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The Haunted Booklist
"It was a dark and stormy night." This is a near-perfect phrase in book lore, and avid readers curl up with delight when they read it, even as chills run up and down their spines. Readers know they’re in for a real page-turner, a can’t-put-it-down, up-all-night-with-the-lights-on kind of book. For bookworms, book lovers, and true bibliophiles, this kind of ghost story is only made better when a book itself is part of the plot twist. On one of those dark and stormy nights, our hero discovers a mysterious, ancient, forbidden book and stumbles upon a terrifying mystery that changes the character, the story, and our own reading experience. We all know that reading can transport us to a different place and time, but sometimes losing yourself in a good book can be more dangerous than you think. This list of literary thrillers will take you to a different world, conjure ghosts and monsters, and make you more than a little afraid of the very book—that seemingly innocent package of bound pages and spine—that you hold clutched in your trembling hands…    Print this list Print this list
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Contributed by KaliO     |    Comment on this list (4)     |     6440 views

Cover Art: The book of lost things /
The book of lost things
Connolly, John, 1968-
David’s books have begun talking to him. Whispering really, alone in his attic bedroom as David mourns the death of his mother and keeps out of the way of his new stepmother. Soon David’s books become more real than the world around him, and he finds himself traveling through a fantasy land in the company of the Woodman, hunted by the Crooked Man, and searching for a King whose wondrous Book of Lost Things might just contain the one and only secret to sending David home again. The gloomy post-World War II setting, the fractured but still familiar fairy tale beasts and monsters, and the time-honored coming-of-age story combine to make The Book of Lost Things a spooky, entertaining, but always adult novel about the loss of innocence and the enduring power of a good story.
Adult Fiction CONNOLL
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Cover Art: The ghost writer /
The ghost writer
Harwood, John, 1946-
Another young, lost boy (the almost-orphaned child with only books for company is a real staple of the haunted books-about-books genre) stumbles across a bunch of stories that he was never meant to read. This time it’s Gerald, a fatherless boy in Australia whose mother is supremely secretive about her past life. All Gerald has are his British pen pal Alice and the ghost stories that his Victorian grandmother wrote—stories that seem to have a tendency to come true and invade Gerald’s real life and history. As Gerald searches for the story of his mother’s life and the truth about mysterious Alice, the line between fantasy and fiction becomes distressingly and disturbingly blurred. A true blue old-fashioned ghost story that spans continents and centuries, The Ghost Writer is guaranteed to keep you up at night, in the best and most addictive way possible.
Adult Fiction HARWOOD
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Cover Art: The historian : a novel /
The historian : a novel
Kostova, Elizabeth
In Amsterdam in 1972, a motherless girl finds a bundle of secret letters and a medieval book in her father’s library. The book is blank, save for a disturbing illustration of a dragon and a single word: Drakulya. The letters, dated Oxford, 1930, are addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor.” Our heroine, nameless and bookish though she is, more than proves herself as she embarks on a quest to find out what this book and its letters means and why they have a nasty habit of changing the lives of its readers (who include her father and her father’s mentor) forever. Just don’t confuse The Historian with any old spooky horror story—Kostova’s book is as thoughtful and contemplative as it is chilling and thrilling. The characters have unique voices, the locations are exotically detailed, and Count Dracula--or Vlad Dracul the Impaler, as we should call him--is transformed from a tired and worn old fairytale into a very real and threatening menace. For readers who thought vampires were just for the teeny-bopper crowd, this detailed, layered, literary novel proved them wrong years before Twilight made bloodsuckers a trendy fad.
Adult Fiction KOSTOVA
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Cover Art: The haunted bookshop /
The haunted bookshop
Morley, Christopher, 1890-1957
The Haunted Bookshop is a sequel to Parnassus on Wheels, in which the discontented farm spinster Helen runs off with the charming travelling bookseller Roger Mifflin. Happily married, the Mifflins run a second-hand bookstore in Brooklyn that is haunted by quirky characters of both the dead and undead variety. Helen bakes chocolate, Roger waxes, and romance and comedy abound. Morley’s novels about the Mifflins are charming, delightful little books that are really about the importance of reading and the sheer love that everyday people—from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first—have for books, whether they’re romances, mysteries, or ghost stories. If the other books on this haunted booklist have set your hair on end, this older, lighter, comical ghost story might be just what you need to fall asleep again.
