Orson Welles said it best before the radio play, “The Hitchhiker”: “We of Mercury reckon that a story doesn’t have to appeal to the heart, it can also appeal to the spine. Sometimes, you want your heart to be warm; sometimes you want your spine to tingle.”
I like a good spine tingler.
To that end, I have a list for you, dear readers, of some of my favourite stories for this time of year. The numbers do not indicate what I think is number 1, or reading order. They just happened to be arranged as such. So, here we go:
1) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
2) Selected Stories of Guy de Maupassant
3) Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James
4) Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, BUT you should find the ones with artwork by Stephen Gammell. The newer artist is good, but you won’t get the full effect!
5) The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis
6) Anything by Poe (I just couldn’t narrow it down!)
Now, these stories above are fairly tame. This next section is only for those not faint of heart. If you read them and have to sleep with the light on, you have only yourselves to blame.
1) Volumes 1-3 of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood
2) The Bridge by John Skipp and Craig Spector
3) House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
4) The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (This is the novella the film Hellraiser sprang from, which is a very good film I highly recommend.)
5) Anything by H. P. Lovecraft (See number #6, in the list above!)