Some would say I was forced into a love affair with books. They were my sole shield against awful nightmares as a kid. I was allowed to stay up, with the light on, but only if I was reading. Certain Freddy Krueger was hiding in the closet ready to pounce; I read as if my life depended on it. This was age 6 and by 9 I had exhausted young adult series, now devouring the Stephen King and Dean Koontz lining my parents bookshelves. There’s a photo of a cherub faced, round and smiling 4th grade me (in flowered stirrup pants with a mullet no less) with Misery open in my lap that’s very children of the corn. Would I have found such a love for horror if my parents read econ texts or romance? I’ll never know. But soon, the greats were banal and I sought out lesser known authors with darkly unique voices. (note: titles below are not for the faint of heart; read at your own risk).

There are always those books that hit you hard. When you’re younger, they can influence who you become; the filter through which you see the world. Some people are profoundly moved by books we’re exposed to in school, thinly veiled teaching fables like Where the Red Fern Grows and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I had an English teacher who was obsessed with the Bronte Sisters, and another with a fetish for Edith Wharton. I find, the older I get, the rarer it is to read something that really moves you. Lost Souls will always be the prototypical for me. The author has transformed since then, but Poppy will always be an OG in the realm of renegade female horror writers; alongside Lucy Taylor and Christa Faust.

For so many months I’ve been inhaling non fiction; neuropharmacology, permaculture, (the dreaded) self help etc.. Today, sore from tennis and in dire need of an escape, I’m letting myself get lost in my beloved fiction once again.

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