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Shirley Jackson: The Queen of Horror


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Shirley Jackson: The Queen of Horror

Scott Landfield


by Emily

There’s a nip to these October nights, and it seems that the browsers at Tsunami Books are collecting larger and larger stacks in preparation for what we book people know as reading season—the time of year where we shut out the cold, become one with our cushiest piece of furniture, and get lost in the pages.

October also lines up in yards and grocery stores in rows of pumpkins and skeletons, and gets us all in the mood for a good old-fashioned spooking. It’s this time of year that I like to re-read my two very favorite books by Shirley Jackson, the queen of gothic horror. Her book “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” follows Merricat, her sister, and their ailing uncle—all that’s left of the Blackwoods after the unusual deaths of the rest of their family. A mutual mistrust between the Blackwoods and the townspeople has kept them in tense isolation… until strangers start to appear at the house. This deliciously eerie mystery will appeal to anyone who loves a spooky story where the rock of civilized society is lifted to reveal the monsters underneath.

For those who prefer their scary stories on the more supernatural side, there is Shirley Jackson’s greatest work, “The Haunting of Hill House.” In this novel, an investigator of the supernatural and several companions visit a notoriously haunted house to stay there and observe the phenomena within; however, the house begins to exert an unexpected and terrifying influence on its guests. By no means do I recommend reading this short volume by candlelight alone in an old house, unless you have more fortitude than I.