Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories
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Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,616 ratings  ·  156 reviews
"Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than the supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl? Of the many permutations of the macabre, Dahl has always been especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. For this superbly disquieting collection, Dahl - himslef a widely acknowledged master of the stort-story form - has selected fourteen of his favorite...more
Paperback, 235 pages
Published 1990 by Noonday Press (first published 1983)
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Kathryn McCary
Funny, although ten out of the 14 stories in this book are ones I like, at least to some degree, I'd really rather read them in some other collection. I think it may be Dahl's rambling, discursive and inconclusive introduction. He rides an utterly irrelevant hobby horse (children's writers don't get no respect) and indulges in a peculiar--and not well supported--comparison of the merit of men and women both as writers in general (men are better) and as ghost story writers (women are better). His...more
Michelle
A disappointing read. I grabbed the book at a book trade thinking it had been written by Dahl, which it hadn't. Rather, it was a compilation of 20-some "horror" stories which he considered the best of the best.

Unfortunately, in this case I'm inclined to respectfully disagree with Mr. Dahl. Only a small handful of the short stories were of any interest, and not one left me with the disturbed or off feeling a really good spooky story brings. Most were happily and fully resolved without any need t...more
Lisa
Have you ever had tea at a fancy hotel? The waiter serves you these beautiful little scones, miniature sandwiches, tiny, tiny biscuits, and chocolate-covered strawberries on a gorgeous tiered tray, with pots of lemon curd and strawberry jam and pats of butter on the side, and a hot pot of tea. If you're lucky, there's a cellist in the corner of the room and a beautiful garden outside the window.

I have only had this experience twice, but both times I adored how the atmosphere felt so distinguishe...more
Werner
Aug 14, 2008 Werner rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of supernatural fiction/ghost stories
To elaborate on the background given in the description above, Dahl's extensive reading of ghost stories in the late 1950s and early 60s was originally undertaken to select quality specimens for adaptation in a projected TV series (which was never made). He was previously unread in this type of literature, and found that most of it failed to deliver the genuinely scary quality he expected; but some stories made the grade with him, and here he collects 14 of the best of these. Despite his avowed...more
Laura Cowan
There are some fine ghost stories here, all well written, but I expected this to be a collection of stories written by Dahl himself, and for children. It's not that at all. It is rather a curated collection of ghost stories for adults by multiple authors spanning a wide time frame. Dahl wastes most of the introduction being mystified at how so many of the best ghost stories seem to be written by women since they have not achieved top status in any other fine art or in any other sub-genre of writ...more
Melissa
Mar 14, 2011 Melissa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melissa by: Grandad
This was an interesting little collection, given to me by my grandad. I have some fond, vivid memories of visiting my grandparents as a kid, and sneaking off to read from the upstairs closet - Roald Dahl, Stephen King, stuff that scared me stiff in the best sort of way, while my grandad turned a blind eye approvingly. So, I had fairly high expectations when he gave me Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories, and I think the compendium largely met them. It's hard to be sure, because more than a decade...more
Naomi
Found in a used book-shop, and was disappointed when I got it home and realized that Roald Dahl was the editor, and didn't in fact write any of the stories. But then, I only picked it up because I was so surprised that he *did* write ghost stories.

Anyway.

The book has a few really good stories, but a few were not all that chilling or scary. One actually gave me goosebumps. All were very vivid, and have that special twist. None of them were gruesome or terrifying, which is good for me; they were...more
Angie
I am sad to give such a low rating to a Roald Dahl book, it seriously pains me people! I love Roald Dahl and I love me a good ghost story so I thought this would be a great mix. Alas, it's almost a disaster. I should have read something about the book before I cracked it open. When I figured out he didn't actually write the stories I was bummed but thought that if he hand selected these out of 749 that he read, there had to be something good. As he explains he was trying to find stories for a sh...more
Ameera
The stories weren't as scary as i thought they were to be, i found this to be more suitable for preteens rather than adults. There is an interesting intro where Dahl explains why women are better suited as writers for children books and his overall take on how difficult it is to write a book for children. Not my favourite book by him, but it was nice to see him do something different
skein
After the introduction (where Dahl is shocked - shocked - to find that women write better ghost stories than men, and spends another page ruminating why would this be? when women fail at every other form of art (painting, sculpting, music) - after that charming introduction, the stories begin. (The title is misleading: Dahl is not the author.)

