Ghost stories for Christmas

ghostIf you like reading ghost stories, here’s 3 recommendations for short stories to dip in and out of. Plus recommended reads from Rebecca Armstrong’s  list in the Independent for Halloween.  The Penguin book of ghost stories: from Elizabeth Gaskell to Ambrose Bierce. Also includes Edith Wharton who also wrote ghost stories that are definitely worth a read. ‘As elegant and class-obsessed as her novels, these are unlikely keep you up at night, but will give you plenty to ponder.’ Rebecca Armstrong Independent

Collected Ghost Stories, By M R James   ‘The Bible of ghost stories, if you like a fright this should have pride of place on your bookshelf. Cambridge provost James wrote some of the finest tales ever to have creeped out readers.’ Rebecca Armstrong Independent

Virago Book of ghost stories Featuring some of the finest writers of the 19th and 20th centuries, these stories gather to haunt and horrify – an irresistible read for those with a taste for being spooked

Dark Matter, By Michelle Paver  January 1937. 28-year-old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he’s offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. After they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year, Gruhuken, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave

The Little Stranger, By Sarah Waters In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline. But are the Ayres haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? It was a bestseller in 2009.

Dolly: A Ghost Story, By Susan Hill   Told through the eyes of a lonely child, then his adult self, it traces the fall out of a fraught summer spent with a peculiar cousin.

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, By Penelope Lively  When James and his family move to an ancient cottage in Oxfordshire, odd things start happening. Doors crash open, and strange signs appear, written in an archaic hand. James finds that the ghost is the spirit of Thomas Kempe a 17th-century apothecarie. He is less terrifying and more curmudgeonly than most ghosts but this children’s book still has some alarming moments.

 Ghostwalk, By Rebecca Stott  When Elizabeth, a reclusive historian, is found drowned in a tributary of the River Cam, she is clutching a glass prism and has left behind her unfinished magnum opus, a book on Isaac Newton’s alchemy. Her son turns to Lydia Brooke, a young writer and friend of Elizabeth’s, and asks her to complete the last chapter of the book

 The Winter Ghosts, By Kate Mosse   ‘A great introduction to Mosse’s work if you haven’t read her longer novels. A young man, mourning his brother who died in the Great War, gets caught in a snow storm in the Pyreneese. He finds a village in which to take refuge and learns more about love and loss. Mosse’s book takes in 13th-century Cathar life.’ Rebecca Armstrong Independent