Elizabeth is a recent MLIS graduate and an Adult Services Librarian at a public library in the Chicago-land area. Her interests include collection management, readers’ advisory, books clubs, and user instruction. You can visit her online at: www.firstyearlibrarian.weebly.com
Take it away Elizabeth...
I like to think that I’m a fairly broad reader. Young Adult, Romance, Psychological Suspense, Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Mystery, these types of titles can all be found stacked up on my nightstand (a stack which is getting embarrassingly high). But there’s one sort of book that has never, ever been checked out on my library card, and that, my friends, is a horror book. I’d like to provide you with some really profound story explaining this sizeable gap in my reading, but it really comes down to the simple fact that I am a total coward. Seriously. I blame my father for letting me watch the film version of King’s It when I was about seven years old. Totally turned off horror and scarred for life, thanks Dad. So when asked about my favorite “scary” book, I usually draw a blank (a readers’ advisor’s worst nightmare!) But while I refuse to read anything scary, I will read dark and eerie and sometimes creepy.
So as Halloween approaches and patrons start to ask for some horror titles to get in the spirit of the season, I’m suggesting Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. This is an excellent suggestion for adults who, like me, are looking for something spooky but not overly terrifying. It’s also a great suggestion for, you know, kids considering it is actually a children’s/tween book. The Graveyard Book tells the tale of young Nobody Owens, a boy who escapes his home as a baby after his entire family is viciously murdered. Nobody seeks shelter in a nearby graveyard, and is quickly adopted by the community of ghosts whose bodies were laid to rest in this cemetery. Growing up among the dead does have its advantages as Nobody receives the Freedom of the Graveyard, which allows him to see his ghostly neighbors and adopt some of their otherworldly talents. These abilities include: fading out of sight, dream walking, and instilling terror in a chosen victim. As Nobody grows up in a world isolated from the living, he has many a supernatural adventure involving witches, werewolves, and ghouls. But Nobody’s happy existence among the dead can’t last forever- the sinister evil responsible for the murder of his family is still on the hunt for the baby who narrowly escaped a violent end. An engaging read that is both chilling and suspenseful, The Graveyard Book is an excellent “scary” suggestion for younger readers and grown up cowards alike.