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The Horror Readers' Advisory: The Librarian's Guide to Vampires, Killer Tomatoes, and Haunted Houses.

SPRATFORD, Beckly Siegel & CLAUSEN, Tammy Hennigh. The horror readers' advisory; the librarian's guide to vampires, killer tomatoes, and haunted houses. ALA Editions. 161p. bibliog. index, c2004. 0-8389-0871-3. $36.00. A

If your budget allows nothing else, then this series entry on horror is an adequate choice. In a mere 147 pages, the authors manage to pack enough material to educate someone who knows nothing about horror literature (and film). Enough to help the most avid horror patron? Perhaps not. But enough to quench the thirst of those who are new to the genre and to guide them to new and satisfying reads. The book opens with a short history of horror in literature and film. The authors then take a longer look at the advisory interview and how best to match readers and horror books. This chapter does not just advise on advising but does a dissection of the literary devices in horror and allows the librarian to understand what this literature is about, how it moves readers, what the types are, and who will enjoy them. The next chapter brings the librarian up to speed on the classics of horror--there are some surprising entries, such as Conrad's Heart of Darkness and some of the earliest works in the genre, stretching back to the 18th century.

After the preliminaries the authors sink their fangs ... er, teeth into the various horror icons. The list is thorough: ghosts, mummies, zombies, golems and vampires, werewolves, animals of terror, joined by maniacs and other monsters, and black magic, witches, warlocks, and the occult. Demonic possession and Satanism, scientific and biomedical terror, psychological horror, and the newest development, splatterpunk (an extreme and explicit version), round out the list: Each chapter includes a short precis and a list of representative authors. In several additional chapters the book advises on horror resources, collection development, and marketing the collection. There are appendices, the best of which addresses the Big Horror Three--King, Koontz, and Rice.

There is a lot packed between the soft covers of this book--it whispers to you in the darkness between the stacks in the library's basement. It beckons the innocent librarian with silken strands of a tempting nature. But beware--once trapped by the sickly sweet information, once bitten by the razor sharp paper fangs of the book, once haunted by the creatures lurking in the shadows of this volume, the unwary librarian may never return to the lands of other genres, lost forever to the hypnotic appeal of Dracula and his children. Joseph DeMarco, Libn., St. Joseph's Sch., Philadelphia, PA
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:DeMarco, Joseph
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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