Twenty-One Books I Read in 2017


Another year is coming to an end. I asked myself, “What should be the subject of the last post of 2017?” Should I list the pros and cons of this year’s life events? Nah! Well, I should write some kind of anecdotal article about all those precious feeeeeeelings that stirred in my soul this year, shouldn’t I? Nah to that as well!  Hmmm. This was tough. How about an article about the books that I have read in 2017?  Sure, why not! But here are some reasons “why:”

  1.  It can serve as a nice literary recap.
  2. Also, I  can finally add another item to my blog category –Loving Those Lists; haven’t posted in the grouping lately.
  3. Besides, it will be fun.
  4. To top if off, I will get to be as cool as Author Alistair Cross; who listed the books he read on his FB page. (Two books that he co-authored are on my list)

I took an inventory and counted twenty-one books. I use the term “books” liberally as this list includes novellas and short story collections. At one point, I lump together three short stories as “one book,” although the total world could on these three probably doesn’t equate to a full length novel. In one book of stories, I had read about half of them, but what the heck, I list it as a finished reading because I’m just that kind of guy. Sue me!

Okay, ready? You are? Well good! Cause here we go, in order of sequence.

draculabandn21) Dracula by Bram Stoker

 I began Dracula in 2016 but I read most of it in 2017.  I loved the first two thirds of the book. This is where the suspense, description and actions is; the stuff of the story. The last third was a little “Blah”, filled with accounts of breakfasts and tedious dialogue. But the beginning makes up for the weaker end! I really loved the description of Dracula’s Castle, so much so that I wrote the article Dracula’s Castle 


ravencrest2) The Ghosts of Ravencrest by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

 A modern book influenced by Gothic lore. It is filled with ghosts, witches, creatures, and good ol’ fashion S&M. Review is here  




Haunted23) Haunted by Tamara Thorne

Best selling author David Masters moves into a haunted California home by the ocean. The house is part of an odd seaside community that is a mixture of cantankerous yokels and new age flakes. Interesting read, review is here 



castleofotranto4) The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole

 This is where Gothic Literature begins. A kingdom, a castle. Princes and Princesses. Betrayal and murder. Ghosts. It was written in 1764. A tedious read, but an iconic book. Review is here 


BlairShawBooks5) The Haunting of Hainesbury House, Ingleton House, Bramley House – Blair Shaw

 These are actually three “sold separately” novellas. Or are they novelettes? Anyway, the formula for the three is the same – a single woman (recently widowed, divorced, etc.) begins a new life in a new house , which obviously ends up being haunted. Simple but enjoyable reads.  Here is the review.


LeFanuBook6) Best Ghost Stories – Joseph Le Fanu

When it comes to ghost stories, he is the master! I didn’t read all the stories in the this book but I read the following: Squire Toby’s Will, Schalken the Painter, Madam Crowl’s Ghost, Carmilla, Ghost Stories of the Tiled House and The Authentic Narrative of the Haunted House

I wrote a review of Carmilla, a story of a female vampire that predates Stoker’s Dracula, here at

And I wrote a an article about three of his haunted house stories here  


PhantomOfTheOperaBook7) The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux

Fantastic book, read most of it while in Paris, the city where this macabre tale takes place. Wrote an article about it here at



HeadfulOfGhosts8) A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul G. Tremblay

 Suspenseful tale of a possessed teenage girl. Or, is she? No matter, reality TV will exploit her. Interesting read.  I didn’t write a review



Seasons - Something Wicked9) Something Wicked Comes this Way – Ray Bradbury

 A carnival comes to town – to steal the life force of customers. This horror tale confronts the issue of the passing of time and the longing for youth. I write about the book here: 


 NYCTOPHOBIA Udder Cover10) Nyctophobia – Christopher Fowler

 Interesting story of a haunted house on the sunny cliffs of Spain. Unexpected ending. Review is here  




Seasons - Dandelion Wine11) Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury

 Reading Something Wicked Comes this Way left me desiring more from Bradbury. It is a summer kind of book and it was a nice summer read.  Nostalgia at its best. Of course I find a way to relate it to horror here 


Seasons - Summer of 4212) Summer of 42 – Herman Raucher

 Still in the mood of summer stories about youth, I went for this book and I loved it. A young boy falls for an older woman in this heartwarming yet sad tale. See this article as I compare themes of Summer of 42 with a later Raucher work.


MH213) Maynard’s House – Herman Raucher

 And…this is the later work.  From sandy beaches and beach houses to snowy terrains and haunted cabins.  A Vietnam veteran stuggles with PTSD in cabin isolated from civilization. Who are those strange visitors that come to him?  Read about here and here.


SylivaPlath14) The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

Sometime this summer, I had a dream that I was taking a course and this was required reading. I decided to read it, just in case I ever have the same dream and find myself at the end of the course. It’s about a young woman’s struggle with identity and madness.


 SpeedDatingDead15) Speed Dating with the Dead – Scott Nicholson

Not literally! No one dates Jim Morrison, or Sylvia Plath, or Abe Lincoln. It’s about a paranormal convention at a hotel. Demons show up and the conventioneers just can’t seem to handle them. Read a review here


GhostsManor216) The Ghosts of Manor House – Matt Powers

 Shorter than a novel, longer than a novella, I helped Author Matt Powers promote his intriguing story about a house that is indeed alive. Read about it here  

The-Woman-In-Black17) The Woman in Black – Susan Hill

 This novella is a modern classic. Modern Gothic at is best. A young lawyer must search for legal papers in the house of his former client, now deceased. It’s a house in the countryside, surrounded my marshes, overcome by fog and other wraith-like things.

