In the Stacks: scary stories

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2002

Here are some library staff suggestions for Halloween reading!

For those teens and adults who want genuine spine-tinglers, try these oldies-but-goodies:

• Anything by H.P. Lovecraft is bound to scare your pants off and make you wonder whether you're safer with your eyes open or closed. To find his stories, type in "Lovecraft" in the "title/keyword" search window of the electronic card catalog.

• Several books by Stephen King showed up as staff picks, notably "Salem's Lot," "Gerald's Game," and "Pet Sematary."

• Another book that gave staff members the chills was "The Amityville Horror," which is a case history of a demon-haunting.

• "The Penguin Complete Ghost Stories of M.R. James" got kudos for creepiness.

And should you want more recommendations, there are three great resources to try. First, take a look at "Horror: 100 Best Books," in which 100 sci-fi, fantasy, and horror authors recommend their favorite horror stories. Then, try two Web resources: Novelist, accessible from the library's homepage at (use your library barcode as a password), and the Reader's Advisory page at

For younger scare-fanatics, one read-aloud to look for is Philippa Pearce's short story collection "The Shadow Cage," whose title story creeps me out even as an adult. Another excellent collection is "The Dark-Thirty," a set of Southern supernatural tales that will make your audience cry out for more. If you want chapter books, dip into "The Blooding," by Patricia Windsor and "The Year the Wolves Came," by Bebe Faas Rice (both werewolf books), "The House with a Clock in its Walls," by John Bellairs, "Kate Culhane," by Michael Hague and "Down a Dark Hall," by Lois Duncan (disembodied spirit books).

"The Spirit House," by William Sleator, and "Balyet," by Patricia Wrightson are spirit-possession stories rooted in other cultures (Thai and Australian Aborigine). Also, don't miss "Coraline," by Neil Gaiman and "The Folk Keeper," by Franny Billingsley, a tale about the Folk who live under houses and must be appeased regularly - or else!

For even more scary titles, choose the Bestseller Lists on the library catalog and look for the "Horror" and "Supernatural" booklists for kids.

Read-alouds for those who like their scares to end happily include "Pumpkin Jack," by Will Hubbell, a look at what happens to post-Halloween pumpkins when left outside; "The Grandmas Trick-or-Treat," by Emily McCully; and "The Thirteen Days of Halloween," by Carol Greene. Try Kevin O'Malley's book, "Velcome," on your favorite riddle and joke fans, and make everyone laugh with "Scared Silly" by James Howe. And if the whole thing is just too much for your little ones, read them "When I Feel Scared" to give them some strategies to cope with their fears.

Happy Halloween reading, everyone!

If you'd like to place a hold on any of these titles, call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249. If you have Internet access, your library card and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our Web site ( and looking at our catalog.

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