This week, LibraryReads and NoveList wrapped up our series of genre webinars for 2019 with Crash Course in Horror. We had a blast chatting with Gregg Winsor of LibraryReads about our love of horror and what it has to offer, and we enjoyed answering webinar attendees’ questions, hearing about their favorite books, and discovering what they’re looking forward to reading next. If you couldn’t make the webinar, never fear! Check out our lovingly curated horror starter pack below, which includes five titles to get you up to speed with what’s popular in horror today. Read on if you dare…

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix 
This darkly humorous novel stars two best friends in 1980s South Carolina whose friendship is tested when one of them becomes possessed by a demon. Featuring plenty of gross-out scares, chapter titles cribbed from 1980s pop songs, and a nostalgic tone, this crowd-pleaser is sure to satisfy horror fans and genre newbies alike. 

White is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi 
Set in a manor house with a mind of its own, Helen Oyeyemi’s non-linear, dreamlike novel leans heavily on the Gothic tradition, with part of the story told from the point of view of the house itself. Oyeyemi draws on race, family, and loss for her layered story that leaves plenty open for interpretation.

John Dies at the End by David Wong
This cult classic is an irreverent, way-out story about two losers in their early 20s who get hopped up on cosmic drugs that alter (or perhaps fine-tune) their perceptions of reality. If your readers appreciate Evil Dead-style silliness and ultragore, they will love this entire series. Also, it’s secretly an incisive political critique of life for young people working dead-end jobs in nowhere towns, but you didn’t hear that from us.

The Passage by Justin Cronin 
The first in an apocalyptic (and post-apocalyptic) series, The Passage stars a large cast of engaging characters banding together against an onslaught of “virals” (aka vampires) intent on wiping out humanity, inadvertently brought on by a super-secret government experiment. The vampires are truly terrifying, and the violence can be vivid, but this sweeping novel is epic and immersive. 

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado 
Carmen Maria Machado’s much-lauded debut short story collection Her Body and Other Parties packs a little something for everyone into its eight lyrical stories, including magical realism, fantasy, and elements of myth, folklore, and the uncanny. This creepy collection gives readers get a deep sense of the horror genre’s history and influences -- as well as an exciting glimpse into what the future of the genre may hold.

For more title suggestions, trends, and information, watch the Crash Course in Horror

Kaitlin Conner is a Readers’ Advisory Librarian at NoveList and a member of the Book Squad. She is currently reading Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. 

Autumn Winters is the Recommendations Lead at NoveList and a member of the Book Squad. She is currently reading House of Psychotic Women by Kier-La Janisse.