YOU, Netflix’s latest binge-worthy sensation, has been keeping us glued to our screens. Despite how creepy we find him, there’s something so intriguing about Joe Goldberg’s stalker antics, and the lengths he’ll go to to get his happily ever after.
If you’re looking for time to kill before the next season, give these stalker books a try. Who knows? Maybe your next obsession is lurking just around the corner.
1. If Joe Goldberg’s glass cage haunts your nightmares, read this:
The Collector by John Fowles
Get the book here: Physical Copy
Is there anything more terrifying than getting trapped in Joe’s glass cage, with your fate in his very unstable hands? If there is, it’s probably in this book.
In The Collector, an unremarkable clerk wins more money than he has ever dreamt of. Fred has few friends and even fewer interests — his hobbies mainly being his butterfly collection and keeping tabs on Miranda, a beautiful art student who has caught his eye.
With his newfound fortune, Fred buys himself a countryside house and furnishes its underground cellar with a bed, books, women’s clothes, and a padlocked door. Next, he buys a van and begins to crawl around London, lying in wait for Miranda to fall into his grasp. You can guess the rest.
Hint: this one’s not for the claustrophobics.
2. If bookish guys are starting to make your skin crawl:
Loner by Teddy Wayne
Literary references abound in YOU, what with Joe being a bookseller. He believes his literary intellect and ‘sensitivity’ justifies his entitlement to the women he’s attracted to; the protagonist of Loner comes in the same flavour of a ‘nice guy’.
The titular loner in this campus novel is starting his first year at Harvard University. He’s desperate to break out of his shell and become a star in the social scene, but his efforts are frustrated when he finds himself relegated to the loser’s circle.
Enter fellow student Veronica. She’s everything he isn’t — beautiful, rich, and so far up the social stratosphere to be unattainable for the likes of him. Loner’s not going to let that stop him and begins to worm his way into Veronica’s life, in hopes that it’ll gain him acceptance by the campus elites.
3. If your friends seem a little clingier than usual:
Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller
When Barbara, a middle-aged school teacher strikes an unlikely friendship with her younger colleague Sheba, she believes it’s her way out of her crushing loneliness. Barbara is thrilled, but grows just a bit too attached to her new BFF. So far, things are sounding just peachy.
Sheba, however, has been sitting on a secret: despite being married with children, she’s in a scandalous love affair with one of her underage students.
When Sheba begins to ignore her friend in favour of her young lover, Barbara’s jealousy spirals out of control. Simmering with rage and hurt, Barbara is oh-so tempted to get revenge on her unfaithful friend.
4. If you need your freaky stalker stories in short bites:
Where are you going, where have you been? By Joyce Carol Oates
Get the book here: Physical Copy
This sinister short story packs a powerful punch you’ll feel in your guts. When rebellious teenager Connie finally has the house all to herself, she thinks it’s a great chance to let her hair down without her family around.
Connie’s me-time is cut short by the arrival of a mysterious older boy in a shiny car, who promises her a good time around town. Except the more he talks, the less he sounds like a fun-loving teen, and the harder he demands Connie to come out of her house for what seems like more than a ride.
Time to turn the reading lamp on and settle into your comfiest reading chair. Don’t forget to close the curtains and lock your doors, though. Just in case.
Creep it real guys!
National Reading Movement
National Library Board