RA for All...The Road Show!

I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Talking About Horror Books on the Radio

Today I was the guest on Wisconsin Public Radio's Kathleen Dunn Show.  It was all about horror books. I spoke for an hour about horror fiction, and took calls about people's favorite horror books.  If you are looking for something scary to read this weekend, check it out.

Click here to download the program.

Click here to access the Kathleen Show Facebook Page which will include a list of all of the books mentioned.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guardian's Top Ten Ghost Stories

Real quick, today the Guardian posted a list of author Kate Mosse's favorite ghost stories.  Here is the link.

Monsters: Big vs. Little

Horror readers love to be scared. We read horror book because we love to feel anxious and unsettled. Horror books explicitly try to induce terror out of the reader; but what actually frightens each reader is extremely personal. To make the issue even more tricky, what scares an individual reader can also change over time. (Read the new book in 2011 for a longer discussion of this issue.)

Not only does each person find different things scary, but as this article in io9 points out, what scares us as a culture also morphs over time. Here specifically, the author considers why small monsters have replaced larger ones in horror novels and films. It is an interesting point.

From the article:
That's one of the many, many reasons small scares are worse than big ones. Big monsters rely on power, on being extraordinarily huge and vicious. Small creatures are already part of your everyday life. A movie about a big creature has to establish how powerful it is, how it can get from place to place, how it can manage to hide and suddenly pop out of nowhere when you thought you were safe. Small critter movies don't have to do any of that. They just have to rely on what you already know. Small things can already find their way into you safe spaces. Everyone has tried to patch up all the small holes in their house, has tried to seal up their tents, has tried to shake out their clothes and their sheets, only to find the bugs coming back. No one wonders how small creatures get from place to place. They're everywhere. Always. And of course, no one has to wonder how small things hide.
Click through to the entire article to read all of the comments too. This article sparked quite a conversation.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Horror Nonfiction Books

Halloween is a popular time to release horror books, both fiction and nonfiction. While I mostly cover the fiction here, I am happy to report that there are a few new nonfiction books that you should consider acquiring for your library.

Bring a Zombie to Book Club

Over on Book Group Buzz, Neil Hollands had this post on the best zombie books for book discussion groups. What I like most about his post is that it considers the literary merit of these genre titles.

If you like what he has to say here, check out Neil's new book Fellowship in a Ring: A Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups.

The Walking Dead Coming to AMC and a City Near You

This Halloween, AMC is premiering their new series The Walking Dead, based on the immensely popular graphic novel series of the same name by Robert Kirkman.

Click here for the official web site and to watch a few clips.

As excited as I am about the new show, I am even more interested in the actual zombie invasion that AMC is staging in 26 cities around the world...TODAY!!! Here is a link to the official press release.

So if you thought you saw a zombie this morning as you went to work, don't worry, you are not seeing things.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Haunting Reads

This time of year everyone is looking for a horror suggestion, but many do not be prepared for the real thing.  The folks at Books on the Nightstand are here to help you help these patrons.  They devoted a portion of their popular podcast to haunting reads this week. Here is the link to the podcast and their written summary with title suggestions.

Personally, I had read every single one of these books and would whole-heartedly agree with their suggestions.

So if you are looking for haunting titles that appeal even to the squeamish, click here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Everyone's Talking About-- Let the Right One In

Let Me InJohn Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In (recently renamed to match the movie title), a Swedish horror novel, is all the rage in America right now. The movie is getting good reviews and Lindqvist's new book, Handling the Undead is getting rave reviews.

Back in 2009, Laura read Let the Right One In for the RA class and she posted this annotation on the class blog. Way to be ahead of the curve, Laura. I hope Laura's annotation helps you to help your readers. Here is is re-posted.

Title: Let the Right One In (Let Me In) (Låt den rätte komma in)
Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Genre: Horror
Publication Date: 2008
Number of Pages: 480
Geographical Setting: Sweden (suburbs of Stockholm)
Time Period: Present day
Series: no

Plot Summary:
Oskar is a struggling 12 year old who collects articles about serial killers and murders. He is tortured at school, and since his parents divorce his home life is not much better. Life in general is gray and lonely for Oskar until his new neighbors move in, an old man and his young daughter. Late one night Oskar meets Eli, the young androgynous looking girl. Right away Oskar notices that she is odd. She is pale like Oskar, but smells bad (like rotten meat) and in the dead of winter and she has no coat, and no socks and shoes. They form a friendship as lonely outcasts of a small town. She encourages him to stand up to the bullies at school, and he becomes her closest confident. Due to Oskar’s slightly morbid side he is neither shocked or frightened when Eli tells him that she survives on blood, and that the old man is not her father, but an aging pedophile who kills for her in exchange for money and the promise that one day he can touch her. The old man is soon caught by the police, and now Eli must fend for herself. Fearing that the town is suspicious of her she says her goodbyes to Oskar and leaves. Life goes on with out his only friend, until it is almost ended at the hands of his bullies. In the midst of a swim practice the boys gang up on Oskar and try to drown him. Eli intervenes in a gruesome way, she pulls Oskar from the blood filled pool and they escape together.

Subject Headings: Vampires, 12 year old boys, Revenge, Swedish Horror

Appeal: Vampire, Horror, coming of age, Sweden, Bullies, twisted love story, Dark, Sad, Lonely, Gruesome, character centered, Controversial, Mysterious, Suburban, Cold, Morbid, Divorce.

