July: Hauntings & Ghost Stories


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July: Hauntings & Ghost Stories

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Editado: Jul 1, 2015, 8:08pm

Yes, it's July already. :) Here are some suggestions PolymathicMonkey posted earlier this year:

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Shining by Stephen King
The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill
Carnacki the Ghost Finder by William Hope Hodgson
The Haunted Hotel & Other Stories by Wilkie Collins

What does everyone plan on reading, if they choose to join this month's challenge? Any suggestions for those of us who may be stuck?

Editado: Jul 1, 2015, 9:10pm

Yay for July thread!

I haven't finished my June reading because my dog was sick and I had to put him down but I will be reading The Haunting of Hill House at some point.

Jul 1, 2015, 10:06pm

Possibilities for July for me:

- Locke & Key: Head Games / Joe Hill
- Homebody / Orson Scott Card
- The Winter People / Jennifer McMahon

Jul 1, 2015, 10:06pm

>2 luvamystery65: And omg! I'm so sorry. :'(

Jul 1, 2015, 11:04pm

>2 luvamystery65: Oh, no! :( I'm sorry to hear about your dog. I hope it was relatively painless for him. And I hope you're holding up.

Best of luck finishing up your June read (I'm still wrapping up the last few chapters, too), and good luck with The Haunting of Hill House! :)

>3 LibraryCin: Weird. I just got done putting The Winter People on display at work. :D Good luck with any of the three you have listed. I've heard Locke & Key is really good, too. I didn't know Orson Scott Card wrote anything in the horror vein. I thought he was pretty much a science fiction writer.

I may take the easy route and read some ghost manga--the xXxHoLic series by Clamp, Eerie Queerie by Shuri Shiozu, etc--or some other teen fiction--The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, for instance. It all depends on what I find first and really draws me in. :)

Jul 2, 2015, 5:34am

>1 saraslibrary: Thanks for the new thread, Sara :)

>2 luvamystery65: So sorry to hear about your dog. It's never easy but I hope you're looking after yourself and taking comfort in the fact you gave him as good a life as possible.

For July I have The Woman in Black and The Little Stranger. Another possibility is Haunted by James Herbert.

Jul 2, 2015, 5:39am

>4 LibraryCin: >5 saraslibrary: >6 Moomin_Mama: Thank you for your kind words. Yes, my Freddy was 15 years old, (Silky Terrier) with multiple health problems. He himself, decided to stop taking his medications and eat. I respected what he was telling me and made arrangements with his favorite Vet to euthanize him. We had a good 13 years together and I miss him but he is at peace. I have 3 other dogs. We all miss him but we are holding up.

My Freddy

Jul 2, 2015, 7:27am

>7 luvamystery65: Freddy looks a happy chap, doesn't he? You obviously ensured he had many happy years and that's the most important thing. I bet it was a pleasure having him.

Jul 2, 2015, 7:51am

>7 luvamystery65: I'm very sorry for your loss. It's never easy, no matter how long you get with them. We had to euthanize our 13 year old lab last year.

I will likely read Burnt Offerings this month. It's a classic I haven't gotten around to yet.

Jul 2, 2015, 5:14pm

>6 Moomin_Mama: You're welcome. :) I was surprised it was July already.

Haunted by James Herbert is another book I own but haven't read yet. Good luck with all three if (what am I saying "if?" you'll probably soar through all three ;) you read them all.

>7 luvamystery65: You're so welcome. And I love the photo of Freddy! :) So sweet. My first dog was a Silky, too, so I immediately fell in love with your pic. I'm glad he had a good death and didn't suffer much, and thank you for sharing him with us. :)

>9 sturlington: Good luck with Burnt Offerings. :) Ooh, and it takes place during the summer. Perfect timing!

Jul 2, 2015, 10:19pm

>7 luvamystery65: Oh, what a cutie! He looks very loved!

Jul 5, 2015, 1:03am

Locke & Key. Vol. 2: Head Games / Joe Hill
3.5 stars

Luke, who supposedly died 30 years ago, is recognized by a few people, looking just like he did then. He is pretending to be a cousin to the woman who was once his girlfriend. Bode Locke has discovered another key – this one opens up his brain, where he can look at and pick out memories. Unfortunately, the older Locke siblings trust Luke and he learns of this key...

It was good, but I didn't like it as much as the first one. It ended on a “cliffhanger”, but I was already planning to read the next one in the series, anyway. The illustrations are very well done. There is a section at the back where the illustrator explains his process, which was kind of interesting. It ends with a beautiful gallery of illustrations, as well.

