Picking ten books that have influenced me is really difficult. I have sat here for an hour looking at my bookshelf. So I am going to be a rebel and talk about 13 books that have influenced me.
This list is in no particular order. Each and every one of these books have influenced me or affected me in some way over the last few years.
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – The first time I read this book I was a young angsty goth. The idea of a love that does not die but stretches into eternity just thrilled me to no end. However, this is a good lesson in a book not aging well. I recently re-read it with the LOHF and it wasn’t like I remembered it.
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – It may seem cliché but I love it. I have loved it for many many years.
- The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter – I have always love the way that Angela Carter can take something like a fairytale and make it even more disturbing then the original.
- The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – In this edition there are other stories of hers but I read The Yellow Wallpaper when I was in college (the second time). At the time most of my horror was SK, dean Koontz and of course the gothic writers. This is a story which still effects me in a profound way.
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – This book made me realize that beauty is not always beautiful.
- Benny Rose The Cannibal King by Hailey Piper – This was the 80s all wrapped up in a book. The creature features that I had grown up with. LOVED IT!
- Little Paranoias by Sonora Taylor – There is a story in this collection that hasn’t left me. This story has it’s own spot in my brain.
- Love For Slaughter by Sara Tantlinger – I love poetry. I love how people can take words and make them into these beautiful and brutal passages. Sara was one of the first horror poets that I read.
- The Apocalyptic Mannequin by Stephanie M. Wytovich – Beauty and heart break. This is a poetry collection that I go back to time and time again.
- New Music for Old Rituals By Tracy Fahey – This is the perfect example of how folklore influences horror and vice versa. The Black Dog is one of my favorite stories from this collection.
- How to Recognize a Demon has Become your Friend By Linda Addison – What I love about this collection is the mix of prose and verse. In this collection it is pure magic.
- The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste – Beauty, horror and decay. When I read this novel my heart broke and I felt all the things. It was the best combination of horror and beauty in one book.
- Black Magic Women Edited by Sumiko Sualson – If you look at my instagram or my blog you will notice that I reference this anthology multiple times. It is a treasure trove of authors that I can guarantee the mainstream hasn’t heard of. From Nuzo Ohno the queen of African horror to Rhonda Joseph Garcia whose story Left Hand Torment was one of my favorites. This anthology is amazing.
There are a lot more than just these 13 books that have influenced me. However, these are books that I can’t shake off. They have burrowed into my gray matter and taken up residence. I am okay with that.
Toni is one of our LOHF Admins. Toni hosts the Ladies of Horror Fiction podcast, manages our guest posts, and oversees community outreach and communications for the LOHF team. You can also find Toni on her blog The Misadventures of a Reader, Twitter as @Toni_The_Reader, and Instagram as @toni_the_reader.