Every month, staff at our Downtown branch read books in a specific fiction genre or nonfiction subject, to familiarize themselves with titles they might not have discovered otherwise. For October, they read horror stories. Here's what staff members read and what they had to say about it:
The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler
Excellent Halloween story for Middle School. Fun, yet a little bit scary and suspenseful. Great message encouraging kids to come to the library. 5 stars.
The Ghost Prison by Joseph Delaney
A perfect read for older children in Middle School. Plenty of ghosts and monsters, no compulsory happy endings, lurid but not gruesome. This would be a great read-aloud book for a spooky sleepover. 5 stars.
The Raven and the Monkey’s Paw
A literary collection of horror short stories and poems by American and English authors. Edgar Allen Poe is, of course, represented, but there are some unexpected appearances by other very familiar names, such as Charles Dickens and O. Henry. The stories are eerie, creepy, and horrifying. A great book to dip into this season. 5 stars.
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Outstanding Young Adult book with a good crossover to mature Junior Fiction readers. Both literary and terrifying, it depicts a struggle between forces of good and evil called the Light and the Dark and is based on Arthurian legend, Celtic mythology and Norse mythology. Don’t read it at night. 5 stars.
NOS4ATU by Joe Hill
With a chilling story and a creepy use of the vampire genre, it nevertheless fails to completely compel the reader to be persuaded to buy into the terror, because of the complete lack of ANY redeeming characters. 3 stars.
The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft
A classic story from an original master of the Horror genre. Printed as a short story in 1929 in “Weird Tales” magazine, Lovecraft took great pride in this story, calling it "so fiendish that the editor will refuse to print it." The editor, however, snapped it up, sending Lovecraft a cheque for $240, equal to $2800 in modern dollars. Alas, it has not aged well over 85 years of horror story writing, and although the story is indeed “fiendish” and “terrifying”, the dense and stilted style diminishes the fear. 3 stars.
House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill
A creepy story about a young woman, Catherine, who is given the opportunity of a lifetime to evaluate and catalogue the famous, late M. H. Mason’s eccentric collection of dioramas and dolls. Mason’s elderly niece doesn’t make this process easy and insists that Catherine spend the night, and needless to say creepy things happen. It’s not the scariest story I’ve read but definitely has the creep factor going. 4 stars.
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