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Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places | Colin Dickey
An intellectual feast for fans of offbeat history, "Ghostland "takes readers on a road trip through some of the country's most infamously haunted places--and deep into the dark side of our history. Colin Dickey is on the trail of America's ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and "zombie homes," Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. Some have established reputations as "the most haunted mansion in America," or "the most haunted prison"; others, like the haunted Indian burial grounds in West Virginia, evoke memories from the past our collective nation tries to forget. With boundless curiosity, Dickey conjures the dead by focusing on questions of the living--how do we, the living, deal with stories about ghosts, and how do we inhabit and move through spaces that have been deemed, for whatever reason, haunted? Paying attention not only to the true facts behind a ghost story, but also to the ways in which changes to those facts are made--and why those changes are made--Dickey paints a version of American history left out of the textbooks, one of things left undone, crimes left unsolved. Spellbinding, scary, and wickedly insightful, "Ghostland" discovers the past we're most afraid to speak of aloud in the bright light of day is the same past that tends to linger in the ghost stories we whisper in the dark."
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review
sammisho
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Pickpick

I am giving this a pick even though it was not what I expected. I wanted to be creeped out by real accounts of ghosts, and instead this was more about debunking myths, which is not nearly as much fun.
#pop19 #ghoststory

Eyelit Lol, the reason you were disappointed was the exact reason I loved this book so much. Different strokes, right? 😃 1mo
29 likes1 comment
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everlocalwest
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Read most of this today and listened to most of China Rich Girlfriend (not a spooky season read but my library hold came in, c'est la vie). Took an extended break for food, Bake Off, and feeling sorry for the husband with bronchitis. Getting back into books but I think I'm done with ghosts for the day.

Sweettartlaura I LOVED that book - one of my favorites from last year. What did you think? 2mo
everlocalwest @Sweettartlaura I'm really enjoying it! Looking forward to discussing with my book club tomorrow. 1mo
Eyelit You mentioned having to defend liking this to your book club in an earlier post... did they really dislike it? I loved this book, but can see how people might have been expecting something else when picking it up 1mo
everlocalwest @Eyelit I apologize for the seriously delayed reply! So, there are only six of us in the book club. One wasn't interested in the subject so skipped, two started and abandoned, one finished begrudgingly, and two of us loved it. Lol. Those that did not enjoy it thought the information was interesting but wanted a more narrative thread to run through the book. 3w
27 likes4 comments
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everlocalwest
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Arrived early for a school book fair, luckily I'm greatly enjoying the book our book club is reading for Spooktober. Less lucky, I'm the only one in bookclub enjoying the book and will likely have to defend my choice next week. 😱

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Eyelit
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I‘m feeling a little disconnected from litsy - the first half of this month has been kind of bananas and I just haven‘t had the time to keep up with any social media, let alone my favorite social media... but it seems like things are calming down and I have more presence of mind. Easing back into the swing of things with a #Caturday evening post. The kittehs are keeping me company while I read about ghost stories around the US 👻 😺 #catsoflitsy

LauraJ Good to see you and the tabbies again. 😸 2mo
BookNAround Love the sleepy kitties. 2mo
Blaire I‘ve felt the same. Love seeing this photo. 2mo
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AlaMich My cat loved the top of the couch cushion too. She slept there so much it acquired a permanent indentation, so we always called it “Luna‘s dent.” 😸 2mo
Chrissyreadit ❤️love seeing #catsoflitsy so much! 2mo
dariazeoli Same. But I‘m loving this pic! 2mo
Zelma I love that pillow. We have one of those couch dents too. 2mo
88 likes7 comments
review
WhatWouldJaneDo
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Pickpick

Fantastic! Dickey explores why we come up with the ghost stories that permeate American society (though many of our most famous yarns are full of fabrications or made up whole cloth) and what these stories tell us about our country and culture. Well researched, nuanced, and highly readable.

