This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is covering the topic of gateway books. In your favorite genre, what books are best for newcomers? Firstly, my favorite genre is horror. Secondly, I’ve read so much of it that this was a little difficult. So many books seemed important or worthy or as if they’d easily win over a new reader. This is a narrowed down list, and hopefully I can make it sound compelling.
5. John Dies at the End by David Wong. This is one of my favorite horror novels of all time, and the reason I think it works as an introductory book is it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. It’s a horror comedy. That’s often a good way to ease someone in, especially when I find that most people don’t try horror because they’re afraid it will scare them too badly. This book has scares and gross-outs, but it also handles it all with humor, poop jokes, and great characters. Surely that doesn’t sound too intimidating. But also entertaining.
4. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. While this is paranormal and weird, it’s also psychological. Again, a good way to lure people in who are afraid of trying horror is by going for things that could also fit in the thriller category. Most readers are always ready for something psychologically twisted, even if they’re not ready for extreme bouts of violence. This fits that slot nicely. It’s also a modern classic, so when facing someone who wants to debate the literary worth of horror, I’d throw this their way.
3. The Books of Blood by Clive Barker. Short stories are another good way to prod someone into trying something new. It’s not a huge commitment like a whole novel. Just read this one short story. See if you can get them hooked in until suddenly, whoops, they’ve read the whole book. This particular set of stories is shocking and beautifully written and very affecting. Grab-you-by-the-throat sort of stuff that’s probably best for people who aren’t as nervous about the horror factor.
2.The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. A very popular best seller is also a good place to start. Especially if it’s gained the reputation this one has, becoming a horror classic as the years have passed. Hannibal Lecter is an audience favorite, so it shouldn’t be hard to convince someone to try this. More than being outright violent, this book is tense and suspenseful, which at its heart is where fear really lies. It’s a perfect example of horror done right.
1. The Shining by Stephen King. Of course the ultimate choice would have to be Stephen King. The hard part is which one. This is more a placeholder than anything, since depending on the reader, I might make different choices. The Shining, like many of the choices I’ve made, is a modern horror classic. It stands the test of time. It’s a good place to start with King’s massive bibliography. It’s rare that I’ve heard anyone say they didn’t enjoy this book, meaning it has mass appeal. It’s a book that when someone says they want to read horror, it’s the first that gets mentioned, and there is a reason for that. It’s the perfect place to start.
If you enjoyed this article and wish to support this blog, check out my Redbubble shop. As always, happy geeking!