Put a little creepy in your summer!


For years, I have been hearing how marvelous Shirley Jackson novels are from friends and patrons.  Of course, I read her famous short story “The Lottery” in high school.  Who didn’t?  This week I finally picked up Jackson’s classic chiller, The Haunting of Hill House.

I knew it was going to be a little bit creepy, a little bit eerie, but nothing could quite prepare me for the quality of Jackson’s writing or the clarity of her voice.  The first paragraph truly sucks you in:

No live organisim can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.  Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against the hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.  Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

The writing took my breath away.  Sure, the book has some fantastic passages and scenes of psychological terror, but it’s the language and the character development that had me reading into the wee hours of the morning.

 In a nutshell, four people come to spend time together in Hill House to observe whether it really is haunted.  Dr. Montague, a scholar of the paranormal, invites the heir to the home, Luke, and two young women with some paranormal experience, Theodora and Eleanor, to live in the house with him, taking notes of any occurances.  Eleanor becomes the center of this novel, and becomes the focal point of the house’s strange powers.

Trust me, you don’t have to wait until October to read this one with your group.



About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

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