For the Joy of Reading: Ghost

This is a collection of 100 exceedingly spooky short stories edited by Louise Welsh.   The subtitle says it all: “100 Stories to Read with the Lights on”.   Putting aside the question of how you are expected to read anything at night with the lights off, this is not a collection that you can read at one sitting.   There are 100 short stories and the book is over 700 pages long.   You are only going to read two or three at one sitting, depending on the number of pages.

This is a fine collection of authors ranging from Pliny to Jackie Kay and James Robertson.   If there seems to be a preponderance of Scots, that is because they are so good at scaring the wits out of you.   I guarantee that once you have read it, you will never forget Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Thrawn Janet”.   This book includes classics of the genre such as “Whistle and I’ll Come To You” by M.R. James, and stories that I had not read before such as “The Sagebrush Kid”.   These stories range from the whimsical to the deeply malevolent, from “The Canterville Ghost” to “John Charrington’s Wedding”.

This is a wonderful selection, well worth dipping into on a dark night when you want to scare yourself silly.   But do not read too many at once.   You do not want to wake up catatonic.

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