Monday, January 19, 2015

...horror book club meeting...

Years ago I was a member of a book club. The kind where not everyone read the book and we often argued about which book we were going to read next. It really wasn’t a good fit because we were all friends with quite different reading preferences. I think the club ended when I *made them read* Tim Lucas’ The Book of Renfield: The Gospel of Dracula. I liked it but none of my friends did. Anyhow, the book club disbanded and ever since I’ve wanted to find a new one. So much of my time as a professor includes discussing literature but it is different when I’m in a room with peers.

About a month ago, I discovered that there is a local Horror Book Club that is open to new members. The Horror Book Club was started in 2012 by members of a local Halloween haunted attraction company. That pretty much sealed the deal in my head. They also had a list of their past reads and several of the books were ones that I liked a great deal or were on my own reading list.

Book 1: "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" by Seth Grahame-Smith
Book 2: "The Hellbound Heart" by Clive Barker
Book 3: "At the Mountains of Madness" by H.P. Lovecraft
Book 4: "World War Z" by Max Brooks
Book 5: "The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson
Book 6: "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs
Book 7: "The Exorcist" by William Peter Blatty
Book 8: "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson
Book 9: "Feed" by Mira Grant
Book 10: "Dark Hollow" by Brian Keene
Book 11: "Ghost Walk" by Brian Keene
Book 12: "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson
Book 13: "The Canterville Ghost" by Oscar Wilde
Book 14: "20th Century Ghosts" by Joe Hill
Book 15: "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" by Alvin Schwartz
Book 16: "Innocence" by Dean Koontz
Book 17: "At the Behest of the Dead" by Timothy L. Long
Book 18: "Dagon" by H.P. Lovecraft
Book 19: "The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins
Book 20: "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad
Book 21: "The Shining" by Stephen King
Book 22: "Night of the Living Trekkies" by Sam Stall
Book 23: "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury
Book 24: "The King in Yellow" by Robert W. Chambers
Book 25: "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski
Book 26: "Hell House" by Richard Matheson
Book 27: "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James
Book 28: "The Reaper Virus" by Nathan Barns
Book 29: "The Complete Works of" Edgar Allen Poe
Book 30: "Seed" by Ania Ahlborn
Book 31: "KRAMPUS, The Yule Lord" by Brom
Book 32: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving

This month they were reading Ransom Rigg’s Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children which meant that I was going to have to read the first novel as well since I had never read it. I was so excited about the book club but once I started reading, I didn’t love Rigg’s books. The concept is great but something about the execution just didn’t meet my expectations. I almost didn’t go to the meeting because of that (and because I’m an introvert and it really is just easier to be alone)… but 2015 is a year to try new things; and, trying new things sometimes means going outside one’s comfort zone… so I went.

There were seven of us in attendance with one other new member. Not only did they have their own professional bookmarks with logo but they also had a member reading chart with themed stickers (based on each book) for those who attended meetings. (Sorry my picture is a little blurry but it seemed sort of dorky to ask them to let me take a picture of the chart… so I did it a bit too quickly). The group was welcoming and very engaged in the discussion. One of the bonus points of attending meetings is that those in attendance select the next book. 

We’ll be reading Joe Hill’s NOS4A2. I started it this morning and I’m already enjoying it quite a bit. It has been on my reading list since its publication. This is just another reason that having a themed book club seems like the right choice for me.


  1. This sounds fantastic! I'm going to have to see if there's anything like that around here (probably not). I hope you have LOTS of fun!! And thanks for the reading list, I'm going to copy it for myself. I've read a few of them, but not many. And thanks for your thoughts on the 'Miss Peregrine' book, I've been thinking about reading it for a while but each time I went to buy it I held back, not sure why. If the writing isn't good, it's not worth it!

  2. This sounds interesting! So interesting actually that it made me search for my local book clubs. :) I too want to start this hobby!

  3. Sounds great! My main problem with finding a book club is having to read a book every month i may not be interested and probably have to buy it too. I loved the first Miss Peregrine book but found the second a little disturbing as the photos of dead people and animals were apparently real found images.

    1. I hear you on the cost - in my book group there are 3 of us who fight it out over the 1 copy in our local library (I've won this month!!). I have to admit that I usually get book group books on Kindle now - classics are often free on amazon, and while I'd prefer to buy physical books, these are often not books I'd like to keep. That said, we are affiliated to a book promotion agency and they sometimes give us books for free which is good :)

  4. That's kind of spooky - Claire over at Divine Obscurity ( ) has just reviewed Miss Peregrine's...she wasn't a huge fan, which seems to be common. I'm a member of a normal book group - I joined it to force myself to actually read some 'normal' books - however, one month we also read this book and weren't that impressed. We also did Something Wicked This Way Comes, which I utterly adored.

    They did the complete works of Poe?! Wow that must have been some undertaking! My volume is huge!

    A rather interesting little ghost story we did is Dark Matter by Micelle Paver (, about isolated young men in the Arctic circle who may or may not be going mad. I didn't find it that scary but my book group did!