Adult Fiction MORLEY
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Cover Art: The angel's game /
The angel's game
Ruiz Zafon, Carlos, 1964-
It seems that author Carlos Ruiz Zafón can't get enough of ghost stories about books. His newest novel, The Angel's Game, has the same Gothic touches of myth and mystery that his previous bestseller, The Shadow of the Wind, made so intriguing and irresistible. The Angel's Game is about a desperate young writer named David Martín. David writes a series of trashy thrillers that please the public but not his own artistic soul. He has a very few friends—a fatherly bookseller who offers encouragement and support, a wealthy writer whose pity is preferable to his charity—but David spends most of his time alone with his typewriter. Now, having survived a tragic childhood and spent most of his young adulthood lovesick for a beautiful woman he can never have, David finds himself caught in a strange bargain to write a book for an even stranger publisher. This mystery only lead to more clues that have something sinister in common with the very same gloomy mansion that David lives and writes in. The Angel’s Game seems designed to immerse us in the both the character’s and the author’s twisted methods of storytelling; savvy readers will spot characters and places that flow from Zafón’s earlier book The Shadow of the Wind into this book, thought it is not a sequel or a prequel. Atmospheric and beautifully chilling, The Angel's Game will keep you locked in its spooky clutches until the very last page.
Adult Fiction RUIZ
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Cover Art: The shadow of the wind /
The shadow of the wind
Ruiz Zafon, Carlos, 1964-
At the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a young boy finds a new book that will obsess him for years to come. Daniel is the son of a bookseller, and each generation of his bookselling family guards a lost book, a classic work of literature that time has forgotten. Daniel’s choice is The Shadow of the Wind, an obscure book by an equally obscure writer named Julian Carax. Daniel searches for other Carax novels, only to discover that he is not the only reader to do so—in fact, copies of Carax’s books are being destroyed one by one, and Daniel may have the last copy of The Shadow of the Wind in existence. As young Daniel grows up in post-World War II Spain, he meets a wide array of mysterious characters—beautiful women and charming young men—who help and hinder him on his quest. Zafón’s book spent two years on the bestseller lists in its native Spain; it topped bestseller lists here as well, and with good reason. Atmospheric, epic, absorbing, almost obsessive—you’ll not only be unable to put this book down, you’ll be entirely and completely immersed in its story and mystery.
Adult Fiction RUIZ ZA
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Cover Art: The thirteenth tale : a novel /
The thirteenth tale : a novel
Setterfield, Diane
A writer is famous and beloved, as much for her published works as for the outlandish lies she’s told about her personal history. Her best-known collection of stories lacks one thing—its promised thirteenth tale. Now, on her deathbed, the writer Vida Winter wants to tell that final tale. She wants to tell the true story of her life—a story of an old-fashioned family of identical daughters, a beautiful mother, a ghost, and a governess—and she chooses another writer to hear her tale. Margaret Lea is skeptical and wary of the famed writer’s charm, but she is irresistibly drawn deeper and deeper into Vida’s life and stories. And so too is the reader. Besides ghosts and mysteries and Gothic gloom galore, The Thirteenth Tale is full of everything that bibliophiles love and adore—stories within stories, histories within histories, and characters who are authors, writers, readers, and real devourers of books.
Adult Fiction SETTERF
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Comments
On Jul 3, 2009 at 4:05, Andrea wrote:
Great list! I've read 4 of them and all 4 are favorites!
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On Oct 11, 2009 at 2:40, Hannah wrote:
Excellent suggestions! Please keep creating book lists- they have been very helpful!
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On Oct 22, 2009 at 1:30, Jenny wrote:
AWESOME book lists! Can you recommend any others?
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On Aug 13, 2010 at 3:07, B00kW0rm wrote:
I'm going to be busy reading for awhile! Thanks for the list.
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