The most recommended books about spirits

Who picked these books? Meet our 34 experts.

34 authors created a book list connected to spirits, and here are their favorite spirit books.
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Book cover of Diamond Willow

Natalie Rompella Author Of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

From my list on middle grade sled-dogs.

Who am I?

Sled dog racing? I knew nothing about it most of my life. I became interested after writing a nonfiction book on the history of sled dog racing. So interested, I wrote a novel on it—Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. I attended local sprint races and even traveled to Alaska to see the start of the Iditarod. I learned so much watching the mushers prepare and the excitement of the dogs. I still enjoy watching the Iditarod, the Yukon Quest, and local sprint races. I’m excited to share a list of great sled-dog books. What I like about my list is that all the books are so different! 

Natalie's book list on middle grade sled-dogs

Natalie Rompella Why did Natalie love this book?

This is my new favorite book. It takes place in a remote town in Alaska where residents must travel by dog sled. Each page has a poem written in a diamond shape that contains a hidden message. Not many books have such a unique format. But what really made the book exciting were the many twists and turns in the plot. (I also learned about diamond willow, but I won’t spoil it for you!)

By Helen Frost,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diamond Willow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

There's
more to me than
most people
see.

Twelve-year-old Willow would rather blend in than stick out. But she still wants to be seen for who she is. She wants her parents to notice that she is growing up. She wants her best friend to like her better than she likes a certain boy. She wants, more than anything, to mush the dogs out to her grandparents' house, by herself, with Roxy in the lead. But sometimes when it's just you, one mistake can have frightening consequences . . . And when Willow stumbles, it takes a surprising group of…


Book cover of Black Water Sister

Gita Ralleigh Author Of Siren

From my list on myths beyond the Greco-Roman Canon.

Who am I?

I'm a poet and fiction writer who enjoys popular feminist retellings of Greco-Roman mythology. But I want to draw attention to the rich and powerful myths beyond that canon, myths used by contemporary writers to make sense of our world, our brief mortal lives, and what lies beyond. Scholar Karen Armstrong writes in A Short History of Myth, "Myth is about the unknown; it is about that for which we initially have no words. Myth therefore looks into the heart of a great silence." My poetry book A Terrible Thing reinterprets goddess myths and Siren does the same with myths of hybrid women, half-fish and half-bird and more.

Gita's book list on myths beyond the Greco-Roman Canon

Gita Ralleigh Why did Gita love this book?

I adored Cho’s Black Water Sister for the wit, verve, and humour with which its protagonist, Jess, newly returned to Penang from the USA, faces down being possessed by the spirit of her dead grandma, a former medium. Jess, despite her Harvard degree, hasn’t found a job and is unable to tell her conservative family about her Singapore-based girlfriend. How Jess manages to negotiate the contradictory demands of pushy aunties, powerful businessmen, and a furious goddess known as the Black Water Sister, whose temple is threatened by property developers, makes an immersive and absorbing tale.

By Zen Cho,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Black Water Sister as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A sharp and bittersweet story of past and future, ghosts and gods and family, that kept me turning pages into the dark hours of the night' - Naomi Novik, author of Uprooted

This mischievous Malaysian-set novel is an adventure featuring family, ghosts and local gods - from Hugo Award winning novelist Zen Cho.

Her grandmother may be dead, but she's not done with life . . . yet.

As Jessamyn packs for Malaysia, it's not a good time to start hearing a bossy voice in her head. Broke, jobless and just graduated, she's abandoning America to return 'home'. But she…


Book cover of When Ghosts Speak: Understanding the World of Earthbound Spirits

T.M. Simmons Author Of Southern Charms

From my list on magical realms and spiritual enlightenment.

Who am I?

I started writing way back in grade school, and I love to read. My first book came out in 1990, after much work and many classes. It was one of the proudest days of my life. To date, I've published over forty books, both fiction and non-fiction. I worked hard on my writing and, later, also on developing my psychic gifts to help lost, lonely souls. Both are the result of lots of studying and development, but both of which give me immense satisfaction. Along with years of writing experience, I have over thirty years of paranormal investigative experience.

