October Takeover: Ghostly Reads

~ posted by Andrea G.

October is a haunting month. There’s Halloween, of course, with its ghosts and ghouls and spooky stories. But there’s also a nostalgia for the passing of summer as dying leaves accumulate on the ground, and in the Northwest there’s the slow encroachment of rainy darkness. If you want to revel in this time but don’t love super scary things, try some literary novels narrated by ghosts.

The World Before Us  by Aislinn Hunter features a ghostly chorus, stranded souls who follow archivist Jane Standen as she researches Victorian-era rural asylums. A great character study, this novel also looks at the way memory is shaped and ripples across individuals and society.

Rooms by Lauren Oliver weaves together the ghostly with the everyday. After Richard Walker dies, his estranged family arrives at his country house to sift through the accumulation of a lifetime. They’re not alone, though, watched and commented on by Alice and Sandra, the ghosts of two previous residents.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold may be the most well-known book on this list, and was also adapted into a movie. Teenager Susie Salmon has been murdered; the novel is told as her account as she looks down on her family, coping with her loss, and as she ultimately tries to come to terms with her death.

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan is narrated by Bibi Chen, who arranges an art tour of Myanmar for herself and 11 friends but dies before they set off. That doesn’t stop her from joining them in spirit, describing as the group goes off track and becomes enveloped by local politics. Bibi humorously uncovers the fears and desires of all in the group, while also providing a critique of the tourist industry.

These are just a few examples. For more ideas, check out this reading list.

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