Spine-tingling Tales

This month the team at Gloucester Road Books have chosen some dark and gothic tales to hunker down with as the nights draw in.

note from the team: “Our primary aim is that the shop be a fascinating place to explore. Some of the subject sections are a little broader than they might be elsewhere – for instance our ‘Time and Place’ section encompasses books on History, Travel Literature, Geography and Reportage. We also have a significant focus on titles published by small independent presses. There are lots of really brilliant small publishers putting out incredibly exciting books, and we want to help get these out into the world. The stock is carefully chosen and constantly changing, so even if you pop in every week there will always be new books to find.”

Penny Bloods: Gothic Tales of Dangerous Women
Edited by Nicole C. Dittmer
Published by The British Library

This collection brings together serialised texts known in the early 19th century as ‘penny fictions’, with serials containing more violent themes more specifically labelled ‘penny bloods’. Moralising tales featuring monstrous and deviant women became a focus of the penny bloods and even established archetypes such as the seductive vampires that inspired Sheridan le Fanu’s Carmilla. This collection looks to reintroduce both the popular and more obscure penny bloods to a new audience.

The Snow Ghost and Other Tales
Published by Vintage Classics
This is a collection of classic Japanese ghost stories taken from a number of works from around the turn of the 20th century (a great time for ghost stories generally!). The stories were originally published in English with a western audience in mind as an introduction to Japanese folklore and mythology, and also to feed the growing fascination with Japanese culture. The edition also comes with a particularly beautiful dust jacket illustrated by Yuko Shimizu.

Dead Drunk – Tales of Intoxication and Demon Drinks
Edited by Pam Lock
Published by the British Library

Part of the outstanding British Library Tales of the Weird series, this collection focuses on alcohol and intoxicants. The stories are taken largely from the Victorian era when plenty of strong views about the influence of alcohol on society made for some richly imagined tales. We’re going to be hosting an evening with the editor, Pam Lock, with dramatic readings and drinks from some authentic Victorian recipes. Details to follow on the Gloucester Road Books website.

Out There Screaming: An Anthology of Black Horror
Edited by Jordan Peele Published by Picador
Writer and director Jordan Peele has curated an anthology of brand-new stories from Black writers, including N.K. Jemisin and Lesley Nneka Arimah. The anthology brings together stories Peele describes as “raw imaginings of our deepest dreads and desires”, and while the stories contain the speculative and supernatural, they also play on Peele’s penchant for capturing the true horror of injustice.

The Coiled Serpent – Camilla Grudova Published by Atlantic
This is an exciting new collection of stories from one of the Granta Best Young British Novelists of 2023 list. Camilla’s two previous titles have been favourites of the shop, and this looks to be just as fun. Her writing tends toward the strange, weird, twisted, sometimes surreal, and always absorbing. We’re delighted to be welcoming Camilla to the shop for a talk about her writing on 13 November.

To sign up, visit Gloucester Road Books’ website: gloucesterroadbooks.com. Follow them on Instagram: gloucester_rd_books and browse the collection in store: 184 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, BS7 8NU. Open Monday – Tuesday 9.30am – 5pm; Wednesday – Saturday 9.30am – 6pm