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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Ghost Stories And Haunted Houses




So, fall is my absolute favorite reading season. There's just something about the change of seasons and the run up to Halloween that makes me want to read books that are appropriate for the season. Gothic, suspense, books set in foggy London, New Orleans voodoo, the New England of Ichabod Crane and witch hunts and genre-bending fiction featuring monsters and men. 


In preparation for fall, and Halloween bingo, I want to share some of my favorite fall books, and ask you all for yours, to help me build a reading list! Today, we're talking ghost stories & haunted houses! Here are some of my favorites!


The Grown-Ups



The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters: I read this one a few years ago & really enjoyed it. It's the only Sarah Waters I've read, and I've always planned to read more! I found the language to be gloriously gothic and gorgeous. The story itself had some flaws, but over all, I found it to be atmospheric and enjoyable.


This House Is Haunted by John Boyne: This was a fall read from either last year or the year before and is positively Dickensian in all its Victorian glory. This is a true traditional haunted house tale.


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: I finally read this for the first time two years ago, in 2014. I read Jackson's other great novel - We Have Always Lived In The Castle - a bit longer ago. Shirley Jackson is, in my opinion, a thoroughly underrated American woman writer, up there with Edith Wharton and Willa Cather in her perceptive and economical expression of the interior lives of her characters. This book is slightly less awesome than WHALitC, but not by much. If I could only pick one haunted house book for people to read, this would be it. My full, spoiler free review (which holds the distinction of being one of my favorite reviews I've ever written) is here, if you are interested enough to read more.


The Young Adults:



Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff: Brenna Yovanoff is basically a fluffy kitten wrapped in razor wire who writes like a dream. She's never published a book that I didn't really enjoy, and this is among my top YA ghost stories of all time. It's also a stand-alone, so it doesn't require a lifetime investment on the part of the reader!


The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson: this one is the first in a series of what looks like it will be four books. The first three are already out, although the fourth has been delayed and isn't scheduled for release until 2018. Having said that, it is possible to read this first one as a stand-alone without losing your mind (I know this, because I did). It is set in London - as all of the best ghost stories are - in a fancy-pants boarding school for the win.


17 and Gone by Nova Ren Suma: Nova Ren Suma's third novel, The Walls Around Us, was everywhere last year. And it, in my opinion, entirely lived up to the hype. This one, though, was the first book by Suma that I read, and it remains my favorite of the three.


The Diviners by Libba Bray: This book can be polarizing because it is incredibly long, and arguably overwritten - Obsidian Blue hated it! I certainly can't deny that it could've used a stronger editorial hand. However, the villain in this novel is incredibly fecking scary - a ghost named Naughty John, who steals the show. That's the upside. The downside is that it is long, meandering, and the flapper-talk grates a bit on the nerves.


What are your favorites? What should I be considering adding to my Halloween Bingo list? Comment below, or write your own post and link to it in the comments!