Happy Halloween! I am American so I grew up with the concept of costumes and trick or treating but I live overseas so it has been awhile since it has been a thing for me. My plans for tonight include watching Hocus Pocus. I think that there are some Halloween themes parties around Beijing but if you can think of something more terrible that going to a smoky bar full of people dressed in costumes who you can't communicate with then I take my hat off to you because I certainly can't. #introverting #notevenalittlesorry
I heard someone say"I am a sucker for a good ghost story." (Was is Kelly in the Hey YA podcast? I cannot remember. If it was someone let me know so I can credit properly.) Which got me to thinking about ghost stories. And about how I don't go out of my way to find ghost stories. And yet somehow they have made their way onto my reading list... Here are some ghosts for your Halloween reading pleasure.
A Certain Slant of Light
by Laura Whitcomb
“Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead.”
Not scary at all. Sad. Romantic. And I have this intense mental debate about whether or not this book is YA. It was published as YA. But the main characters are ghosts. Of adults. Who inhabit teenage bodies. Quibbles on genre aside I love this book. I love the writing. I love the intense internalness of the narrative.
The Dream Thieves
by Maggie Stiefvater
This is a spoiler if you haven't read The Raven Boys. Stop reading now.
“Adam's response was buried in the sound of the first-story door falling open. Noah slouched in. In a wounded tone, he said, 'He threw me out the window!'
Ronan's voice sang out from behind his closed door: 'You're already dead!'”
Ah, Noah. My sweet cinnamon roll of a spirit. Saying the right things to Gansey, comforting Blue, validating Adam, and trying to talk Ronan down from making one bad choice after another. Yeah. I am going to have to reread these books immediately.
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
“You're alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you're dead, it's gone. Over. You've made what you've made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”
This is my favorite of Neil Gaiman's books. Which is saying something because most of his books invoke strong feelings. A good three fourths of the main cast of this book is dead and a resident of the graveyard.
The Night Circus
by Erin Morganstern
“Only the ship is made of books, its sails thousands of overlapping pages, and the sea it floats upon is dark black ink.”
Ghosts? Wizards? Magicians? What exactly is going on? With writing like this you will be dying to know more.
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
“I peek over the back of the couch and there she is, my goddess of death, her hair snaking out in a great black cloud, her teeth grinding hard enough to make living gums bleed.”
This is one creepy love story.
Through the Woods
by Emily Carroll
“Oh, but you must travel through those woods again and again... said a shadow at the window... and you must be lucky to avoid the wolf every time...
But the wolf... the wolf only needs enough luck to find you once.”
Just so much frickin' creepiness in such a small package. Like, it sits there and you might be sucked into it thinking that it is a graphic novel retelling of some fairy tales. Um. no. Or rather, yes, it is a retelling of the fairy tales as they were originally written. Which is in creepiness and Deutch.
The Carnival Ghost
by Francine Pascal
Fine. Fine! I admit it. When I think of ghosts and Halloween in books I think of The Carnival Ghost. I didn't own this book as a child but my best friend did so I would borrow it in October to read it and scary myself silly. Okay, NOW, it seems tame but as an eight year old? That was some tough stuff, I tell you! Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of the book (and it is not available on kindle, dammit. I totally would have reread it.) so I cannot look up the exact quote to scare us all. Or demonstrate that I was a wimp of the first water. Whichever.
If I Stay
By Gayle Forman
“I don't really care. I shouldn't have to care. I shouldn't have to work this hard. I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.”
I am going with Mia being a ghost. Although, is she? Really? Best not to get technical. This is another one that is romatic and sad rather than scary. This is one of those books that you go into knowing that you are going to sob your self sick over and in a sick way enjoy it. People are weird, man.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling,
“When in doubt, go to the library.”
All the Harry Potter books have ghosts in them but in the second book the ghost play the largest role what with the whole disgusting deathday feast thing and Sir Nicholas being petrified. I am still angry that none of this stuff made it into the movie. I swear it moves the plot forward!