T.M.'s book list on magical realms and spiritual enlightenment

T.M. Simmons Why did T.M. love this book?

I, like thousands of others, watched some of the paranormal shows on TV.

Since I was learning a lot myself, I could dismiss the ones just in it for the shock effects and ratings. I did enjoy Ghost Whisperer, partly because at about the same time I discovered the show, I discovered Winkowski's book. She was the medium upon whom the show was based and she actually consulted for the show.

Her story truly intrigued me, partly because I learned we could actually help lonesome and troubled ghosts cross into the light. I feel it's the most important gift I have these days. So very many souls wander lonely and confused. Helping them cross over is a very satisfying experience.

By Mary Ann Winkowski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Ghosts Speak as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the bestselling tradition of Rosemary Altea and John Edwards comes the memoir of Mary Ann Winkowski, the real life "Ghost Whisperer" and consultant on the Top 30 CBS show "Ghost Whisperer" starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Lights flicker on and off for no good reason. You feel drained and inexplicably irritable. Your four-year-old is scared to enter her bedroom.

Tell these things to Mary Ann Winkowski, and she'll tell you that you have a ghost.

A happily married, devout Catholic, suburban mother and full-time paranormal investigator, Mary Ann Winkowski has been able to see earthbound spirits, spirits that are trapped…


Book cover of The Monsters We Defy

Jody Bower Author Of Jane Eyre's Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine's Story

From Jody's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Cultural mythologist Fantasy & sci-fi lover Writer Singer Hiker

Jody's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Jody Bower Why did Jody love this book?

Engaging work of historical fiction with a supernatural element, featuring a strong black heroine living in Washington DC during the 30s.

Clara was born with the ability to see spirits and speak to them, and the main plot is about her quest – accompanied by other Gifted people to fight a major threat from “the Over There.” The author brings in West African diaspora religions as well as historical persons, places, and events (I spent a lot of time Googling to find out more!). She deftly handles the constant fear that a person of color lives with as a fact of life, and the love story is believable and satisfying.

By Leslye Penelope,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"[P]itch perfect, with wit, romance, and a lovable found family." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This smart and entertaining, magical heist novel hits all the right notes!" ―T.L. Huchu

NPR Best Book of 2022! Paste Best Fantasy Book of 2022!

"Never make a deal with shadows at night, especially ones that know your name.”

Washington D. C., 1925: Clara Johnson can talk to spirits—a gift that saved her during her darkest moments, now a curse that’s left her indebted to the cunning spirit world. So when a powerful spirit offers her an opportunity to gain her freedom, Clara seizes the chance,…


Book cover of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 1

Andrew MacLean Author Of ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times

From my list on graphic novels for a big imagination.

Who am I?

I believe comics are one of the very best storytelling mediums for stories with big imagination. Prose and film are amazing, but comics have artwork for every single moment of the story, artwork not bound by space, time, or budget. I’ve written and drawn 5 graphic novels published in 11 different languages. I’ve dedicated my entire life to the pursuit of imagination. The books I’ve recommended have given me endless enjoyment and inspiration, I hope they can do the same for you too.

Andrew's book list on graphic novels for a big imagination

Andrew MacLean Why did Andrew love this book?

I absolutely adore Miyazaki’s art in Nausicaa. Although dealing in themes of plague and pollution, the artwork really feels like it comes from a place of love. His creature and vehicle designs exude his adoration of nature and science. And everything is rendered in a soft, effortless chiaroscuro that makes reading an endless pleasure. 

But maybe the single most endearing attribute is the character, Nausicaa, herself. It seems to me, that more often than not, a hero story asks its protagonist to go through some sort of reluctant change to become a hero. But not Nausicaa. She comes to us fully formed, full of virtue and ambition. And so the story is centered on her choices. The story doesn’t happen to her, she drives it herself.

By Hayao Miyazaki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nausicaa, a young princess who has an empathic bond with the giant Ohmu insects and animals of every creed. She fights to create tolerance, understanding and patience among empires that are fighting over the world's remaining precious natural resources.


