Becky Spratford

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Horror Under Wraps | The Reader's Shelf

Mary SanGiovanni on Lovecraftian & Cosmic Horror: A Primer for Library Workers

PREMIUM

The Blade Between

Filled with intense dread and unease; well-drawn if flawed characters; social commentary; and a satisfying resolution, this is a great example of how a century-old subgenre can still speak directly to today’s readers. Direct those who want more to John Langan’s The Fisherman, Caitlín R. Kiernan’s Agents of Dreamland, or T. Kingfisher’s The Twisted Ones.

PREMIUM

The Hollow Places

This unsettling, character-driven story of a young woman in search of herself reads like a darker, more macabre version of Alice in Wonderland, keeping readers turning the pages long after dark. Suggest with confidence to fans of Jeff VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach” trilogy or Zoje Stage’s Wonderland.

PREMIUM

Writing in the Dark

This excellent writing guide by an accomplished author and teacher will enhance all collections with its instruction. It’s also a fun read that elucidates the appeal of horror while also functioning as a solid readers’ advisory resource.

Boneset & Feathers

Kiste casts a spell with this original and suspenseful horror story, but it holds more than meets the eye. Clearly influenced by Shirley Jackson, this will appeal to fans of Naomi Alderman’s The Power, Alexis Henderson’s The Year of the Witching, or Zoje Stage’s Wonderland.

PREMIUM

The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories

This desperately needed anthology is meticulously researched and translated, offering stories from a variety of perspectives across five continents, and representing the broad range of storytelling styles and tropes that are used by all horror storytellers regardless of nationality. Readers will be clamoring for these fresh tales by current authors they probably didn’t know existed. Consider pairing it with A World of Horror edited by Eric Guignard.

Plain Bad Heroines

With a pointed female focus, an unease constantly seeping in from the perimeter, spilling fear all over the page at key moments, and characters who leap off the page, this volume will be sure to inspire many fans. Comparisons to Marisha Pessl’s Night Film or Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger are spot on, but this will also appeal to fans of dark speculative tales such as Mira Grant’s Into the Drowning Deep and Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth.

Ring Shout

Not only the perfect choice for fans of Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country or Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, but also of other dual-threat fun and thought-provoking speculative fiction such as Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth or Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation.

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