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.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ghost Stories for Grownups

****This is the third in an occasional series of posts to help you get ready for Halloween.****

On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal ran this article on the stories of Robert Aickman.  I liked the title, "Ghost Stories for Grown Ups."

Now in terms of my series on getting you ready for Halloween, I think the article is a MUST READ. It gives you a great sense of Aickman, his writing, and why people love to read his stories.

I would love it if all of you, especially the Horror newbies, read one of his stories too, but I also know that it is NOT NECESSARY for you to have to read an Aickman story in order for you to be able to help a patron looking for a scary read come Halloween time. [Most libraries will have at least one collection with stories by Aickman if you do want to try one though; click here for our system's offerings.]

The key to all of this Halloween planning is for you to educate yourself as to what horror fans love about feeling the fear and being engulfed in a terrifying story.  This article on the work of Aickman is a quick and easy way to learn this without terrorizing yourself in the process.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Horror Story of the Week

****This is the second in an occasional series of posts to help you get ready for Halloween.****

As I mention in the first post in this series, understanding why your readers enjoy horror is more important than liking it yourself.

So first, we looked back at the first horror stories children gravitate toward. Now let’s take a small step forward in our Halloween training and move into short stories.

Horror Novel Reviews is one of the better resources for information on horror in its written form.  It is well edited and curated with quality information and links, and as its name suggests, the focus is firmly on the written form of the genre.

One of their brand new features is “Horror Story of the Week.”  It is what it sounds like...they are taking submissions and will highlight 1 original story a week.  Click here to access the current story.  At the end of each story, you can access previous stories in a nice, clear list.

For training purposes, these stories are a great quick read to give you a sense of what makes something a good horror story.  You will get a taste of the genre in its current state, in small manageable chunks.

Again, you don’t have to like it yourself, but this way you can get a wide array of samples quickly and easily.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dark Children's Books That Every Librarian Should Read

****This is the first in an occasional series of posts to help you get ready for Halloween.****

Back at the end of July, Flavorwire ran this useful list of 10 Dark Children's Book Every Kid Should Read; however, I would take it one step further.

As I begin my planning for Halloween and the onslaught of requests for horror books by patrons and librarians alike, I am already fielding questions about why I like horror and how I can get horror-averse librarians to understand why horror readers love to feel the terror, anxiety, and unease that these stories invoke.

Well, I think I do a pretty good job explaining it all in my book. [coupon code here on slide 2-- shameless plug I know, but it really will help you this fall] But even I, someone who has spent way too many hours thinking about the appeal of horror, was enlightened by this Flavorwire list.

Why? Well, I realized I read just about every single one of these 10 books, and many, as a child. In fact, one of the books on there, The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, was a childhood favorite and the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series are among of my kids' favorites.

As I said on TwitterNow I know why I turned out this way. “@flavorwire: 10 Dark, Creepy Children's Books Every Kid Should Read http://flvr.pl/1rjphAR ”

Yes, I had a nice foundation for my future as a horror maven.

Looking through this list makes it clear why children find these macabre tales so appealing.  Reading the books here or at least paging through some of them will give you a sense of that mix of innocent and primal attraction to creepy tales. Understanding why they appeal to kids will help you to understand why some adults still enjoy the terror of horror.


So as you ramp up for Halloween and the busiest time for horror requests, start your refresher course way back at the beginning, with macabre stories for children.