At that moment I began to doubt my own reality – Susan Hill.
It is time for the usual round-up of books that will most likely be splurged across the book community’s what to read posts for this time of year. I am nothing, if not a little predictable with the horror-esque stories I have on my bookshelf, compiled of mainly classics. I don’t choose scary stories at any time of the year and will certainly not be reading The Woman in Black alone on Halloween night. I’m too much of a wimp for that. To be quite frank, I haven’t even opened The Woman in Black because I’ve heard how scary it is. I’m such a wimp! I will try and read it before the end of the year to tackle my inner demons about this book. Halloween is meant to be the time of year that is a little spooky after all. As for the rest of the collection, many you will know; if not all of them. If I had more time, I would attempt to read the entire lot this month, but who has time to read seven books in thirty-one days?! If you do, let me know your secrets!
STALKING JACK THE RIPPER
Kerri Manisculo. I have a much more detailed review that raves all about this book and my love for Jack the Ripper. In short, we meet a young woman who goes against all the masculine/feminine norms of nineteenth century society in order to fulfil her dream of scientifically searching for clues on dead bodies. Add in our favourite historical serial killer and you’re onto a winner of a book. It will keep you guessing right up until the very end. Oh, and a certain Mr. Thomas Cresswell will fulfil your romantic needs.
Bram Stoker. The start of vampire stories in the English language. Or, at least the popularisation of them in the western hemisphere. Vampires are seen as these sexy creatures at times, and I think it is down to the fact that Dracula had a thing for seducing women if I remember rightly. I haven’t read Dracula since my second year of university and I didn’t finish it, hence why it’s still on the shelf. Waiting patiently to be completed. Nevertheless, he does drain bodies of blood and is a powerful immortal creature. The immortality is why people are completely in awe of his character, and vampires along with him. It is a desire to live forever, but would you want to live forever too?
Mary Shelley. I adore this book. It really was ahead of its time, and so was Mary Shelley. She wrote it at the age of eighteen; she created an absolute classic gothic tale that brought together monster and man. It begs the question of what does indeed make a monster, and what makes a man; the answers could surprise you. The setting of England is completely gothic with dark, moody skies and cities that tower over its characters; with woods that are frightening once night falls and homes that are isolated so any stranger could come knocking.
THE WOMAN IN WHITE
Wilkie Collins. Yet another novel that was introduced to me during my university years. This was one I thoroughly enjoyed due to its mysterious, gothic nature with ghosts and maniacs on the loose. The story is a sadder one, and again it begs the question of who is the true monster. There is murder and folly, all set with backdrops of large houses in the middle of nowhere; places that are easy to hide bodies and the secrets of those who have greed in their eye.
COMPLETE GHOST STORIES
Charles Dickens. Okay, I admit it. I never, ever even opened this book when I was supposed to read it in university. I have never opened it since either, but still it is propped on my bookshelf for the right time to read a singular ghost story, or the entire collection. The most influential and popular ghost story in this collection is A Christmas Carol, which even I’m shocked I haven’t read yet. Dickens had a thing for ghosts and all things macabre, insane and grotesque. I think I will be reading a couple of these around Halloween just to get the feel of a haunted life during the nineteenth century.
THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL & MR HYDE
Robert Louis Stevenson. The amount of times I have read this over the years is substantial in comparison to the rest of the books listed here. It is a complete classic of the gothic genre with dark London alleyways and a sinister secret that plagues the city, one man in particular. It is a spin on the tale of the classic good and evil, where duality plays a part and the role of the monster (yet again) is not as clear as it seems.
THE WOMAN IN BLACK
Susan Hill. The play and film haunted my friends’ minds and spooked them into a dramatic intensity. That was enough reason for me to not experience either because I would be terrified. It would be an incredible memory, but one I’d rather see from afar. I’ve never read a book that has been described as “heartstoppingly chilling” and I do not think that reading it alone at night would do any good for my nerves. It tells the story of a ghostly figure with a terrible purpose, and a house which possesses unfathomable secrets. I bet I will love the story behind it once it is all explained, but I need to stop being a wimp and open the book first.
What ghost stories are on your bookshelves for this time of year? Do we own any of the same ones? Do you have any recommendations for me?
Love, Faye xo