Jul 5, 2015, 8:24am

>12 LibraryCin: While browsing for images of Locke and Key on Google, I came across this one:


If that's typical then yes, the illustrations are extremely well done!

Editado: Jul 5, 2015, 1:05pm

>13 Moomin_Mama: Yes, that is one of the double-spread pages from this book! That one is more complex than many, but yes.

Jul 8, 2015, 4:48pm

Haunted - Great fun with big scares, this is a short read with a very 80s British television feel to it. Being British and a child of the 70s/80s, I loved it, although it's not very subtle in its horror and has some very obvious, well-worn plot twists. Even if you're not British and don't remember the period very well, I'd recommend it for its brevity and the scares - it would make a good horror beach read. There's a longer sequel (The Ghosts of Sleath) which I'll be tracking down. 4 stars.

Jul 8, 2015, 5:47pm

>15 Moomin_Mama: That one does look good. I had no idea it was part of a trilogy. If you're like me, you'll have to track down books 2 and 3, because otherwise you'll keep wondering what else happened. Good luck with The Ghosts of Sleath if you find it soon! :)

Jul 9, 2015, 9:43am

>16 saraslibrary: I couldn't put my finger on what film Haunted reminded me of - it's Ghost Story (the film, not the book, which I haven't read). It has a similar mix of typical ghost story tropes with gory, half-rotting apparitions. I do recommend it - oh look, it seems you already have a copy ;)

Jul 9, 2015, 4:58pm

I finished Burnt Offerings for this month's theme. I liked it. It's very seventies, but in a good way--kind of made me nostalgic. Different from a lot of other haunted house stories, with a strong psychological component, but not super scary. A quick read, suitable for poolside.

Jul 9, 2015, 6:19pm

>18 sturlington: Thanks for that, it's a book I've heard good things about but it's good to have the seal of approval from a member of the group :)

Jul 10, 2015, 11:50am

>19 Moomin_Mama: I think you'll like it. It is fun rediscovering all these old horror books. A few years ago, I might not have been able to find a copy, but they are putting all these old books in Kindle format now.

Jul 11, 2015, 4:28pm

>17 Moomin_Mama: Yep, I do own Haunted. :) I've heard good things about James Herbert, so I've been buying his books over the years. However, I haven't read any of them yet. :D I don't think I've seen the movie version of Ghost Story either. Man, my TBR/TBW pile is going to rival Mount Everest. ;) I would like to fit Haunted in this month, but I really don't think I'll have the time. :( Maybe sometime this year; though I really like the looks of Once... by James Herbert.... Hmm, decisions, decisions. :)

>18 sturlington: Good job finishing Burnt Offerings! :) Any others lined up for this month?

>20 sturlington: That is one nice things about ebooks. :)

Editado: Jul 14, 2015, 9:59am

>20 sturlington: The reason I treated myself to a tablet last Christmas! Well, for the free horrors on Project Gutenberg and similar sites mainly, but out of print horrors are another bonus.

>21 saraslibrary: You've never read James Herbert yet you keep buying his books? And I thought my book buying was bad :D

Editado: Jul 15, 2015, 12:35pm

The Little Stranger - I'm not sure I'd label this a horror myself, although it does have a few very creepy scenes. It's long and takes a while to get going because it's much more about the characters than anything else; it's a family melodrama very much in the Gothic vein. It's set after the war, at a time when new social housing is being built and the NHS is being introduced. The landed gentry are suffering under these, and other, Labour policies, and the book centres around one such family and their house, which they are struggling to maintain.

I don't want to give anything away, but I found the ending quite unnerving, especially as I should have seen it coming. Reading reviews here on LT, it seems the main complaints are that it is too long (it is, if the reader was expecting JUST a ghost story), and that there was no ending or explanation (I guess it depends on how literally the reader was taking the story). The book is as much a social commentary and character study as anything else, and really enjoyable if you read it with that in mind.

It's funny but about halfway through I was still not completely buying the 'decaying house as metaphor of mental illness and decline', but then it dawned on me why this might be so. It's very clever, chilling, but missed by some, it seems. I'd still recommend the book for it's readability. 5 stars.

PS - More on my own thread, but be warned, there are spoilers, which in this case really will ruin the book if you haven't yet read it (to be honest I only post on my own thread for the benefit of anyone who wants to compare their own reading experience of a particular book with mine).

Jul 16, 2015, 3:03am

>22 Moomin_Mama: Well, I've flipped through his books, but I've never read them all the way through. Does that count? ;)

>23 Moomin_Mama: Nice review! :) That one does sound very good.

