Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories

The story that follows is one I never intended to commit to paper. Recently, however, a shock of sorts has prompted me to look back over the most troubling episodes of my life and of the lives of the several people I loved best. This is the story of how as a girl of sixteen I went in search of my father and his past, and of how he went in search of his beloved mentor and his mentor’s own history, and of how we all found ourselves on one of the darkest pathways into history. It is the story of who survived that search and who did not, and why. As a historian, I have learned that, in fact, not everyone who reaches back into history can survive it. And it is not only reaching back that endangers us; sometimes history itself reaches inexorably forward for us with its shadowy claw.
— the opening of The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

I actually really hate most scary movies, especially when they're a) gross, b) gory, c) just about possessed people, and d) all of the above. But I'm a sucker for a good ghost story. Because the truly good mysteries don't just rely on being graphic—they're deeply woven stories that are eerie. They explore topics we avoid, they poke into our inner fears, and they leave us with a story teetering on the edge of the surreal just enough that it has us wondering "what if" and freaked out to turn off the light.

Since Halloween is fast approaching and energy is abuzz around costumes, campfires, and all things creepy, I thought I'd share my top five recommendations for reads that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 

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The Historian

Let no Twilight-induced vampire scoffing come between you and this book. It's a Dracula story, but unlike anything else "vampire" you'll ever read. The story weaves you between the present and the past, through New England and remote cities in Romania, Bulgaria, and France. Chills in my spine just thinking about it.

Her Fearful Symmetry

This is by the same author who wrote "The Time-Traveler's Wife," so right there you know it's going to turn your world upside-down a bit. There's really no words to give a plot summary justice. This one gets in your head, but it's worth it. 

The Luminaries

Complete genius—a book that makes obsessed with figuring out the ending, and figuring out what's real.

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Macbeth 

Can't help the inner nerd on this one. If thinking about Shakespeare brings back bad high school memories, I'll just say this: This play is the origin of the phrase "Something wicked this way comes," and it's a deeply psychological thriller of what power and greed does to people. Oh, and it's set in a misty, cold castle in Scotland. 

Career of Evil

This is slightly cheating because this is very much a detective thriller, but, in classic J.K. Rowling fashion, it's addictive. Not to mention raw and utterly terrifying. I just stayed up late reading this the past few nights, and I'm still jumping out of my skin at every creak and gust of wind.

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What are you reading? What's your favorite ghost story?
If you're on Goodreads, come follow me here—I love swapping recommendations! 

 

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