Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hauntings and Houses

While we've touched on hauntings in other posts this month, I'd like to take a moment to talk about my absolute favorites when it comes to fiction about hauntings and haunted buildings.  As I've mentioned, I adore Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (really, you owe it to yourself to take the time to read this) and Stephen King's Bag of Bones (creepy, but with a love story that never fails to move me).  As always, though, there is always more to read, and what a great problem to have!  So, if Ghosthunters or Paranormal Activity are a few of the things that give you goosebumps, here are a few novels right up your alley.

 Heart Shaped Box, by Joe Hill.  With a fast-paced plot and surprises at every turn, Hill's debut was a memorable ghost story.  Aging rock star Judas Coyne has a growing collection of curios and oddities, so when the opportunity arises to purchase a suit supposedly haunted by its former owner, he's eager to buy.  When the spirit attached to the clothing turns out to be the father of one of Coyne's former groupies, once discarded and then dead by her own hand, who seems to be bent on avenging his daughter's suicide.  Hill, however, writes with such nuance that just when you think you have everything figured out, he turns the whole story on its ear.  One of those great stories that you just can't seem to read fast enough, because you can't wait to find out what happens next.  Go get it!

The Woman in Black, by Susan Hill.  This is atmospheric, gothic horror at its finest.  Set on an isolated English moor, the story of young solicitor Arthur Kipps starts innocently enough, as he comes north to attend the funeral and settle the estate of a client.  Upon his arrival at the old manor house, however, what started as an ordinary business trip becomes increasingly more disturbing as sinister forces within the house manifest.  If you are in the mood for a traditional chiller, you cannot go wrong here.  ps--Daniel Radcliffe is starring in the movie, which will be released in early 2012.

Ghosts: The Story of a Reunion, by Adrian Plass.  As much a tale of loss as it is a chilling story of a haunting, Plass's ghosts are people, too.  David Herrick suffers from nightmares when he tries to sleep, and from raw grief while he's awake, following the death of his wife, Jessica.  When Jessica's best friend, Angela, contacts David, it's to let him know that she possesses one final thing left for him by Jessica.  The stipulation, however, is that he travel to Angela's home, reported to be haunted, in order to claim it.  Ghosts take many forms and play many roles in this story, from scary to sympathetic.  Definitely not a ghost story soon forgotten.

I'm back next week with a new Top 10 on Tuesday, and an homage to the King of Horror.  See you then!

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