Book cover of Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon

Naching T. Kassa Author Of Sherlock Holmes and the Arcana of Madness: A Horror Mystery

From my list on extraordinary Sherlock Holmes stories.

Who am I?

As a lifelong Sherlockian, I have always enjoyed writing and reading about Sherlock Holmes. My favorite pastiches are the ones that are most faithful to the characters of Holmes and Watson, even if the story borders on the fantastic. I adore Sherlock Holmes and am a member of the Sound of the Baskervilles, The Sherlock Holmes Society of London, The Crew of the Barque Lone Star, The Beacon Society, The ACD Society, and The John H. Watson Society. I’ve written over 20 published stories about the Great Detective and plan to write many more.

Naching's book list on extraordinary Sherlock Holmes stories

Naching T. Kassa Why did Naching love this book?

James Lovegrove’s pastiches are among the best I’ve ever read!

I happen to be a horror and mystery fan, and Lovegrove’s stories are not only fun, they’re frightening. In this book, Holmes and Watson must solve a mystery involving an evil Christmas spirit called the Black Thurrick. They also must contend with a family who wants them to return to London above all else.

I received this book as a Christmas gift from my husband a few years ago, and it was my introduction to Lovegrove, who also writes The Cthulhu Casebooks, a series of Sherlock Holmes books concerning H.P. Lovecraft’s creations.

Fun Fact: James Lovegrove and Nicholas Meyer (author of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution) share the same birthday, December 24th.

By James Lovegrove,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The new Sherlock Holmes novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Odin.

It is 1890, and in the days before Christmas Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are visited at Baker Street by a new client. Eve Allerthorpe - eldest daughter of a grand but somewhat eccentric Yorkshire-based dynasty - is greatly distressed, as she believes she is being haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit.

Her late mother told her terrifying tales of the sinister Black Thurrick, and Eve is sure that she has seen the creature from her bedroom window. What is more, she…


Book cover of Half World

Opal Edgar Author Of Voice from the Dead: A Young Adult Portal Fantasy in the Afterlife

From my list on young adult set in the afterlife.

Who am I?

I grew up with the cartoon Beetlejuice, fascinated by the composed Lydia running around a bright and insane afterlife. Any cheerfully gothic story I would latch on with glee. Perhaps this is why fantasy has always been my favourite genre, and why I cannot help but mix dark and light, and why my first novel naturally took place in the afterlife. I wrote my first book for my brother, because he was as interested as me in all the weird in the world, but unlike me, he had dyslexia and hated reading. He received the story in instalments and to my amazement and pride, he just gobbled them up. 

Opal's book list on young adult set in the afterlife

Opal Edgar Why did Opal love this book?

This novel is a wonderful East meets West tumble into the afterlife that will leave an impression on you long after you close the book. The main character is nothing like the usual hero, but an overweight 10-year-old, taciturn, lonely, but most of all, fiercely determined to save her mother. 

We follow Melanie into a creepy and harsh underworld heavily influenced by Buddhist beliefs and discover the terrible truth about monsters and how they are created. This book is like a Japanese Alice in Wonderland where no punches are held back, celebrating courage, family, and tenacity.  

By Hiromi Goto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Half World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Melanie Tamaki is human?but her parents aren?t. They are from Half World, a Limbo between our world and the afterlife, and her father is still there. When her mother disappears, Melanie must follow her to Half World?and neither of them may return alive. Imagine Coraline as filmed by the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Howl?s Moving Castle), or Neil Gaiman collaborating with Charles de Lint. Half World is vivid, visceral, unforgettable, a combination of prose and images that will haunt you.


Book cover of Spirited Away, Vol. 1

Janelle McCurdy Author Of The Lightcasters

From my list on for gamers.

Who am I?

I've always been a gamer, even now that passion burns bright. My favourite genres being FPS, Horror, Fighting, and adventure games. There's nothing like delving into a new game and feeling the adrenaline that comes with slaying beasts and leveling up, or getting emotional during a cinematic movie-like horror game. I've been gaming since I was a child all the way up until today. Gaming has always had my heart, which has led to me writing books inspired by gaming as well as being a gaming content creator, posting reviews on my website and social media. I love the fast-paced feeling you get whilst gaming and wanted to echo that in my storytelling.

