Horror RA Print Titles:
While the Internet is full of reliable information to help horror readers, below is a list of print materials, besides this text, that will help you learn about the genre, it’s appeal, trends, and history all while arming you with a full arsenal of titles and authors to suggest to patrons immediately.
- The Readers' Advisory Guide to Horror, 3rd edition by Becky Siegel Spratford [ALA, Editions 2021]. This should be where you begin as it is the only resource tailored to your work in the library.
- The Best Horror of the Year edited by Ellen Datlow. An annual publication that began in 2009; 2020 brought Volume Twelveth. Datlow, the most acclaimed horror editor in the world, considers the very best short horror fiction published in print and online, by large publishers and small presses, from all over the world. The only limitation is that it was published during the previous year, in English. Datlow has a track record of “breaking” new voices who are now household names such as Stephen Graham Jones, through these volumes. While skimming the table of contents will reveal the names of authors you should consider collecting and suggesting, the reason this resource is a treasure is the “Summation” of the year in horror that Datlow includes at the start of each volume. She lists not only the award winners from the year that was, but also provides her insight into the key novels, collections, anthologies, news, and more. You cannot find a more comprehensive, and yet still easily digestible, snapshot of the entire genre anywhere else.
- Danse Macabre by Stephen King. A social science look at the horror genre in all media with a little bit of memoir thrown in for good measure. It is as fascinating and read as it is enlightening. If you can’t wrap your head around why people like horror, this is the book to read to help you understand. There is no one better to explain the appeal of the genre than the modern master who has satisfied hundreds of thousands of readers through his application of the genre.
- End of the Road by Brian Keene. While King covered the generation that was in horror, Keene’s newer title has been proclaimed as the heir to Danse Macabre. It is a book about the horror genre from the 1990s to today and even looking into the future, written by one of the most respected authors of his generation. Keene is also very honest, that over the course of this horror road trip, he is searching out a way to come to terms with personal loss and grief, making this volume more than an invaluable resource about the horror genre, it is also a moving memoir of a writer as he enters the third act of his career.
- Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson. An award winning look at the most important women in horror, science fiction and fantasy, this is more than an encyclopedia. Along with extremely fun and compelling stories of the lives of women, some of whom everyone knows and others, who after reading this book you will never forget, it is also a volume filled with lists of read and watch suggestions, discussions of the next generation of women, and insight into the genre itself.
- Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ‘70s and ‘80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix. One of the biggest trends in horror during these first few decades of the 21st Century is an intense look at the bizarre and head turning world of horror in the 1970s and 80s, and no one has a more comprehensive recap of those strange and financially lucrative years than Hendrix. Written with a snarky voice, this award-winning text is extremely well researched and recounted with authority, even when the topic is killer crabs or lecherous leprechauns. He not only looks at these outrageous titles and their authors with affection and humor, but also makes a compelling argument as to why
- Writing in the Dark by Tim Waggoner. Accessible, useful and engaging, this guide is a deep dive into the genre itself as much as it is a how-to textbook. There are nuggets of advice from horror authors from all over the world, many of whom your patrons know and love, but he also breaks down the entire genre and its enduring appeal in a way that will speak equally to all, from fans to fraidy cats. In 2022, Waggoner also released Writing in the Dark: The Workbook which I also highly recommend.
- BookRiot: An online community and resource on all things books. Horror gets plenty of attention here.
- Cemetery Dance: In general this is a great resource but in particular, Brian Keene's History of Horror Fiction is a comprehensive and engaging resource.
- Diversity in Horror Fiction: A blog dedicated to that topic. The link goes directly to the book list page organized by identity of the author.
- Fantastic Fiction: This is a great general fiction resources that has a lot of content on horror authors and titles. It also compiles awards won, short stories, and author web pages.
- Goodreads: That link takes you into the main page for horror. From there you can find links to many books, related genres, and tons of readers talking about the books they love. Don't tell me your horror readers won't talk to you at the desk; they are talking to you on Goodreads. Go "listen" to them.
- Jump Scares: Scary Books for Scary People: Run by Emily Hughes this site contains her new title archive. You want to know what is coming up, click here (includes archives of past years).
- Nightfire: Tor's new horror imprint but they also have many excellent articles, essays, and booklists published regularly.
- Nightmare Magazine's "The H Word" Column: a monthly column by writers about the genre. Click here for more by me about this column.
- The Seers Table: The Horror Writers Association's column by the Diverse Works inclusion committee that presents a monthly list of women, authors of color, and LGTBQ horror writers that you should know about, read, and collect for your libraries.
- Spooky Middle Grade: a coalition of horror authors who write for ages 3-8. They work with educators and libraries to promote spooky books as a great read for kids all year long. They will appear at your library.
- This is Horror: My favorite overall horror resource- podcast, reviews, features. Just go and look for yourself.
- Booked: After 10 years, they have amassed a database of hundreds of interviews with horror authors and reviews of titles. With a two person team you are able to get multiple perspectives on the same title, titles you can “listen about” allowing you to be able to suggest them to your patrons with confidence without ever reading them for yourself. Booked is an excellent time saver for both collection development and readers’ advisory, and with their long history, you can find great backlist suggestions that might otherwise just be languishing on the shelf.
- Books in the Freezer: A virtual book club where they discuss horror fiction with both reverence and a sense of humor. The two person team of a man and a woman are readers first and genre fans second, so their insight is quite useful to the library worker. The title refers to the pop culture reference that if a book scares you too much you should hide it in the freezer. This is the 2023 Summer Scares official podcast partner
- Talking Scared: Hosted by Neil McRobert, this British podcast is conversation based. Each episode is a dialog between the host and the author of a current book. McRobert breaks down the appeal and themes of the book with the author. This would be my top choice for understanding the most popular, current titles. McRobert does the work for you so that you can hand out these books, with confidence, to their best reader.
- This is Horror: See above in resources section.
And, for access to all of the Summer Scares resources, lists, and vetted titles click here for its page.