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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Announcing the Summer Scares Reading List

Today is launch day for the first annual Summer Scares reading list. This press release below is being pushed out all over the book world, but it is also just the beginning. 

It's hard to believe that this all began when Grady Hendrix, J.G. Faherty, and I were sitting around and simply chatting about how we wished that more people read horror. And now, we have a team of librarians, authors, publishers, and libraries already working to make this all happen on a National scale.

At its most basic, Summer Scares is a list of suggested books for all ages of readers. We have chosen titles that are at least 2 years old, in print, and easily available to purchase for you to add to your collections and even use for book discussions. We also have gone out of our way to choose a range of  titles, from very literary to pulp and all in between. Some are creepy, some tense and atmospheric, and others terrifying. This wide range accurately represents all the horror genre has to offer. We even have an anthology because short stories are a big part of horror too. We have also provided a list that is inclusive because representing all voices is a vital part of the RA work we all do.

But this program is more than the list and the 9 books. It is a national program to connect horror authors with libraries. It is a program that will make it easy for you, the library worker, to provide horror programming, create displays, and make suggestions. As a committee and through our partners, we will begin pushing out resources, interviews with the selected authors, and lists of even more titles soon. You can also start signing up to be connected with a horror author in your area right now to plan summer book discussions, horror themed programming, and we even have $500 grants available for interested libraries.

But that is for later. Let's enjoy today. Read on below and visit the HWA’s Libraries web page or my FAQ a resources page for Summer Scares over on the horror blog for all of the details.


In celebration of National Library Lover’s Day, the Horror Writers Association (HWA), in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Library Journal/School Library Journal, is delighted to announce the first annual Summer Scares Reading List, which includes titles selected by a panel of authors and librarians and is designed to promote horror as a great reading option for all ages, during any time of the year.

Each year, three titles will be chosen in the Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade categories, and for 2019 they are:

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones (William Morrow Paperbacks, 2017)
My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due (Harper Voyager, 1998)
Earthworm Gods by Brian Keene (Deadite Press, 2012)

Rotters by Daniel Kraus (Ember, 2012)
Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, edited by April Genevieve Tucholke (Speak, 2016)
Devil and Winnie Flynn by Micol Ostow (Penguin Random House Publisher Services, 2015)

Doll Bones Holly Black (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015)
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014)
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (Algonquin Young Readers, 2016)

The goal of the Summer Scares program is to introduce horror titles to school and public library workers in order to help them start conversations with readers that will extend beyond the books from each list and promote reading for years to come. Along with the annual list of recommended titles for readers of all ages, the Summer Scares committee will also release themed lists of even more “read-alike” titles for libraries to use when suggesting books to readers this summer and all year long. And, in order to help libraries forge stronger connections between books and readers, the Summer Scares committee will be working with both the recommended list authors and horror authors from all over the country, to provide free programming to libraries. From author visits (both in person and virtual) to book discussions to horror themed events, Summer Scares is focused on connecting horror creators with libraries and readers all year long.

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) will also be hosting special Library Day programming at its annual StokerCon event, which will be held May 9-12 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Several of the authors from the Summer Scares reading list, as well as the committee members, will be in attendance. Authors and committee members will also be available throughout the year for on-site and/or remote appearances to libraries and schools to promote the Summer Scares program and discuss the use of horror fiction as a tool to increase readership and nurture a love of reading.

The Summer Scares program committee consists of award-winning author Grady Hendrix (We Sold Our Souls, Paperbacks from Hell), Becky Spratford (library consultant, author of The Readers Advisory Guide to Horror, 2nd Ed.), Carolyn Ciesla (library director, academic dean, book reviewer), Kiera Parrott (reviews director for Library Journal and School Library Journal), Kelly Jensen (editor, Book Riot, author of [Don’t] Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health), and JG Faherty (HWA Library Program director, author of The Cure and Carnival of Fear). 

The HWA is a non-profit organization of writers and publishing professionals, and the oldest organization dedicated to the horror/dark fiction genre. One of the HWA’s missions is to foster an appreciation of reading through extensive programming and partnerships with libraries, schools, and literacy-based organizations. 

For more information about the Summer Scares reading program, including how to obtain promotional materials and schedule events with the authors/committee members, visit the HWA’s Libraries web page (, Becky Spratford’s Reader’s Advisory Horror Blog RA for All: Horror (, or the Book Riot, School Library Journal, Library Journal, or United for Libraries websites and social media sites. 

You can also contact JG Faherty, HWA Library Program Director (libraries [at] horror [dot] org) or Becky Spratford, HWA Secretary (bspratford [at] hotmail [dot] com).


Sonia Reppe said...

Has anyone thought it's a problem that Earthworm Gods is mostly not available in any libraries? For Illinois, it looks like only Fountaindale has it.

Sonia Reppe said...

Also you've inspired me to do a book talk in June called "Summer Scares"

Becky said...

Sonia, we thought of that but it is available easily from the publisher. And it isn't very expensive. We wanted to make sure that we had a "pulp" title on the list and knew that none would be readily available already. We went with one that was by a well known author, where there was a high quality and easy to obtain copy available, and was discussable. This title is an early example of Cli-Fi.