Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Books That Go Bump in the Night

What is our fascination with ghosts? We both fear them and also secretly hope our loved ones become one. I suppose the fear of death drives our obsession. We hate the idea of leaving this world behind after death, but we also fear those who haven’t “moved on.”

And of course, now that I’ve noticed ghosts, I seem to be seeing ghosts all around me – at least in fiction.

I have recently found myself reading a series of ghost books. There was the YA,  Lockwood & Co, and a milder, younger version of a ghost mystery, Constable & Toop. And then if that wasn’t enough, I read the thirteen stories of Spirited.

Spirited represents a wide variety of ghost stories, from those that border on horror, to those that are sweet. I liked that there were stories that could be considered contemporary, stories that could be fantasies, and everything in between.

Most ghost stories can be roughly divided into two types: those with “good” (non-threatening) ghosts and those with “bad” (threatening) ones. Of course there are works that fall in between where the threatening ghost is the good one. Anna Dressed in Blood brings that particular type of ghost into play. What’s nice is to find an anthology where all of these different types of ghost stories read smoothly together. Personally, I think an anthology where all the stories are about one type of ghost could be a fairly dull read. I like books like Spirited that mix things up.

If you are like me, then I must warn you that Spirited isn’t the kind of book to read just before bed. Threatening or not, ghost stories are still ghost stories and are best read on a beautiful, sunny day. At noon. When there are clearly no ghosts around.


Madeline Smoot is the publisher of Children's Brains Are Yummy Books, a micro publisher of fantasy and science fiction for children and teens.

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