As an Easter gift my wife Katie gave me this huge tome. She was tired of my frustration, in pursuing my Lovecraft studies, of having to bounce from book to book to find the next story. I have the Del Rey collections, which aren’t presented in the order they were written, unlike the Penguin editions; both Ken Hite’s Tour de Lovecraft, and the H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast tackle the stories that way. This collection has everything, in order, in one volume. It also has an introduction by Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, who also provides brief intros to each story. It has an appendix featuring Lovecraft’s juvenalia, as well as the complete Supernatural Fiction in Literature.
It’s 1,098 pages, and I was afraid it would be too unwieldy for comfortable reading. It’s not, at least no more so than any other thick hardcover book. The pages lay open without fuss. I was also concerned that perhaps the font would be too small, to accommodate so much material, but it’s easy on my eyes even without my reading glasses. The pages are gold-edged, and there’s a stitched-in ribbon bookmark. The endpapers feature a suitably Lovecraftian illustration by John Coulthart, a predominant Lovecraftian illustrator. It’s “bonded leather” rather than genuine (that is, dead animal) leather, but still a it’s a very pretty, very sturdy book.
The books is available exclusively in the United States through Barnes & Noble. If you walk into the store it’s in the bargain section, along with other leatherbound collections. I’ve never been fond of the concept of books only being available from one outlet, but it’s only $20. Yes, bit of Lovecraft fiction, in a nice hardcover edition, for only $20.
This post originally appeared on April 24, 2011.