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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

31 Days of Horror: Day 8--Booklist Guest Post by Daniel Kraus

Today's Booklister guest post is by Daniel Kraus:
Daniel Kraus, Senior Editor, spent a decade in the trenches of men’s and women’s magazines before initially joining ALA as an editor at American Libraries. He is the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series. His first novel, The Monster Variations, was published in 2009, and the second, Rotters, in 2011.
Kraus also runs his own 31 Horror Films in 31 Days challenge.  Click here for all of the details and here to follow the challenge on Twitter.

Later in the month, I will have a review of Kraus' Rotters,  but first, he gets to have his say.

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I was asked to write about a book that really scared me. But after fifteen minutes of just staring at the screen, I came to the conclusion that the more interesting question, for me, was why did so few books scare me? The subsequent question is obvious: Why am I such a fan of horror fiction if it fails in the one thing that it’s supposed to do?
The last book I can remember truly being scared by is a nonfiction book called Ghosts that I got from a Scholastic Book Fair sometime around third grade. I’ve scoured the internet trying to find a picture of it but that anonymous title has made it a tough search. I’d recognize it in a second if I saw it; on the cover was a photo that is iconic to fans of the paranormal.

Why this random book instead of another? I’m sure it had more to do with my developing brain than anything else. This was around the same that I hung on my walls pictures of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and then dared myself to look at them at night. Ghosts was kept at the very bottom of a stack of books on my dresser, just close enough to taunt me, and on occasion I’d yield to those taunts and force myself to look at the cover just so I could feel sick to my stomach.
Cut to a two or three decades later and part of me still longs for that same kind of overwhelming reaction. It doesn’t happen but that’s okay—after all, who wants to feel sick to his stomach all the time? Instead, I get the pleasurable sensation of acknowledging work that will scar other readers—and hopefully those scars will be interesting, fruitful ones. “Oh, that’ll scare someone,” I think while reading and reviewing. Not me, but, hey, I’m a tough crowd.

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