Summer Scares 2019 Resources

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Slade House

In the 9/15/15 issue of Booklist I have a review of what I think will become a Halloween classic read for years to come.  Here is the cross post from RA for All:

In this slim and compelling novel, literary fiction stalwart Mitchell offers his most accessible book yet- a haunted house story in the vein of classics like The Turn of the Screw and The Haunting of Hill House. Written as five distinct chapters, each set on the last Saturday in October, spaced nine years apart, the novel follows the nefarious exploits of the Grayer Twins who inhabit the eponymous home, hidden in a narrow alley, behind a pub. Each chapter is told through the point of view of the poor soul who has been unknowingly summoned to the home as a sacrifice to the twins. Readers will appreciate how over the thirty-six year span, characters and story threads overlap to craft a unified, psychological tale. As in his more ambitious works,Mitchell gives reads the same genre blending, intricate plotting, and thought-provoking storylines, but here his scope is smaller, as he narrows his focus onto the intensely unsettling tone. Suggest to fans of Audrey Niffenegger, Karen Russell, and Steven Millhauser, and expect it to be read as a Halloween staple for years to come.

This book was awesome and can be given to many more readers than you normally would for a Mitchell novel.  It has everything that is great about Mitchell in one short, fast paced book. 

Three Words That Describe This Book: genre-blending, unsettling, episodic

Readalikes: There are plenty packed into my review but in particular, this is a great read for fans of Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Libraries...Time to Get Serious About Horror and Halloween Prep and I Can Help!

Seriously serious people.

We are closing in on Halloween-- It's already Sept 3rd. The ads for costume and decoration buying are coming fast a furious-- to my email and my home mail box.  I even saw a small Halloween display at Crate and Barrel on Tuesday. Plus, with the passing of Wes Craven over the weekend, your patrons are really thinking about Halloween and their nostalgia for the horror of their youth.

****On a side note, I could go on for weeks about young Becky's love of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Hint, it bordered on obsession. But it is not just me, here is a great article from The Atlantic on how Wes Craven redefined horror. I am not sure I would be the library world's horror expert today if Wes Craven didn't happen, which is weird to think about because if you ask me, I prefer horror novels to movies.  Hmmmm.... Sorry for the digression. Now back to the post at hand*********

I am also in the final tasks of my October planning.  One of the last things I did was an informal survey of a few of my colleagues and no one had started thinking about Halloween yet?!?

Look, I am not saying you need to have a Halloween display up yet. Of course not. It's too early for that. But why not set the creepy tone for those patrons who are beginning to think about it.

So here is how you get started to make 2015's Haunting Season your best ever.

Step One, find a copy of my book or at the very least spend some time reading through the archives of this blog. This will get you up to speed on horror as it is discussed today.

Step Two, start some Halloween display prep by allowing your horror books to act all creepy. What do I mean? Well this is one of my favorite passive RA tricks for horror promotion.  Grab some of your more terrifying titles with great covers-- I suggest Brian Keene, Jonathan Maberry, and Nick Cutter to start-- and put them face out in the stacks. So at the end of the row where Nick Cutter's The Troop is normally shelved, pull the physical book out to display face out; maybe even have it peeking out from the end of the row if you can. If you are a library that actively puts books face out in the middle of the stacks (good for you), switch them all to horror titles.  Even if you never have books face out, go through and randomly put a few where there is room.  The result....your horror books are stalking patrons as they walk through the stacks. It is as if they are following you.... It creates the exact feelings of anxiety, dread, and unease that horror fans crave.  It is AWESOME!!!! [and super easy]

Step Three, check your most popular horror titles for wear and tear and get replacements ordered ASAP! Stephen King, Anne Rice, Dracula, etc... Also, don't forget that some popular authors like Mira Grant and Jonathan Maberry have paperback bestsellers that may be in ratty shape at this point.

Step Four, get on top of the rush of new horror coming up soon.  Immediately order Brian Kirk's We are Monsters (great review in Booklist) and pre-order Slade House by David Mitchell (out in October). I read and reviewed Slade House for Booklist and I am telling you, this slim (yes I said David Mitchell and slim in the same sentence) book will become a Halloween classic, read for years to come. Think Haunting of Hill House or Turn of the Screw. Yes, that classic! In the coming week or so, I will suggest a few more new titles for you.

Step Five, now that I have you in the haunting mood, stop everything and click here to read Brian Keene talk about why horror matters in the Huffington Post. Great article, but more importantly, a great writer. Keene is the best original paperback horror writer out there.  I talk about him and his influence and importance at length in my book, but he is also a fantastic human being who actively champions and supports other horror authors and the genre as a whole. And, he is cognizant of the fact that women in horror get a short shrift. He advocates for them doubly.

Step Six, stay tuned to this blog for all of the horror information you need to make your patrons happy this Halloween.  I will begin daily posts on October 1st which include guest posts by horror authors on why they love the genre, new lists and reviews and a few planned appearances by me to talk horror with you. But before then, I will be back here frequently giving you the horror pep talks and resources you need to prepare.

Cue evil laugh...