Everyone can find a good horror book to read, but not everyone can find a good scary short story collection. I am here to help with that! Below you will find many compilations on a variety of subjects from djinn and ghost stories to crimes and magic. These stories aren’t just for the scary season, you can find them all year round and enjoy that good old-fashioned scared of the dark feeling whenever you want!
Let’s start with "The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories". The very first story in this book captivated me and held my attention, which is hard to do normally but even harder when the story has to encompass all the integral parts to a story in a shorter period of time. In my opinion, the shorter the story the shorter my attention span and ability to give grace to a tale with uninteresting beginnings. I won’t spoil any of it; The book speaks for itself. Encompassing a variety of short tales based around the Djinn, and with authors like Neil Gaiman, this is probably a good way to jump into Falls’ spooky season.
If you want a horror book that is made up of stories revolving around women, "Her Body and Other Parties" is the best place to go! This read has some of my favorite classic ghostly tales such as the woman who would never remove a ribbon from her neck (I'll let you guess, or read, why). The tales told are narratives surrounding women and the violence that is all-too-often imposed on them. In one of the stories, Especially Heinous, the author reimagines every episode of Law and Order SVU, giving it a familiar charm. The tales contained in this book range from comical to deadly serious so you're sure to be kept on your toes until the last page. The first tale in the book has a mixture of many iconic classic horror stories rolled into it's plot, hoping for a time when people will witness the horrors bestowed on women for what they are; Normal, everyday occurrences as tragic as that sounds. This was one anthology that I couldn't put down!
"Spells: A Novel Within Photographs" is a book that has a unique flow. The synopsis states that each author was given a picture first and then asked to create a scary story from just the details in the picture. It’s a really unique way of bringing all these stories together and really fascinating trying to get into the same mindset as the authors as they observed their individual pictures. The only downside to the book is that the stories aren’t longer but it’s perfect for anyone not wanting a long read.
"Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror" has mixed reviews. Keeping in mind that any singular person has different tastes in horror, and that true fans of horror are hard to please, this book has a variety of thrills that have massive potential and a few that flop (in my humble opinion). The editor included a small background note of each author before each story which makes sorting through your likes and dislikes a little easier. I will say that the book starts off strong and is easy to fall into. With 24 stories and more than 400 pages, there is surely something for everyone between the cover of this book.
The "Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 22" only comes in eBook format but it’s worth borrowing on overdrive if you want a variety of stories; and plenty of them! The editors’ note does say that they specifically decreased the amount of attention that were going to give “paranormal romance” because they believe it has no place among the great horror tales of the genre. As much as I both agree and disagree with the sentiment, I am glad to have a book dedicated solely to facets of the truly disturbing and emotion evoking thrills and chills. Having said that, the very first story is about the love of a man for his wife, haha; and quite a story it was! After reading through the first story I was beckoned to binge read as much as I could in the first day. From apocalypse survivors to ordinary ghosts, the authors have quite a way with imagery and have full mastery of their craft. Pick this up on Overdrive when you have the chance!
Not interested in fictional horror? Try out "True Ghosts: Haunting Tales From the Vaults of FATE Magazine" and "True Ghosts 2: More Haunting Tales From the Vaults of FATE Magazine". Based on the real-life stories of many different individuals, the running theme is that people submitted their own paranormal experiences to a magazine. Each story was carefully curated for these books in particular, guaranteed to give you a shiver down your spine. From a diner that was never there to a whistle from a ghost train years after its’ demise, this thought-provoking series is a popular run to when you are in need of a fright.
"Cursed Objects: Strange but True Stories of the World's Most Infamous Items" markets itself as a compendium of objects that have had unfortunate mishaps happen around them. Quite a few of the items have inspired horror movies like Annabelle. These items have been found in private homes, museums, graveyards, and more. According to the synopsis, “Many of these unfortunate items have intersected with some of the most notable events and people in history, leaving death and destruction in their wake.” Sounds like a spooky scary skeleton kind of time!
Try out these other short story anthologies of horror and thrills for October and beyond: