I actually finished this book on Halloween night (how fitting), but am just now getting around to posting. I had chipped away at a few of the stories in this compilation over a two- or three-year span, but really delved into it as part of my 25 Books Challenge. The language is dense, and many stories are very similar when stacked next to each other, but I can now really understand how revolutionary — though sometimes problematic — Lovecraft was to the horror genre.
Certain stories stick out as my clear favorites. “Rats in the Walls,” read to me by Joe on a stormy night over the summer. “Cool Air” with its chilling twist, “The Colour Out of Space” with its amazing imagery. “Re-Animator” as a series of short stories is quite hilarious, and is intended to be, which was very refreshing amid all the cosmic horror and bleak agonies of various protagonists. The best two, in my opinion, were some of the longest and most elaborately told: “The Whisperer in Darkness” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” The tone, the description of the lands therein, and the sheer madness of their conclusions were very enthralling.
I particularly like this copy I have, a Penguin Classic edition with pages and pages of highly informative endnotes which detail 1920s slang, East Coast cities and Victorian culture, and references to other Lovecraftian stories and admired horror work.