We’re thinking of twinkle lights, Nat King Cole and copious amounts of sweets, but there’s always someone on your gift list that is a lover of all things not so typically associated with the holiday vibes, and therefore we’re here to offer some recommendations for the person on your list that would squeal at a new horror fiction compared to cookbook. Feel free to peruse the following list of horror fiction recommendations as a source of gift giving inspiration for the horror junkie on your gift list.


Our list for the Horror lover this season:

Laird Barron, Occultation 
Contemporary master of weird fiction, Laird Barron has created his own horror cosmology with the Children of Old Leech. Every story in this collection is strong, with Mysterium Tremendum being a personal favorite. It’ll make you think twice about camping in the Pacific Northwest, and will shine brightly under the tree as a gift for your horror-loving hiking buddy.

M.R. James, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
These may be ghost stories in the classic mode, but James has always been one to innovate. His stories are often multi-layered and build up to a menacing climax. “Count Magnus,” is the story of a travel writer who, in doing research for a book in Sweden, encounters the malicious spirit of an evil count and pays dearly for his trespass. Cousin traveling abroad this season? Sounds like the perfect gift to us.

Kathe Koja, Extremities
Though this writer occasionally makes forays into the Young Adult market, Extremities is no book for children. Often transgressive in nature, these stories pack a ferocious punch. Favorites include the surreal “The Neglected Garden” and the voyeuristic “Angels In Love” to make the list of what to gift your Aunt Sue that seems to be obsessed with all things unknown.

Junji Ito, Uzumaki
The collected issues of Ito’s manga magnum opus, Uzumaki, is sure to perplex and horrify. It tells the story of the residents of a small town’s growing fascination with spirals, which seem to be turning up in the most unexpected places. These interwoven stories of obsession cross the line between psychological and body horror. Ito’s masterful drawing style is sure to etch images in the reader’s memory and perhaps give that hard-to-but-for-and-loves-all-things-super-weird person on your gift list a run for their money.

Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe
These once expensive and hard-to-find collections have recently been reprinted by Penguin Classics in a two-in-one edition. Ligotti eschews blood and guts for a more philosophical brand of horror, but the effect is no less unsettling. There are many fine pieces here. “Dreams of a Mannekin” is the story of a psychiatrist who is visited by patient who is troubled by a recurring dream of dressing mannequins in a storefront, and is uncertain that her dream life may be more real than her waking life. Believing himself the victim of a prank, the doctor makes attempts to follow the young woman with unsettling results. This one sounds great for anyone on your gift list really – dreams meet thrillers – yes please.

Joe Hill, 20th Century Ghosts
A strong collection from the son of Stephen King. Hill writes a lot like his father, but avoids King’s tendency to put corny dialogue in his character’s mouths. Not all of the stories here are classics, but “20th Century Ghost,” in which a movie theater is haunted by the ghost of a young woman, is sure to have you looking over your shoulder next time you catch a show. This one doesn’t even have to have a horror junkie as recipient, any King fan would love a new dose of creepy for a gift.

Dan Simmons, Summer of Night
If short stories aren’t your cup of tea, Summer of Night is the perfect antidote. This whopping tome tells the story of a group of four boys in small town Illinois where strange events that began at the end of the school year permeate the Midwestern summer. Boys on bikes and an unspeakable evil threatening their otherwise peaceful community? It may sound a lot like Stranger Things, but Summer of Night was written twenty-five years ago! I think we nailed it for the sci-fi lover on your gift list too. *brushes shoulders off*

H.P. Lovecraft, The Complete Fiction
There’s not a lot left to be said about the father of cosmic horror, but Lovecraft is always a safe bet, no matter what time of year. Lovecraft will always make me think of the days when I first discovered the joy of reading horror fiction. May I recommend “The Rats in the Walls” and “The Whisperer in Darkness” as good starting points? Lovecraft anything is sure to please under the tree.

Written by Jeremy Schliewe, Book Department Supervisor