Do you like a good seasonal read?  Of course you do.  It’s like pumpkin spice for your head, but without all the god-knows-what-sweetners.  I’m hoping to get to some more spooky reads this month, but for now you all will have to settle for a book of ghost stories I picked up at the bookstore (total impulse cover-driven buy, not ashamed.)  Ghostly Tales: Spine-Chilling Stories of the Victorian Age.  I’ll be back later; I’ve got costumes to make, people.

Ghostly Tales: Spine-Chilling Stories of the Victorian Age, Illustrated by Bill Bragg

I can usually resist the siren song of “gift” or “coffee table” books, but this pretty volume of Victorian ghost stories lured me in from its prominent place at my indy bookstore.  (Well done, bookstore, well done.)

I will be totally honest with you – there is absolutely no need to buy this book.  All of its stories are long in the public domain and I’m sure easily found on The Google.  There is no forward here, no illuminating introduction, notes, or scholarly analysis.  And yet, it’s a beautiful little book and would make a great Halloween gift, if you are looking for one.  Alternatively, it is a spooky-looking addition to my mantel, if you’re looking for something like that.

There are seven stories, each fronted with a full-page illustration, each delightful if one is inclined, as am I, to find Victorian ghost stories delightful.  M.R. James, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Amelia B. Edwards, and F. Marion Crawford grace the pages.  Really, there is no driving reason to buy it, but I am still glad I did.  I hadn’t read all the stories contained within and I passed some delightfully spooky hours giggling my way through a truly good-looking book.  Hey, someone’s got to support traditional publishing, eh?

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