Monday, April 6, 2009

Penguin UK's Ten Tales of the Supernatural


Recently, Penguin UK released a new series called Ten Tales of the Supernatural, a reprint of ten classic gothic horror novels in their Red Classics format. The books are all designed by the amazing Coralie Bickford-Smith, who has designed a number of other equally stunning series in the Red Classics list.

What's wonderful about this series is the balance of relatively well-known titles with ones that were completely new to me. For example: I just finished Richard Marsh's The Beetle, an inherently quite disturbing story of an ancient Egyptian mind-control curse transmitted through invasive and hallucinatory (and sometimes slightly erotic? or is it just me?) encounters with a large beetle. Published in 1897 (the same year as Stoker's Dracula as I'm told by the author bio), The Beetle was quite well-received and I understand why. Marsh shifts the narration between four characters, providing readers with insight into the minds and motivation of all the players, including (gasp!) a woman. It's still a captivating yarn after over 100 years, one I would have never discovered if it were'nt for this series.

Where to find Ten Tales of the Supernatural:

Unfortunately, this series is not available in the US. As it's published by Penguin UK, I ordered my first 5 volumes through amazon.co.uk. With the overseas shipping they're not as much of a bargain as I imagine they are over there, but I think the design alone is worth the $10 or so each book costs. Further, I've found that a lot of these Penguin UK Red Classics are available through Amazon Canada, including Ten Tales of the Supernatural. At the moment many look to be out of stock but it's a great secret for us collectors here in the States.

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