Jessica Moore

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  1. Christopher Martin 1834 Community Answer

    I am mostly a Sci-fi / fantasy reader, so when 20 or 30 years ago I was stuck with nothing to read but a book of short stories by Stephen King, I was like "FINE," because I'd rather read something than nothing.  I had low expectations but was VERY pleasantly surprised to find him a very solid storyteller.  He writes some of the best characters of any author I've read, and I went on to buy and read most of his books over the years.  It turns out he was popular for a reason.  :)

    UTC 2021-06-30 12:13 PM 2 Comments
  2. Sarah C 656 Accepted Answer

    Welcome to the horror community! There are so many different kinds of horror and even more subgenres, it can be hard to recommend a first book. What's head-shatteringly scary for one reader is a snoozefest for another. Instead, let's think about the way you want to be scared.

    Stephen King breaks it down into three kinds of horror: horror, terror, and gross-out.

    He defines horror as "spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around. It's when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm." Paranormal and supernatural horror falls into this category, too. I like Stephen King's Needful Things for beginners since it's really well-balanced and has a good sense of creeping dread throughout. Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire is pretty spooky and honestly, so is Bram Stoker's Dracula if you like the classics. Stick to bestsellers and top-rated titles because supernatural horror can get super cheesy.

    Gross-out horror needs no explanation! Carrie is a classic that involves lots of blood and is a quick read for King. American Psycho is a must-read for all horror fans, especially those who remember the 80s. I just finished a humor-horror book called Bigfoot in the Bronx that had a lot of squelchy stuff but would be good for newcomers. Gross-out horror is probably the most common bottom-shelf stuff out there, so unless you really like gore, I'd probably hold off on anything tagged "splatterpunk." It can leave a bad taste in the mouth if not handled with care.

    Terror is all of that, but exists only in the reader's mind. This taps into the fear of the unknown by exploring the absence of the expected, psychological horror, the dark. The Haunting of Hill House is a perfect example. It's a bit quiet for modern tastes, which makes it a great intro to horror. I highly recommend Bird Box - it's practically the definition of terror. My favorite arthouse book, House of Leaves, is so terrifying I can't read it at night, but has almost no gore or monsters. Terror is the scariest aspect of horror, but can be difficult to balance. 


    If you're not sure you'll like getting scared at all, try short stories. Always a solid choice for sampling a genre.


    Another great way to dip your toe into horror is through humor. Grady Hendrix's Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires balances all 3 types of horror with a heaping helping of comedy. One might not expect humor and horror to go together, but they're peanut butter and jelly!


    One rarely-mentioned caveat is to consider your triggers. Getting your scare on is one thing, but psychological trauma is another. I, for example, cannot abide children victims. Everyone says I'll love IT, but I know I won't be able to handle the content. It won't scare me, it'll disturb me. That's not the same thing. Unfortunately, a lot of horror-haters didn't think about this before reading, and subsequently think they don't enjoy the genre. So do your homework, read reviews, and feel free to ask members of the horror community! We equate scary with fun and want all readers to enjoy the ride. Have fun!

    UTC 2021-06-29 09:00 PM 1 Comment
  3. Once you get your fill with Stephen King, take a look at an old horror writer, Tom Tryon, from the 1970s. A style of writing old school horror, like Stephen King's early works. The Other and Harvest Home - they haunted me for a long time, particularly Harvest Home, which was made into a tv mini-series starring Bette Davis called The Dark Secret of Harvest Home.. They're a very good write if you can get your hands on the old books. 

    UTC 2021-07-18 05:49 AM 0 Comments

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