I'll make this largely a visual post, since it's all about judging a book by its cover ;)
Hmm. Favorite ghostly tales. Now this is a tough one. I honestly had to go back to my Goodreads account to look this up since I didn't want to give a wrong answer here and also wanted to make sure that I was only counting favorites.
So my top 5 ghostly tales books are the following with excerpts from my original reviews:
The Shining by Stephen King.
"This book is peak King for me honestly. Everything including the ending (which he has trouble sticking at times) works. The ending makes sense based on everything that came before it, and I applaud King for not just throwing out a happy ending when I think that would have made readers (or constant readers) just as happy."
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
"This book in a word was perfect. Everything worked and Shirley Jackson keeps up your unending sense of dread while you are reading this book. When the band of four start investigating the house and you read how it was built you start to imagine a slightly off house in your head as they go exploring. I seriously wish someone had made a map of the house since it was so confusing trying to understand where rooms were located. Having the little foursome start to turn on each other and then become afraid together and alone was actually more frightening than whatever was going on in Hill House."
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
"I love reading this Christmas classic every year. I bought this one because it came with illustrations. Not too much to say besides this classic tale of a man visited by three ghosts ends up changing his life and those around him."
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe HIll.
"The plot seems very simplistic at first. Jude buys a ghost. However, finding out about the ghost and how it ties into Jude's past I thought was quite brilliant. There were some side plots with Jude's dying father, and Marybeth's past that I really at first didn't see how that could work with the larger "got ghost, must be rid of it" plot, but everything worked very well.
The writing I thought was phenomenal. Just a few sentences describing something were enough to put my teeth on edge and to make my skin crawl. Which leads me into discussing the flow of the book.
The flow of the entire story I thought was good, and Mr. Hill seemed to know enough when to slow the pace down (in order to allow the atmosphere to sink in) and when to speed it up. All of the chapters were like amuse bouche's to me. Tiny chapters that gave big flavor. I think that's why I just kept reading without stopping once I got going since before you knew it you were at the end of one chapter and I would just think, okay, just one more chapter."
Pet Sematary by Stephen King.
"Wow. So this is marked as a favorite, I have only read this one twice. It's a lot to sit through. At times you hope there is going to be a break or some sort of happy ending. Instead we get a book about consequences and things perhaps set in motion by something dark that wanted to ruin a happy family. I have to say that I do love most of King's earlier works. They tend to be more raw and real to me. Pet Sematary made me cry when I read it as a teen and it made me cry again this weekend. "
Ghost stories are a little tough to really scare me because I'm 99% sure I don't think they exist. When I was younger, Scary Stories to tell in the Dark was a sleepover staple, we'd read (ok, me) aloud trying to scare the bejebus out of each other.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was one I read somewhere in early teens and remember loving the setting, slight creep factor, and relationships.
Pet Sematary I probably read in mid-teens and while I didn't feel too scared being an animal lover drew out the emotions in me.
The Lovely Bones seems to be a book that likes to divide people. It seems weird to say I enjoyed the story because of how freaking awful some things in it are but gawd, talk about a story that will emotionally wring you out.
I think it was last year for Halloween Bingo I read The Haunting of Maddy Clare and I still remember that barn scene, hair on neck standing up.
And because I'm a punk, I added a romance that has a main character that likes to investigate the supernatural and a ghost, seemingly, comes to the rescue.
Shout-out to people doing today's prompt, adding some to my potential Bingo reading list :)
Having recently viewed the new 2019 movie Pet Sematary I was eager to have a reread of the Stephen King classic. Strange to say that the author is probably viewed more of a horror writer, but I beg to disagree. His characters are very troubled and the people that he writes about are human just like you and me, and the issues debated are concerns that we all hold. In Pet Sematary Dr Louis Creed has moved his family from the heavily polluted streets of Chicago to rural Maine.When a tragedy strikes the Creed family, Louis must take decisions and actions that lead the reader to question.... What is life all about? If we had the opportunity and the know how would we resurrect those who died prematurely? In short if you could be God would you try to undo the past? A brilliant novel of loss and family values by a true master of the written word
Stephen King's legacy will be vast, I have no doubt. We'll still read him hundreds of years from now, just as we have with Poe and Dickens and many others. Of all his master works, however, I take the somewhat unpopular stance that Pet Sematary is his magnum opus. Re-reading it now only confirms this opinion.
When I first read Pet Sematary (I couldn't have been older than 13) I knew right away that it was more than a typical scary story. For one, it made me feel decades older. Wiser. More entuned to human nature. King never shies away from character, but he really digs deep with Louis Creed. There are numerous novels that portray death well (James Agee's A Death in the Family is superb) but fittingly enough, it's this gothic horror novel that illustrates it best. Death isn't pretty and surviving it can be just as grotesque. Pet Sematary gives all of this to us, and more. Much more than we want to see. But maybe we need to see it to understand.
We often scream at characters in horror movies for doing stupid things (WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE YOU IDIOT!?) and arguably Louis Creed does some stupid things in this book. King adds supernatural influence as justification, but let's be honest - no justification is needed. Creed and his decisions are as relatable as they are tragic, which is something never quite accomplished--not on the same level at least--with Jack Torrance or Annie Wilkes or Carrie White. Not dissing those other books, I'm a fan boy for them too, but it's why I think Pet Sematary is King's greatest achievement.
For those interested in reading this one, for the first time or 20th, I highly recommend the new audio version narrated by Michael C. Hall. His outstanding performance enriches the novel in ways I hadn't noticed before.