Tag Archives: Naomi Eisenstat

Naomi Eisenstat on Horror

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

—  MonsterLibrarian.com

—  Raforallhorror.blogspot.ca

—  Hellnotes.com

—  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

 

 

Stephen King

Carrie

The Shining

Everything’s Eventual

 

Anne Rice

Interview with a Vampire

The Vampire Lestat

 

Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

The Lottery and Other Stories

 

Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas (Series)

From the Corner of His Eye

Phantoms

 

Clive Barker

The Hellbound Heart

The Damnation Game

Books of Blood, v. 1-3

 

Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca

The Birds

Don’t Look Now: Selected Stories

 

H.P. Lovecraft

The Dunwich Horror and Others

Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

The Horror in the Museum and Other Revsions

 

Peter Straub

Ghost Story

In the Night Room

A Dark Matter

 

Joe R. Landsdale

Mucho Mojo

Writer of the Purple Rage

Mad Dog Summer and Other Stories

 

Kathe Koja

The Cipher

Skin

 

Robert Aickman

The Collected Strange Stories

 

Ray Bradbury

Something Wicked This Way Comes

 

Max Brooks

World War Z

 

Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves

 

Neil Gaiman

A Study in Emerald

 

Mira Grant

Feed

 

Junji Ito

Uzumaki

 

Henry James

Turn of the Screw

 

M.R. James

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary

 

Caitlin R. Kiernan

The Drowning Girl

 

Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead

 

Richard Matheson

Hell House

 

Joyce Carol Oates

Zombie

 

Dan Simmons

Carrion Comfort

 

Robert Shearman

Remember Why You Fear Me

 

Scott Smith

The Ruins

 

 

 

 

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Thrilling Speed-Dating Across the Genres

There was a whole new crop of genres to speed-date at this year’s RA in a Half Day. These excellent 10 minute overviews offered so much food for thought, we had to include a coffee break mid-way to give everyone time to digest it. But at least everyone was all topped off with ideas and ready to go for the Challenging RA Questions that followed.

These brief summaries will give you a taste of the speed-dating presentations, but there will be more complete reviews to follow. You can also contact us for a full copy of any of the genre presentations.

Noir – Marcus Mendes, Vancouver Public Library

Very first comment from Marcus Mendes on Noir fiction – Noir does not take place in polite society. Through a series of evocative quotes from great representations of Noir fiction, Marcus pulled out the key features of the genre from the swirling cigarette smoke and booze soaked stories to the charter types of the Femme Fatale and the Chump . The basic premise, though, is that things are going to go down hill, seriously and fast.

Chick Lit – Heidi Schiller, North Vancouver City Library

Heidi Shiller reacted to the previous presentation by immediately describing Chick Lit as the “arch opposite of Noir.” At its essence, this literature is addressing issues of modern womanhood in an often humorous and lighthearted. These books have an urban and modern focus (not to mention shopping!), but they also often include romance sub-plots while not being simply a romance genre because the protagonist’s relationship to friends and family are central to the story. However, there is some conversation over whether or not Chick Lit as either a genre or just a label for these titles is dying out.

New Adult – Tanya Thiessen, Surrey Libraries

Right away Tanya Thiessen addressed the fact that with New Adult RA, we have to be comfortable talking about sex. New Adult is a marketing term for (at this time) mostly eBook and online, self-published fiction with 18-25 year old protagonists often in college settings facing issues of identity development and exploring sexuality while still dealing with the fallout of difficult childhood experiences. All of this is wrapped up in a fast paced, emotionally intense story with a focus on a love (and sex) relationship. There are availability issues with these titles in libraries (being mostly eBooks and online titles) but many are available free or very cheap.

Self-Help – Jenny Fry, Surrey Libraries

A clear message from Jenny Fry’s presentation on Self-Help is that you can’t look in one place in your stacks to find it. From the 150s to the 650s, there’s Self-Help across the shelves so find out where the many varieties are at and what they focus on. Three key aspect of self help to remember in providing RA are the kind of tailored guidance, accuracy and included forms and features included. Jenny wrapped up her presentation on Self-Help with the perfect statement of Self-Help – “Life is your biggest DIY project.”

Graphic Novels for Adults – Matthew Murray, UBC – iSchool at SLAIS

According to Matthew Murray, you could just define Graphic Novels as comic book with spines (good audience chuckle on this one). However, you also have to remember that Graphic Novels are a medium, not a genre, so it includes materials in all genre areas. For Readers’ Advisory, its good to be aware of the publishers, because they tend to have a particular style, tone and quality that readers gravitate towards. In addition, ComiXology, while not available to libraries, does provide access to free digital editions of many popular titles.

Horror – Naomi Eisenstat, Surrey Libraries/New Westminster Public Library

The heart of the Horror genre, according to Naomi Eisenstat is emotional, the fright of the reader. While it can have many styles, even humorous, the menacing tone is consistent. Horror often includes elements of thrillers and mystery but there are often unresolved endings. Consider what kind of horror the patron is looking for, either in the storyteller or more violent style.