The Statement at the Lower Left Used To Be on All Dover Paperbacks
As long as I can remember, I have been a big fan of Dover paperbacks. I was reminded of this as I started reading Howard Carter and A. C. Mace’s The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen (1923). There, at the bottom of the back cover, stood this bold claim:
A DOVER EDITION DESIGNED FOR YEARS OF USE:
We have made every effort to make this the best book possible. Our paper is opaque, with minimal show-through; it will not discolor or become brittle with age. Pages are sewn in signatures, in the method traditionally used for the best books, and will not drop out, as often happens with paperbacks held together with glue. Books open flat for easy reference. The binding will not crack or split. This is a permanent book.
Alas, this claim does not appear on more recent Dover paperbacks. In my collection, I have at least several hundred Dover books on chess, Shakespeare, ghost stories (a Dover specialty), mysteries, G. K. Chesterton, Anthony Trollope, John Lloyd Stephens, and numerous classics in the public domain. Not only were Dover books well made, they used to be relatively inexpensive. No more. I still follow them at their website and still occasionally order from them.
On Reading Ghost Stories
For several years now, I have been reading collections of horror stories published by Dover Publications. Apparently, there are so many of them, that I haven’t come anywhere near reading all of them. Here is a partial list of titles in this series:
- Algernon Blackwood: Best Ghost Stories
- J. Sheridan LeFanu: Best Ghost Stories
- Bram Stoker: Best Ghost and Horror Stories
- Arthur Conan Doyle: Best Supernatural Tales
- Robert Louis Stevenson: The Body Snatcher and Other Tales
- Hugh Lamb (ed.): A Bottomless Grave and Other Victorian Tales of Terror
- Horace Walpole: The Castle of Otranto
- Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol
- John Grafton (ed.): Classic Ghost Stories (I just finished this one tonight)
- Algernon Blackwood: The Complete John Silence Stories
- Bram Stoker: Dracula
- E. F. Bleiler (ed.): Five Victorian Ghost Novels
- Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (In four editions!)
- Hugh Lamb (ed.): Gaslit Horror and Gaslit Nightmares
- J. Sheridan LeFanu: Ghost Stories and Mysteries
- M. R. James: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
- Ambrose Bierce: Ghost and Horror Stories
- James Reynolds: Ghosts in Irish Houses
And this only takes us through the letter “G” in the alphabetical list of ghost titles. I have read almost all of these, and I have yet to find a bad collection (though some individual short stories may not be up to the general level).
I strongly recommend that you check out the excellent website of Dover Publications. The books are relatively inexpensive to begin with, but once they have our e-mail address, you will receive many attractive offers.
Then you, too, can shudder and shake your way through the dread month of October.