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Books of Blood: Volume One

(Books of Blood #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  18,987 ratings  ·  536 reviews
"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red." For those who only know Clive Barker through his long multigenre novels, this one-volume edition of the Books of Blood is a welcome chance to acquire the 16 remarkable horror short stories with which he kicked off his career. For those who already know these tales, the poignant introduction is a window on th ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 210 pages
Published June 1986 by Berkley Books (first published 1984)
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4.03  · 
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 ·  18,987 ratings  ·  536 reviews

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Horror...gore...twisted, nightmare imagery...let's get under the covers and read something scary...

There are some truly blood-chilling moments in this excellent collection. Barker has a very unique voice and I thought all of these stories were at least good, with several being remarkable 5+ star worthy gems. Deeply evocative with shocking depictions that will glue themselves to your memory. This is a worthy collection for fans of the genre or anyone who enjoys quality, creative writing and isn
Bill  Kerwin
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This may be the best book of horror stories ever written. When I read it thirty years ago, it convinced me that I could actually like a good horror story. When I read it again ten years ago, it was as fresh and scary as the first time. And last week, when I read it yet again, I took my time, and I finally let this superb book teach me what first-class horror is all about.

You see, I have always been one of those guys who likes terror fiction better than horror fiction. I much prefer the ghosts o
Edward Lorn
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a fan of Clive Barker the Novelist . I'll read his novels from time to time, but I try to stay away from his fan's favorites. His books are some of the most overwritten literature I've stumbled upon. But the readers who enjoy him seem to like that aspect of his work. He reminds me of a present day Lovecraft without all the fish people, squid-faced gods, and bigotry. Meaning, I like the idea of Barker's work more than the execution. That being said, I am a fan of Clive Barker the Short S ...more
Paul Nelson
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audio version of Books of Blood volume 1 and while not being blown away by the majority of the narration, I thought four of the stories exceptional and the remaining two just didn’t do it for me but I guess you will always get that in most collections.

Book of Blood 4*
The first story follows a psychic researcher and a medium as they investigate a haunted house. This story was adapted to become part of the film the Book of Blood and visions of the highway of the dead. The medium
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Honestly? This short story collection is flawless.

Every single story in this was without fault. All of them were haunting and really, really well written, and get a full 5 stars each from me. The weakest one was, in my opinion, "Sex, Death and Starshine", but that just means that it was slightly worse than the others, not that it was leagues beneath. My favourite was possibly "The Yattering and Jack" because it was clever as hell, but honestly, it's really hard to choose.

I've already started the
The Book of Blood

The Midnight Meat Train

The Yattering and Jack

Pig Blood Blues

Sex, Death and Star Shine

In the Hills, the Cities
This is my favorite story from this volume. I found this image on deviant art, an awesome depiction of the giant made of people.
Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I originally read this book when it was a brand new release and I was fourteen. I remember buying it with my allowance at the local drugstore. I'm betting most of it went over my head at the time but I have fond memories of scaring people away from speaking to me when reading this. I'm curious how I'll feel about it now that I'm no longer a tormented teen looking to hide from reality.

The Book of Blood
After recently seeing the movie adaptation of this short story, which was dreary, sexualized and
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, anthologies
Books of Blood, Volume 1 is an entertaining six-story anthology. As usual, I didn't love every story. The last two didn't do much for me.

The Book of Blood
The dead have highways and a team of three people is at Tollington Place 65 to witness one of those turnpikes and intersections.

The Midnight Train
Kaufman's love for New York is not as strong as when he came to live there. Someone is butchering people in the subway and he is going to get in the middle of it and learn some of the city's hist
Anthony Vacca
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first volume of Books of Blood is an excited debut that gushes with inventiveness the way the titular fluid leaves a severed artery. As gleefully moribund as they are perverse, each of the six stories collected here are elaborately conceived phantasmagorias that offer a reckoning for its protagonists who take the banality of existence for granted. For Barker, abandoned houses can be way stations on the highway of the dead; the subway can serve as a banquet cart for the underground rulers of ...more
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
Reflecting back after 14 years, Barker writes:

"I look at these pieces and I don't think the man who wrote them is alive in me anymore.... We are all our own graveyards I believe; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were. If we're healthy, every day is a celebration, a Day of the Dead, in which we give thanks for the lives that we lived; and if we are neurotic we brood and mourn and wish that the past was still present.

