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I just finished Susan Hill's The Small Hand and posted my review. I can really recommend it. But is it scary? Unless you are prone to panic attacks, I don't think so. Novroz did recommend Joe Hill's Heart-shaped Box in a comment. Now that sounds quite scary. I wonder where to draw the line between ghost/scary stories and horror stories? Do you know? I rarely read books with the "horror" label.


Interesting about what's really scary. I've always found it hard to come across really scary ghost stories and sort of think that film has the monopoly on scaring its audience silly. There has to be an element of absolute surprise and a film can do that in a way a book can't. It takes time to read, whilst a visual image can come at you in a nanosecond. That being said, I was really scared by Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None when I was a teenager - the idea of a hidden killer picking people off one by one, now that was frightening!


I also finished Susan Hill's The Woman in Black but didn't really find it scary. I'm not sure whether books can scare me, but then I don't read much horror. But I do love gothic/supernatural stories. This collection looks very interesting. Incidentally, I've got Kelly Link's 'Pretty Monsters' which I'm going to try and read before R.I.P. V finishes!


Only two weeks of scary reading left? Where has the time gone? I'm reading Turn of the Screw and getting the occasional chill especially when the governess sees a ghost peeping in at the window!


I like that book cover - now that's atmospheric!

I do love ghost/scary stories. Maybe they don't really scare me like a film would but there is a certain atmosphere they create. In recent years two books that come to mind which I though were great creepy reads were The Woman in Black by Susan Hill and Come Closer by Sara Gran.

I'm reading The Little Stranger now and it is turning out to be a perfect ghost story.


Caroline--I saw your post and have it marked--will try and read it tomorrow as I am very curious about Susan Hill's other books. I've only read The Woman in Black which I loved--not scary so much as very atmospheric and creepy. I have heard about the Joe Hill book, but am not sure if that doesn't cross the line for me, too. I like stories with a nice, surprising twist, but maybe nothing that makes me too scared. I think the last horror story I read was Stephen King's The Shining but that was a good fifteen years ago!
Litlove--It is easier to scare using visuals--and you don't even need to be graphic about it--just the hint of what is behind a door is enough to freak me out. I prefer the psychological stuff over anything gory. I think modern day ghost stories can't really compete with movies and TV, which is maybe why the 80s saw such a rise in horror stories? Still, I don't mind a well done ghost story if it is atmospheric. And Sarah Waters's The Little Stranger is one of the best modern day ghost stories (though set post-WWII England) that I've come across--all done with the power of suggestion--she's brilliant! I must read that Agatha Christie--she's always so good and I like the sound of a scary Christie novel.
Sakura--I've read the Hill book twice and agree it's not particularly scary, but I thought it conveyed a very creepy, uncertain feeling. It's been ages since I've read anything really scary. The last book that had my heart racing was Child 44, but that's more of a thriller. I want to read Kelly Link, but none of the libraries I have access to has that book--I could try ILL, but now it won't get here before the end of the month.
Stefanie--I agree--I'm just getting warmed up and now it is nearing the end. I won't finish Wilkie Collins, but I'll keep reading and maybe finish before the end of the year. I've wanted to reread The Turn of the Screw--I loved that story.
Iliana--Isn't that a great cover? I still like a good ghost story even if it isn't particularly scary, only I had high expectations with this collection--maybe I'll try another story? I do need to try Sara Gran--I have one of her other books, but I will look for this one, too. And I loved The Little Stranger--very well done, I thought!

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