It's a mixed bag. Some are coldly shocking ("Elias and the Draug", "Ringing the Changes"), some predictable ("Playmates"). Some are brilliant and cruel ("A...more
Kaethe
1990 Aug 18
2000 Apr 18
2008 November 11
2011 August 09

I've read the introduction, which has an interesting digression into authors and other kinds of artists and gender, as well as a further digression on writing for children. Good stuff. The first story, "W.S." by L.P. Hartley is all kinds of creepy good.

The second story, "Harry" deals with a mother creeped out by her daughter's imaginary friend.

A firm grounding in the mundane and the familiar so far mark Dahl's choices. And he stated up front th...more
Georgie
Good collection, but not all of the stories were, in my opinion, great examples of ghost stories. Although all were enjoyable reads, not all of them created that delicious creepiness you want from a truly good ghost story. My stand-out favourite was F. Marion Crawford's 'The Upper Berth' - truly creepy and chilling, great example of what ghost stories should be. Other ones which stood out were

Afterward - Edith Wharton
The Corner Shop - Cynthia Asquith
The Ghost of a Hand - J. Sheridan Le Fanu
The S...more
Lisa Ard
Is it terrible to say the best part of this book is the introduction? But then, I am a Roald Dahl fan. And, the stories within this compilation are not by Dahl. Rather they are the best of some 700+ ghost stories Roald Dahl read. There are several that are magnificent and a few that....well, could be shorter. For the reader looking for a selection of short stories to frighten and entertain, this is a good volume to pick up.
Stan
In the Introduction to this collection of ghost stories, Raold Dahl says, "Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story. it should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts." This was the premise he used in reading over seven hundred ghost stories. His objective was to help create a TV series based on the best ones. Ultimately, the show never happened, but twenty-five years later, some of the best ghost stories he found made their way into this book. I enjoyed most all of th...more
Dawn Pisturino
A first-rate collection of classic ghost stories.
Anatha Latshaw
Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories' Table of Contents:

1. "W.S" by L.P. Hartley ★★★★☆
2. "Harry" by Rosemary Timperley ★★★★☆
3. "The Corner Shop" by Cynthia Asquith ★★★☆☆
4. "In the Tube" by E.F. Benson ★★★☆☆
5. "Christmas Meeting" by Rosemary Timperley ★★☆☆☆
6. "Elias and the Draug" by Jonas Lie ★★★★★
7. "Playmates" - A.M. Burrage ★★★☆☆
8. "Ringing the Changes" - Robert Aickman ★★☆☆☆
9. "The Telephone" - Mary Treadgold ★★★☆☆
10. "The Ghost of a Hand" - J. Sheridan Le Fanu ★★★☆☆
11. "The Sweeper" - A.M. Bu...more
Neena
This was okay but the title is very misleading - I bought the book (like many others before me) thinking these were written by Roald Dahl but they're not - they're merely a collection of his personal favourite ghost stories.
Some of the stories are pretty good and there's a particular short story that I really liked purely because it was simple yet effective and thought-provoking called "On The Brighton Road" - however there were also some stories I wasn't keen on at all and thought boring and a...more
107rinoNeko
• WS (L.P. Hartley) ★★★
段々と投函場所が近づいて来る謎のハガキに怯えるベテラン作家。

• Harry (Rosemary Timperley) ★★★★★
幼い娘に見えない友だちができたことに不安を感じ始める母親...。

• The Corner Shop (Cynthia Asquith) ★★
物悲しい話。陰気な男から安く買った物が大金に化け、謝礼のために再来店すると...。

• In the Tube (E. F. Benson) ★★
ある日、地下鉄で霊を見かけた語り手は、後日生きている本人と出会ったという...。

• Christmas Meeting (Rosemary Timperley) ★★★★★
切れ味の良いショート。クリスマスの晩、初老の女教師の所に青年が部屋を間違えて入って来る。

• Elias and the Draug (Jonas Lie) ★★★★★
海に棲む魔物ドラウグに出会ってしまった漁師。
"Weird Tales from Northern Seas" に収録されていて0$で読める。

• Playmates (A. M. Burrage) ★★★★...more
Nicole
This is a wonderful collection of creepy haunting stories. My absolute favorites were "Ringing the Changes" by Robert Aickman, "On the Brighton Road" by Richard Middleton, and "The Upper Berth" by F. Mairion Crawford. This book is worth picking up, even if you only read those three stories.

It's hard to write a review for a collection of stories by so many different authors, but I'll give it a go. These stories do not contain much gore. (Ghost stories are supposed to creep you out, not gross you...more
Adam
This collection, like traditional ghost stories in general, probably has a very narrow audience these days. And that isn’t helped by the fact that Dahl originally collected the stories with an eye to making them part of a television program--that is, focusing on their potential as screen drama rather than choosing the very best literary examples of the ghost story. For many of the authors represented here, one could probably find a handful of much better ghostly tales.

