31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die

Non-Fiction - General
88 Pages
Reviewed on 03/24/2016
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Deb Atwood's 31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die is a non-fiction collection of literary reviews. Atwood loves ghost stories, and she's introduced 31 of her favorites in this book. Her selections are separated by category, including Historical, Horror, Literary, Romance and Young Adult, and she provides information on the publisher, page count, and format before she begins the review. Each review contains a synopsis entitled, "What it's about" and Atwood's take on the story entitled, "What I thought." Her synopses introduce the setting, main characters, and the plot while carefully avoided spoilers and too much information. The "What I thought" sections include the author's initial and final impressions of the work, as well as her perception of the work's place in the ghost story genre.

To say I was intrigued when I saw the title of Deb Atwood's collection is most definitely an understatement. I've always loved ghost stories and am constantly on the prowl for more good offerings. I appreciated Atwood's categorization scheme, and loved how she set up each of her reviews. As a fellow ghost story aficionado, I was not surprised to see some of my favorite books and authors gracing the pages of 31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die, but I was quite impressed by the breadth of her research and reading material and the quality of her selections. Readers will find selections by Ursula Le Guin, Charles Todd, and Henry James. They'll also discover British horror author James Herbert, classic author Richard Matheson, and Shirley Jackson.

Atwood's comments and criticisms are intelligent and well-reasoned, and I particularly appreciated her pointing out the literary influences in the authors that she was discussing. Atwood's 31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die is not only filled with recommendations for some righteously spooky ghost literature, it also features some fine work by a reviewer who has obviously made a study of this genre. It's most highly recommended.

Rabia Tanveer

Deb Atwood's 31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die is simply about what ghost novels we should read before we run out of time and become ghosts too. I do not know what else to say than simply ... thank you. Being an avid reader, it is very hard to find novels and books that are actually good, especially when it comes to the horror genre. Horror novels tend to be either very good or too erotic for a genuine reader who is looking for some spooks and thrills.

I had no idea there were so many good horror novels that I haven’t read, and trust me, I thought I had read all the best classics. For example, I had no idea Henry James had written The Turn of the Screws. What I really loved about this book was the way Deb already categorized the novels. She lists the novels according to their genres, which include Horror, Romance, Historical, Literary, Young Adult, Time Slip and Women’s Fiction. This really helped me focus on which genre I want to read.

Her reviews of the books are also honest and very good. I really enjoyed her “thoughts” about the novels and that made them sound more interesting and attractive, because I got a general idea if I was going to read the real deal or not. And trust me, I have already bought eight of the novels Deb Atwood reviewed. She dishes what needs to be dished without giving away spoilers, and highlights the good and bad points of all the novels. So, well done, Deb!

Carol Coetzee

Deb Atwood's 31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die is a delightful reference book for all lovers of ghost stories. Who of us has not been curious about ghosts? Most people are fascinated by the thought of ghosts and paranormal events. Ghost stories are not often a specifically listed genre in many bookstores and it is hard to find a good one to read. The inclusion of various books from different authors, as well as a brief synopsis of the book and an analysis of Deb's reactions and feelings about the books make you want to rush out and find them all. If you are looking for a good ghost story, you will be able to select one or more from this book. An introduction to her new book, Moonlight Dancer, rounds off the book, and it is certainly a great teaser, gripping you in the brief chapter. You will most likely want to buy Moonlight Dancer to read more!

Deb Atwood has produced a wonderful selection of ghost stories she has read in 31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die. Whilst this is not a novel, it is a great reference book with a good selection of some of her favourite ghost stories. Deb Atwood has a lovely writing style and the way she expresses her feelings on each book is wonderful reading. The book lists groups of books, including the author and publisher, and covers various themes from YA, romance, horror and paranormal stories. Each story is briefly summarized and the author then gives her thoughts on the book. Her thoughts and reactions to the stories show clearly that Deb Atwood is a great fan of ghost stories. If you are a lover of ghost stories, this book will give you a great list, and some idea as to how it was perceived by Deb Atwood as a reader, not a writer. There are many books that are certainly worth reading!