Monday, October 05, 2020

31 Days of Halloween - Day 5 - Books

Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson. Quirk Books. 2019

This outstanding book, with illustrations by Natalya Balnova is a pretty thorough overview of key women writers of horror and speculative fiction in such a compact volume. Beginning with Mary Cavendish in the 17th century and continuing up through the present, each author is given about four pages donating biographical information, key works, what they've brought to the genre and related recommended works. Kröger and Anderson are also the best cheerleaders you could have. Their descriptions of each work had me constantly stopping to add books into my Amazon shopping cart. If you enjoy horror fiction then this book is indispensable.

A Suggestion of Ghosts edited by J.A. Mains. Black Shuck Books. 2018.

A person's enjoyment of Victorian ghost stories will vary depending on the reader. Tending to lack the  immersive storytelling and scares of modern ghost stories, they may feel quaint to some. These are stories from a time when night meant darkness and the rooms and hallways of a person's home were filled with shadows that could not be pushed back by the illumination of a single candle and anything could be lurking just outside of the light.  Ghosts also tended to have purposes beyond menace, as demonstrated by the wide variety of stories here.  Subtitled "Supernatural Fiction by Women 1854-1900" all of the stories are by female authors, most of whom you will never have heard from. While none of these stories are likely to give you a sleepless night,  for the fan of Victorian ghost stories this book is a welcome addition. Most anthologies of Victorian ghosts stories tend to have a lot of overlap in content, but A Suggestion of Ghosts boasts an almost entire roster of stories never collected before, all culled from magazines and newspapers of the era.

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