Janelle's book list on for gamers

Janelle McCurdy Why did Janelle love this book?

A Ghibli classic, one of my favourites, and getting to experience the magical and slightly eerily interesting new world that Chihiro discovers, it's a race against time to save her parents.

However, when Chihiro's name is taken and she is forced to stay in said strange world, only the help of a mysterious boy named Haku and a bunch of other magical characters can Chihiro maybe return home. Love love love this book and the film, so I highly recommend it.

By Hayao Miyazaki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spirited Away, Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Ten-year-old Chihiro and her family are on their way to their new home. Dad takes a wrong turn, though, and they become lost in a forest. Eventually they find their way to a strange abandoned amusement park. Chihiro wanders off. As night falls, Chihiro finds out she's in a world of ghosts, demons, and strange gods. A mysterious boy, Haku, tells her that to survive Chihiro must find work. She must go down to the boiler room and seek out an old man named Kamaji...


Book cover of Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places

Sylvia Shults Author Of Days of the Dead: A Year of True Ghost Stories

From my list on for paranormal enthusiasts.

Who am I?

I've been a paranormal investigator (a paranormal reporter, actually) for over a decade. One of the very best parts of my job is that I get to gorge myself on books of true accounts of the paranormal. It's exciting to see what else is out there, and what other people have experienced – both historically, and personally. I'm so grateful for the chance to add to this body of work; there are many renowned investigators and writers out there, and I'm thrilled to be counted among them. And someday, someone will read about my experiences and be terrified and intrigued and inspired by them.

Sylvia's book list on for paranormal enthusiasts

Sylvia Shults Why did Sylvia love this book?

Steiger is a well-known explorer of the supernatural, and he brings this solid research foundation to his many books on the subject. Steiger's works tend towards the encyclopedic, simply because he gathers such a wealth of stories and information in every book. Because he's been at this business for such a long time, a reader can be confident that they are in good hands with Steiger's work. 

By Brad Steiger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The culmination of Brad Steiger's 50 years of paranormal research, Real Ghosts delves into the true scary stories from both historical documents and personal accounts. This second edition builds on the highly acclaimed, masterful first edition. It is updated to include new stories and compelling evidence of both the existence of ghosts and proof of hauntings that will entertain, induce chills, and make the doubtful believe. Arranged in 29 topical chapters, it covers every sort of ghost and haunting, including poltergeists, shadow beings, and more.


Book cover of Finding Faeries: Discovering Sprites, Pixies, Redcaps, and Other Fantastical Creatures in an Urban Environment

Helen M. Pugsley Author Of The Tooth Fairy

From my list on learning the old legends.

Who am I?

I remember being gifted a copy of a fairy tale book for children by someone my dad worked with as a kid. "Wow, these are really close to the originals," Mom murmured under her breath.
"Wait, there are originals?" That set off a chain reaction of a lifelong love of fairy tales, myths, legends, and folk stories. Writing The Tooth Fairy forced me to double-check my lifetime of accumulated knowledge. Plus, being trapped indoors with audiobooks during a global pandemic left me a lot more time to learn! In short: I simply love the old legends.

Helen's book list on learning the old legends

Helen M. Pugsley Why did Helen love this book?

Have you ever had a book actively try to stop you from reading it? This non-fiction book was guarded like all doorways into Fairie. Every time I sat down to read it the kettle would come to a boil, or the phone would ring! I read it cover to cover though. Even finding it again to tell you about it was a challenge.

By Alexander Rowland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover where faeries and other mythical creatures are hiding in our modern, urban environment with this beautifully illustrated guide to uncovering magical beings.

From the musty corners of libraries to the darkest depths of urban sewers, faeries, boggarts, redcaps, and other fantastical species can be found all around us-but only if we know where to look. And like every other being in the modern world, these wonderous creatures have been forced to adapt to the climate, industrial, and cultural changes of the modern era. Many formerly common creatures from akeki to cave trolls have been driven out by the urban…