Book Burning

burning book

Below is a list of some of the numerous books that were lost in the fire of 2012. It’s only now I can emotionally handle making this list and I will add to it as I remember things. While most of these are easily replaceable it kills me to see how much some of these out-of-print books go for!

The Big Book of Ghost Stories

The Big Book of Ghost Stories
The Big Book of Ghost Stories

By James MacDougall

I don’t always read ghost stories, but when I do I read them from The Big Book of Ghost Stories (a Black Lizard Publication), This 800 plus page compendium has some of the finest stories of the genre with stories ranging from the works of such  literary illuminati  as Joyce Carol Oates, Conrad Aiken and Mark Twain to the more pulpish fair of August Derleth, G.G. Pendarves and Manley Wade Wellman. For someone like I who have read hundreds of ghost stories throughout the years, it is a real treat to find one hundred more stories, most of which I have not read before and which are generally of fine quality.

As editor of this collection Otto Penzler (the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City) indicates in the introduction there are all sorts of ghosts, those who frighten us, those who make us laugh and those for whom we have pity. You will find all of those and more here.

So far I have read the following from this collection:

  • Mr. Arcularis, Conrad Aiken
  • The Shadowy Third, Ellen Glasgow
  • The Moonlit Road, Ambrose Bierce
  • Thing of Darkness, G.G. Pendarves
  • The House of Nightmare, Edward Lucas White
  • The House on Half Moon Street, Hector Bolitho
  • Song of the Dead, Wyatt Blassingame

All have been satisfying if in different ways and a few will join my favourites. This is an exceptional collection selected from a pool of over 1,000 stories covering over 3 centuries of writing. I highly recommend you grab this chunky volume, make some tea and settle into your favourite chair for an evening of atmosphere and chills.