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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

NPR Summer Reading Focus is...HORROR!

Readers of this blog know that I often focus on horror because it’s my thing-- I am the library world’s horror maven. And I know that some of you roll your eyes when I bring it up either because you don’t like it or you don’t think enough of your patrons do to care.

Well, as I have been arguing all year [see this trends presentation from January, slide 12 specifically which includes speaking notes], Horror is hugely popular right now in all media. The last 12 months have seen an explosion in the popularity of horror with a mainstream audience. Here are just two small examples since the start of 2018, we have seen Get Out win the Oscar for best screenplay and Stephen King awarded the PEN America Literary Service Award for a critically acclaimed writer whose body of work “helps us understand and interpret the human condition.”

Obviously I am not alone in understanding just how popular Horror is right now because NPR is dedicating their entire Summer Reading series to HORROR. From their site:

It's Aliiiiiive! This Year, Our Summer Reader Poll Is All About Horror
This year's summer poll has me hiding under the bed — whether or not there's a monster there — because, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, we're celebrating horror. And I, your faithful correspondent, was scarred for life by a battered copy of Cujo I found in a summer house when I was a kid — so I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I'm making here to bring you the best of everything creepy, chilling and downright terrifying. 
So what scares you? Besides clowns, I mean, because everyone is scared of clowns. Use the form on this page to vote for your five favorite horror novels or stories. Based on what you tell us, our expert panel of horror lovers (Tananrive DueStephen Graham JonesGrady Hendrix and Ruthanna Emrys — more on them soon!) will curate a final list of 100 titles guaranteed to keep your spine chilled and your teeth rattling no matter how hot this summer gets. 
But first, a few rules (like, y'know, don't go back in the house) proposed by our panel: 
What can you nominate?Series books: We're considering series books as a single entry — so you'd vote for Stephen King's Dark Tower series, rather than The Gunslinger, or R.L. Stine's entire Goosebumps oeuvre rather than one single book — because who can pick just one?Short story collections: If there's a collection with lots of great stories — say, Clive Barker's Books of Blood — that's one single entry.Single short stories or novellas: On the other hand, if there's a standout story — say, "The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson — but you can't remember what-all else was in the book, feel free to nominate that one story as its own entry.
Limit yourself to five choicesBut don't hesitate to nominate something you know other people already picked — we count everything up, and our expert panelists pay attention to what's popular (and yes, it's okay if all of you vote for Stephen King). 
Don't limit yourself otherwiseReally, don't! If it scares the bleep out of you, we want to know about it. Just don't be too sad if your favorite doesn't make the final 100.
Click here to participate by voting for your five favorite horror novels. I am going to have to think about this long and hard before I vote.

And then as it says above, all summer long there will be more horror content from their expert panel of horror lovers (Tananrive DueStephen Graham JonesGrady Hendrix and Ruthanna Emrys — more on them soon!) who will also curate a final list of 100 titles. I know the first three personally [and Grady very well] and I have great confidence in the list they will craft.

So maybe now you will all listen to me. It’s not just crazy Becky who wants to talk about horror people.

Also, as usual, NPR Books does a great job linking to past year’s summer reading polls because as you know, the backlist is your best friend when doing RA. [If you don’t know this, I have no idea what blog you have been reading, but click here to see the hundreds on times I have mentioned this point.] Right after the ad break on the page, you can find direct links to the Graphic Novel and Comics poll and the Romance one.

Oooh, we are going to have fun this summer. I already had a bunch of horror surprises in the works, but now it isn’t just me stoking the horror fires. I now have a major media outlet behind me, backing up what I have been telling you all for months.

If you are still resisting horror, now is the time to give up and turn yourself over to the power of fear. You no longer can make excuses. You have nowhere else to hide. Surrender. But don’t worry, it’s all for fun.

Encourage your patrons to vote here. And you too.

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