I finished the first volume of xXxHoLic by Clamp. Most of the tags describe it and the series as YA fantasy, so it's definitely not scary. The ghost and haunting part of it weren't in the forefront, but maybe there'll be more spookies in the volume 2+. I had planned on reading 1-5 straight through (those are the only ones I own so far--oh, and #8), but I have somehow misplaced volumes 2+. :/ Anywho, recommended for anyone at any age.

Jul 18, 2015, 10:38am

I've started The Woman in Black but I came across an interesting book that would also fit this month: The Ghost Hunters, a fictional take on the haunting of Borley Rectory. It's got mixed reviews but I loved the story of Borley Rectory as a kid, so I'm keen to try and fit it in. And The Woman in Black is short...

Jul 19, 2015, 7:15pm

>21 saraslibrary: Sorry, I've been away on vacation. I don't have any more haunted house stories lined up, but I need to go look at the topic for next month and see if I have anything that fits!

Jul 19, 2015, 8:39pm

Finished Look for Me by Moonlight by Mary Downing Hahn

Jul 22, 2015, 3:29pm

The Woman in Black - I was disappointed by this. There was a well-written scary bit in the middle but the plot wasn't very impressive over the whole book; the story took too long to get going (especially for its short length), ended too abruptly, and the twists were obvious and unsubtle. The only character I cared about was Spider, the little terrier. 3 stars.

Editado: Jul 23, 2015, 3:54am

>25 Moomin_Mama: I've never read the The Woman in Black, but I did like the movie, though I never did see the sequel. Best of luck finishing that one and then squeezing in The Ghost Hunters. You'll be able to do it; no problem there. :)

>26 sturlington: No worries; vacations are necessary. :) Good idea. I haven't looked at next month's topic, because I'm ridiculously optimistic I'll find volumes 2+ of xxxHolic in a stroke of luck and finish as many as I can by the end of July. *fingers crossed* Anyway, best of luck getting ready for...(I have to look)...psychological horror. Oh, that should be a fun one! :)

>27 nrmay: Oh, good choice! :) I own that one and wish I had more time to fit it in, because it's been years since I've read anything by Mary Downing Hahn. Did you like it?

>28 Moomin_Mama: :D That says a lot when the pet in the story is more interesting than the human characters. How does it compare to the movie version of it?

Jul 23, 2015, 6:06am

>29 saraslibrary: Haven't seen the movie version yet - I got the DVD earlier in the year but was waiting to finish the book first. I can watch it now, and I'll let you know how it compares :)

Jul 23, 2015, 8:47pm

I've started reading The Shining, but I don't know if I'll finish by the end of the month. Fortunately, from what I've read so far, it will fit well with next month's theme (Psychological Horror) too, so I'll just continue into August.

I finished Tesseracts Seventeen: Speculating Canada Coast to Coast, an anthology of short stories. Though it's a broad mix of speculative fiction, the book includes several ghost stories. In particular, I enjoyed one by Mark Leslie, who seems to specialize in ghost stories. I haven't read any of his non-fiction books, but he has written several about ghost-related folklore in various Canadian cities. One that sounds interesting and includes places outside of Canada is Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries.

Jul 23, 2015, 11:46pm

>29 saraslibrary:

re: Look for Me by Moonlight by Mary Downing Hahn. I did like it. It's a quick YA read.
I liked the references to one of my favorites - the romantic ballad The Highwayman!

"Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

Jul 24, 2015, 7:12am

>31 mathgirl40: You read Mark Leslie's Campus Chills earlier in the year, didn't you? That's two thumbs up from the author so I had a look at his stuff on LT and fancy trying One Hand Screaming next year, if I can get hold of it. One reviewer on LT says "you'll never look at snowmen the same way", which has me intrigued already.

Ago 3, 2015, 5:32am

The Ghost Hunters may take a while yet - it's not grabbed me and August's books look too good! Well, it was an additional extra. I'll let you guys know what I thought about it when I'm done.

Ago 3, 2015, 7:25am

>33 Moomin_Mama: I may have to look for this collection if it includes scary snowmen. :)

Ago 9, 2015, 7:17pm

The Ghost Hunters - Not good. Terribly written - it felt like the author had come up with some clichéd twists and decided to write the plot around them; I can't think of another explanation for such a pointless story. Harry Price was a caricature, the other characters cardboard, and there was no convincing motivation for the relationships between them. At then end the author admits that Harry Price was neither a Nazi sympathiser nor a suspected murderer, although he's based the rest of his character on the truth, which is already controversial enough. Weird. 1 star.

There seems to be a lot of love for this book over on Goodreads - I cannot understand it. Did I miss something?