With Halloween coming next week, The Broke and the Bookish has picked as this week’s Top Ten Tuesday subject, Ten Books to Get You in the Halloween Spirit. I’m taking them relatively literally, and giving you ten great ghost stories to read right up to Halloween.
“The Signalman,” Charles Dickens. Dickens has had an enormous influence on the shape of ghost stories, and this is one of his finest, dwarfed only by A Christmas Carol.
The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson. Technically more about the house, but you can’t have a haunted house without spirits to haunt it, can you?
The Woman in Black, Susan Hill. A wonderfully atmospheric book, perfect for a cool October night.
Ghost Story, Peter Straub. Straub seems to get short shrift nowadays, but he really is excellent at building atmosphere.
The Ghosts, Antonia Barber. This is a great one for younger readers.
Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill. This, on the other hand, is definitely not for younger readers. I’ve mentioned before this is one of the best ghost stories I’ve read, and I stand by that.
“A View from the Hill,” M. R. James. James is another master of the classic, English ghost story, very close to Dickens.
“Present at a Hanging,” Ambrose Bierce. Bierce, on the other hand, is an American master of the form.
In a Glass Darkly, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Another Victorian era gothic author who deserves more attention.