Contents:
“W.S.” by L.P. Har...more
Lau
To be honest, I thought this book was going to be all ghost stories written BY Roald Dahl. Sadly, I was mistaken. (It was my own fault for not reading the blurb properly) But as I read the introduction, I got more excited. Dahl explains that he was supposed to adapt some of the stories in the book for TV show. Unfortunately, the pilot wasn't approved. He still kept all the short stories and compiled into this book.
Now onto the stories themselves. I was promised stories that would "give you the...more
Lauren George
Although Roald Dahl is most famous for his children's books, he was also a master of the short story, especially that which dealt with some supernatural element. In 1958, he set out to create a television series based on classic ghost stories, and to this end, read hundreds of them. As a writer and ravenous reader of ghost stories, when Dahl presents these 14 stories as some of the very best, he does so with authority.

Since I've always enjoyed his writing, I had high expectations for this colle...more
nicole
Good. That's all I have to say about it. I'd rather comment on Dahl's introduction: interesting as it was all about how, in his research, Dahl found that all the best ghost stories (and most of them are god awful, he informs, which I believe), most of the best ones are by women. He's fascinated by this discovery, which is fine, but what was irksome was how he then went on to comment on how women do not excell in any other fields (except children's literature) either without realizing or simply w...more
Jose Moran

I decided to do short non-spoiler reviews on each of the stories for this review. Over all it was a pretty good collection of "ghost" stories. It was published in the 1980's, so the stories might not be up to today's horror/scary standards, but they're pretty well written, with a wonderful introduction and explanation for the collection by Roald Dahl. Rating: 3.5/5

W.S.

A somewhat "the killer is in the house!" but with a WAY more intense twist ending. I can see the connection of so many modern mo...more
Tyler Hayes
A fairly creepy, extra-British bit of horror, collated by one of the people you'd least expect to do so, Mr. Roald Dahl. The stories by and large are quite excellent, an exercise in witty, often dense and circuitous prose, and exemplary specimens of the ghost story - I particularly recommend "W.S.," by L.P. Hartley, "Afterward" by Edith Wharton, and "The Upper Berth" by F. Marion Crawford, but all the stories are nice, top-shelf, textbook ghost stories.

My only complaint with the book is that it...more
Ardita
The book begins with an introduction from Roald Dahl, the master of macabre stories and dark humor. He felt the need to compile a handful of good ghost (short) stories and so began the search.

I am definitely not a fan of anything related to ghost, spirits and other superstitious blah. I was simply tired of Davies' "Fifth Business" and was looking for a "quick fix" to branch out my reading material and so came this Dahl collection of ghost stories. Mind you, the stories in this book was not writt...more
Anna Toniato
****
Verso la fine degli anni '50 Roald Dahl decise di realizzare, con l'aiuto del produttore di Hollywood Edwin Knopf, una serie d telefilm tratti da ghost stories. Si mise così a rileggere tutte le storie di fantasmi che riusciva a trovare. Della serie televisiva non se ne fece niente, ma le 24 storie scelte per gli adattamenti sono state riunite in questa raccolta. Personalmente le ho trovate tutte dei racconti notevoli, anche solo per l'atmosfera, e alcune le ho trovate anche piuttosto inqui...more
Asiah Stewart
Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories is a interesting novel filled with eerie stories of real encounters people had with specters. Intrigued at times and spooked,I enjoyed the book overall. The stories kept me on the edge of my seat and made me want to skip ahead to see what would happen next. The stories aren't exactly scary, nor are they meant to scare you, but rather hair-raising tales of ghosts that come back to finish something or get something they left behind.
I enjoyed the first half, but t...more
Lindsay
So, Roald Dahl apparently read through hundreds and hundreds of short stories to come up with the spookiest, best written ones he could find. I am a big fan of Roald Dahl. And of spooky stories. This was a little disappointing. There were some stories that were not bad, but none that really stayed with me and haunted my thoughts, like I was hoping for. Most of them were fairly predictable. Also, I thought Roald Dahl came off as a little misogynistic in his introduction (in comparing women writer...more
Veronika
Although some of the stories included in this book were actually quite good, I couldn't help being disappointed. I guess I was expecting that since Roald Dahl himself handpicked these stories, they would measure up to his own. I expected that I would have to sleep with the light on for the next couple of weeks, but was only mildly creeped out on several occassions.
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Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940's with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors.

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as "A Piece of Cake". The story, about his wartime a...more
More about Roald Dahl...
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1) Matilda James and the Giant Peach The BFG The Witches

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