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Book Review: The Book of Lists: Horror edited by Amy Wallace, Del Howison, and Scott Bradley

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Many people don’t have the time to sit down, research, and read about a topic that interests them. I know I would much rather have the simplified version of a long and boring marriage seminar. And I’d like it neat and tidy in the form of top 10 marriage tips. It’s much easier to read a watered down version pulled together by someone much more qualified than myself but that won’t take up a lot of my time.

Alright, so I really shouldn’t do that with something important like marriage. But what about all the other little things in life that interest us like gardening, movies, or nonsense trivia? The only thing that could make these simplified lists better would be to stick a bunch of similar lists together in one book!

And thanks to David Wallechinsky, his father bestselling author Irving Wallace, and sister Amy Wallace, we have access to The Book of Lists. The first collection of lists was published in 1977, but many more have followed and continue to entertain the masses with intriguing topics such as “worst places to hitchhike.” The most recent of these fact-filled books, edited by Amy Wallace, Del Howison, and Scott Bradley, covers the horror genre.

The Book of Lists: Horror is packed with everything you’d ever want to read about the horror genre, including a list by Stephen King on his favorite novels and short stories. In fact, the book includes pieces written by countless horror masters such as Ray Bradbury, Eli Roth, and Ramsey Campbell. These people know horror, and each list highlights different parts of this fast growing genre – from poetry to magazines to movies.

My favorite part about the book, however, isn’t the categories of popular horror pieces, but the fun facts and trivia scattered throughout. For example, on page 23, Alan Beatts gives “Five Common Tactical Errors in Horror.” Number five points out that you should always confirm your kills by perhaps administering a few “safety” shots in the head. I also enjoyed the random games like on page 214, “Sarah Langan’s Top Ten Stupidest Horror Movie Decisions Quiz.” Can you guess which movie this describes?

Letting your shipmate out of quarantine, even though he’s got a bony intergalactic space-vagina stuck to his face… Because in space, no on can hear you scream!

The Book of Lists: Horror is more than just an entertaining read. Some lists are informative, some are just downright hilarious, but all comment in some part on the horror genre with explanations about good books or soundtracks. If you want to know more about horror or even if you’re already an aficionado, you’ll learn something from this book of lists.

In fact, after reading it, I made a list of my own – What Horror Novels I Need to Pick Up Next. And it just so happens that every one has a recommendation from someone highly regarded in the horror industry thanks to The Book of Lists. It’s a good reference as well as a fun read.


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About Janica Unruh