A stack of eight books from my shelves by Thomas Ligotti.

Here we see the books currently in my library from the pen of the idiosyncratic American horror writer Thomas Ligotti.

Second from top is my copy of the first UK edition of his debut short story collection Songs of a Dead Dreamer (1989). This is a book I’d first read in ‘92, having borrowed it from Cardiff Central Library. At the time I was very unhappily acclimatising to the misery of my first proper full-time job, and I found a perverse comfort in Ligotti’s bleak worldview. I meanwhile greatly enjoyed his way with words. To paraphrase a line from the story ‘Vastarien’, I felt as though “the book had found its reader” and became an immediate fan. After much searching I found a copy of my own in early ‘94, at the Cardiff branch of ‘Forbidden Planet’.

Toward the end of that same year I spotted Ligotti’s second book, Grimscribe (1991), listed in a mail-order bookseller’s catalogue. How that copy (of the UK edition – published by Robinson, ended up in a US Carroll & Graf dust-jacket is a long story I won’t get into). Story collection #3, Noctuary (1994) came into my hands in ‘98. I suspect it would have been among my first on-line book orders, but I can’t specifically recall. The remaining five volumes were definitely all on-line orders, all placed as soon as I’d heard of the titles’ having been published.

My Work is Not Yet Done (2002) is a collectable volume, coming as it did with a bookplate signed by both Ligotti and illustrator Harry O. Morris. More sought-after still is the Durtro edition of Teatro Grottesco (2006). Hardback copies of Ligotti’s essay The Conspiracy Against the Human Race (2010) likewise seem to be decidedly uncommon. Rounding out the set are the small volume of two stories that is The Spectral Link and the collection of interviews gathered in Born to Fear, both published by Subterranean Press in 2014. My copy of the former might have been worth more if my dog hadn’t got his teeth into it.

At one time or another I’ve also owned copies of The Nightmare Factory; In a Foreign Town, in a Foreign Land; Crampton; Sideshow, and Other Stories and Death Poems. Of these I sold a couple and gave away the remainder. There are only a few of his works (most notably The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein) that I haven’t read at all.