It's that time of year again! It seems like the true Autumn chill has rushed upon us all at once. Barely days ago we were walking around in light jumpers and now it's that kind of wear-all-the-layers, makes-your-nose-feel-tickly kind of cold. Scents carry differently in the cooler air - they become sharper and crisper. Through my office window (from which I have the most glorious view of tree tops which become gilded in the sunset most evenings), the perfume of wood smoke drifted in this afternoon. If anyone was trying to hold onto the Summer still, it really is time to let go.

And what better way to get into the spirit of the colder months than with a good ghost story?

(Also yes, I am still dealing with super shit phone cameras. I'm working on it. Kind of.)

I did one of these lists last Hallowe'en too. Over the past few weeks, I've been going through the spookier stories on my bookshelves to try and get into the mood for everything ghostly this week - and it's worked! I think there's a little something for everyone on this particular list, whether you love being scared senseless or just want something slightly melancholy to read on a chilled wintry evening...

Florence & Giles by John Harding
I actually picked this one up in Poundland quite a while back so it's needless to say I had rather low expectations! But this is certainly one of the most deliciously creepy books I've ever read. I don't really want to give too much away about exactly why I liked it... I think that even some of the more vague descriptions I could give might ruin the surprise... but let's just say it involves two orphans who have been sent to live with their cold and distant uncle in a crumbling mansion set in the New England countryside and pretty quickly, the fine line between imagination and reality begins to fray...

The Greenshore Folly by Agatha Christie
Not strictly a ghost story but who doesn't love a murder mystery at this time of year? This was the first Agatha Christie I have ever read and was bought for me by my lovely Mum when we visited her house, Greenway (now owned by the National Trust), where this book is actually set. You have all the ingredients - a country manor, a wealthy family, a local event and a mysterious and unexpected murder... easily one to be devoured in a day.

The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill
This collection of Susan Hill's short stories is perfect for anyone who wants to absorb entire ghostly tales in one sitting. They play on a range of moods and settings, showing her versatility as a writer of ghost stories and ensuring that at least one will get you spooked! I found the language a little simplistic at times and the dialogue and behaviour of the characters also came across as undeveloped in some stories but overall, I enjoyed reading it.

The Shining
This will definitely be one of my books of the year. Despite it being a relatively long book, I devoured it in days after pinching it off my sister's bookshelf. Many of us have seen Stanley Kubrick's film but the book contains a lot more than the film managed to capture. It has an excellent sense of atmosphere and really gets into the reader's mind whilst still allowing you to get a good night's sleep (you're not snowed-into a giant old hotel in the mountains, after all!)

(I hope...)

The Haunted House
Whilst the beginning of this book is decidedly eerie, the collection of short stories that succeed the first chapter are anything but. Charles Dickens invited a circle of his closest writing companions to contribute to this volume which brings a group of friends together on the twelfth night of Christmas to recount the hauntings they have experienced within the very same house in which they sit. Instead of being an anthology of ghost stories as we might think of them, they are the life stories of the ghosts living in the rooms of the old house. These are seldom tragic tales of damned souls but simply human interest stories. I'm still working my way through the last tale (which is set in North Yorkshire and is giving me all the Wuthering Heights feels!) so whether there's a chilling end in store remains to be seen...

And that's it for this year! Let me know what you think of these books or if there are any ghost stories you'd recommend!