A good place to start reading HP Lovecraft

Extollager

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#2
Begin with his best story, "The Colour Out of Space." Lovecraft's stories are available online.

If you like that, I suggest you proceed to his short novel At the Mountains of Madness.

For a good effort in his earlier weird fiction vein, read "The Music of Erich Zann."

Other ones that are characteristic of his imagination are "The Whisperer in Darkness" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth."
 

Toby Frost

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#5
I was wondering if anyone knows of a good starting place for someone who's never read an H P Lovecraft book before.
I would start in an old, dark house, once owed by a grand family but now abandoned, in rain-swept Arkham on the banks of the ill-fated Miskatonic River.

Alternatively, I'd start with either The Whisperer in Darkness or The Shadow Over Innsmouth, because they are good lead-ins to his world, and they both read like an old-fashioned take on modern SF and horror. I think programmes like The X-Files owe a lot to them. They are long, though, especially Innsmouth. I started with a collection called The Haunter of the Dark and other weird tales, and that's pretty good, too.
 

Randy M.

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#7
For what it's worth, I started with what was, at the time, probably the least of the collections Ballantine put out in the 1960s-'70s, The Tomb and Other Tales. I was hooked. Of course, I was also in my mid-teens.

Anyway, the question is, do you want to explore his "mythos" or are you interested more broadly in his horror stories and weird tales?

If the latter, "The Rats in the Walls" and "The Colour Out of Space" are excellent introductions, both on the periphery of the mythos. I also enjoy "The Music of Erich Zann" and "Pickman's Model." The latter maybe isn't one of his best, but it seems the root of a straggly, gnarled and thornned branch of horror fiction that includes stories like Richard Barbor Johnson's "Far Below" and Karl Edward Wagner's "Sticks."

If you're patient with stories that might seem slow to develop, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" presents some of HPL's recurring themes, not least his love of the New England landscape. "The Shadow over Innsmouth" is shorter and more focused, though, and also offers some of his recurring themes.

And as others have noted it's hard to go wrong with At the Mountains of Madness, a short novel, and arguably the best story he wrote.


Randy M.
 
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#12
I was wondering if anyone knows of a good starting place for someone who's never read an HP Lovecraft book before.
I would begin with The Outsider...it's a very satisfying, creepy story with a totally unexpected ending. From there, I would go with The Colour out of Space, then At The Mountains of Madness, followed by Shadow Out Of Time (a protagonist from Mountains makes his appearance again...it's pretty cool!) and finally Call of Cthulhu. However, if you are thinking about absolute musts: Mountains first and then Call of Cthulhu. Happy reading!
 

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