The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Why this book?
This book, which came out in 1973, was John Bellairs’ first novel for young readers (it remains his most popular) and featured a dozen shadowy illustrations by eventual Goth favorite Edward Gorey. In it, Lewis Barnavelt arrives at his uncle’s creepy-intriguing house and embarks on the sorts of adventures I think many kids wish for themselves: encounters with magic and the people who can work it; discoveries of clues and puzzles and mysterious books; evasions of danger; and the company of gentle grown-ups one leap beyond their parents. This book completely fired my imagination when my fifth-grade teacher read it aloud to my class years ago, and it has stayed with me ever since.