can't gauge it fairly because I can only be surprised the first time.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVEN'T READ GAME OF THRONES (You should really get to it, by the way...) :
I kind of saw it coming while reading because Catelyn insists on explaining the rule of hospitality (that we never heard of before, in 3 books) and old Frey, speaking of the wedding, says something like "Red will be poured and wrongs will be righted" so I was kind of expecting something really bad to happen. Also, Arya was getting awfully close...
Besides, it's Game of Thrones, you should always expect something bad to happen...
The TV show shocked me because there is blood EVERYWHERE. Also, it's not all the same characters. The throat opening was particulary disgusting.
I agree the clues were there that something wasn't right but I just could never have expected what was to come. Largely because, from a storytelling perspective, it was kind of an insane choice. Don't get me wrong, I love that Martin did it, but I feel he nearly killed the whole series by doing it. All the momentum was lost. It was utterly devastating and probably as close to simulating the actual experience of sudden tragedy as any work of fiction could get. The kind of experience where you're just left sort of numbed, wondering what the fuck you're supposed to do now. Martin crafted his tale so that I thought I knew the vague shape of the story I was being told. The Red Wedding suddenly made it clear I had no idea where this was going at all, and I even had to wonder if it was going anywhere. It was just such a bold choice for an author to make. Then, in hindsight, I came to realize he probably had that planned from the start and that whole war never was the story at all. A brilliant choice but still such a risky one for an author to make.