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:”
- It can serve as a nice literary recap.
- Also, I can finally add another item to my blog category –Loving Those Lists; haven’t posted in the grouping lately.
- Besides, it will be fun.
- 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.
1) 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
2) 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
3) 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
4) 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
5) 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.
6) 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 HorrorNovelReviews.com
And I wrote a an article about three of his haunted house stories here
7) 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 HorrorNovelReviews.com
8) 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
9) 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:
10) Nyctophobia – Christopher Fowler
Interesting story of a haunted house on the sunny cliffs of Spain. Unexpected ending. Review is here
11) 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
12) 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.
13) 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.
14) 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.
15) 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
16) 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
17) 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
18) 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
19) 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.
20) 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.
21) 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.