Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is anything Halloween-related.
When I tell people that horror is one of my favorite genres, the most common reaction I get is, “Um, why?” Today, I’m going to answer that question.
Why I Read Horror
1. Horror books aren’t really about monsters. The monsters are usually a symbol for something more realistic. Many horror stories reflect the fears of the time/culture/person who created them. Good horror stories are much deeper than just monsters.
2. Nostalgia. I’ve told this story before, but I wasn’t a big reader until I discovered Stephen King. He was pretty much the only author I read when I was a teenager. Horror is comfortable for me because I grew up on a steady diet of it.
3. Horror is unpredictable and pushes boundaries. There’s no limit to craziness when it comes to horror. Most horror is actually pretty tame, but some of it is so nasty that you wonder how the author came up with this stuff. The unpredictability keeps things interesting.
4. My culture. I’ve lived almost my entire life in the southwestern United States. This is the Wild West, the place where European, Native American, and Mexican cultures collide (for better or for worse). The folklore stories I grew up hearing often included violence or the supernatural.
5. Remote settings. I’m not a city person. I can’t imagine living in one, and I don’t really like reading about them. I’m attracted to horror because it often happens in remote places. I’ll never get tired of creepy forests.
6. Horror shows parts of humanity that are rarely seen. Serial killers are extremely rare. Most of us will (hopefully) go our entire lives without crossing paths with one. If you’re interested in the dark side of humanity, horror is an easy way to satisfy your curiosity.
7. Suspense and pacing. Scary stories are often fast-paced and suspenseful. It’s fun to read a book that you don’t want to put down.
8. Unreality and escapism. I read horror for the same reason people read fantasy and science fiction. Horror isn’t always realistic. I can escape to a place that isn’t real for a few hours.
9. Horror has a long literary history. I love classics. I like seeing how literature has changed over hundreds of years and how certain stories have seeped into mainstream culture. I’m such a nerd that I get excited about allusions and intertextuality. It’s pretty common to find references to older horror books in modern horror books.
10. Beautifully bizarre imagery. I’ve always been attracted to weirdness. Horror books have bizarre descriptions, bizarre covers, bizarre illustrations. If you grew up with a copy of The Scary Stories Treasury, you’ll recognize this critter:
Why do you read horror? Or, why do you avoid reading horror?