A new reader looking the right place to start.

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I am planning on jumping on the Lovecraft train and I'm looking for pointers on where to start from serious readers of his.

And also...
Cthulhu__s_Day_Out_by_ursulav.jpg

..Couldn't help myself.
 
It's all pretty good. You may wish to start with some short stories...
Just reread Fungi from Yuggoth and The Music of Eric Zann.
 

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When I first started, I read Call of Cthulhu, At the Mountains of Madness, and Shadow Over Innsmouth in that order, and then everything else.

I found that to be a pretty good introduction to him.
 
I'd suggest Shadow over Innsmouth BEFORE AT The Mountains...ATMOM is very ambitious and probably HPL's magnum opus, but Innsmouth is more novice friendly and has a more taut narrative. I would also recommend The Color Out of Space and The Shadow Out of Time. But like someone else has suggested you could try out some of his shorter stores before going on to these.
Besides HPL's work is out of copyright so various sites have all of his stuff for free e-reading (Check out Dagon Bytes). Here's a lovely little mood-piece LINK
 
I started with The Cats of Ulthar and then went on to Call of Cthulhu and the rest. If you're not wanting to go right out and acquire books, the reading some stories on the Net might be a good start.

If you do wish to get books, then the stories are best collected here (as has been mentioned in similar threads in this sub-forum): All three are by Penguin.

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories
The Dreams in the Witch House and Other Weird Stories
 
If I were going to go for a decent entry point I might look at 1) "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" or of course 2) "The Rats in the Walls".

The first story has enough information in it to contain some plot thickness but it quickly runs into a conclusion. A more full fledged or grand story that is at least in some ways similar to this one is "The Shadow Over Innsmouth". You could read the one, and than the other. It would be quite a journey.

"The Rats in the Walls" is a bit darker, but it is a really good story worth reading. Different in that way than "Facts[...]Jermyn and His Family". If you want a harder hit than this, than read "The Picture in the House". Read it carefully, but I would avoid it actually because it suggests something gruesome. If you can drink that shooter however, than you will be an H.P. Lovecraft convert.
 
Like the others, I suggest starting with some short stories. There's a collection you should be able to find called "Waking Up Screaming" (the first one I picked up, knowing only the name of Lovecraft at the time). It's a decent collection that includes some of his more popular work among others, like "Shadow Over Innsmouth" (the inspiration for an XBox game, nice if you can get your hands on it), "Herbert West - Reanimator", "Dagon", and my personal favorite of his "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward".

I also have the H.P. Lovecraft collection on my iPod. It has a few flaws but overall very nice for only a few bucks as, unless I'm mistaken, it contains all of his stories. I'm interested to know that there's a site where you can read his stories online. I'll have to check that out!

Dive in and enjoy!


EDIT: That collection I mentioned also contains "Arthur Jermyn..." which slipped my mind until I read Tinsel's post. Also an excellent tale.
 
You mentioned "serious readers" of his work... that's opening a dangeous door, my friend....:p

Personally, I think it best to read HPL from the beginning (at least of his fiction and his fantastic poetry, which at times ties into his fiction in various ways); That way you get to see his Lovecraft Mythos (to be distinguished from the Cthulhu Mythos) develop and spread its tentacles. But for a modern newcomer that might not be the optimum choice.

However, I first became really interested in him by reading "The Call of Cthulhu", which has also caught the imaginations of a goodly number of people (Neil Gaiman to the contrary notwithstanding). This is a good introduction to his themes and is itself the first "solid" step into developing the myth-figures which feature in so much of his later fiction.

As for where to go for them... the Penguin editions are quite good, despite an occasional typo; but I believe (ningauble can correct me on this) that there's another edition which may be even better, as it collects together all the fiction save revisions.

In any event, happy hunting, and I hope you enjoy!
 
Lurking Fear was a good one for me, easy to understand and not nearly as ambitious as At the Mountains of Madness and IMHO, one of his creepiest.
 
You mentioned "serious readers" of his work... that's opening a dangeous door, my friend....:p

Personally, I think it best to read HPL from the beginning (at least of his fiction and his fantastic poetry, which at times ties into his fiction in various ways); That way you get to see his Lovecraft Mythos (to be distinguished from the Cthulhu Mythos) develop and spread its tentacles. But for a modern newcomer that might not be the optimum choice.

However, I first became really interested in him by reading "The Call of Cthulhu", which has also caught the imaginations of a goodly number of people (Neil Gaiman to the contrary notwithstanding). This is a good introduction to his themes and is itself the first "solid" step into developing the myth-figures which feature in so much of his later fiction.

As for where to go for them... the Penguin editions are quite good, despite an occasional typo; but I believe (ningauble can correct me on this) that there's another edition which may be even better, as it collects together all the fiction save revisions.

In any event, happy hunting, and I hope you enjoy!

Yes I would suggest Call of Cthulhu as well, as that was my first Lovecraft's tale when I began reading his stories. If not CoC, read At the Mountains of Madness or Shadow Out of Time, both are pretty solid in conveying that cosmic horror that underlies most of his stories.
 
I kind of prefer the lesser known works. Re-animator is kind of repetitive, but "The Rats in the Walls" probably resonated with me the most.
There are a lot of books collecting the shorter stories, maybe start with those?
 
Which of the Penguin 'trilogy' contains his most "highly regarded" stories?
I think "The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories" is the best one to start with. It's the one I started with, is of the highest overall standard (in my opinion) and has many of his famous ones (such as "Call of Cthulhu", "Shadow Over Innsmouth", "Colour out of Space", "Rats in the Walls", etc.)
 

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