Reading these stories over, I feel a little of both. Some of the simpl
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

So I have been meaning to read more of Clive Barker's stories this year, so I hope to get to the rest of the volumes before Halloween. Volume 1 showcases how the books of blood were created (a creepy origin story) and we have one of the characters who starts to read the stories that were left behind. I had some favorites, and some that I scratched my head at and moved on. I should maybe have given it 3 stars, but heck it's Clive Barker so I rounded it up to 4 stars.

"The Book of Blood" (5 stars)-
Kaustubh Dudhane
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Every body is a book of blood;
Wherever we’re opened, we’re red."

I have heard and read about Clive Barker that his writing is brutal, scary and full of gore. Moreover, my expectations rose when the introduction was written by Mr. Ramsey Campbell.

There are five short stories in the book - The Midnight Meat Train; The Yattering and Jack; Pig Blood Blues; Sex, Death and Starshine and In the Hills, the Cities.

Let's do it in an organized way by taking one story at a time in the order they
Andrew Lennon
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've tried reading Barker a couple of times and given up. MISTER B GONE and SCARLET GOSPELS are two that spring to mind.
Now I know that Barker has some hardcore fans and they're always shocked when I say I haven't liked anything I've read.When I tell them the titles I tried they are never surprised. It appears I picked two of his weakest....
Anyway, the one recommendation that always comes up is BOOKS OF BLOOD.I had a voucher for a free audiobook so thought I'd give this one a go. SOOOO happy I d
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
To my total surprise I am giving this collection of stories four stars. :) One of the things that I struggle with with horror is that it can be incredibly predictable. Not so with this book. Barker does a phenomenal job of making his stories unique and original. There was only one story that I felt was same ol' same ol'. The Yattering and Jack was my favorite, but I also really enjoyed In the Hills, the Cities.
Brandon Petry
This is the second time I’ve read Vol. 1 all the way through since I was thirteen. And man does it hold up. This time around my favorite stories were:
Midnight Meat Train (of course)
The Yattering and Jack
In the Hills, the Cities

I can't wait to re-read the other volumes.
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, book-series
Currently, I'm reading Books 1-3 contained in a single volume, but I wanted to review each book individually.

So far, I am quite impressed by Clive Barker's collection of short macabre horror stories. I was a bit skeptical of reading them because I had watched a Hellraiser film (which he directed) and had thought that it was very poor in quality, story and acting. Luckily, I can say that his writing is much better. The book starts with a terrifying statement: "Everybody is a book of blood. Wherev
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I finally finished this and was sorry I waited because the last 2 stories I really enjoyed. Especially the one about the giant human mass which was just genius! Just picturing it in my head was so much fun! Mick and Judd were very likable characters too. My other favorites were The Yattering and Jack and Pig Blood Blues. Highly recommend even if u are not a Barker fan. I'm so glad I have part 2 and 3.
Mike Kleine
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
CLIVE BARKER’S BOOKS OF BLOOD: 1 is one of the more interesting books I have read this side of 2012, and I’m not even talking about the horror stuff… While some authors are known for their prose, dialogue or surprise twists, Clive Barker just really knows how to write a good story, offering just enough detail but never revealing too much. The text itself contains a meager five (technically, six) stories but for what it lacks in length, it certainly makes up in substance.

Dec 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Horror fans, Barker Fans, Gore fans
Recommended to Michael by: Kahlil
Shelves: pulp-fiction
Occasionally I try to read some horror that is not written by HP Lovecraft. When I do, I am invariably reminded that I am not a horror fan, I am a Lovecraft fan. I think reading this, in High School, was the first time I had this experience. Actually, if I recall, I had already read the first story,
"The Book of Blood" (which serves as a kind of "wraparound" to this volume) in Omni magazine. It was better as a standalone, actually. Overall, the stories focus on pain and gore (and the painful asp
Jun 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Books of Blood are probably the best things Barker has ever written. These stories are not just (or always) scary, but extremely imaginative. In this collection, the story "In the Hills, the Cities" certainly stretched my brain. "The Yattering and Jack" is also memorable, as a tale of a demon trying to trap a soul, that verges on the slapstick.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Comments on the entirety of the series, followed by some thoughts on the stories in this individual entry:

