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20th Century Ghosts

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3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  21,658 Ratings  ·  1,598 Reviews

Imogene is young and beautiful. She kisses like a movie star and knows everything about every film ever made. She's also dead and waiting in the Rosebud Theater for Alec Sheldon one afternoon in 1945. . . .

Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with big ideas and a gift for attracting abuse. It isn't easy to make friends when you're the only inflatable boy in town. . . .

Franci

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Hardcover, 369 pages
Published 2007 by William Morrow (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bill  Kerwin

Seldom does a collection of weird stories feature a style so accomplished, a range of tone and mood so broad, or a generosity so profound. Hill, the son of Stephen King,inherits his father's empathy for the ordeals of childhood as well as his artfulness in constructing a tale, but he also possesses a warmth and an elegance all his own.

At times his stories are chilling and gripping like the horror fiction of King ("The Black Phone"), but at other times they are gentle and elegiac like Bradbury (
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Wil Wheaton
Sep 05, 2013 Wil Wheaton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Absolutely wonderful book. This is a collection of stores that will have you crying, checking for monsters under the bed, and wondering how the hell Joe Hill came up with that.

Comparisons to Joe's dad will be unavoidable, especially from those of us who read Night Shift and Skeleton Crew at a certain age ... and though I believe Joe has more than earned the right to be far, far out of his father's shadow, I say with love that the comparisons are well-deserved. This is a sensational collection, a
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Kelli
May 06, 2016 Kelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, short-stories
Joe Hill makes me feel like I'm seven again. More specifically, I'm seven and he is the nine-year-old kid down the street hanging out with me in my tree fort telling me scary stories and urban legends that he swears are true. His voice is hushed, as if he is letting me in on a little known secret and I'm not quite sure whether to believe him but I'm mesmerized and a little afraid.

Joe Hill gets the underdog and the misunderstood. He also writes childhood well, but it is when writing that mislabel
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Franco  Santos
May 28, 2016 Franco Santos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Todos tenemos distintos silencios. ¿Acaso su marido tiene el mismo silencio cuando está contento que cuando está enfadado? Sus oídos son capaces de discernir entre clases específicas de nada.

Buenos relatos, en general. Hay algunos que son extraordinarios, como La ley de gravedad, Madera muerta y Reclusión voluntaria. Otros, muy buenos: Último aliento, La capa y Oirás cantar a la langosta. Los demás son regulares y tiene varios que no lograron atraparme. Pero los que más me gustaron me dejaron c
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Ron
More often than not, Joe Hill characterizes the child’s life within these stories. I think that’s where our imaginations and fears are strongest, and when things scare us the most. When we are grown, most of that is gone…until we pick up a certain book. Shit, I love the way Hill writes. It is so utterly readable. He makes me believe in ghosts and the supernatural, but even more in the power of a simple story. I say that because not even half of the stories included here are meant to be frighteni ...more
Sandi
Sep 26, 2008 Sandi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, horror
Short story collections can be hit or miss. Some stories may be wonderful, others may be clunkers. Every story in “20th Century Ghosts” is wonderful, some are even superlative. While Hill is a horror writer, not all of the stories in this book are horror. And, some of the ones that deal with the typical subjects of horror are not horrific. To me, the best stories in this collection are:

“20th Century Ghost”, a touching story about a haunted movie theater.

“Abraham’s Boys”, a tale about teen-age re
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Brandon
For a long time, this book was my “white whale”. Up to recently, I had three of Joe Hill’s novels (Heart-Shaped Box, Horns, NOS4A2) in hardcover and although 20th Century Ghosts was easily accessible in paperback or for download on my Kindle, I felt I needed to match my existing format and seek out the rare hardbound edition.

With every second-hand bookstore I entered, this illusive short story collection was front and centre in my mind. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find it. A few months ago I
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Peggy
Oct 16, 2007 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Fall. Football has returned to the airwaves. The leaves are changing colors, and there’s a cold snap in the…oh, who am I kidding. This is Texas. If we’re lucky, it will only be 85 degrees with 95% humidity as you’re reading this. Still, I really do like the idea of Fall, though, and if I have to make my own chill, well, then, so be it. The best way I know of to bring a chill to the air is to break out the scary stories. Luckily for us, one of the finest collections of contemporary horro ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Loved it!!! Loved it!!!! Loved it!!!!!

These stories have got to be the best in any collection I have ever read. Hill's imagination is a wild ride I would stand in line for all day. I can't get enough from this man! Spooky, scary, frightening and just down right crazy... I love it all.
Lisa
Dec 18, 2008 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was the most awful grueling book to get through. The stories had great starts (some of them anyways) but then just ended with no warning, and not even at a place that really made much sense. Some of these stories I think could have made an excellent book on their own had they been fully completed. It was very difficult to make my way through these stories. I kept hoping they would get better or I'd find one really great story in the mess. Some really grabbed my interest in the begining but ...more
Amar
Jun 29, 2016 Amar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sjajna zbirka . Stvarno sjajna zbirka . Čak u nekim pričama Hill nema nikakav problem , da prekine priču na najzanimljivijem dijelu , da bi se poigrao sa fantazijom čitaoca , što mi se veoma dopalo . Možda je povećalo utisak što sam polako čitao ( nisam sve odjenom ) pa su priče ostavile mnogo bolji utisak .

