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NextReads Newsletter Profile: Horror

Post by Katherine Bradley Johnson
Posted October 17, 2014 in NextReads

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Horror fiction offers an unusual combination of elements that keep fans turning pages, even though sometimes they can hardly bear to look! In these stories, readers care what happens to the characters, and most want to feel the terror themselves as they read. The cause of that sense of fear can be something we know isn't real, but within the story it must seem real enough to make us believe something bad is happening to the people in the book. In daily life, we don't believe in vampires, but a successful vampire story brings us into a world where those undead bloodsuckers have actual power to harm or corrupt ordinary humans. Even humorous horror (such as David Wong's This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It) is believable within the covers of the book and delivers creepy feelings.

With that definition of horror fiction as a base, NextReads aims to help you fill your readers' reading lists with books that will satisfy the fear factor, but we also want to offer a variety of choices.  The NextReads Horror newsletter (distributed every other month) includes four or five new and recently released books that have been well reviewed and which your library likely holds in your collection. The new titles may be novels, story collections by a single author, or anthologies, but each represents the best available excursion into the realm of terror. Readers may find a new interpretation of the zombie apocalypse, a thrilling account of terror in the deep woods, and a breath-stopping depiction of entrapment in a dark cellar. Without NextReads, readers might not have found these books -- guaranteed bestsellers usually don't appear among the new books in a Horror newsletter. That also means the newsletter's selections will be less likely to have a waiting list at your library, meaning horror lovers will leave your library happy. 

In addition to the list of new books, Horror newsletters include four or five older books, chosen according to a theme such as "Monsters," "Past Bram Stoker Award Winners," and "Vampire Books with Bite" (these vampires aren't cuddly).

The August 2014 newsletter features new books that include a tale of science gone awry; post-apocalyptic terror; a deadly ghost-like power in the deep woods; an update on the ghostly vanishing hitchhiker legend; and a Victorian Gothic vampire excursion. The theme section collects a variety of ghost stories, each different from the others, but all calculated to make your hair stand on end.

If you don't read horror yourself but would like to better serve the horror fiends that emerge in the weeks leading up to Halloween, the NextReads Horror newsletter offers plenty of possibilities. Try checking out the newsletter linked above (August 2014), and if you find something to enjoy, subscribe!. The books maybe be scary, but this newsletter sure isn't. 

Readers can sign up to receive NextReads Horror by email through your library -- the newsletters arrive in February, April, June, August, October, and December. Look forward to some exquisitely dread-inspiring books that will keep you awake until it's safe to turn out the lights!

The Horror newsletter is one of 20+ NextReads Newsletters available from local libraries who subscribe to LibraryAware.

Katherine Bradley Johnson is a NextReads Bibliographer at NoveList.