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Welcome to My Horrorific Life: a tweenage love affair with Goosebumps

I’m almost certain that my journey behind the veil of normal society began with an obsession for the “Goosebumps” series by R.L. Stine. Starting in 1992 R.L. Stine dutifully released a new “tome” every month until 1997, and I believe my mom drove me to the mall to Walden’s Bookstore to buy almost every single one of them. I’m happy to say I still have every one I bought and that they are still in great shape. The thought of donating them to my library crosses my mind every once in a while, but I want to be able to give them to my children someday in the hopes that they will inspire them and guide them toward what has always been my favorite genre of fiction, movies, music, etc… horror.

But now for a little personal background. I love heavy-metal music, scary movies, and anything else that is dark and a little twisted. Probably three or four years after reading my first Goosebumps book, I bought my first Metallica CD, much to my mother’s chagrin. Shortly thereafter, I picked up my first Stephen King and Dean Koontz books. My musical and literary tastes have since expanded, but the macabre, dark, and heavy will always be where everything started.

It is quite possible that the first Goosebumps book, Welcome to Dead House, was the first book I ever read. I’m not one of those people that can remember being a baby or falling asleep in their crib. In fact I have very few memories prior to the age of six or seven and even that is pushing it. But I vividly remember the parts of my life in which the “Goosebumps” series was a part of. Taking trips to the book store with my mom, or my dad asking me why I’m reading a book called Eat S#!* and Die, and me giggling that it’s actually called Say Cheese and Die.

I’m sure if I were to read a Goosebumps book now, it would be the literary equivalent of watching a Scooby-Doo cartoon (it’s invariably a disgruntled employee terrorizing the main characters), but that’s not the point. The point is the lasting impression that books can have on the minds of the young. Bands like; Metallica, Pantera, Avenged Sevenfold, Rob Zombie, and Megadeth. Movies like; House of a Thousand Corpses, Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. Authors like; Stephen King, Jonathan Maberry, Robert McCammon, and Richard Matheson. My love for all things dark and twisted can easily be traced back to an 8 year-old boy opening a Goosebumps book for the first time, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. (Karen’s editors note: Chris is a very nice guy to work with. And to the best of my knowledge, he has never in fact killed anyone. In fact, he is more normal than he likes to think. And Goosebumps is still amazingly popular – my Tweens ask for them all the time.)

The last two books that Chris read were Rotters by Daniel Kraus and Quarantine by Lex Thomas.  He liked Rotters and declared it one of the most disturbing books he has ever read (in this case disturbing is a good thing).  Technically, he is reading Quarantine now; he loves it and says it was definitely written for guys, which is great.  Today 5 of Chris’s favorite horror books include:

Swan Song by Robert McCammon
It tells the story of a young girl in a post apocalyptic who will be the savior of the human race. It is very much like Stephen King’s The Stand, but a little bit more intense.

One Second After by William Forstchen
A scary, realistic, gut wrenching look at what happens when the world changes forever and we no longer have the easy access to food, water and government that we once had.

The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker
The book that went on to become the original Hellraiser movie.  Need I say more.

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Zombies. (Chris reviewed Flesh and Bone, the most recent book in the Rot & Ruin series recently.  Read it.)

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
Real vampires.

Chris works with Karen at night at the library, and this year now works at a school library during the day.  I didn’t really know he could go out into the sunlight.  We make him blog with us here to give us a guy’s perspective and in exchange, we agree to keep his secrets for him.  You can read his bio at the Meet TLT page.