Pokušat ću kratko o svakoj priči po nešto napisati :

Best New Horror (3/5)
Ovo je prva priča u kojoj me je Hill "šokoraio" i ostavio nam jedan , pa hajmo reći , otvoren kraj . Sama priča je jak
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Edward Lorn
Oct 22, 2014 Edward Lorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of literary horror
Shelves: 52-in-52-2014
I first heard of Joe Hill after winning a bundle of used hardcovers on Ebay. Among the books in the lot were several King, some limited edition Laymon, a Straub or two, and two first editions by an author of which I had never heard. Heart Shaped Box and 20th Century Ghosts were in fantastic condition, and seemed to have never been read. I threw these two books on my shelf and forgot all about them. Later that year, I found a book at my local BAM entitled Horns. The premise piqued my interest, so ...more
Chris
Nov 23, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. What better word to start this review? Joe Hill has a true gift for the short story.

All short story collections are somewhat hit and miss with me. Some stories are great, some good, some okay, and some meh. That's pretty much the standard with even my favorite short story authors: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin. But I'm definitely putting Joe Hill on that list now. His stories vary as well between excellent and meh, but even the "meh" category stories are written with his sub
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Richard Vialet
Jan 11, 2016 Richard Vialet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of short stories, coming of age tales, and horror stories
*Re-Read (audio) in 2015 (originally read in 2010)*

4.5 stars
This is a great story collection, which is interesting, because I was pretty disappointed by author Joe Hill's first two novels, Heart-Shaped Box and Horns . I thought they both started very strong and then fizzled about half-way through. Maybe Hill is better writing in the short form?

The theme running most of these stories are kids coming of age through unexplained events and phenomenon that will stay with them forever, even as they
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tom
Jan 06, 2008 tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Best New Horror - Okay. I would have liked to see the story expanded and continued.
20th Century Ghost - Really good. A nice, but still creepy, "love" story for horror buffs.
Pop Art - The best short story that I have ever read. Can't go into too many details without giving away spoilers.
You Will Hear the Locust Sing - Nice story with a 1950s "giant monster" movie feel.
Abraham's Boys - Nice "continuing" tale of Van Helsing from Dracula. Good ending.
Better Than Home - Eh, sucked.
The Black Phone - A
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Becky
In his introduction, Christopher Golden (who, by the way, collaborated on The Complete Stephen King Universe: A Guide to the Worlds of Stephen King with Stanley Wiater, if you're interested) said that Joe Hill is a master of subtlety in the way that he tells stories. And it's true. His stories all have a soft, surreal feel, and they spoke to me in a different way than most other short stories I've ever read, including his father's. These stories feel like they are told from the outside in, spira ...more
William Thomas
Whereas just a week or so ago I was writing a love letter to Joe Hill, now I am stripping his posters off of my wall, selling all of his CD's to Disc Replay, and selling his action figures and other memorabilia on ebay. Because I think it was just a crush on you from that one book and nothing really lasting. Or maybe this was just too soon for me, reading it on the heels of something I thought to be so perfect. Any way I slice it though, it just isn't the same. Sigh.

Now, I know that people, when
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 ~♡~ Unsolved Mystery ~♡~
Feb 26, 2016 ~♡~ Unsolved Mystery ~♡~ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to ~♡~ Unsolved Mystery ~♡~ by: Jonathan Echevarria

- My Description -
This is a collection of short stories. Not just ghost stories.

You'll find monsters, love, friendship, beasts, rednecks (You read right, I said rednecks), vampires, baseball, super powers, haunted trees, zombies, and cardboard forts, etc, etc.

**Breath**

And yes, there are ghosts. =)

This is full of everything to appease anyone.

Best New Horror:
Editor Eddie Carroll works at America's Best New Horror.
He receives stories, reads them, then decides on whether to put them in his mag
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Wyatt Packard
Joe Hill presents himself with this collection as both a wonderful writer and as a story teller that possess that special touch. His works are sly and subtle, while some also manage to be so incredibly creepy and even touching. The stories vary in tone and subject manner, sometimes making it difficult to ascertain exactly what Hill is trying to accomplish in each of the tales presented. However, I give the author a great amount of credit for allowing a mode of thinking on the reader's part, maki ...more
Alexandra
Good. The short stories were good. Some better than others.

I mean, they didn't blow my hair back. But would I recommend them to a friend? Sure. Can't wait for Joe Hill's next novel though, I think that is his strong suit (well for me since I don't read graphic novels, I've heard Locke and Key is his best work).
Paul Eckert
Jun 12, 2010 Paul Eckert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Heart-Shaped Box first, and while I thought that book was just okay, 20th Century Ghosts seemed to fulfill the potential I suspected he had.

