RA for All...The Road Show!

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Keys To a Great Ghost Story

With Tuesday's post on the release of Dr. Sleep, I thought this article by Dr. Michael R. Collings on the key elements that make a great ghost story would be of interest.

Dr. Collings is an extremely well respected member of the horror community as a writer of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction about horror.  He is currently the Senior Publications Editor at JournalStone.

Point being, he knows what he is talking about.

Collings writes regularly about how to write horror here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Dr. Sleep Day and Place of Horror in Literature

Whether you are still a huge Stephen King fan, or you got bored with him years ago, everyone has to admit that today's release of Dr. Sleep is a big deal.

While The Stand is still King's best work ever, at over 1,000 pages, it is not the place most people begin to read this American storytelling master.  Rather it is with The Shining that people new to King most often (and should) begin.

The Shining is still the best example of a modern (post 1970) ghost story.  It has set the bar for all haunted house stories since, and it established that King was not a fluke. With The Shining the world took notice of King's talent, and he has rarely disappointed us in the three and a half decades since.

King is also a very popular choice with advanced readers, and with its young protagonist (Danny), The Shining is also popular with teen readers.

All of this being said, after 36 years of waiting, there are millions of people who want to see what has become of Danny in the years since he battled both his father and the ghouls at the Overlook Hotel.

So, it came as no surprise to me that on Sunday, the New York Times Book Review ran Dr. Sleep as their front page review.  But what did come as a happy surprise was that the fabulous and intelligent Margaret Atwood wrote the review.

Look, even if you don't think you need to read the review as a librarian because you already know who likes King at your library and you already know it will be in huge demand, you still need to click through and read this review because she goes into a longer discussion of King's place in the history of American literature AND talks about horror's importance in general.

From the second page:
Some may look skeptically at “horror” as a subliterary genre, but in fact horror is one of the most literary of all forms. Its practitioners read widely and well — King being a pre-eminent example — since horror stories are made from other horror stories: you can’t find a real-life example of the Overlook Hotel. People do “see” some of the things King’s characters see (for a companion volume, try Oliver Sacks’s “Hallucinations”), but it is one of the functions of “horror” writing to question the reality of unreality and the unreality of reality: what exactly do we mean by “see”?
That is just a taste; there is more here.  Thank you Margaret Atwood.  I already loved you, but it is nice to have you join my fight.

Even if you don't plan to read Dr. Sleep, read this review. I promise, you will learn a lot about the appeal of horror. And, that information can only help you to help your patrons, especially as Halloween draws near.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Little Friday the 13th Reading

Happy Friday the 13th. I find the celebration of this day on the calendar a bit cheesey myself, but I also know many a librarian who claims that the patrons act funky on full moons and Friday the 13ths.

But Friday the 13th is a great day for some horror B-Movie appreciation and I have the perfect book to suggest to you if you are looking for a fun way to celebrate.  Crab Monsters, Teenage Caveman, and Candy Stripe Nurses is a new book by Chris Nashawaty that celebrates on the of the kings of B Movies.  From the book jacket:
Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses is an outrageously rollicking account of the life and career of Roger Corman—one of the most prolific and successful independent producers, directors, and writers of all time, and self-proclaimed king of the B movie. As told by Corman himself and graduates of “The Corman Film School,” including Peter Bogdanovich, James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, and Martin Scorsese, this comprehensive oral history takes readers behind the scenes of more than six decades of American cinema, as now-legendary directors and actors candidly unspool recollections of working with Corman, continually one-upping one another with tales of the years before their big breaks.
Crab Monsters is supplemented with dozens of full-color reproductions of classic Corman movie posters; behind-the-scenes photographs and ephemera (many taken from Corman’s personal archive); and critical essays on Corman’s most daring films—including The Intruder, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Big Doll House— that make the case for Corman as an artist like no other.
My local library has a copy on order.  I have a hold already placed and will be back with a review during my 31 Days of Horror.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

31 Days of Horror 2013: Planning

It is hard to believe that October 1st is now less than a month away.  But, I am already deep into the planning of this year's 31 Days of Horror celebration.

While last year's event focused on authors trying to explain why they love to write horror, this year, I am asking librarians to share their favorite scary books.

I will also have many reviews and updates on other resources you should check out throughout the month.

As I gear up to October, look for more activity here on the horror arm of RA for All, leading up to the daily posts...all 31 days, even weekends... beginning 10/1.

It should be a terrifyingly good time.

If you work in a library, bookstore, or for a publisher and are interested in sharing your favorite horror story with me, please contact me at zombiegrl75[at]gmail[dot]com.

I cannot promise in advance to include unsolicited guest posts, but I will consider them and get back to you.