Looking for monsters? Here are a few guides:
They Bite by horror writers Jonathan Mayberry and David F. Kramer. Eight chapters, from vampires to ghosts to succubi and incubi. Featuring historical overviews and creator interviews, and ending with my favorite part: a guide to monsters found all over the world. From here I’ve written blog posts on the Dearg-Due vampire and the hellhound called the Black Shuck.
Cryptozoology A to Z by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark. A guide to monsters and the folks who seek them. As you might imagine from Coleman and Clark, the monstrous entries here are comprehensive and informative. I love that there’s a whole bit that’s just G for Giant (eight beasties here, from Anaconda to Turtles). There is also a wonderful cryptid section in Clark’s Unexplained, with in-depth entries on sea serpents and dinosaurs.
I’m going to finish out with the amazing Rosemary Ellen Guiley. The Atlas of the Mysterious in North America has chapters for water monsters and mysterious creatures, including Bigfoot and Chessie, plus my personal favorite, Thunder Birds. And then of course there are her encyclopedias. The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters is a classic, with entries on characters, creators, and creatures. Lots of great historical werewolf entries, including Gevaudan and less famous cases. And although it’s really monster-adjacent, I can’t leave out the Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, because it’s one of the first paranormal texts I ever owned, a gift from my parents when I was young. (I have cool parents.) It includes some creature-like spirits, such as kelpies and kobolds.