3 Terms that best describe this book: Lonely, Dark, Friendship

3 fiction read alikes
Popular music from Vittula: a novel by Mikael Niemi
(Looks at life in a small Swedish village during the 1960s and its colorful inhabitants, including an African missionary, a German tourist who happens to be an ex-Nazi, and a music teacher who has no fingers on his right hand.)
The princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson
(When the mutilated body of the local reformed troublemaker is found, Inspector Ann Lindell takes time off from maternity leave to uncover the killer and is drawn into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a vicious murderer.)
Depths: a novel by Henning Mankell
(Swedish naval officer Lars Tobiasson-Svartman finds himself attracted to a young widow whose wild nature is in total contrast to his wife’s reserved personality.)

3 non-fiction read alikes
The dead travel fast: stalking vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula by Eric Nuzum
(A cultural exploration of vampire lore and the lifestyles it has inspired)
Fight scenes by Greg Bottoms
(Suburban male coming of age vignettes from around the U.S.)
Real Vampires by Daniel Cohen
(Argues that vampires are not merely creatures of fiction, and provides instances of real-life encounters with vampires from Middle Europe to Middle America, from medieval to modern times)

Name: Laura

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quirk Books: Creators of the Mash-Up

When Quirk Books published Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in 2009, a new type of comic horror was invented-- the mash-up.

Many imitators have come out since then, but the Quirk books titles have been the best. How do they do it?  This article goes behind the scenes with the small, privately held, independent publishers to get their side of the story.

Night of the Living TrekkiesI thought the mash-up might have been on its way out, but after reading the article, I am not so sure.  I have also been eagerly anticipating their newest title, Night of the Living Trekkies. Here a zombie outbreak takes place at a Comic-Con like convention. It sounds like the perfect mix of campy and scary. I am on hold for it right now.

Review: Locke and Key-Crown of Shadows

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez have been collaborating on one of the best horror stories I have ever read, in any format for the last three years. Check that, the ongoing story of the Locke children is one of the best stories I have read anywhere.

These Locke and Key comics come out all throughout the year and then IDW puts out a beautiful bound edition every fall. This edition, the third, is entitled Crown of Shadows

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Lock and Key storyline I will recap.  The 3 Locke children and their mother move back East to their ancestral home after their father is murdered. Turns out their father's murderer was put up to the job by an evil spirit who has been stalking the family for hundreds of years. The old family home is full of magical keys which the spirit is after. Each book deals with one of the keys.  Click here and here to read about the first two installments.This time, the key can be used to control the shadows in the house. In this case, they are used to try to destroy the kids. We also find a key to a cabinet that when you put something broken in it, the item will come out repaired. Which leads to a heart-wrenching scene when the mother puts the father's ashes in the cabinet.

The story is taking an even darker turn here.  The scene when the kids are battling the shadows is seriously scary. Kinsey, the sister almost dies in another scene, and the mother has hit rock bottom. The last installment, Head Games, was a bit more philosophical. The key there opened up people's heads and let them remove any bad thoughts. The characters had conversations about how important memories really are. To start this book, Kinsey has removed her fear in the last book and Bode, the little brother, has his memory of the war against the shadows removed for his own good.

We also get more into the history of the house and the Locke family at the end of this installment; more than we have ever seen before. This history also foreshadows the keys (and problems) to come. Things are going very badly for the Locke family, but I could not look away.

Here is an excerpt of what I said about the series when I read the second installment, Head Games:
Rodriguez's drawings are both beautiful and unsettling, sometimes at the same time. Joe Hill has written another compelling story and we are even treated to a bit of foreshadowing as to what keys may be found next. This is a clever, original, and unsettling graphic novel. There is blood, violence, and heartbreaking murders here; but the story is compelling and the Locke kids themselves will keep even a more timid reader turning the pages.
Crown of Shadows is a bridge installment of the story. I did not enjoy it as much as Head Games, but I understand that is because it is setting up future story lines.I appreciate that Hill is taking his time with the story, slowly revealing the details, and still entertaining me along the way. I am literally itching for the next one, but know I will have to wait another year. Arrrggggghhhhh.

The Locke and Key story is so appealing because it combines original story telling, compelling characters, a really scary, evil villain for whom time is not a factor, all with some of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching, and frightening drawings I have ever seen. The two parts of this story-- the words and the pictures-- perfectly play off of each other. I read a lot and can be picky, but I have rarely read anything as good as this series.

Three Words That Describe This Book: dread, original, compelling

Readalikes: As I said previously here:
The graphic novels of Hill's father's Dark Tower books make for a good suggestion here. Also anything by Neil Gaiman from Sandman to The Graveyard Book (and everything in between) would work for fans of the Lock and Key Series. Also try Alan Moore and Frank Miller in graphic novels, and Bentley Little, Robert McCammon, or Peter Straub in novels.
I would also suggest the new graphic novel series, American Vampire by Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquereque (which I will review in  a few days), Jonathan Maberry's Pine Deep Trilogy, or Leopoldo Gout's Ghost Radio. All three of these suggestions are original horror stories which push at the edges of horror conventions to extremely successful results.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How Dangerous is a Zombie?

With the popularity of zombies in fiction today, there comes a range of danger level. Some zombies are smart, some very dumb; some zombies are fresh and fast, others old and slow. You need to be prepared.

Now here is the chart all you zombie lovers have been waiting for. Assess your zombie via the chart and then choose your manner of attack.  Good Luck.

Thanks to Grasping For the Wind's daily geek media roundup for pointing this out. 


http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/infographic-dangerous-zombies.htmlhttp://l.yimg.com/a/i/mo/zombie_infographic_1024.jpg