Friday, October 28, 2011

In the Mood for a Scary Story?

It's that time of year when we all tend to want to read a good, spooky story, right? I know I do. I'm not one who likes horror; it's a little to intense for me. I also don't like blood and guts and all that. I just like a good, old-fashioned scary story. And if you're like me, here are a few suggestions!

You can't go wrong with Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. The story of a young girl who marries an older, sophisticated and wealthy man who's first wife died a tragic death. She is haunted mostly by her own imagination, but also by the memory of the dead wife, Rebecca, by the housekeeper who adored her, Mrs. Danvers. Such a great story, and frightening on many levels.

How about The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins? This novel, writing in 1860, has it all: secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and locked asylums. It has sustained the test of time for a reason--it's a wonderfully, chilling book and perfect for the season.

The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle is one of my favorites. I found it in my parents library when I was about 14, and couldn't put it down. The story of a brother and sister who buy a haunted house thinking they'll fix it up. The beautiful Stella, whose mother died there, is drawn to the house and the brother begins to fall in love. But the hauntings by Stella's mother almost prove to be too much. There's a retired commander, a Spanish gypsy woman, an eerie housekeeper, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you rivited.

While du Maurier and Collins are British and Macardle is Irish, Shirley Jackson is an all-American writer. Two of her stories have captured the imagination and frightened readers for many years. The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House are two of my favorites. Terrifying stories, each for different reasons. The Lottery because you can imagine such a thing actually taking hold in a small town, and The Haunting of Hill House which is a classic ghost/haunted house story that is as chilling as any you may have read.

All of these books/stories have been made into movies and you might want to pick one of them up to watch on Halloween night. But for my money, the books cannot be beat. They contain layers that the movies do not, and your imagination is the best thing for having a spooky experience.

Happy Halloween reading!

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