Eyelit I‘m in the middle of this one and absolutely loving it! 2mo
32 likes1 comment
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WhatWouldJaneDo
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September was a slow reading month for me (only 9 books) and I started October off with company in the house so it has been wonderful today to settle down and get some serious reading done. Finished the majority of The Haunting of Hill House, a short story (An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge) and now some spooky #nonfiction with my almost black cat Polly. #catsoflitsy

Eyelit Cats and ghosts! 😺💜👻 2mo
WhatWouldJaneDo @Eyelit it's the ideal October matchup! 2mo
49 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Eyelit
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I can finally start my spooky reading for the month! These are the two I‘m starting with (and they may or may not be the books I‘ll discuss at #ATXReadersSociety later this month). I‘ve heard good things about both of these books, so my hopes are high. 😄 #spookyreads #octobermoodreading (#catsoflitsy cameo courtesy of Elliot)

WhatWouldJaneDo I just started Ghostland as well, I've been saving it for this month. I love House of Leaves, I found it very freaky and it's such a unique reading experience 2mo
EricaReads Ooh I read and loved both! Enjoy 😊 2mo
68 likes2 comments
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DGRachel
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I read this for last year's #screamathon and really enjoyed it. It's full of #urbanlegend(s).

#screamathonphotochallenge

@4thhouseontheleft

MallenNC I‘ve been meaning to read this. Maybe this month. 2mo
4thhouseontheleft I love that cover. 2mo
DGRachel @MallenNC It was different than what I expected, but I really enjoyed it. I follow the author on Twitter now and he's really nice. 2mo
67 likes1 stack add3 comments
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SkeletonKey
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#screamathon #ghost

I only have a small selection of my books with me right now but this is on my shortlist as far as TBRs go.

@4thhouseontheleft

4thhouseontheleft 👻👻 2mo
37 likes1 comment
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chaoticgoodhufflepuff
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#chillingphotochallenge #haunted

A road trip around the most haunted places of the United States. 👻

#TeamSlaughter #Scarathlon @Clwojick 1 point

Clwojick ☠ ☠ 2mo
48 likes1 comment
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MallenNC
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I‘m terrible at keeping to an actual TBR, but here are some ideas for what I‘d like to read in October. #OctoberTBR #FallisBooked

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🙌🏻🧡📚 2mo
marleed A TBR stack stresses me out! I‘m working on a 2:1 commitment 2 lib loans for every physically owned book. But I pick the physical the day I read! 2mo
OriginalCyn620 👌🏻🧡📚 2mo
22 likes3 comments
review
Brie
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Pickpick

A fascinating history of the United States in haunted places, including cemeteries, parks, government buildings, whole cities, and of course the ubiquitous haunted house. It doesn‘t really delve into the paranormal question of whether ghosts really exist or not, but rather analyzes the reasons why we come up with these ghost stories. Now I‘d like to visit some haunts near my city! 👻

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TheDoctor

Does anyone know where can I read this book for free? Preferably for kindle. I searched everywhere and the prices are to high for my country (the price is 4 times higher than the normal price of a book in my country because it's not translated). Audiobooks are not really my thing. Anyone?

ImperfectCJ I read it on Kindle checked from my local library's e-collection. Not sure if that's an option in your area. 5mo
TheDoctor @ImperfectCJ Thanks, I will check it out! 5mo
4 likes2 comments
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emz711
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Pickpick

Finished! On to the next book pictured behind.

I really enjoyed this book, not something I've really ever read before. Are there other haunted places books that really go through the history of the area, show fact from fiction and ask the tough questions about history?

#ghosts #history #haunting

And hello @Dragonfairykats @Dhanya2277 @ImperfectCJ

vivastory I loved this one. The following is more about the legitimate science of the afterlife, but it's the only book I can think of that is similar 5mo
ImperfectCJ Ghostland disappointed me somewhat (it felt a little repetitive after a while), but I loved the next book you're reading. Enjoy! 5mo
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emz711
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Weird place to read a spooky book but I'll take it

RealBooks4ever I found this book to be interesting. 💜 6mo
emz711 @RealBooks4ever yeah it makes me want to go to all these places! 6mo
50 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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ValerieAndBooks
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Pickpick

Not what I expected but still fascinating. This is more an analysis of what haunts us culturally, historically, and emotionally than just a collection of ghost stories. a lot of debunking of old myths as well.

