A Summer Reading List for Metalheads


It may not sound intuitive, but reading is totally metal. How many Norwegian black metal bands are all about Nietzsche? And what metal-lover can deny the true thrashing awesomeness of Dante’s Inferno? So it’s surprising that there isn’t more literature featuring metal fans. Below the jump, a list of eight metal-themed novels for reading on a beach this summer, inspired by HTML Giant’s request for same. Or, you know, in a cave full of blood-thirsty bats with a pile of Slayer CDs nearby. Whichever comes first.

1. Heavy Metal And You by Chris Krovatin

Krovatin wrote this metal-themed young adult novel when he was in high school (though it only got published when he was in college). It centers around the doomed romance of a metalhead dating a straightedge girl — the drama! The Iron Maiden references! The spiky bracelets! Krovatin, the son of writer Anna Quindlen, has a third and fourth novel in the works, one about an Argentinean death metal band.

2. u.p. by R A Riekki</strong

A “metal hip-hop punk novel,” u.p. traces a band of four teenagers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One of the group, a metalhead named Craig, was inspired by Queensryche to add a superfluous umlaut to his name. Now that’s metal.

3. Metal Head by William Bell

Another teen-focused metal book, Metal Head delves into the divide between social groups in a Canadian high school. From the description: “Donnie is a metal head. He wants nothing to do with preps – until he meets Robin. Then when his friends Roach and Fast Eddy plan to bust up a preppy dance, he has to make a choice. Metal head or prep – what is he?” The suspense is killing us.

4. Heart-Shaped Boxby Joe Hill

Though the title sounds more grunge than metal, Joe Hill’s book is chock-a-block with Judas Priest references. The main character, aging rocker Judas Coyne, is being haunted by a malignant ghost who turns out to be the stepfather of one of Coyne’s discarded groupies.

5. Black Sabbath’s Master of Realityby John Darnielle

The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle tackles Master of Reality in his 33 1/3 book through the story of an institutionalized 15-year-old kid who is obsessed with Black Sabbath.

6. Try by Dennis Cooper

Cooper’s signature themes are adolescent alienation and subcultures, so metal seems like a perfect fit. In Try, Ziggy, the son of two abusive fathers, listens as his friend Calhoun chronicles the exploits of one of Ziggy’s uncles with a 13-year-old heavy metal fan. Yikes.

7. Black Metal by Rick Spears

This graphic novel traces metal obsessives — and twin brothers — Shawn and Sam as they go on black metal-related adventures. Half lampoon and half-tribute, it’s a little bit like Spinal Tap in cartoon form. Rawk!

8. Heavy Metal Horror

An eBook anthology of metal-themed horror stories, Heavy Metal Horror features tales of covens, mysterious metal bars, and hypnotizing metal songs. If you like your metal literature mixed with a heavy dose of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, then fire up your Kindle. This one’s for you.