Autumn should always have a good ghost story

September 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm 3 comments

It has been getting colder and that means autumn and that means all kinds of great things – cider, spiked cider, sweaters, blankets, fireplaces, and Halloween.   I always have books that I read and then wish I could read again and have that “first scary read” experience.  So in the interest of promoting all things spooky and autumn, I thought I would put together a list of some of my favorite fall reads:

1. “Little Stranger” by Sarah Waters – this is a ghost story set in the 1940s in an old English manor.  It is wonderful and fun and scary.  I will warn you though, the end was not what I had expected (Hollywood has ruined me) but it was perfect for the book.

2. “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins – this was written in the 1850s. Collins was a contemporary of Dickens and is credited with writing the first novels with the detective character which may have inspired other to follow suit and thus was born Sherlock Holmes.  But this novel has a ghostly woman dressed in white appearing at night, a murder plot, a handsome rescuer and everything a Victorian suspense story needs. This is also thought to be the first Western novel to use different characters to narrate the story (just a little nerdy fact for you).

3. “The Straw Men” by Michael Marshall – so this is not an amazing piece of literature by any stretch and the sequel is awful. But this book is damn fun.  Here is the description from Amazon: “Ward Hopkins, attempting to make sense of the accident that killed his parents, discovers a note and videotape that lead him to believe their lives (and deaths) were not as they appeared. Meanwhile, the abduction of 14-year-old Sarah Becker renews the search for a serial killer who scalps his victims, embroiders their names into sweaters using their hair and then delivers the clothing to the victims parents. As Ward and his CIA buddy slowly unravel the mystery surrounding Wards parents, FBI agent Nina Baynam and former LAPD homicide detective John Zandt search for the elusive killer. Their paths cross when a series of connections is made between the victims and a bizarre cult known as The Straw Men.” Sounds spooky, huh?

4. “The Executor” by Jesse Kellerman – This book reminded me of  “A Tell Tale Heart” which I believe we all had to read in Junior High.  Joseph finds himself over-educated, unemployed and homeless so he answers an ad to be a “conversationalist” with an elderly woman who lives in a creepy house all alone.  Eventually she asks him to move in with her and then it all goes terribly wrong.  This book is worth reading for the description of the library in the house in and of itself which is a room I plan on owning someday without the creepiness.

5. “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier –  set in the 1930s, a young woman finds herself married to Maxim de Winter, a rich Englishman. But unfortunately for her, she is the second Mrs. de Winter. Maxim’s first wife, Rebecca, seems to haunt every aspect of their lives.  Rebecca was more beautiful, more accomplished and more something that you just can’t put your finger on.  As with all of Daphne’s novels there is a great twist at the end.  Mrs. Danvers, the creepy, spidery housekeeper is one of best characters ever written.  If you want to skip the book and see the film it was directed by a guy named Hitchcock and it is equally as good.

Other good ones:  obviously”The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James; “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters; “Case Histories” by Kate Atkinson; “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafron (I know, I know I already blogged about this book); “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr.

Enjoy the fall.



Entry filed under: September 2011 reads. Tags: , , .

Pete and Repeat were sitting on the fence, Pete fell off and Kate Morton wrote “The Distant Hours” It cannot be forgotten that war is very ugly – “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. patebooks  |  October 11, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for subscribing to my blog. Always good to connect with a kindred spirit. I can tell from this blog post! Some of my favorites, esp. “Rebecca.” And Kate Atkinson is a wonder.

    • 2. Emily C  |  October 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      I really enjoyed your blog as well. Thank you for your note. Happy reading!!

  • 3. levjoh  |  October 31, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Emily, Rebecca (both movie and book) is one of my favorites!


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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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