Incidentally, I was surprised that a house only 2.5 miles away was mentioned— had no idea that the current owner had sued the seller because a murder-suicide had not been disclosed in the sale 😳.

Suet624 Yikes!!! 6mo
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RainyDayReading
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Not sure how I feel about this yet. Seems to be more of an analytical collection of essays regarding haunted houses more so than a collection of stories about haunted places. It‘s not bad, just not what I was expecting. Something about the authors tone bugs me though...can‘t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps I‘ll enjoy section 2 better. Hard to go wrong with bars, restaurants and brothels 🤪

Sweettartlaura Aahhh, I loved this ❤️. Yes, it becomes more of an analysis of what haunts America. But I loved that turn - it elevates it beyond anecdotes about strange happenings. Hope you get there with it, too! 7mo
34 likes1 comment
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RainyDayReading
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1. Ghostland and A Memory Called Empire.
☠️
2. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
☠️
3. Uhhh....Death Note? I really don‘t know, don‘t really watch much of anything anymore 😅
#weekendreads @rachelsbrittain

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chaoticgoodhufflepuff
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When I host one of the book clubs I go to, I like to make a dinner based on the book. There wasn‘t really anything food related in this month‘s pick, so I themed the dessert on my pick for next month. 👻 #bookbakes

rather_be_reading love it!! 8mo
26 likes1 comment
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Asktheletters
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A fascinating look at the historical / sociological function of ghosts. So much love for Colin Dickey. Although in my mind, there‘s now a crossover universe between Ghostland and Afterlives of the Saints. The ghosts of early Christian hermits, maybe...that no one quite remembers, because hermits.

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Billypar
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Pickpick

Thanks @vivastory for recommending this one: really enjoyed Dickey's analysis of haunted stories in America over the past 3 centuries. Great for both fans of ghost stories and history: he begins by just describing the stories themselves (the audio narrator affects a dramatic, raspy voice 😀), and then offers insight into aspects of each story from a sociohistorical context. Fascinating and revealing- made me see ghost stories in a new light.

Billypar The picture (courtesy of Wikipedia) is of The House of Seven Gables in Salem, MA, which inspired the Hawthorne novel of the same name. 11mo
BookBabe ❤️ 11mo
JazzFeathers Wow! This absolutely sounds right up my alley. Will have to hunt it down. 11mo
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Billypar @JazzFeathers Hope you enjoy it! 11mo
SailorMoon This sounds interesting!!! 11mo
Billypar @SailorMoon It was- it will definitely please both lovers of history and ghost stories! 11mo
SailorMoon Just added it to my TBR list! 😉 11mo
66 likes3 stack adds7 comments
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rjsthumbelina
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Mehso-so

This was my Halloween #audiobook. He gave a lot of history about places that people think are haunted and what things have happened there. It's was interesting that he wrote about his experiences in a lot of those places. And I liked the Lemp Mansion chapter bc it's in St Louis! But it was kind of strange that he didn't end up giving an opinion about whether or not those hauntings, or any others, are or can be legit. Listened on #scribd

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Trina0401
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There‘s nowhere in this nation that wasn‘t already inhabited before Europeans arrived, and there‘s no town, no house, that doesn‘t sit atop someone else‘s former home. More often than not, we‘ve chosen to deal with this fact through the language of ghosts.

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thelizflynn
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Pickpick

“Ghost stories are about how we face, or fail to face, the past- how we process information, how we narrate our past, and how we make sense of the gaps in that history. Besides, even if we could dispel them once and for all, we need them too badly.”

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Arkrayder
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Pickpick

Colin Dickey has written a well researched book on the historical and sociological impact on the lore of ghost stories and into different types of haunted places, the myths which have grown around the realities of said myths. There is a lot to consider reading these stories and a lot of the rumors of hauntings are shown to be a concoction of the human mind. Fascinating.

