Friday, January 23, 2009

The Book of Lists: Horror edited by Amy Wallace, Del Howison, and Scott Bradley (introduction by Gahan Wilson)

The Book of Lists began a franchise in 1977 that has lasted over 30 years. It has resulted in a New York Times bestseller, three other general collections, and one each on the 1990s and punk rock. Now they move even further out of the mainstream with The Book of Lists: Horror.

"Trying to prod a thing as elusive, sneaky, and totally out-of-bounds as horror into an informative and highly usable book of lists would seem to be pretty much impossible," states author/illustrator Gahan Wilson (one of the first artists I learned to recognize by style) in his introduction. But it seems that editors Amy Wallace, Del Howison, and Scott Bradley have managed to somehow compile over 400 pages' worth of opinions, recommendations, and commentary into this endlessly fascinating volume. If you're a fan of the genre, The Book of Lists: Horror is a must read; if you're not, it will make you one.

Here's just a sampling of the contents, limited to lists by 15 of my favorite authors (and not necessarily my favorite lists):...and that's just scratching the surface. The Book of Lists: Horror took up every free moment I had from the day I got it until ... well, I still refer back to it now and then and expect to keep it on my reference shelf right next to another horror-list classic: Horror: 100 Best Books. In fact, my only real complaint is that there is no comprehensive index or table of contents that would allow the reader to relocate a favorite list. But there are so many terrific takes on the genre included in The Book of Lists: Horror, however, that the search will undoubtedly result in finding something else great in the process.

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