We're less than a week away from Halloween, so it seems only fitting to do a little round-up of a few spine-tingling titles. All the items listed below are currently being offered for sale by our members on abaa.org.
Misery by Stephen King When you think modern literature and horror, Stephen King naturally comes to mind. Misery (New York, 1987), in my opinion, is one of his most chilling stories. Brief synapsis: Paul Sheldon, a famous author of Victorian-era romances is held hostage by Annie Wilkes, a deranged super fan who insists that he rewrite his latest novel because she is not pleased with the ending. (A plot line that placed fear into the heart of every novelist…) Misery was a co-winner of the 1988 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel and was nominated for the 1988 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. The novel was made into a hit film starring Kathy Bates and James Caan in 1990. I think it's one of the rare instances where the film is as good as the book. L.W. Currey, Inc. is offering a fine first edition copy in dust jacket that is signed by King.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James Henry James doesn't typically come to mind as a writer of scary stories, but his novella The Turn of the Screw is a classic. Originally published in the magazine Collier's Weekly, the novella was paired with another story, Covering End, and published in book form in 1898. The collection was called The Two Magics. The Turn of the Screw is a ghost story about a governess's experiences taking care of two orphaned siblings. The novella is a favorite of literary academics due to some ambiguity in the story. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I won't elaborate further. Between the Covers Rare Books, Inc. has a fine copy of the 1949 reprint by Heritage Press.
The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey If you're not familiar with writer and illustrator Edward Gorey's works, then you should make a point of checking them out. The Gashlycrumb Tinies is one of his most famous works. First published by Simon & Schulster in New York in 1963, it's an abecedarian book where each letter represents a child. Sounds innocent enough, but it doesn't stop there. Each letter actually tells the story of a child's untimely death, often in some mundane way like choking on a peach pit. Creepy but very humorous, this is a must read. Argosy Book Store is offering a near fine first edition.
The Outsider and Others by H.P. Lovecraft Perhaps one of, if not the most, famous American writers of horror fiction, H.P. Lovecraft didn't achieve the recognition he de
served during his lifetime but had an undeniable influence on the genre. Lovecraft primarily wrote short stories and The Outsider and Others is a collection of many of them, including one of his most famous, The Call of Cthulhu. The Outsider and Others was published by Arkham House in 1939, two years after Lovecraft's death. Peter L. Stern & Company, Inc. has a first edition for sale that has the bookplate of Hannes Bok, a fantasy artist, as well as his pencil notes on the stories. It also contains the frontispiece portrait of Lovecraft.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski Marketed as a horror story, Danielewski has also said that House of Leaves is a love story. Whatever genre you'd like to call it, the complex, completely enthralling novel (one of my favorites) is decidedly unsettling, which is why it makes this list. House of Leaves is difficult to summarize, but the main story line actually occurs in the sub-plot story of Will Navidson, a war photographer who discovers an inexplicable change in his family home: the inside dimensions of the home seem to be expanding while the exterior dimensions remain the same. An intricate, thought provoking novel that plays with plot, typography, diction, and structure, it will also raise the hair on the back of your neck. Revere Books is offering a fine first printed edition (it was originally published on the internet) signed by Danielewski.