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thelizflynn
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Starting this just in time for Halloween! #spookyreads #halloween

Reviewsbylola Darn, I forgot I wanted to read this one. Stacking for next Halloween! 😆 13mo
14 likes1 stack add1 comment
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savvy24

The dead are watching, whether or not we choose to listen to their stories

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DGRachel
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Pickpick

#blameitonLiberty thanks to All the Books podcast. I read and listened to this from #screamathon. Not at all what I expected, but so good. I highly recommend it. 🎃🎃🎃🎃

Slightly longer review on my blog: https://wp.me/pKWKW-4Q

Moray_Reads Love the skeleton flamingo and I need to read this! 14mo
Linsy I love it too! 🖤🖤🖤 13mo
101 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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balletbookworm
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Pickpick

I picked this out of the available books on the Library overdrive because it‘s October and maaaybe I should read something a creepy.

Rather than a collection of ghost stories and hauntings, Dickey has presented a historical and sociological deep-dive into types of haunted places, what are the myths, what are the realities, and how do constructs like racism/sexism come to bear on the “haunting” of a location. It gave me a lot of think about.

Ddzmini Let me know how it is 😋 14mo
balletbookworm @Ddzmini ? I‘ve finished it and I liked it. 14mo
mdemanatee I really liked this one! I wouldn‘t mind more 14mo
Ddzmini I‘ll@have to add it to my tbr list 13mo
28 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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DGRachel
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So far this book is both completely unexpected and incredibly fascinating. #history

Joy0201 This books is great. Not at all what I expected and delightfully so. 14mo
Leftcoastzen If you ever get the chance to go to the Winchester Mystery House I highly recommend it. 14mo
lauralovesbooks1 I read it last week and found it really interesting. 14mo
74 likes1 stack add3 comments
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savvy24

Embedded deep in the idea of home ownership-the Holy Grail of American middle-class life-is the idea that we don't, in fact, own the land we've just bought. Time and time again in these stories, perfectly average, innocent American families are confronted by ghosts who have persevered for centuries, who remain vengeful for the damage done.

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savvy24

There's nowhere in this nation that wasn't already inhabited before Europeans arrived, and there's no town, no house, that doesn't sit atop someone else's former home.

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savvy24
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Spooky read for the spooky season 👻☠💀

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savvy24

Our country's ghost stories are themselves the dreams (or nightmares) of a nation, the Freudian slips of whole communities: uncomfortable and unbidden expressions of things we'd assumed were long past and no longer important.

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savvy24

According to one poll, 45 percent of Americans say they believe in ghosts, and almost 30 percent say they've witnessed them first-hand. Though this belief lies outside the ways we normally explain the world-contradicting science and complicating religion- it's a difficult belief to shake.

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DGRachel
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Oof. Today seems to be a day for hard #truth in the books I‘m reading. 😔

Joy0201 I really enjoyed this book. 14mo
60 likes1 comment
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lauralovesbooks1
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Pickpick

Ghostland is a fascinating look at American history and culture through the lens of our relationship and perceptions about ghosts and haunted places. This is not a work of sensationalism, rather it is an engaging, fact-based look at the places where the unexplained gives us insight into our past.

23 likes1 stack add
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vivastory
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This was easily one of my favorite nonfiction books of last year. Dickey memorably writes about architectural anomalies that provoke unease & documents the necessary conditions for rumors of #ghosts A fascinating book.
#OctoberXFiles
@Cinfhen @Robothugs

Cinfhen I 💯believe in spirits!!! I‘m fascinated by documented sightings 14mo
vivastory @Cinfhen If you haven't read this one, I highly recommend it! 14mo
Kalalalatja Sounds fascinating! 14mo
See All 6 Comments
RadicalReader @vivastory gorgeous beautiful book cover 14mo
Wife Are there many pictures? I‘m considering the audiobook, but don‘t want to miss any content. 🌹 14mo
Robothugs This is on my TBR so it was intriguing at some point 🤔 thanks for putting it back on my radar! 14mo
77 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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DGRachel
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Struggling a bit with Lore in print, so I‘m switching over to audiobook for that one and picking up this book for the evening. I have high hopes for it and can lay blame for this purchase directly at the feet of @Liberty 😂😂

Joy0201 This is a really good book. Very different from Lore. 1y
LeahBergen This one sounds good! 👍🏻 1y
70 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Sweettartlaura
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Pickpick

