RA for All...The Road Show!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Becky Top 10 Horror of 2016

For the last 10 days I have been participating in Library Reads’ #LibFaves16 countdown of the top 10 books you read this year.  Library workers all over the country have been using the hashtag to countdown their favorite 2016 titles. You can click here whether you are on Twitter or not to see everything, or wait until the organizers compile it all nicely for you.

I decided that my participation would be the most helpful to all of you out there working with leisure readers if I focused on my favorite Horror reads of 2016. I have used the last 10 days to promote what horror from 2016 I think is most worthy of inclusion in your library collections.

Since I went all in for Booklist and reviewed a ton of horror in 2016, I have seen quite a bit. Not all of these titles were assigned by Booklist by the way. A few I reviewed on my own and for some I solicited the title from the author or publisher myself and then submitted a review to Booklist.

I do want to make a very big plug for Booklist here. They truly care about helping library workers help genre readers. They appreciate that I am a horror expert, and my editor, Rebecca Vnuk and the Publisher, Bill Ott, defer to me often when it comes to horror. If there is a title that they have not received an ARC for, but I think it needs to be in the magazine so library workers know about it, they let me solicit it myself and review it.

As the person either ordering for your horror collections and/or helping readers as they come to the desk, don’t underestimate how important this behind the scenes step is to making your job easier. If they only allowed reviews of titles they have been sent or if I didn’t alert them to titles that would be great for libraries if only they let me review it, you would not have known about many great books including my #9 and #2 titles (the #2 title even made the Booklist Horror Top Ten for all of 2016).

By the way, this is why I only review for Booklist. If I didn’t think they cared about helping you help readers, I would stop immediately. I only do it to help all of you.

Finally, before I get to my Top 10 I want to remind all of you that if you want to see every book I reviewed in 2016, simply click on the Reviews tag to bring every review up in reverse chronological order, or go to my Horror Reviews Index to see everything gathered in one place, alphabetical by author.

Okay, now here is the list as I unveiled it on #LibFaves16 from 12/12/16 thru today, with links to my full reviews.

10. The Sleepless by Nuzo Onoh
9.  I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas
8.  Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
7.  The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics
6.  Two, single author, short story collections. I read many horror, single author, story collections this year and I thought it was best to combine them into one. And yes, I know this is cheating, but since I am the only one in the library world doing this, I figured I can sneak in 1 extra title. Hey, it’s all to help you help patrons.
      6.1 Swift to Chase by Laird Barron
      6.2 A Long December by Richard Chizmar
5. Pressure by Brian Keene
4. Haven by Tom Deady (the best horror debut novel I read this year, hands down)
3. Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow (my top horror anthology of the year (again, I read many)
2. Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz
1. The Fireman by Joe Hill

A final comment about The Fireman. I finished the ARC of this book on January 1, 2016. It was the first book I read in 2016 and it is one of the best books I read all year. It has stayed with me in so many ways. I know I gush often about my Joe Hill love a lot on this blog and even in my book, but even if you do not like horror yourself, try this book. It is a genre-mashup and not 100% only horror, but it has all of the appeal factors that horror readers love.

Thanks for reading along with me in 2016. RA for All: Horror is taking the next few weeks off. If you are interested in the best books I read in 2016 across all genres, I will be posting those on RA for All on 12/19 which is the last work day of the year for that blog.

I will be back during the second week of January to preview what is shaping up to be an ever MORE EXCITING 2017 with lots of great horror content and information for all of you. I already have 3, 2017 horror titles waiting to be reviewed.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Horror Review Index Update December 2016

Here are the most recent reviews I have added to the Index.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Horror Sure Bets Best for Libraries

It's December and that means it is time for everyone to start talking about their favorite books of the year.

Tomorrow, I am also presenting the year end "Best Books" webinar for PLA and in that presentation I talk about the importance of including genre lists in your best lists.

As the library world's horror expert, I am here to help you identify the best horror for libraries all year long, so expect to see my personal top 10 of the year soon, but today, I wanted to point you to my two favorite lists for public libraries to use to identify some of the best, sure bet horror titles of the year.

Wait, why did I say best and sure bet? Yes I did. But how are they different? Well, that is the crux of my presentation tomorrow, but very quickly, the resources I will be sharing with you today take into consideration what the reader thinks of as best-- not just the "experts." Sure bets are "proven winners," and nothing says proven winner more actual reader approval.

I have two specific, reader driven horror best lists that sure be used as horror sure bets lists by you as you help leisure readers ad make purchasing decisions.

The first one is obviously reader driven, The Goodreads Choice Awards for Horror. Click here for the winner and the finalists. These are horror titles that real readers, all across the country, read and loved this year. This list needs to be used as a horror collection development tool for your library. These are proven winners that made it through multiple rounds of voting, titles that will go over well in any public library in America.

The second resource is not overtly reader driven. It is the NPR Best Books Concierge. This list is a favorite of mine because it puts all of the best books into a single pile and then allows the user of the list to customize the results-- thus making the results list reader driven.

I also enjoy how they filters are not just genre labels, but rather, based on actual reader tastes.  So, if you click on "the dark side," you get a list of all of the NPR staff's best books that could appeal to your horror fans.

This filter expands the definition of "horror," yes, but that can only help you to see the genre's reach into other areas (including nonfiction). And when you think more widely about what "horror" is, you will able to develop better collections and serve more potential horror readers.

Everyone wins.

Check back next week for more year in review posts here on the horror blog.