With Lifeline Bookfair coming up, I thought I’d try to do a bit of a clean out of my bookcase. The problem is, anytime I try that I remember all the good books I own and haven’t read for a while.
This is a snapshot of part of my ‘short story’ bookcase. It struck me on flicking through these books just how many of the women in the pages have inspired me both as a writer as a reader.
“Other Edens” (Unwin Paperbacks, edited by Christopher Evans and Robert Hodstock) has stories by Tanith Lee and Lisa Tuttle, two of my faves. I LOVE The Wound by Lisa Tuttle. A killer of a last line.
“Consequences” by Kathleen Conlon. I’ve had this book for a very long time. It’s blurb about ‘people and the fates their actions bring them’ and it inspired me early on because of how cleverly the stories were intertwined, and how the appearance of ‘ordinary’ doesn’t always mean so.
“The Sin Eater” by Elizabeth Walter. Walter is an author I forget to list when people ask me about my favourites but she is up there. Domestic horrors, pure evil, cleverly layered, terrifying plots; I love this woman’s work.
“My Favourites in Suspense” (Alfred Hitchcock, from Pan Books). This anthology has “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier! How’s this for an opening line: “On December the third the wind changed overnight at it was winter”. There’s a note tucked into this book, not in my handwriting. “Bring a board for Chris to stick his knife in!!” I have NO IDEA what it means.
“Temptresses: The Virago Book of Evil Women”. To be honest I haven’t read this one and forgot I had it! It looks fascinating though and has moved up the To Be Read pile.
“The Year’s Best Horror Stories No. 3” (Sphere Books, edited by Richard Davis). Only one woman writer in this one (not my favourite story) But Robert Aikman (who is a favourite) writes “Pages from a Young Girl’s Journal”, so female voice to be heard, at least! I think it’s interesting to note the number of male versus female writers in anthologies from the sixties and seventies.
“The 8th Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories” (edited by Mary Danby). I really love The 8t (edited by Mary Danby). I really love these Fontana anthologies as well as the Pan books of horror. The cover of this one has a cockroach sitting on a knitted doll…There’s an Elizabeth Walter story here, as well as stories by Pamela Vincent and Dorothy K Haynes. Good on you, Mary Danby!
“The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 8” (edited by Stephen Jones). Oh, the times I’ve read and re-read this one. So many good stories, including Storm Constantine’s “Of a Cat, but her Skin”. I do love a good Cat horror story, and remember how terrified I was by the folk tale “King of the Cat’s”. There’s an inscription in the book that says in part “Happy 18th!!! I hope this scares the pants off you.”
I’d love to see other people’s “Bookcase Glimpses.”