100 books like The Blue Room and Other Tales

By Lettice Galbraith, Alastair Gunn (editor),

Here are 100 books that The Blue Room and Other Tales fans have personally recommended if you like The Blue Room and Other Tales. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories

Kyle Sullivan Author Of Krampus Confidential

From my list on delivering holiday magic with a dark twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was a child, Halloween and Christmas have held equally hallowed positions in my heart. When I learned of Krampus folklore in my teens, I was immediately fascinated. Krampus offered the best of both worlds—a dose of Halloween creepiness to counterbalance the bright jubilation of the winter holidays. Krampus Confidential, a middle-grade mystery, and adaptation of The Maltese Falcon, is my second children’s book that aims to introduce this magnificent creature to children in a way that doesn’t inspire nightmares. My first, Goodnight Krampus, is a board book for young readers that reimagines the monster as a rambunctious toddler who gives Santa a hard time by refusing to go to sleep on Christmas Eve.

Kyle's book list on delivering holiday magic with a dark twist

Kyle Sullivan Why did Kyle love this book?

Though the stories in this collection aren’t likely to scare you silly, they will almost certainly give you the creeps. The Victorians loved spending their cold, dark winter evenings with eerie tales of the unsettling, the uncanny, and the unholy. And who could blame them? The 13 tales collected here are diverse in content and tone, but they all offer an ideal candlelit escape when the days grow dark and the cold wind wails.

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Walter Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first-ever collection of Victorian Christmas ghost stories, culled from rare 19th-century periodicals

During the Victorian era, it became traditional for publishers of newspapers and magazines to print ghost stories during the Christmas season for chilling winter reading by the fireside or candlelight. Now for the first time thirteen of these tales are collected here, including a wide range of stories from a diverse group of authors, some well-known, others anonymous or forgotten. Readers whose only previous experience with Victorian Christmas ghost stories has been Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” will be surprised and delighted at the astonishing variety of…


Book cover of The Face in the Glass: The Gothic Tales of Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Lisa Morton Author Of Haunted Tales: Classic Stories of Ghosts and the Supernatural

From my list on collections of classic ghost stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been a fan of ghost stories. As a kid, I loved horror movies and the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and H. P. Lovecraft; later on, I discovered movies like The Innocents (based on Henry James's The Turn of the Screw) and The Haunting (adapted from Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House). As a ghost historian and editor, I've discovered dozens of brilliant tales from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; these are stories that remain relevant, entertaining, and frightening.

Lisa's book list on collections of classic ghost stories

Lisa Morton Why did Lisa love this book?

Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1835-1915) may not be known by most contemporary readers...and that's a shame because her stories often include pointed observations about human nature that remain as relevant today as they were when first published. This wonderful collection, part of the superb British Library Tales of the Weird series, begins with an eerie and tragic ghost story, "The Cold Embrace," and ends with the lengthy "Good Lady Ducayne," which is often classified as an early vampire tale. 

By Mary Elizabeth Braddon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Face in the Glass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young girl whose love for her fiance continues even after her death; a sinister old lady with claw-like hands who cares little for the qualities of her companions provided they are young and full of life; and a haunted mirror that foretells of approaching death for those who gaze into its depths. These are just some of the haunting tales gathered together in this macabre collection of short stories. Reissued in the Tales of the Weird series and introduced by British Library curator Greg Buzwell, The Face in the Glass is the first selection of Mary Elizabeth Braddon's supernatural…


Book cover of Angels & Insects: Two Novellas

Robert J. Lloyd Author Of The Bloodless Boy

From my list on science-based historical fiction novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write as Robert J. Lloyd, but my friends call me Rob. Having studied Fine Art at a BA degree level (starting as a landscape painter but becoming a sculpture/photography/installation/performance generalist), I then moved to writing. During my MA degree in The History of Ideas, I happened to read Robert Hooke’s diary, detailing the life and experiments of this extraordinary and fascinating man. My MA thesis and my Hooke & Hunt series of historical thrillers are all about him. I’m fascinated by early science, which was the initial ‘pull’ into writing these stories, but the political background of the times (The Popish Plot and the Exclusion Crisis, for example) is just as enticing. 

