Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beginning the Spooky Season

I have taken my spooky book post to heart and am going to re-read as many of these books as I can this season. I started this week with Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories. These aren't stories by Roald Dahl but the top fourteen short stories that he thought were the spookiest ever written. Now, most people would read a few dozen well-known stories and choose a few for their anthology but Roald Dahl says that he read seven-hundred and forty-nine stories to find these good ones -- and they are fantastic!

The first that really got to me was Harry by Rosemary Timperley. This story has the uncertainty and menacing aspects of a good ghost story. A young adopted girl makes an imaginary friend but her mother is not so sure that the friend is all that made-up. Maybe having a young child right now makes this story scarier because nothing is worse than the fears you have for the safety of your children.

The next story that I loved was The Corner Shop by Cynthia Asquith. This is one of those ghost stories with a warm and fuzzy ending -- which happens to be my favorite kind. I have always liked benevolent ghosts. In this story a man enters a curio shop at two different times and is met by extremely different proprietors. Through the story you aren't entirely sure which is the ghostly scenario.

In the Tube by E.F. Benson focuses more on spiritualism and "ghosts versus astral projections" and that sort of thing. It's a very well-written story and it gives you the chills at the end.

One of the best in the book is A.M. Burrage's Playmates. It deals with how a non-believer comes to terms with the regular existence of harmless ghosts. The next one I liked a lot is by the same author and is called The Sweeper. This one is the exact opposite type of story in that it is about people who have no doubt as to the existence of a certain ghost and are sure of his ability to wreak vengeance. I would like to find out more about Burrage as I really enjoyed his stories.

All of the stories in the book are good and creepy and they are each so different from the other that it's a very interesting read. I strongly recommend this if you are looking for some good spooky reading.

Sleeping with a nightlight,

Buy Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories on Amazon or find it at your local library.

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