Friday, October 26, 2012

Scare Up a Good Read

I was first introduced to the horror genre in my 9th grade English class when we were assigned Stephen King's short story collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes. As one prone to nightmares, I was a little wary about reading anything remotely scary. But after I finished "The End of the Whole Mess," I was hooked and quickly plowed through the rest of the collection.

Since then, I've learned that there are many, many different kinds of horror. There are the classic masters - Poe, Stoker, Lovecraft - whose stories have frightened generations of readers. There are books that explore the darkest reaches of the human mind, and those that deal in supernatural forces. Of course, tales of vampires, werewolves and zombies have always been part of the genre, as are those books that poke fun at the things that go bump in the night.

Classic horror - Classic doesn't always have to mean old (though there's certainly nothing wrong with that!) Covering many horror subgenres, the classics are those that have both stood the test of time and that have defined and shaped the genre.

The Complete Stories of Edgar Allen Poe  - "The Raven," "The Tell-Tale Hart," "The Fall of the House of Usher," and many more classic gothic horror tales by the master.
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty - The classic tale of demonic possession that inspired many movies.
Dracula by Bram Stoker - The quintessential vampire novel. Try to read it and not hear Bela Legosi's voice.
Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelly - Shelly's misunderstood monster still lives on today in books, movies and thousands of Halloween costumes
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson - Eerie and menacing, Jackson's tale of a 80-year-old haunted mansion will stay with you for months afterwards.
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells - Wells' tale of genetic engineering gone horribly wrong was decades ahead of it's time, and is even more frighting today.
Psycho by Robert Bloch - Norman Bates and his mother. Need I say more?
Tales of H.P. Lovecraft - "The Call of Cthulhu," "The Dunwich Horror," "The Outsider" and more in this collection of Lovecraft's more suspenseful and horrifying tales.

Psychological horror - What darkness lies in the hearts of men and women? These books explore monsters and horror that we inflict upon each other.

Abandon by Blake Crouch - Investigating the bizarre and abrupt disappearance of every citizen from a gold-mining town over a century earlier, a history professor and his daughter embark on the journey aware that the last team that attempted to solve the mystery was never heard from again.
A Dark Matter by Peter Straub - Old friends try to come to grips with the darkness of the past--a secret ritual that left behind a gruesomely dismembered body--and find themselves face-to-face with the evil they helped create.
The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValleLanding in a budget-strapped mental institution after being accused of a crime he does not remember, Pepper is assaulted by a monstrous creature that has been attacking patients but that the hospital staff does not believe exists.
Misery by Stephen King- Rescued from a car crash by a psychotic woman claiming to be a fan, novelist Paul Sheldon becomes a captive invalid in her secluded Colorado farmhouse.

And more ... (click on the title for a description)
Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon
The Terror by Dan Simmons (my review of this book is here)
What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz
Your House is on Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye

The Occult - The supernatural, spirits and black magic are staples of the horror genre. These books will give you chills, night or day.

Carrie by Stephen King - A repressed teenager uses her telekinetic powers to avenge the cruel jokes of her classmates. A remake of the classic 1976 movie based on the books is due out next year.
Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers - In 1862 London, the ghost of John Polidori, the one-time physician of Lord Byron, is determined to possess the life and soul of an innocent young girl, and a group of mismatched allies must enter into a supernatural underworld in order to stop him.
Horns by Joe Hill- After his childhood sweetheart is brutally killed and suspicion falls on him, Ig Parrish goes on a drinking binge and wakes up with horns on his head, hate in his heart, and an incredible new power which he uses in the name of vengeance.

And more ... (click on the title for a description)
Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker
The Thirteen by Susie Moloney
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman

The Funny Side of Horror - Are you more Shaun of the Dead than Dawn of the Dead? The horror genre is ripe for parody, and these books take full advantage. Although humor certainly doesn't mean you won't have your pants scared off!

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith - Reveals the hidden life of the sixteenth U.S. president, who was actually a vampire-hunter obsessed with the complete elimination of the un-dead, and uncovers the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of the nation.
Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore - Goth girl Abby Normal and her brainiac boyfriend pursue a vampire cat and his minions, but things become even more complicated with the arrival of three ancient vampires intent on getting some payback.
Jane and the Damned by Janet Mullany - Jane Austen, turned into a vampire against her will, joins a group of English vampires in putting their superhuman strength and speed to the service of their country and thwarting a French invasion.
This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It by David Wong - The sequel to John Dies at the End in which our heroes find that books and movies about zombies may have triggered a zombie apocalypse, despite a total world absence of zombies. It takes you on a wild ride with two slackers from the Midwest who really have better things to do with their time than prevent disaster.

And more ... (click on the title for a description)
Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel by Madeleine Roux
Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion by Alan Goldsher
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith

Zombies and Werewolves and Vampires, Oh My! - The staples of the horror genre are the creatures of our nightmares made real. While vampires and werewolves have been the classic manifestations, zombies are gaining popularity among writers and readers of horror alike.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong - On the eve of her marriage, Elena Michaels learns that her fiancĂ© has been concealing his secret life as a werewolf, and, as a bonus, he has made her into one also.
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist  - Twelve-year-old Oskar is obsessed by the murder that's taken place in his neighborhood. Then he meets the new girl from next door. She's a bit weird, though. And she only comes out at night.
Zone One by Colson Whitehead -  In a post-apocalyptic world decimated by zombies, survivor efforts to rebuild are focused on Manhattan, where civilian team member Mark Spitz works to eliminate remaining infected stragglers and remembers his horrifying experiences at the height of the zombie plague.

And more ... (click on the title for a description) 
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Petrified by Graham Masterton
Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory
'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

~ Allison, Adult Services

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