Halloween Reading

Well, Halloween is fast upon us, and it behooves all good readers to spend at least an hour or two with a good ghost story or supernatural tale. I’ve recently been rereading the supernatural fiction of Arthur Machen, author of the chillingly titled “The Great God Pan” and “The White People,” this latter the second greatest supernatural story of all time, according to H.P. Lovecraft—and he should know. What’s number one? Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows.”

Do members of the Reading Room have favorite authors for this spooky season of the year? For a long time, I regularly returned to M.R. James’s “Ghost Stories of an Antiquary” and its companion collections. Later this fall, I expect to start rereading that most original, and deeply enigmatic, of all writers of “strange stories”: Robert Aickman.

That said, next spring I’ll be teaching a course on the modern adventure novel and I will probably include the Cornell Woorich noir classic, “Rendezvous in Black” and Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House.” If I were smart, I’d reread them now, when the time and the stars are right.

So what will you read for Halloween? Please share your thoughts and recommendations.

Michael Dirda

Read what others are saying