Normally on Mondays I do Must Read Mondays, to recommend one book, but for this month, I’m carving out some time to make lists of recommendations. I’ve decided to do this in categories (that I’m coming up with as I go, because in life, as with NaNoWriMo, I am a pantser and not a planner).
This week, I’m recommending collections of stories in their various forms, and a few long short stories and novellas. I’ve read more of these than I’d originally thought, and some have been featured on my blog before. Not all of these are particularly scary, but I wanted to suggest things for people who like horror, as well as for people who just want a little bit of creepiness, things based on folklore, or stories that have a Halloween-vibe/theme.
Short Story Collections, etc.
- Basically anything by Edgar Allan Poe (obvious, but for a reason)
- M.R. James’s ghost stories (not for everyone, but I liked them)
- H.P. Lovecraft (I’ve only read a couple of stories, I think)
- Ray Bradbury (I remember reading a couple of his stories in high school that I think were creepy. I really need to read more of his work soon because it’s great.)
- Algernon Blackwood (I’m pretty sure I haven’t read any of his stories in 10 years or more and he’s really not that well known these days, except among horror lovers)
- Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories trilogy (another obvious one, for a reason)
- The Horror Zine (I think I’ve only read one issue so far, but I keep meaning to get more)
- Penny Dreadfuls: Sensational Tales of Terror (I haven’t read everything in this, but it’s a great collection and has two full-length novels: Frankenstein–the original 1818 version!– and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
- Halloween Carnival vol. 1 (I have a review of this one coming out tomorrow, which is also release day)
- The Haunted Grove by Tim Jeffreys (I actually don’t remember much about this because I read it so long ago, but I rated it pretty high)
- Horrors! 365 Scary Stories (I got this when I was in middle school, I think, so I haven’t read from it in a while, but I remember liking a lot of the stories)
- Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (so pretty and creepy in an old-school fairy tale kind of way. Review.)
These are longer than short stories, but under 150 pages (except the comic trades, but I included it in this part because they’re short, but not stand-alone stories).
- Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (read last year; loved it)
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (I liked this and was surprised that I didn’t actually know more about this original story)
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (I was also shocked to learn that I didn’t know this story as well as I’d thought, either)
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (I didn’t love this as much as I wanted to, but it wasn’t bad)
- The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (I loved this book. I’m not sure if it’s a short novel or novella, but I’m putting it here anyway.)
- The Goosebumps books (they have a special place in my heart, ok?)
- Wytches vol. 1 by Scott Snyder (I am dying while I wait for vol 2, ugh. It’s so good!)
- The Crow by J. O’Barr (I used to watch The Crow every Halloween. I like the movie more than the comics, but it was a good read.)
There are definitely more that I read years ago, but they’re unfortunately lost to me now.
I wish I could remember some of the better true (or “true” if you’re not a believer) ghost story collections I read when I was growing up. I remember having quite a few, but the only ones I still have aren’t books I would recommend.
If true/”true” haunting stories are your jam, I would suggest you start by searching for books written about hauntings in your locality, or a place you’re interested in. Your local library might some collections from your area.
I have a few things I’m really looking forward to getting around to soon(ish), like Scottish Ghost Stories by Elliot O’Donnell, The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, more of Lovecraft’s stories, Arthur Machen’s stories, and I’d like to revisit some Algernon Blackwood now that I’m older and have forgotten if I liked his work or not. On my wishlist, I have The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter (although I think it’s more horror/fantasy than just horror) in the highest position, but there are loads more I’d like to get eventually.
Ok, I think I’ve rambled on enough for one day, so I’ll wrap this up now.
Do you have any recommendations for shorter horror books, graphic novels or comics, or short story collections? I’d love to hear about them!