Scared Stiff: Everything You Need to Know About 50 Famous Phobias

Scared Stiff: Everything You Need to Know About 50 Famous Phobias

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by Sara Latta, G.E. Gallas
     
 

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Fear is a primal human emotion, and it often plays an important role in keeping us safe from threats. It’s part of our evolutionary makeup, after all. But fears can also spiral out of control, and if your perfectly reasonable fear of snakes swells to the point that you run screaming from every uncoiled hose, then (news flash!) you’ve got yourself a… See more details below

Overview


Fear is a primal human emotion, and it often plays an important role in keeping us safe from threats. It’s part of our evolutionary makeup, after all. But fears can also spiral out of control, and if your perfectly reasonable fear of snakes swells to the point that you run screaming from every uncoiled hose, then (news flash!) you’ve got yourself a phobia. Phobias are as strange as they are diverse, but they actually have the power to teach us about who we are and where we came from. Sara Latta blends biology, psychology, history, and pop culture to provide a comprehensive account of fifty fears, from arachnophobia to zoophobia.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/10/2014
From acrophobia to wiccaphobia, Latta presents an alphabetical tour of 50 fears that readers ought to find entertaining or horrifying, depending on their own personal sources of terror. “Normal, garden-variety fear becomes a phobia only when it is persistent, excessive, and unreasonable,” explains Latta, before going on to examine phobias that range from the well-known (agoraphobia, claustrophobia) to the less familiar (she invokes Neil Gaiman’s Coraline in a discussion of koumpounophobia, the fear of buttons). Quotations and references from pop culture (The Birds and Jaws are mentioned, naturally), examples of famous phobics (Humphrey Bogart: not a fan of leeches), and tactics for conquering phobias (both on one’s own and with professional help) round out this fascinating study of fears big and small. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Imparting the ideas that phobic people are in good company and that hope exists for eliminating persistent fears, this is factual, fun, and encouraging." –Booklist
Children's Literature - Amy S. Hansen
Finally a book to put all your fears to rest—or at least to give them a name. Latta delivers a surprisingly delightful read. Who knew phobias could so entertaining? She starts not with the fears themselves, but with an explanation of the nature of phobia, noting that “[n]ormal, garden-variety fear becomes a phobia only when it is persistent, excessive and unreasonable.” So not all fears are phobias, but all phobias start as fears. As a reader, one can feel either reassured that others share the same problem or voyeuristic about phobias one had not even imagined. For example, many of us have “arachnophobia,” a fear of spiders, and Latta points out that this began reasonably enough since many spiders are dangerous to us. Fewer people have “koumpounophobia,” a fear of buttons, which Latta says, may result from a childhood experience of choking on a button. Latta spends one or two pages explaining each phobia, then tells about famous people with that particular affliction. She says Michael Jordan has “kakorraphiaphobia,” fear of failure. Nicole Kidman is terrified of butterflies. Jennifer Aniston is afraid of flying. She also explains how people overcome these phobias and includes a selection of quotes from people talking generally about their fears. Whether this book is read from beginning to end or used as a reference to find out what is the term for fear of snakes (ophidiophobia), it will be a great addition to libraries everywhere. Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
02/01/2014
Gr 6 Up—A fun and insightful look at 50 phobias, some common like ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) and others unusual such as koumpounophobia (fear of buttons). Latta describes the biology of fear and explains that while some are beneficial for survival, they can become phobias if they are so severe as to interfere with everyday life. The phobias are arranged alphabetically and include explanations of the origins of their names and how the fears may have developed. Famous people who have suffered from them (Lincoln feared dentists), interesting sidebars ("scare quotes"), and pop-culture references make the volume accessible and appealing to a wide audience. Simple, abstract illustrations keep the pages from being cluttered. The easy-to-use index allows quick access to specific phobias, though most will want to read the book cover to cover. The author's lively style will certainly hold readers' attention. For those wanting to delve more deeply into the subject, the appendix provides print and web resources.—Sherry J. Mills, Hazelwood East High School, St. Louis, MO
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-13
Part browsing item, part therapy for the afflicted, this catalog of irrational terrors offers a little help along with a lot of pop psychology and culture. The book opens with a clinical psychologist's foreword and closes with a chapter of personal and professional coping strategies. In between, Latta's alphabetically arranged encyclopedia introduces a range of panic-inducers from buttons ("koumpounophobia") and being out of cellphone contact ("nomophobia") to more widespread fears of heights ("acrophobia"), clowns ("coulroiphobia") and various animals. There's also the generalized "social anxiety disorder"--which has no medical name but is "just its own bad self." As most phobias have obscure origins (generally in childhood), similar physical symptoms and the same approaches to treatment, the descriptive passages tend toward monotony. To counter that, the author chucks in references aplenty to celebrity sufferers, annotated lists of relevant books and (mostly horror) movies, side notes on "joke phobias" and other topics. At each entry's end, she contributes a box of "Scare Quotes" such as a passage from Coraline for the aforementioned fear of buttons. Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of. (end notes, resource list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781936976492
Publisher:
Zest
Publication date:
02/04/2014
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
441,862
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
1130L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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