Saturday, November 19, 2016

Day 19 of 365: 20th Century Ghosts

Changing gears here from movies to a short story collection. This is the debut collection of stories from Joe Hill, son of Stephen King. What I like about Hill is the emotional heft of his stories. I don't often re-visit books or stories but this collection has drawn me back time and again. Here are just a few of the stories I like-

"20th Century Ghost"- This is a really moving homage to the power of movies as well as the horrors of ghostly visitors. Told from the perspective of a theater owner who has seen the same woman appear in the same seat over the span of his life. Something about the various attempts to interact with her are scary and heartbreaking at the same time.

"The Black Phone"- For a child trapped in a monster's basement, there is no escape. Instead, there is a black phone hanging on the wall that is not connected to anything. At night, it rings and what the young man hears on the line might be his only hope. A truly creepy premise just buzzing with tension, this might be my favorite story in the book.

"The Cape"- Later adapted into a comic book, this is the story of a young man who finds his childhood "cape" from when he used to play superhero. As an adult, it gives him the ability to fly. This had the most shocking and abrupt ending of any story I've read recently.

There are lots of others, like a Kafka homage with a petulant teen turning into a locust. Another story is about a child's friendship with Art, an inflatable boy. And there are about a half dozen more that are all worth reading. Or, you can do the audio book.


  1. Last year, I was really ready to go to the library and find a ghost story or short story collection to read through October. This one sounds perfect. I never got around to it last year. Do you have a copy of this that I could potentially borrow on 10/1? heh

    1. I uh, I did the audio book but I'll see if I can find it?