Once the clocks go back, I want to stay inside every evening because it feels late from about 4 o’clock on. I lose some of the energy I have in the summer months and find it hard to drag myself out of bed in the dim morning light. It’s a great time for staying in with silly movies, good books and hot chocolate.
Our current house is old-ish and creaky, sometimes sounding like footsteps when it’s windy or the temperature changes. It’s a creepy place to watch a horror movie (something we do often). When I’m not unnerved by the creaks, the noises are almost comforting. The longer you’re in a house, the more you feel like you know its sounds.
This week I’m sharing a haunted house story that isn’t very scary. It’s exactly the kind of ghosts I’d like to exist in my home, if I believed in them.
Rooms – Lauren Oliver
Like many ghost stories, Rooms is all about unfinished business. There are ghosts trapped together in the afterlife, within the house. It’s their story, as well as the story of the people currently living within. All of the people, living and dead, are trapped in some way, each cut off in their own separate rooms. The house may be physically there, but the divisions and loneliness are largely created in the characters’ minds. As in real life, we make our own prisons.
Although it’s set in a haunted house, I don’t think Lauren Oliver was trying to scare readers so much as give them some warm fuzzy feelings (mixed with complicated feelings about families), remind them to let things go, and be nice to each other. There’s darkness in all of our lives and if we don’t embrace and look straight at it, we’re stuck muddling about in it.
Read This If: You want to a ghost story that isn’t scary. Listen to the audiobook if you want to hear a story told by a cast of talented voice actors.
Extracurricular Reading and Watching
Reading about the rooms of a house has me thinking about that great social history book by Bill Bryson, At Home. I’ve always felt he didn’t stick as close to the history of the home as he might have, given the book’s theme, but it was extremely interesting and easy to read. He gives more of a history of people’s lives in the past, using houses as a starting off point.
I’m always a bit skeptical of explanations that rely too heavily on evolutionary psychology—I feel like you can bend anything to fit a supposed reason it would have benefitted us in the past. However, I think this analysis of why people are attracted to supposedly haunted places is interesting. That sense of not being sure whether a place is safe or not is what makes a place or a story so creepy. The unknown is truly the scariest thing.
Some creepy houses you can visit. They’re definitely going on my bucket list.
One of the last buildings with ties to the Salem witch trials.
Harry Potter sparked my interest in the house of this famous alchemist.
There’s something about a house used in iconic TV and movies. This house has been a creepy locale more than once.
Sabrina has completed her goal of reading 75 books in 2019!