Read Lovely Books

Why Horror Is Such A Hard Genre to Crack

Seeking out media that is designed to be scary — books, films, TV shows, or, I don’t

Given these two facts, it makes sense that I’ve spent my entire reading life avoiding horror,

Until recently, I treated horror (the genre) as a synonym for scary (the adjective)

All of these forays into new-to-me genres have enriched my reading life in countless ways

Risking not being able to sleep for a week in the house where I live alone is

I can’t remember why I decided to pick up Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth

When you look it up on Goodreads, “horror” appears at the top of the genre list

Twice as many users have labeled it horror as have labeled it fiction or historical fiction

I was still wary — a horror book! I had never read one! — but I decided to try

It’s a little creepy, certainly atmospheric, definitely dark

It’s a big, sprawling novel with about a hundred meandering side plots

It was nothing like what I had assumed horror novels were like

I started wondering if I’d been missing out on other amazing books because of the way

Assuming all horror books are scary is like assuming all science fiction books are set on spaceships,

“Set on a spaceship” is not the thing that makes a sci-fi book a sci-fi book

“Will give you nightmares” is not the thing that makes a horror book a horror book

For starters, it’s hard not to associate horror (the word) with fear, terror, violence

“Science fiction” isn’t a phrase that evokes emotion — it’s just a descriptor

I mean: it’s a word that literally describes an unpleasant experience

The first definition in Merriam-Webster is “painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay

People seek out horror for all kinds of reasons, and one of those reasons, certainly, is to

There’s something cathartic/intriguing/intoxicating about reading fiction that taps into feelings we try so hard

These kinds of horror books — the scariest and most disturbing ones, the ones I can’t even

Over the past year, I’ve continued to gently explore horror

It’s not easy to get over my intuitive reaction to the genre (back away!) but I’

Slowly, I’m getting better at wading through the many, many kinds of horror to find the

But it’s still hard to navigate horror as someone who is completely uninterested in being scared

Some of this has to do with my own biases and assumptions about the genre, and some