When I first read these books -- all of them, within a short space of time -- way back in 2002, I admit to being slightly biased against them. I'm not totally sure what it was. Maybe I was just too obsessed with Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Arthur machen, and thought Clive Barker was some tepid mainstream nonsense by comparison. I remember having a friend in the 90s who spoke very disp
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
After an introductory story that's ripped off the Illustrated Man we get:
1.The Midnight Meat Train (2.8/5). A decent story involving a serial killer working for a, literally, underground organisation. Barker hits the brake before the train derails but that's it.
2.The Yattering and Jack (3/5). A lighthearted comedic story about a failed attempt at haunting. Good, not great.
3.Pig Blood Blues (2/5). Not exactly bad, but Barker tries so hard to come up with new ideas that he introduces us to an evil
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Great little collection of horror stories, definitely worth reading if you're into the horror genre. They're creative, well-written and eerie, and really intriguing. My only complaint is that they don't seem to be very original.
Nov 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, short-fiction
1. The Book of Blood ***
2. The Midnight Meat Train ****
3. The Yattering and Jack **
4. Pig Blood Blues ****
5. Sex, Death, and Starshine **
6. In the Hills, The Cities *****

3.5 stars. Not frightening but at least imaginative.
Michael Jandrok
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wanting to get a short-story collection into my Autumnal fascination with darker and more horrific fare, I chose to pick out an old paperback off of the shelf. It was the first Berkley printing of “Volume One of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood.” First published in 1984, this paperback edition came out two years later, in 1986. It came to market with some heady recommendations.

“He scares even me….What Barker does in the BOOKS OF BLOOD makes the rest of us look like we’ve been asleep for the last te
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Back in 1984, Clive Barker made his name within the deeply competitive world of horror with the publication of the first three volumes of the macabre short stories 'The Books Of Blood'. Written in his spare time, he admits that he was not expecting them to sell really at all, let alone predict the public response that followed. The release exploded within the horror literature genre, hailing Barker as an exciting and imaginative newcomer. Stephen King, already known as a master in the genre, wen ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my second time through this first volume of these short stories and again I was struck with how fucking inspired this dude was even when he dropped his first works. This is hardly the shaky work of a rookie; instead we get a fully-developed voice, style, and completely fucking bizarre and creepy plots and ideas. Not every story in this collection is what I would consider to be five-star-worthy but the ones that are are unfuckablewith stone cold classics when it comes to this kind of thi ...more
Scott Rhee
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Clive Barker's "Books of Blood" was an eye-opener for me when I first read it in high school. Besides being the first book I read that included a graphic gay sex scene (which may not seem like a big deal now, but for a pretty naive kid living in an ultra-conservative community, it seemed pretty subversive and taboo, which is, of course, why I loved it), it was also one of the first horror short story collections which straddled the lines of the horror genre and literary fiction. Barker's just a ...more
Zombieslayer/Alienhunter {and so on}
The sky is dark and grey, the leaves are all a-tumble;
a wolf howls and a bone cracks. Through the graveyard you stumble.
The spirits are awake, just as they were then. Your blood runs cold and your spin tingles;
it's that time of year again!

Welcome, welcome, boils and ghouls, to the 3rd annual 31 Days Of Hallo-reads as hosted by yours unfortunately truly. How I could possibly surpass the horror of last October, I have no idea (*ba-dump-tssk*) but you bet your tailbones I'm going to try.

Tobin Elliott
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, hard-copy
I've read almost everything Barker has written, with the notable exceptions of the Books of Blood and the Abarat series. I figured it was time to remedy that, so here I am, back where it all began.

Barker's a hell of a nice guy (I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years back in Toronto) and a hell of a writer. I think the thing that impresses me the most is that nothing is off limits for him and the reader will likely never be able to predict where his stories will go.

That's both a plus and a
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Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It ...more

Other books in the series

Books of Blood (6 books)
  • Books of Blood: Volume Two (Books of Blood #2)
  • Books of Blood: Volume Three (Books of Blood #3)
  • The Inhuman Condition (Books of Blood, #4)
  • In the Flesh (Books of Blood #5)
  • Books of Blood: Volume Six (Books of Blood, #6)
“I don't want to see another church; the smell of the places makes me sick. Stale incense, old sweat, and lies...

"In the Hills, the Cities”
“There was a memory and a promise of blood in the air.” 7 likes
More quotes…