Robert's book list on science-based historical fiction novels

Robert J. Lloyd Why did Robert love this book?

Actually, two novellas, it’s the first, "Morpho Eugenia," that’s always stayed in my mind. I loved how it handles discussions on such subjects as teleology, determinism/personal freedom, the nature of life after death, and so on, the post-On the Origin of the Species mindset.

I particularly like the ending, which, if you’re reasonably alert, you’ll work out well before our protagonist. I don’t think this is a weakness; observing the main character, Adamson (note the surname), flailing towards an inevitable ‘reveal’ is part of the book’s point, I think.

The prose imitates Victorian literature, very post-Modern, but don’t let that put you off. I found its style immersive, making me feel closer to the time.

By A. S. Byatt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Angels & Insects as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In these two “astonishing” novellas (The New Yorker), the Booker Prize-winning author of Possession returns to the landscape of Victorian England, where science and spiritualism are popular manias, and domestic decorum coexists with brutality and perversion.

"At once quirky and deep, brimming with generosity, imagination, and intelligence." —The New Yorker

In Morpho Eugenia, an explorer realises that the behaviour of the people around him is alarmingly similar to that of the insects he studies. In The Conjugal Angel, curious individuals – some fictional, others drawn from history – gather to connect with the spirit world. Throughout both, Byatt examines the…


Book cover of Ghosts for Christmas

Andi Brooks Author Of Ghost Stories For Christmas Volume One

From my list on ghostly Christmas stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Anglo Irish writer who is as filled with a wide-eyed wonder of the magic of Christmas in my middle age as I was as a small child. Alongside my lifelong love of Christmas and its traditions, I have enjoyed an equally long love of ghost stories. Combining these two passions, I am the editor of the Ghost Stories For Christmas anthologies of classic Christmas ghost stories, the first of which was published in 2022. I am also the writer of Ghostly Tales of Japan, a collection of original stories set throughout Japanese history.

Andi's book list on ghostly Christmas stories

Andi Brooks Why did Andi love this book?

I came across this anthology in my local library in the late 1980s or early 1990s. It is a real treasure trove of classic Christmas ghost stories from giants of the genre such as Dickens, Le Fanu, Peattie, Blackwood, and Nesbit. As an added bonus, it contains M. R. James’ only story actually set at Christmas, The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance. One thing that I liked about this anthology was that it collected together stories ranging from the Victorian era through to what was then the present day. Although I never owned a copy of my own, it became an annual tradition to reserve it and borrow it from the library to read over the Christmas period. Now living in Japan, it has been several decades since I last read it. Despite the stories being available in many anthologies, this seems a perfect collection, and as…

By Richard Dalby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghosts for Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dalby, Richard


Book cover of Bellman & Black

Kate Strasdin Author Of The Dress Diary: Secrets from a Victorian Woman's Wardrobe

From my list on featuring fashion.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember I have been absolutely gripped by the stories that old clothes can tell. From visiting fashion museums as a child to collecting books on the subject, I was drawn to the shapes, the fabrics, and the tales. I can remember a curator once telling me that clothes are the closest we can get to people in the past. They are the ghostly outlines of our ancestors and that has stayed with me. We give so much away about ourselves through the clothes we choose to wear and so they really do matter.

Kate's book list on featuring fashion

Kate Strasdin Why did Kate love this book?

This has a very gothic kind of atmosphere and it is one that I recommend for the intricacies of 19th century dress etiquette.

It centres on the company of Bellman and Black, an emporium of mourning wares for the increasingly complicated garments and accessories required of grief in the 19th century. It gives such an insight into a world that is long gone but which was so important, where dress was able to communicate the stage of your life without a word spoken. 

By Diane Setterfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bellman & Black as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestselling author

“An astonishing work of genius.” —Bookreporter
“Magically transformative.” —Bookpage

Can one moment in time haunt you forever?
From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale comes a “poetic and mysterious” (Booklist) story that will haunt you to your very core.

Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his…


Book cover of The Heyday of Natural History, 1820-1870

Michael Layland Author Of In Nature's Realm: Early Naturalists Explore Vancouver Island

From my list on the history of natural history.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Nature’s Realm is my third book on the theme of exploration of Vancouver Island, my home for the past thirty years, and my first focussed on the history of natural history. In it, I call upon decades of experience in mapping hitherto scarcely known parts of the world, combined with a keen fascination with the fauna and flora of the many places where I have lived and worked. I have marvelled at the work of the exploring naturalists and am fascinated with their personal histories. I find it enthralling how they each added to the sum of human knowledge of the wonders of the natural world, now so sadly threatened.

Michael's book list on the history of natural history

Michael Layland Why did Michael love this book?

I found this delightful, well-written account of great interest and reference. It covers the widespread passion for all aspects of natural history during the Victorian era, how the collectors of ferns, seashells, birds’ eggs, and skins, butterflies, beetles, orchids, and all manner of curiosities from the natural world, pursued their hobbies. This general acceptance by society led to the formation of clubs, articles, and even specialist journals and popular lectures by amateurs and scientists.

Beautifully illustrated, this book, even though constrained in its timeframe, provides a wonderful introduction to the topic. Since I cover many of the people and motives included here, I much enjoyed another writer’s perspective on them.

By Lynn Barber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heyday of Natural History, 1820-1870 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First American Edition. "Generously illustrated and impeccably researched, "The Heyday of Natural History" is a highly informative look at a fascinating slice of Victorian culture and scientific history, and the scholars of the Victorian period will find it illuminating. . .Lynn Barber writes primarily for the general reader, and no one can fail to enjoy her witty style, and the rich gallery of eccentrics she describes."


Book cover of The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in Victorian Age

Shira Shmuely Author Of The Bureaucracy of Empathy: Law, Vivisection, and Animal Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain

From my list on getting familiar with multispecies history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination and emotional connection with animals have been lifelong. However, it wasn't until my second year as an undergrad student that I realized that human-animal relationship could be examined from philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives. Over the past couple of decades, the conversations around the roles of non-human animals in diverse cultural, social, and material contexts have coalesced under the interdisciplinary field known as Animal Studies. I draw upon this literature and use my training in law and PhD in the history of science to explore the ties between knowledge and ethics in the context of animal law.  

Shira's book list on getting familiar with multispecies history

Shira Shmuely Why did Shira love this book?

In this field-defining classic, Ritvo boldly showed the academic world that the relations between humans and other animals are worthy of historical inquiry.

The book delves into various subjects in Victorian life: hunting and the designation of nature reserves, the emergence of pet shows and their relations to class formation, meat consumption, and its national symbolism. The book’s impressive breadth of sources spans from popular newspapers’ illustrations to agricultural studbooks.

While primarily focused on nineteenth-century England, Ritvo's insights have inspired researchers, including myself, to examine similar themes in different cultures and historical periods.

By Harriet Ritvo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Animal Estate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When we think about the Victorian age, we usually envision people together with animals: the Queen and her pugs, the sportsman with horses and hounds, the big game hunter with his wild kill, the gentleman farmer with a prize bull. Harriet Ritvo here gives us a vivid picture of how animals figured in English thinking during the nineteenth century and, by extension, how they served as metaphors for human psychological needs and sociopolitical aspirations.

Victorian England was a period of burgeoning scientific cattle breeding and newly fashionable dog shows; an age of Empire and big game hunting; an era of…


Book cover of Sir Simon: Super Scarer

Jacqueline Rogers Author Of Goblin Moon

From my list on Halloween illustrated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up next to a cemetery, and being an avid young artist, I loved to draw all kinds of monsters and spooky themes. Halloween books are a perfect way to express my creepy…but not too creepy side. When I look at Halloween picture books, I'm immediately focused on the pictures, long before I read the story. What medium did the artist use? How do they depict night scenes? Are they realistic or stylized? How interesting are their characters? Halloween picture books are a perfect way to create moody and somewhat scary scenes that balance the creepy with the not-so-creepy. Kids love to be scared, but we don’t want to give them nightmares! 

Jacqueline's book list on Halloween illustrated

Jacqueline Rogers Why did Jacqueline love this book?

While I am an intermediate student in digital art making, I am a big fan of digital art well done. Cale Atkinson’s fun ghosty picture book, Sir Simon: Super Scarer was a delight to discover!

