Reader’s Notes here at ClimbingSky are not “book reviews” but are notes and impressions about books and poems and writers
I enjoy reading horror and ghost stories. It is a guilty pleasure.
But now that I think about it, I have a lot of what some might term guilty literary pleasures: Westerns, Mysteries, Hardboiled Fiction, Grimdark Fantasy, Science Fiction, and books about baseball, basketball, and NASCAR.
Instead of watching television, I read. Different kinds of books and genres for different kinds of moods. As I have said here before, I do not have the patience for watching television and movies.
The Literary Ghost Story is a noble tradition:
- The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
- Canterville Ghost, by Oscar Wilde
- The Body Snatcher, by Robert Lewis Stevenson
- The Signal-Man, by Charles Dickens
The “Signal-Man” and Dickens play an important role John Boyne’s novel This House is Haunted. It is a well-written “Victorian” ghost story featuring London fog, numerous literary references, and a mysterious country manor.
Before the arbitrary distinctions of genre vs. literary fiction, many great writers tried their hand at horror stories. A book like This House is Haunted, a rare combination of a good ghost story and a good writer, is to my mind a much better way to spend an evening than watching a movie of television show.