Riffle Editor's Choice: Essential Horror Books for November 2017


I started this year's November horror book offerings with a special bonus book: Searching for Sycorax: Black Women's Hauntings of Contemporary Horror by Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks.

I have to say I'm less than pleased with my note about the book, but I only had 420 characters to work with and I haven't read the book, yet. But I think this is an important book for everyone who wants to write horror stories, to write about horror, to review horror or even recommend horror books and talk about them -- like me.

So I'm going to copy and paste the official publisher's blurb for the book which convinced me I needed to save my pennies for it and add it to this list.

First, who is Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks?

This is from her website:

Kinitra D. Brooks is the Ricardo Romo Endowed Chair of the Honors College and Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research interests include contemporary African American and Afro-Caribbean literature, black feminism, and horror studies.

What the book is really all about:

"Searching for Sycorax highlights the unique position of Black women in horror as both characters and creators. Kinitra D. Brooks creates a racially gendered critical analysis of African diasporic women, challenging the horror genre’s historic themes and interrogating forms of literature that have often been ignored by Black feminist theory. Brooks examines the works of women across the African diaspora, from Haiti, Trinidad, and Jamaica, to England and the United States, looking at new and canonized horror texts by Nalo Hopkinson, NK Jemisin, Gloria Naylor, and Chesya Burke. These Black women fiction writers take advantage of horror’s ability to highlight U.S. white dominant cultural anxieties by using Africana folklore to revise horror’s semiotics within their own imaginary. Ultimately, Brooks compares the legacy of Shakespeare’s Sycorax (of The Tempest) to Black women writers themselves, who, deprived of mainstream access to self-articulation, nevertheless influence the trajectory of horror criticism by forcing the genre to de-centralize whiteness and maleness."

Note: The hardcover version of Searching for Sycorax goes on sale in November while the trade paperback and ebook version go on sale in December.

I think it is important that anyone who loves horror fiction, try to get a well-rounded exposure to horror from other countries and cultures and even by people of races and genders different from your own. Reading fiction does a lot of things for you but, most importantly, it develops your empathy (Neuroscience studies have proven this) and how better to see the world from another person's point of view than to read about their point of view?

To see additional Essential Horror Books lists, check out the links below:

Essential Horror Books for: January, --|-- Essential Horror Books for: February,

Essential Horror Books for: March, --|-- Essential Horror Books for: April,

Essential Horror Books for: May, --|-- Essential Horror Books for: June,

Essential Horror Books for: July, --|-- Essential Horror Books for: August,

Essential Horror Books for: September, --|-- Essential Horror Books for: October,

Essential Horror Books for: November, --|-- Essential Horror Books for: December,

If you have any suggestions, feel free to mention them in the discussion section below the list.

This book list is a work in progress. Check back occasionally for more updates. Published: 10/23/2017.

Updated: 11/4/2017 re-formatted the book list post.

-- Gregory Fisher, Riffle Horror Editor and Undead Rat