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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Getting Ready For 31 Days of Horror: Nonfiction for Horror Readers

I have been spending the entire day prepping the horror blog for the 31 Days of Horror onslaught that will begin on October 1. 

And then, into my email box came a very timely surprise-- the October issue of NoveList's RA News with this article by Audrey Barbakoff entitled "Nonfiction for Horror Readers." And, she quotes me, so I think it is worth your time.

Click through or see below for a teaser.

And make sure to check out RA for All: Horror daily starting 10/1. [And yes that means I have to run 2 blogs a day. Sorry in advance if I get crabby on this blog around October 15]


Nonfiction for Horror Readers
by Audrey Barbakoff
*This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of RA News.*
The room is dark. Something creaks behind you. Was it just the house settling, or were those footsteps? And what just moved in the corner of your eye?

Readers who delight in a racing heart and a chill up their spine do not have to be limited to haunting the horror section. Give them a Halloween treat by bringing them to the nonfiction shelves, where truth can be more frightening than fiction.

Terrifying true tales have much to offer the fear aficionado. First and foremost, horror readers are seeking an emotional experience. "The central appeal of horror is the feeling it generates," writes Becky Siegel Spratford in The Readers' Advisory Guide to Horror, Second Edition. "There is no question that the tone and mood of a horror book are the most important appeal factors for horror readers." Real-world stories set against a similarly dark and sinister atmosphere have the power to engage these readers as strongly as fiction.

Horror is also unique from other highly atmospheric fiction in the way it goes about generating that emotion. Readers' Advisory expert Joyce Saricks agrees that horror "demand[s] an emotional reaction from readers: true fear," but then specifies that such fear must be "generated by the unknown." In horror novels, evil is terrifying because it is fundamentally irrational. It cannot be explained away, and it just might be sneaking up behind you as you so innocently turn the page.

Many works of nonfiction also confront the terrifying unknown. Some books delve into the ultimately unfathomable minds of killers, sociopaths, and criminals. (Many books of this type are also true crime. For an introduction to that topic, read Lock Your Doors, Don't Talk to Strangers, and Other True Crime Advice by Mike Nilsson.) Others put their readers face-to-face with an amoral universe which inflicts disaster on the innocent. Often they tackle historical events both eerie and unexplained.

These darkly atmospheric true-life tales of the unknown will keep a horror reader company upon a midnight dreary. 

You will have to click here for the full suggested list.  If you dare....

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