Don't take the title too literally - these are not all creepy stories about spirits that go bump in the night. Often the ghost theme is very subtle, or is expressed in nuance. And despite how different the individual stories are, they feel like they belong together in this collection.

All of these stories are really, really good. Some are charged wit
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Kandice
Oct 25, 2014 Kandice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This could very well end up one of my favorite new reads of the year. I know, we're only 2 months in, but it was really that good! I recently read Heart-Shaped Box and could tell I was going to like Hill's style. My problem with HSB was that I found it to be too much of the same thing over and over. This collection of short stories, and one novella, seemed the perfect outlet for Hill's talent. He grabs you quick, and even though many of the stories are left with a relatively "unfinished" feeling ...more
Stefan Yates
Apr 27, 2012 Stefan Yates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
Overall – I normally do expect improvement from someone’s first to second book. The stories here are an interesting mix of horror, the super-natural and some that are neither of these. I enjoyed most of the stories in the collection but there were some that were a little weird for my tastes. Of course, some stories are better than others but this is true of almost every collection of short stories that I have read. I didn’t like this as well as Heart-Shaped Box, however, since this is his first ...more
Alex Telander
Sep 16, 2010 Alex Telander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
20TH CENTURY GHOSTS BY JOE HILL: The first time you pick up the hardcover copy of 20th Century Ghosts, you know you’re in for a treat. The book is cloth-bound in darkest black, sans dust jacket, with a sticker on the front listing the title and author, along with a haunting black and white photograph. As one opens the cover, one is greeted by a dried blood-red inlay, followed by the white pages of writing. It is almost as if one is opening a black and bloody wound to read what Joe Hill has to of ...more
Wayne Barrett

Actual 3.5

A nice collection of shorts. I wouldn't say these were really all that scary but there was a lot of suspense and they were unique yarns that were spun from an off kilted wheel...and I mean that in a good way.
Kaisersoze
20th Century Ghosts is an eclectic array of stories - some of which could not correctly be called horror - that combined stand as testament to the seemingly limitless expanse of Joe Hill's imagination.

My grading may seem harsh after such a grandiose statement to open a review, but I have such extraordinarily high expectations of Mr Hill after first reading NOS42, then the Locke & Key series and Heart Shaped Box, that I could not help but be disappointed by some of the tales contained within
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Bark's Book Nonsense
Mar 23, 2010 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I bought this in hardcover, something I rarely do but I had a gift certificate to B&N and I really enjoyed Joe Hill's book Heart Shaped Box. I can only read in snippets so this book of short stories should be a perfect fit.

Best New Horror is the first story in the collection and is about a horror anthology editor who is very burned out after reading more than his share of the same-old, worn out, lame horror stories. I could really relate to this one after my short-lived stint as a reviewer f
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The Flooze
“Modern horror is not often subtle. Most of those who practice the art of the unsettling far too often go for the jugular, forgetting that the best predators are stealthy. Nothing wrong with going for the jugular, of course, but writers of genuine skill and talent have more than one trick in their bags…Joe Hill is one stealthy bastard.”

So says Christopher Golden in his introduction to 20th Century Ghosts. And he’s correct.

I’ve read the first two installments of Hill’s Locke & Key series.
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Laura V.
"En una amistad, en especial entre dos chicos jóvenes, está permitido, incluso se da por hecho, un cierto grado de crueldad. Pero de ahí a hacer daño de verdad hay un trecho y bajo ninguna circunstancia se deben infligir heridas que puedan dejar cicatrices permanentes."

Normalmente no termino nunca de leer antologías porque después de terminar un cuento no puedo empezar otro inmediatamente. Necesito mi tiempo para pensar en lo que leí antes de seguir. Pero como se me acababa el tiempo y tenía q
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Bill
Oct 05, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very solid collection of shorts from Mr. Hill. A few of my favorites in this collection were not, in fact, horror at all. Ghostly movie theaters, cardboard labyrinths, creepy masks, classic movie sets, last breaths and red bolt superhero blankies. I wish a few of these were longer, but then I guess that is what good short stories are supposed to do(?) Well written and executed, as I would expect from Joe Hill. 4 Stars. Highly Recommended.
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2015 Reading Chal...: 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill 5 53 Jul 25, 2015 11:03AM  
his father's mask 2 98 Oct 28, 2013 07:20AM  
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Joseph Hillstrom King (born 1972) is an American writer of fiction and comic books, writing under the pen name of Joe Hill.

As of 2016 he has published four novels, a collection of short stories, a six-volume graphic novel series, and more. His most recent novel, The Fireman, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, and his novel Horns was made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe.

Hil
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“Taking a thing apart is always faster than putting something together. This is true of everything except marriage.” 105 likes
“Who knows what may lie around the next corner? There may be a window somewhere ahead. It may look out on a field of sunflowers.” 42 likes
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