Me getting ready to recommend some books during my favourite time of year:
Since this is a book blog for all things creepy, kooky, mysterious and ooky all year around it is safe to say that I have quite a few Halloween reading suggestions. So I have decided to break them up into different posts. Today I will be suggesting my favourite short story anthologies to get you into the Halloween spirit. Short story collections are my favourite kind of book to read in October. You can just pick out a creepy story you are in the mood for and get through it in one sitting. Creepy reading in bite sized chunks.
So in no particular order here are 5 of my favourites
The Mammoth Book of Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories Edited by Richard Dalby
The Victorian and Edwardian eras were the golden ages of ghost stories. This bind up collection contains over 40 of the best and creepiest tales from the time period.
I own a rather battered copy of this book because it was one of the first ghost story collections that I owned and I like to read a story or two from it every October. This is perfect reading if you are a fan of Victorian or Gothic literature.
Did you know that it was a Victorian tradition to tell ghost stories on Christmas?
20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
A collection of horror stories from one of my favourite horror writers, Joe Hill.
A lot of this collection is more strange than Halloween style creepy, but it still makes for good, dark October reading. It is Simpson’s Tree House of Horror levels of weird at times.
My favourite story in this collection is the title story, 20th Century Ghost. It is so sad! If you end up reading just one story from this collection it has to be that one.
Dark Water by Kōji Suzuki
I have been a little addicted to Japanese horror novels this year so of course one of them is going to make it onto this list.
Kōji Suzuki is the amazing author behind the very famous Ring series, and you might just recognize the title of this book from another famous Japanese horror film with an American remake, Dark Water.
This collection is beautifully eerie and wonderfully well written. Dark Water is a collection of horror stories which are all linked with the theme of water. I love when writers have a theme in their short story collections, because they can cover so many fears and genres just by focusing on one small thing. This is one of the best horror collections that I have read this year and if you are a fan of Japanese horror, you need to check this one out this month.
The Travelling Bag: And Other Ghostly Stories
This book is perfect if you want ghost stories that are not too scary. Susan Hill’s work is based on old Gothic literature so many of her stories follow the logic of Crimson Peak. “Just a story with a ghost in it, not a ghost story.” She uses ghosts and creepy things to shine light on the horrors of humanity.
This would make perfect reading for a dark October night with unpleasant weather beating at your windows. When you have read all of the original Gothic ghost stories pick this book up for some that have been written in a more modern time period.
The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce
I was tempted to add Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination on this list but I decided that he gets enough love in October so I should give this spot to another Victorian horror writer who doesn’t get enough love. Ambrose Bierce.
Ambrose Bierce was a generally strange person who wrote non stop throughout his life. His stories are grim, strange and many were laced with that brilliant Victorian dark sense of humor and irony. If you want a “comedy” story about a man being buried alive and then beaten to death with a shovel this is where you need to look.
Bierce is one of my all time favourite Victorian writers. I dare say that I enjoy him more than Poe sometimes.
So those are my top picks for Halloween horror anthologies this year. Tell me what your favourite short horror story is because I am always open to suggestions. What is your favourite Halloween read?