TBR Thursday 211…

Episode 211

The amazing downward trend continues! The TBR has fallen by a massive 1 this week – down to 222! At this rate I’ll run out of books completely soon!

It will soon be time to wake the fretful porpentine from his summer hibernation and resume my quest to make his quills stand on end. He’s not easily scared, though.

So I’ve acquired a nice little selection of horror collections and anthologies which I’ll be dipping into over the next few months…


The Face in the Glass by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Courtesy of the British Library. I don’t think I’ve read anything by Mary Elizabeth Braddon before, though her name is familiar as a Victorian sensation novelist. So she ought to be good at creating chills…

The Blurb says: A young girl whose love for her fiance continues even after her death; a sinister old lady with claw-like hands who cares little for the qualities of her companions provided they are young and full of life; and a haunted mirror that foretells of approaching death for those who gaze into its depths. These are just some of the haunting tales gathered together in this macabre collection of short stories. Reissued in the Tales of the Weird series and introduced by British Library curator Greg Buzwell, The Face in the Glass is the first selection of Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s supernatural short stories to be widely available in more than 100 years. By turns curious, sinister, haunting and terrifying, each tale explores the dark shadows beyond the rational world.

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The Invisible Eye by Erckmann-Chatrian

Courtesy of Collins Chillers. I actually received this one last year, read and enjoyed a couple of the stories, but ended up so inundated with horror anthologies that the porpy and I ran out of steam before we finished this one…

The Blurb says: Emile Erckmann and Louis Alexandre Chatrian began their writing partnership in the 1840s and continued working together until the year before Chatrian’s death in 1890. At the height of their powers they were known as ‘the twins’, and their works proved popular translated into English. After their deaths, however, they slipped into obscurity; and apart from the odd tale reprinted in anthologies, their work has remained difficult to find and to appreciate.

In The Invisible Eye, veteran horror anthologist Hugh Lamb has collected together the finest weird tales by Erckmann–Chatrian. The world of which they wrote has long since vanished: a world of noblemen and peasants, enchanted castles and mysterious woods, haunted by witches, monsters, curses and spells. It is a world brought to life by the vivid imagination of these authors and praised by successors including M.R. James and H. P. Lovecraft. With an introduction by Hugh Lamb, and in paperback for the first time, this collection will transport the reader to the darkest depths of the nineteenth century: a time when anything could happen – and occasionally did.

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Late Victorian Gothic Tales edited by Roger Luckhurst

Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. Roger Luckhurst has become one of my go-to people when it comes to horror anthologies – not only does he include some great tales, his introductions are always informative and highly readable…

The Blurb says: The Victorian fin de siecle has many associations: the era of Decadence, The Yellow Book, the New Woman, the scandalous Oscar Wilde, the Empire on which the sun never set. This heady brew was caught nowhere better than in the revival of the Gothic tale in the late Victorian age, where the undead walked and evil curses, foul murder, doomed inheritance and sexual menace played on the stretched nerves of the new mass readerships. This anthology collects together some of the most famous examples of the Gothic tale in the 1890s, with stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, Vernon Lee, Henry James and Arthur Machen, as well as some lesser known yet superbly chilling tales from the era. The introduction explores the many reasons for the Gothic revival, and how it spoke to the anxieties of the moment.

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The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson edited by Xavier Aldana Reyes

Courtesy of the British Library. I came across a story by William Hope Hodgson in another anthology and loved it, so this collection of his weird tales was irresistible. Xavier Aldana Reyes is the chap who edited one of last year’s favourite anthologies – The Gothic Tales of HP Lovecraft.

The Blurb says: The splash from something enormous resounds through the sea-fog. In the stillness of a dark room, some unspeakable evil is making its approach. . . Abandon the safety of the familiar with 10 nerve-wracking episodes of horror penned by master of atmosphere and suspense, William Hope Hodgson. From encounters with abominations at sea to fireside tales of otherworldly forces recounted by occult detective Carnacki, this new selection offers the most unsettling of Hodgson’s weird stories, guaranteed to terrorize the steeliest of constitutions.

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NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads.

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So…what do you think? Are you ready to be terrified?

35 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 211…

  1. Well, now I won’t sleep tonight, FictionFan, knowing that all of this horror awaits us! Seriously, though, you’ve chosen some great-looking reads there. I find myself most curious about the Victorian Gothic tales. There’s something about that time period, I think, that just lends itself to a horror story… Oh, and congratulations on yet more evidence of the plummeting TBR! I am most impressed. I think that calls for some chocolate.

