Summer Scares 2019 Resources

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Becky's Top 10 Horror of the Year

This post lists my Top 10 Horror titles that came out in 2019 with the caveat that I read them. This means there are some great books from 2019 that I did not get to, books which probably would have made it on the list if I had read them.

I will include some commentary and include some also rans in my descriptions. But the top 10 itself was revealed by me in this thread as part of #LibFaves19 on Twitter from December 9 through 18.

All titles are linked to my longer review [click on the title] which also have more readalike options and I have included my "Three Words That Describe This Book" to make it easier for you to book talk each title.

10. The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher [claustrophobic, psychologically intense, found book frame]: this title is based upon a book that influenced Lovecraft and has aspects of the folk horror subgenre. It hits on a lot of trends, yes, but it is also a compelling and intense read on its own

9. The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz [unsettling, book about reading, thought provoking]: the best pulp horror I read all year. It is also a horror book about what a good book means to its reader. And it has an ending that is like a dream come true for hard core readers. If you love to read and can handle some gore, this book is for you.

8. A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs [cosmic, disorienting, thought provoking]: This is a volume of 2 novellas packaged as one book. Novellas are very popular right now, and these are two of the best of the year.

7. Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories edited by Ellen Datlow [full range of horror, modern ghost stories, coming of age themes]: A diverse TOC with 27 new stories and only 3 reprints, these are the best voices of horror today writing 21st century ghost stories as good as the classics we have recycled for years.

6. Tinfoil Butterfly by Rachel Eve Moulton [disturbing, character centered, beautiful writing about evil]: Every year I include at least 1 first novel somewhere in my list and this is it. I have a longer post with my top 15 debut horror novels in alphabetical order here.

5. Violet by Scott Thomas [awesome world building, steadily building terror, character centered]: A just about perfect horror story that is so original. Just read my review and then read this book.

4. Wanderers by Chuck Wendig [epic, intense, character centered]: a story so unsettling it makes you physically uncomfortable and yet, written in a way that you literally cannot stop yourself from reading just a little bit more. One of the best "End of a World" stories I have ever read.

And now my top 3, two of which are a little unconventional.

3. Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa [Orwell updated, character centered, thought provoking]: technically this is a dystopian SF title, but there is true terror here and much of it inspired by a significant body horror story line. I wanted to include this title in any best horror list precisely because many of you have seen it on more traditional "best lists" or on best translated lists already. It is being marketed [rightly so] to literary fiction readers, but this is also a horror book. Don't forget that. You could give readers who enjoyed this title, The Rust Maidens by Kiste, last year's winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel.

2. The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O'Meara [biography/memoir mashup, lost history, impassioned]: This is a nonfiction title, but it is all about horror, especially the beginnings of the horror movie industry. There is also the real life horror of being a woman in the genre film industry, both in the past and up to the current day.

1. Growing Things by Paul Tremblay [strong narrative voice, uncomfortable, thought provoking] two years in a row for Tremblay! This collection, like the novel Cabin at the End of the World, has appeared on many overall best lists. I was one of the first people to read and review this book professionally [Booklist review] and I will be honest, I was tough on it going in because how could he top Cabin? But I could not deny how perfect it is.  I think this screen shot from my longer review on the main blog sums up the reading experience of this collection:
I did want to mention 2 other story collections that were top notch this year, one you have heard of and one you haven't. Links go to my Booklist review:

I am sure you already have the Hill, but do yourself a favor, go order the Chambers. It is excellent. 

So that's a wrap on my Top Horror for Libraries for 2019. I will be posting my overall "Best Books I Read in 2019" over on RA for All and my best Horror Horror fo the Decade here on the horror blog both on 12/27, my last work day of the year.

In the meantime, go read a scary book. Goodness knows I have given you plenty of worthy options.

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