Atkinson combines stylized skewed perspectives with a wealth of interesting design elements like multiple type styles, picture frame vignettes to divide up a page, hidden ghosts in wallpaper, inventive word balloons, cutaways, and active layouts to move the reader through this fun book.

What I really loved was Atkinson’s use of gravely textures over layers of saturated color favoring turquoise and terra cotta, with a smattering of purples and olives that made me smile. 

Sir Simon goes through a heartwarming change in the story, but I had already fallen in love with his simply designed, emotional charm. 

Hurrah, Cale Atkinson!

By Cale Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sir Simon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A delightful, funny story of friendship, ghost chores, a spooky house and a professional haunter.

Meet Sir Simon, Super Scarer. He's a professional ghost who has been transferred to his first house. And just in time! He was getting tired of haunting bus stops and forests and potatoes. And to top it off, this house is occupied by an old lady -- they're the easiest to haunt!

But things don't go as planned when it turns out a KID comes with this old lady. Chester spots Simon immediately and peppers him with questions. Simon is exasperated. . . until he…


Book cover of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary

Lisa Morton Author Of Haunted Tales: Classic Stories of Ghosts and the Supernatural

From my list on collections of classic ghost stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been a fan of ghost stories. As a kid, I loved horror movies and the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and H. P. Lovecraft; later on, I discovered movies like The Innocents (based on Henry James's The Turn of the Screw) and The Haunting (adapted from Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House). As a ghost historian and editor, I've discovered dozens of brilliant tales from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; these are stories that remain relevant, entertaining, and frightening.

Lisa's book list on collections of classic ghost stories

Lisa Morton Why did Lisa love this book?

Ask any scholar of horror fiction to name the greatest ghost story writer of all time, and chances are good they'll come up with M. R. James (1862-1936). James, who is also highly regarded for his scholarly works and translations, was a provost at King's College, Cambridge who entertained students during the Christmas season with his ghost tales (honoring the old English tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas). His classics include such justifiably famous stories as "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" and "Casting the Runes" (which was adapted into the classic 1957 movie Curse of the Demon). This edition also includes a superb introduction by David Morrell.

By M.R. James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghost Stories of an Antiquary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dive into this collection of exquisite, classic horror stories-just make sure to have the lights on and the doors locked!
First published in 1904, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary contains eight tales of supernatural horror by genre master M.R. James. Highly regarded as a masterwork of horror, this collection is a must-have for fans of the frightful.
The stories in this collection include: "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book," "Lost Hearts," "The Mezzotint," "The Ash-Tree." "Number 13," "Count Magnus," "Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad," and "The Treasure of Abbot Thomas."


Book cover of Threading the Labryinth

Neil Williamson Author Of Queen of Clouds

From my list on fantasy whose location is the heart of the story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the sort of writer who constantly asks “what kind of story could I set here?” A quiet copse, a busy mall, a shabby wedding venue, all locations have their own stories to tell in addition to those of the characters who inhabit them. Stories work best when the location is the pivot around which everything else happens. This is doubly true for secondary world fantasy because, when you’re creating a world, you don’t just tease the story out of its locations—you can weave it into the fabric of the place. Which is how I created the world of Queen Of Clouds, down to its very motes.

Neil's book list on fantasy whose location is the heart of the story

Neil Williamson Why did Neil love this book?

This wonderful novel begins with the inheritance of an ancestral pile in rural England and slowly, by twists and turns, reveals the story of the once ornate house and gardens down the centuries. Ladies and lords of the manor, gardeners and servants, painters, photographers, and WWII land girls all flit fleetingly through its pages, but the novel’s heart is the mysterious walled garden whose secrets only a very few get to witness.

By Tiffani Angus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Threading the Labryinth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

American owner of a failing gallery, Toni, is unexpectedly called to England when she inherits a manor house in Hertfordshire from a mysterious lost relative.

What she really needs is something valuable to sell, so she can save her business. But, leaving the New Mexico desert behind, all she finds is a crumbling building, overgrown gardens, and a wealth of historical paperwork that needs cataloguing.

Soon she is immersed in the history of the house, and all the people who tended the gardens over the centuries: the gardens that seem to change in the twilight; the ghost of a fighter…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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