    • There seems to be a real upsurge in all things vintage these days and loads of publishers are producing great horror anthologies – the porpy is devastated! There are some well known stories in the Gothic Tales collection, but also plenty that I haven’t read. Looking at the index I suspect it would be a good collection for newcomers to Victorian horror – I agree, the best era for that type of tale. Yes, it’s another amazing drop this week – and yet some people think I have no willpower… 😉

  2. I always say I’m not into horror, but THIS type of horror definitely appeals! (maybe it’s just modern Hollywood gore/horror in film that I don’t like) They all sound good and creepy, but the first one looks the best to me. I love the cover on Late Victorian Gothic Tales. I’m ready for you to read and review!!

    • I don’t really like modern horror, but I love the vintage stuff – it took me a while to get into it though. I’m looking forward to trying Mary Elizabeth Braddon – I think she wrote one of the ‘horrid novels’ Jane Austen mentions in Northanger Abbey. And the mixed anthologies are always a great way of finding new authors to try. Now all I need is for the dark evenings to begin… 😱

    • I don’t really like modern horror – it tends to be too dark and violent for me. But all this vintage stuff is pretty mild, so that suits me! And the porpy prefers it too… 😉

  3. You’ve done better with your TBR than I have this week, FF. At least yours is going in the right direction. Having said that, I’ll need to now add the late Victorian Gothic Tales, as they include some of my favorite authors. I think you will quite like Braddon. I haven’t read any of her short stories, so I might add them as well.

    • I am exercising iron self-control at the moment! Sadly it usually only lasts for about a week and then temptation overwhelms me… 😉 I’m looking forward to the Braddon – she’s yet another author I’ve wanted to get to for ages but never found the time. And these mixed anthologies are great for giving some familiar authors while also introducing new-to-me ones. Despite having been reading lots of vintage horror over the last few winters I still seem to have barely scratched the surface…

  4. Horror isn’t my genre-of-choice, but I have to admit these collections sound delicious! A nice thing about short stories is that you don’t have to read them in order (and they’re brief enough to finish in one sitting, meaning you always get up with a feeling of accomplishment!). ‘Tis so nice to see the Porpy once again — he’s way cuter than his cousin Mr. Woodchuck that lives beneath my backyard shed, ha!

    • My appreciation for vintage horror has really grown over the last few years as I’ve read more of it – one author tends to lead to the next! And there seems to be a real upsurge in new publications of vintage horror, just as there has been in vintage crime. I’m sure I’m turning into a Victorian! Haha – happily the porpy is no trouble to have around at all. The cats and I barely notice he’s here… 😉

  5. All of those sound great! I have enjoyed some of Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s novels so I’ll be interested to hear what her short stories are like.

    • Braddon’s another of the many authors I’ve been meaning to try for ages, so this collection was irresistible. It’s so much easier to fit in short stories than a novel somehow. I’m expecting them to be sensational… 😉

  6. 1 down, 222 to go!! Somehow I doubt, you are going to run out of books 😉

    I had a period in my youth where I devoured horror movies, but somehow this addiction never spread to my reading. Combined with my mixed experiences with short stories, I think I can resist the selection this week.

    • There are so many great collections coming out at the moment, with so many “lost” names being revived, that I simply can’t keep up! But I’m doing my best… 😀

  7. Yay, Porpy!! 🦔🦔🦔🦔 Ok so these are hedgehogs but they have spines, right! Not tempted to read any of your offerings for myself – but I’m very much looking forward to hearing your versions of them!

    • Ooh, porpy emojis! My rotten emoji thing doesn’t have porpies on it – I’m going to complain! Haha – I must admit half the photos I use for the Porpy are actually hedgehogs – I like to think of him as species-fluid… 😉

  8. I’m not sure I need to be transported to the darkest depths or filled with more anxiety than I’m already feeling. Although I suppose if I read something truly horrific (worse than what’s in the news), it would make me feel better, in comparison. But there is the off chance that my mind would then insist that this truly horrific thing could actually come to pass, given our current global crisis….One could argue that it already has. That said, there’s something appealing about The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson…..Maybe it’s the inserted “hope”?

    • Hahaha – from the one story I’ve read of Hodgson’s, I fear there wasn’t much hope in it either! The good thing about horror stories is that they’re not nearly as horrifying as the news, plus they come to an end eventually, which our current predicaments never seem to! Maybe we should all be reading post-Apocalyptic stories to pick up survival pointers… 😉

  9. Oh this gets me so excited for Fall! I love how many anthologies you get. I think collections of short horror stories are the BEST way to read this genre, because it’s so much easier to maintain the spooky factor when the stories are short, rather than novel-length.

    • Haha – I seem to have got on the horror lists of a few publishers now. Last year I got way too many, and it’s beginning to look as if this year will be just as bad… or as good, depending how you look at it! Definitely agree – horror works far better in short form than as novels. In fact, I said that just the other day in a review I was drafting… still to come!

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