Stories to haunt you at Summit County libraries
Ryan Summerlin October 19, 2012
When I think of frightening tales, authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz come immediately to mind. Perusing the shelves of the library recently, I found that several other well-known authors have written scary stories even though this is not their usual genre.
The best-selling author of “We Were the Mulvaneys,” Joyce Carol Oates, began writing horror stories in the early 1980s. Check out her collection, “Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque.” These 16 stories range from ghost stories to psychological thrillers, all written in Oates’ creative style. Imagine yourself in “The Doll,” where a childhood toy appears later in your life as a rather sinister, “real” person.
In “Dark Dreams: A Collection of Horror and Suspense by Black Writers,” Steven Barnes terrorizes the reader with a tale of society gone horribly wrong after an epidemic called “Danger Word.” Absolutely no one is to be trusted. Science fiction writer Barnes is best known for his contributions to the popular series of “Star Wars” novels.
Daphne du Maurier, author of the masterful gothic novel, “Rebecca,” wrote a collection of spooky stories called “Echoes from the Macabre.” In her story, “Don’t Look Now,” psychic powers and suspicion collide to thrust a wedge of mistrust between a young couple that has just lost a child. When a medium tells the wife that her child is sitting beside her, the young woman is overjoyed; the husband fears darker motives rule.
In “The Dark: New Ghost Stories,” edited by Ellen Datlow, Sharyn McCrumb shares her story, “The Gallows Necklace.” McCrumb writes novels featuring the folklore of Appalachia. This story takes place near Oxford, England between World Wars. Old school chums meet by chance on a train and Gordon convinces Seeley to join him in his visit to another school acquaintance – a widow with a lovely granddaughter. A mysterious necklace and an encounter with ghosts cause everyone to relive a terrible tragedy.
David Morrell writes high-action thrillers. His 1972 debut novel, “First Blood,” was the basis for the “Rambo” series of movies starring Sylvester Stallone. In “Gallery of Horror,” Morell’s contribution, “The Typewriter,” deals with writer’s block and a greed that goes beyond reason and morality.
“The Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural” includes stories by such well-known authors as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Winston Churchill, Theodore Dreiser, William Faulkner and Truman Capote. Capote’s story, “Shut a Final Door,” written when he was 23 years old, appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in August 1947 and won first prize in the O. Henry Prize Stories annual collection in 1948. The horror portrayed in this story consists of the destruction of a man’s social life at his own hand.
Horror movies are available on DVD at your library. You may also download videos, audio books and e-books free from the library website, www.summitcountylibraries.org. Whether you need a tale to frighten your friends at a Halloween get-together, a scary story for around the campfire or a thought-provoking read for you alone, the library is the place to haunt.