This year, I am taking this list rather seriously since I am also in the research stages of working on the second edition of my horror book for the American Library Association. I also have the added benefit of now being a member of the Horror Writers Association.
This has been a year dominated by non-horror vampire books like the Twilight series and the Sookie Stackhouse series, and a few very high profile horror titles such as The Strain by director Guillermo del Toro and the Jane Austen horror remakes Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, just to name a few.
The popularity of these titles with a general audience has been exciting, but there are also many horror titles that deserve more press. This time of year is when people pay the most attention, so here is the first of three posts in the coming days that will highlight some great horror reads, publishers, and resources.
As part of my regular promotion of our displays at the BPL, I posted my Horror display annotations here.
The books I included had a few requirements. I could only list 10, they had to have come out in 2009, and we had to own them at BPL. I also wanted to focus on some of the non-bestselling authors who are popular at Berwyn. Again the list can be found here, but here are the books I included:
- He is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson edited by Christopher Conlon: If you only read one horror collection this year, this is the one
- High Bloods by John Farris
- Castaways by Brian Keene: I will have a separate post on this title
- The Bone Factory by Nate Kenyon
- The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan
- Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry: which I wrote about here and here
- Blood and Ice by Robert Masello: historic and horror
- Basilisk by Graham Masterton
- The Unseen by Alexander Sokoloff: I will have a separate post on this title
- The Midnight Guardian by Sarah Jane Stratford: a new author who Sokoloff told me to check out
Now on to some of the big name releases right now. Of course, everyone is excited for the new Stephen King, Under the Dome, which is coming out on November 10. Under the Dome follows the residents in a small town in Maine after an unexplained force field blocks them off from the rest of the world. This book is getting a lot of press both because it is part of these current book price wars and because it is Stephen King! Seriously though, this one man has captured the imagination of our entire country. People who do not read horror, love his books. No matter in which genre you try to place his works, Stephen King is one of our national treasures. Don't believe me, click here or here.
Besides giving us some wonderful books to read, the next best thing Stephen King has given the world is his son, Joe Hill. Hill has only written a few books, but each has won him critical praise, awards, and millions of fans. He has been working on a horror graphic novel series called Locke and Key with the artist Gabriel Rodriguez. I read the first one, Welcome to Lovecraft and wrote about it here. The next installment, Head Games, came out a few weeks ago and is even more creepy and unsettling than the first. Although I will write in detail about this book on this blog in a few days, I wanted to leave you with this quote from the introduction by Warren Ellis, "...these comics are really remarkably good, among the best written comics I have seen in the last two years..."
I also wanted to remind you that the first official sequel to Dracula has just been published. Co-authored by a Stoker relative, Dracula The Un-Dead is based on Bram Stoker's handwritten notes and follows Jonathan and Mina's son. The reviews are so-so, but it is worth mentioning.
In the next Horror 2009 post I will write about some other lesser known 2009 titles that are worth your time and highlight the key horror publishers. Part three will focus on horror resources. I will also have a special 3 book What I'm Reading post highlighting three recent horror releases.