Naomi Eisenstat covers the basics of the horror genre at our RA in a Half Day event at Vancouver Public Library last October:
Definition: Horror fiction’s most basic definition is it’s designed to scare the reader. Its tone can vary from comedic to dour or hectic to suspensful, but all stories tend to maintain an atmosphere of menace. Unresolved or unhappy endings are the norm. Monsters of some kind usually frame the story. Horror fiction also has more graphic violence or sexual situations than most other genres.
RA Tips and Tricks
Instead of recommending horror by which type of supernatural force menaces the protaganists, look at how soon violence erupts and match that to the reader’s taste on the Storyteller vs. Visceral spectrum.
The graphic violence and sexual content in most horror can be shocking to some new readers.
Potential New Horror Reader Checklist
- Patron enjoys thrillers of any kind.
- Patron does not mind blood and guts.
- Patron prefers character-driven plots over action-stories.
- Patron does not mind fantasy elements in their novels.
Resources for Great Picks
The Bram Stoker Awards
Weird Tales Magazine
Spratford, Becky Siegel. The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror (2nd Edition). 2012.
Saricks, Joyce G. Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction (2nd Edition). 2009.
Spratford, Becky Siegel. The Horror Readers’ Advisory: The Librarian’s Guide to Vampires, Killer Tomatoes, and Haunted Houses. 2004.
Fonseca, Anthony J. and June Michele Pulliam. Hooked on Horror: A Guide to Reading Interests in Horror Fiction. 1999.
Important Horror Authors and a Selection of Their Work
Interview with a Vampire
The Vampire Lestat
The Haunting of Hill House
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
The Lottery and Other Stories
Odd Thomas (Series)
From the Corner of His Eye
The Hellbound Heart
The Damnation Game
Books of Blood, v. 1-3
Daphne du Maurier
Don’t Look Now: Selected Stories
The Dunwich Horror and Others
Dagon and Other Macabre Tales
The Horror in the Museum and Other Revsions
In the Night Room
A Dark Matter
Joe R. Landsdale
Writer of the Purple Rage
Mad Dog Summer and Other Stories
The Collected Strange Stories
Something Wicked This Way Comes
World War Z
Mark Z. Danielewski
House of Leaves
A Study in Emerald
Turn of the Screw
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
Caitlin R. Kiernan
The Drowning Girl
The Walking Dead
Joyce Carol Oates
Remember Why You Fear Me