The best creepy books to read in that brief twilight period between bed and sleep

Ian George Author Of Don't Go Home Tonight
By Ian George

Who am I?

My interest in the supernatural is a consequence of early life contact with the macabre fantasy works of authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, MR James, and HP Lovecraft. Influenced by my father in my early years, these were favourites of his, though I remain unsure if he ever actually read any of their works; I don’t recall seeing any of their titles amongst the textbooks and journals weighing heavily on the well-stocked bookshelves in the study. It was through watching television productions of the author's titles, one of the rare times the family gathered with our father, that linked the author's names in my mind to their works. 


I wrote...

Don't Go Home Tonight

By Ian George,

Book cover of Don't Go Home Tonight

What is my book about?

A collection of seven short stories—each with a twist in the tale! Ian George takes you on an eternal journey, a false identity, through faithless cynicism, a fairy tale, lost love, and a predator back to another eternal journey. Seven tales that challenge beliefs and question faith, that break down the barriers between love and hate, life and death.

The books I picked & why

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The Apple Tree: A Ghost Story for Christmas

By Daphne du Maurier,

Book cover of The Apple Tree: A Ghost Story for Christmas

Why this book?

I’m an avid reader of the works of Daphne Du Maurier. Of all her works, I particularly enjoyed the macabre tale of The Apple Tree. It struck a note with me, presenting the reader with the possibility of interpreting the events recounted either as being supernatural or psychological. I'm left asking myself if the mind of the protagonist is disturbed by the heavy burden of guilt or if it is the work of his dead wife seeking a terrible revenge? This resonates with my own conflict between spiritual sceptic and dreamer.

The Apple Tree: A Ghost Story for Christmas

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Apple Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"[These] miniature books chosen and illustrated by the cartoonist Seth . . . [offer] chills-and charm." -New York Times Book Review

We're thrilled to offer this series of beautifully illustrated, collectible books. Designed and illustrated by the world-renowned cartoonist Seth, they're trimmed to fit the coziest stocking.

A widower admits it only to himself: Midge's death is a relief. Yet now that he's free of her hectoring, he still feels her presence. Does he feel guilty? Or does that weather-beaten tree in the orchard bear an uncanny resemblance to her hunched posture?


The Mezzotint

By M.R. James,

Book cover of The Mezzotint

Why this book?

I was first acquainted with the works of MR James through the BBC Christmas Eve dramas, though I did not note his name. In later life while reading from a collection of supernatural stories by various authors I recognised an odd familiarity with a tale that centered on what at first appeared to be an unremarkable etching. 

As a child I recall being so terrified by an illustration, drawn in the manner of an etching, of the hideous witch in Hansel and Gretal in a book of fairy tales that I refused to sleep in my bedroom in its company, even though the book was firmly shut. Hardly surprising that the idea of a picture changing in the way recounted in the Mezzotint would resonate with me

The Mezzotint

By M.R. James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mezzotint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

M. R. James was born in Kent, England in 1862. James came to writing fiction relatively late, not publishing his first collection of short stories - Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904) - until the age of 42. Modern scholars now see James as having redefined the ghost story for the 20th century and he is seen as the founder of the 'antiquarian ghost story'. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions with a brand new introductory biography of the author.


The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Why this book?

A classic read which has been made into two movies, in my opinion the best being the first, faithful to the novel and in atmospheric black and white. The house is purported to be haunted and we see it through the eyes of the protagonist; never quite sure if she is projecting her confused mental state or if it is indeed haunted. I have always believed it more likely that hauntings are the product of the individual’s imagination and their mental state. The idea that the peculiarities of particular architecture can heighten the psychological rather than spiritual senses seems to me a logical explanation for perceived hauntings.

The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…


The Signalman: A Ghost Story for Christmas

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of The Signalman: A Ghost Story for Christmas

Why this book?

This short story reminds me of a disused railway line that my siblings and I took to be a playground when we lived in a small village in North Wales. All that remained of the route was the track ballast. The route was some two miles long and at one point cut into the hillside before entering a long dark tunnel. It was easy to imagine a steam train from bygone years appearing in the mouth of the tunnel, much as the engine that brought the doom of the signalman in Dickens’s tale. 

The Signalman: A Ghost Story for Christmas

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Signalman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This book is amazing." Halloween might seem like the spookiest time of year, but Charles Dickens felt otherwise. He was among the many authors who set their scariest stories during the dim and shivering days of--yes, Christmas. First published in 1866 for a special yuletide issue of All the Year Round, Dickens' "The Signalman" has since fallen into obscurity. An eerie story of isolation, dread, and supernatural visitation, this book is a small treasure, meant to be read aloud on a cold, dark winter night.


The Most Haunted House in England: Ten Years' Investigation of Borley Rectory

By Harry Price,

Book cover of The Most Haunted House in England: Ten Years' Investigation of Borley Rectory

Why this book?

The only book I've listed which claims to be a true story. My father owned several volumes written by Harry Price and by far the most interesting to me as a boy was the story of Borley Rectory. Though I now view Price’s narrative through more skeptical eyes, it still sends a chill down my spine when I read his claims of ghostly writing and sightings of the mysterious nun walking on the moonlit grounds. Alas that the building has long disappeared…I'm certain that I would have been drawn to it. Thinking about it, perhaps it is better that it has gone…I may be a cynical observer, but irrational fear of the unknown lives just as actively in the sceptic as it does in the convinced. 

The Most Haunted House in England: Ten Years' Investigation of Borley Rectory

By Harry Price,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Most Haunted House in England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Price, Harry


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