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Scared Stiff
Cover of Scared Stiff
Scared Stiff
Everything You Need to Know About 50 Famous Phobias
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Fear is a primal human emotion, and it often does play 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...
Fear is a primal human emotion, and it often does play 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...
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Description-

  • Fear is a primal human emotion, and it often does play 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 has metastasized to the point that you run screaming from every uncoiled hose, then (news flash!) you've got yourself a phobia. Human phobias are strange, diverse, and actually have the power to teach us a lot about who we are and where we came from. And in this book, author Sarah Latta blends biology, psychology, history, and pop culture to provide a comprehensive account of 50 essential fears, from arachnophobia to zoophobia. Additionally, the book includes:
    - An explanation of the history behind each phobia, and a discussion of notable people who have suffered from the fear
    - Sidebars that highlight famous phobic moments from history and pop culture
    - Updates on how successful various phobia treatments have been
    Phobias are no laughing matter if you've got one, but sometimes the first step to overcoming your fear is understanding that sometimes we're afraid of a lot of really weird things. So whether you're looking for perspective, information, or just want to know what Madonna and David Beckham are afraid of, this is the book for you. (Bibliophobes, however, should probably keep their distance.)

About the Author-

  • Sara Latta is the author of seventeen books for children and young adults on topics that include dark matter, the secret life of microbes, DNA, bones, and forensic science. She also has a masters degree in immunology. She does have a bit of a phobia about heights, as she discovered when faced with having to climb down from a pyramid in Teotihuacan, Mexico.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 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.

  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2013
    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)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 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

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    March 15, 2014
    Grades 5-8 Relying heavily on up-to-date research and contributions from clinical psychologists, Latta seeks to explain and demystify phobias and anxieties. Many of the 50 phobias included are familiar, such as arachnophobia and claustrophobia, but more obscure fears are also mentioned, such as pogonophobia (fear of beards), somniphobia (fear of sleep), and pediophobia (fear of dolls). Using a conversational tone and plenty of quotes from individuals with firsthand experience of specific fears, each phobia is explored in biological and historical context before possible triggers are detailed. Basic neurological causes for fear are explained in plain terms, and one broad chapter is devoted to social anxieties including agoraphobia. A heavy emphasis is placed on the potential for exposure therapy and cognitive behavior therapy to lessen or eliminate the effects of phobias. In each chapter, famous people who share individual fears are mentioned. Imparting the ideas that phobic people are in good company and that hope exists for eliminating persistent fears, this is factual, fun, and encouraging.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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