Here is a review  

WitchesRavencrest18) The Witches of Ravencrest – Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

 Sequel to The Ghosts of Ravencrest. First we learn of the ghosts. Then we learn more about the witches that conjure and communicate with these spirits. Read my review here 


sentinel-book19) The Sentinel – Jeffery Konvitz

 I saw the film starring the late, great Burgess Meredith. Finally in 2017 I read Konvitz’s iconic novel about an apartment complex with a strange blind priest that “stares” out the window of his unit. Strange things are afoot in this building.  Tenant Allison Parker can attest to that!  Review is forthcoming.


summer of night - dan simmons - uk pbk20) Summer of Night – Dan Simmons

I should have read this in the summer. It too would have fulfilled last summer’s yearning for tales of young boys in their summer months. It’s a long read but well worth it. Several boys in the summer of 1960 encounters very ghoulish things in their own home town of Elm Haven. Review is forthcoming.


Julia_PeterStraub_15621)  Julia – Peter Straub

 I still have one or two more chapters to go. I probably won’t finish this until 2018, but the bulk of the book I read in 2017 so I am allowed to put it on this list (Yes I am!) From the author of Ghost Story comes another tale of specters and haunted houses.  A review is forthcoming.



Special Feature Updated with – A short Christmas Ghost story – written by me! Read for free!

The special feature of this blog is updated.  Come read “Spirits in the Night, Exchanging ‘Chances.” I wrote his last year. But if you haven’t yet read it,  you can read it this year! See, I don’t discriminate that way!

Here’s the link Spirits in the Night, Exchanging Chances



House of 1000 Corpses (Because it has the word “house” in the title!)

Yes I am doing it.

(Doing what?)

 I am lumping Rob Zombie’s film House of 1000 Corpses in with a collection of films that includes The Haunting, The Shining, The Legend of Hell House. 

(Why are you doing that?)

See, because, Zombie’s film has the word “House” in it.

(But Zombie’s film isn’t a haunted house movie, and the rest that you mention are haunted house movies. Using your logic, you might as well include House of Cards with the disgraced Kevin Spacey,  or Animal House with John Belushi popping like a zit. Furthermore why not review the genre of House music. Look, here’s a House jam for ya! How about Full House with those bratty twins?)


Okay, perhaps this situation calls for a more detailed explanation. Back in May, I reviewed the 1974 film The House of Seven Corpses. This film more closely resembles a haunted house film than Zombie’s film. It has some of the atmospheric trappings, including a long staircase, high ceilings, and a grave or two out in the back.  Still, I guess I kind of artificially widened the parameters of the haunted house film genre so that I could review Hof7Corpses.  Overall, I didn’t like the film very much. I found it dull and pointless.  Throughout the review, I compare it to House of 1000 Corpses, making parallels where perhaps there were none. Was Zombie trying to “remake” the 1970s film and do it better by adding 993 corpses to the equation?  I humorously and erroneously made that conclusion. Truth be told, I can’t find any references that links the two films.  But I’m not looking that hard because I just can’t take this subject that seriously. However I was right about one thing. I had written that , even though Zombie’s film has a mere 19% approval rating on , I would like it better than The House of Seven Corpses.

I wrote:

..soon I will watch Zombie’s film and then decide with finality if one thousand corpses are better than seven

Well I recently tested this hypothesis. And I was correct. One thousand corpses are better than seven. There is the finality. Reading between the lines, it seems that I was promising a review. So…here it is!  THIS is why I am reviewing House of 1000 Corpses.

House of 1000 Corpses is more of a gore/slasher movie than a haunted house film. It is resembles The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and has little in common with films such as The Amityville Horror or The Shining. Therefore I’m not going to spend a lot of time and effort on this review.  The synopsis will be brief as hell = a car full of youngsters breaks down near the house of a psychotic family. Youngsters meet family and the stuff of horror-gore breaks out on the screen.

This film is widely panned. I’m not going to go against the grain and declare my love for it. But I will say, House of 1000 Corpses is an entertaining movie at the very least.  Rob Zombie is the Quentin Tarantino or Oliver Stone of horror.  He seems to have applied a “no-rules style” of filmmaking to  the film.  It mashes together all kinds of styles; black and white footage with color, video with film, crazy shots and sequences – all this he mixes into an insane brew that smells of..genius?  If “genius” is too strong, than substitute it with “fun.” Zombie has “fun” with the tools and tricks of cinema; he gathers themes and styles from a toy box of tropes and splashes them with bloody gore. Many critics don’t appreciate all this gore. Too much controversy with all the horror-erotic scenes as well.  It goes over the top into the unforgivable, and still it marches on. In a weird way, this constant pushing of the medium somehow justifies the style in the end.  My opinion, of course.  No it’s not a great movie. Perhaps it’s not even “good.”  But it’s an amusing spectacle, certainly preferable to the boring The House of Seven Corpses.

And that’s all I’ll say about that!

Special Feature Updated – Christmas Ghosts and Haunted Houses

Hello Ghosts!

I am rerunning an article I wrote last year. It’s about the tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas.  Since holiday season is upon us, I decided to make the article the Special Feature.  I cleaned it up a bit, corrected a few typos.

Here is a link!  But don’t forget, it’s also available on The Home Page underneath the Special Feature menu.