5⭐️ - Read this book!
This is like an alternate history of America, told by its ghosts.
Link to the full review below.
Just... read this book!❤️📚

Check out Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28815491

DGRachel It‘s part of my October stack! 1y
Sweettartlaura @DGRachel 🙌🏻 Start it now! My only regret is that I didn‘t read this when it first came out. It‘s so, so good ❤️ 1y
DGRachel @Sweettartlaura I need to finish at least one of the other books I have going right now (too many at one time and it‘s starting to negatively affect my mental health and enjoyment of books), but I promise it will be the next print book I pick up! 1y
See All 8 Comments
Sweettartlaura @DGRachel if any one of your current reads is even a little bit of a dud, DNF it and move on to this - I promise you‘ll be happy 😊. I‘ll be on the lookout for your review! Happy reading 📖 1y
DGRachel You‘re making me wish I‘d grabbed it instead of Lore when I picked up my next #screamathon read off the stack! I‘m hoping to finish Vicious tonight, but maybe by this weekend I‘ll be able to start this one. 😊🤞🏻 1y
Linsy I love this book! 🖤🖤🖤 1y
Sweettartlaura @Linsy Yay🙌🏻. It was so freakin‘ awesome 🖤 1y
42 likes1 stack add8 comments
review
crhealey
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Pickpick

Had heard marvelous things about this book but was expecting something fun and lighthearted and instead got a fascinating history lesson and learned so much! Would love to read similar books/learn more about ghost stories. Any recs?

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crhealey
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Ghost stories, baseball and red wine. It must be October. #GoSox #YankeesSuck #NDfootballduringcommercials

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inthegreensandblues
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1. Either!
2. Apple pie 🍎
3. Witches 🧙
4. Both!
5. Psycho
#TuesdayTidbits #thisorthat @JenlovesJT47

JenlovesJT47 🧡🧡🧡 1y
18 likes1 comment
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vivastory
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I don't read as much nonfiction as fiction, however a great nonfiction book can be every bit as magnificent as a novel. Above are a few that I've read in the past year that really stand out. The authors knowledge, dedication, investigative spirit & #fascination with their subjects shines through.
#SeptemberDanes
@Cinfhen @Kalalalatja

Mdargusch I loved Blitzed!!! 1y
vivastory @Mdargusch It was a really unique take on WW2, which is no small feat considering how much has been written/said about it. 1y
Kalalalatja I have only read I‘ll be Gone in the Dark, but I want to read the other three at some point! 1y
See All 10 Comments
Joy0201 I LOVED Ghostland. 1y
Cinfhen I actually prefer NF to fiction...but I haven‘t read ANY of these yet!!! (edited) 1y
vivastory @Kalalalatja Ghostland would be a great October read! 1y
vivastory @Joy0201 Same here. I need to read his other books. 1y
vivastory @Cinfhen I didn't know you preferred NF. I highly recommend all of them! 1y
Billypar Was looking for a new audio non-fiction since I just finished one, so I'm getting Blitzed (pun intended 🙄). And put a hold on Ghostland. Thanks for the reccs! 1y
vivastory @Billypar I look forward to hearing your thoughts on them! This is the perfect time to read Ghostland 1y
72 likes1 stack add10 comments
review
karasu13
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Pickpick

I‘ve been fascinated with haunted places since childhood (Salem and the Winchester Mystery House have always been at the top of my list). Dickey‘s book is an extensive travelogue for those who like history with their hauntings. I found myself trawling Wikipedia after each chapter, wanting to learn more about the legends featured in the book.

9 likes1 stack add
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Liberty
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Spending a lazy, hazy summer day just reading, reading, reading. Tell me some of the great books you‘ve read this summer, please and thank you. 📖 ☀️ ❤️

Smangela I‘m currently reading The Lightning Thief and loving it. It‘ll randomly make me crack up and I just adore middle grade fiction for how funny it can be! 1y
Hooked_on_books There have been many, but this one is especially good: 1y
See All 22 Comments
CotziasReads Beneath the Scarlet Sky and The Great Believers 1y
Zelma Finally read Station Eleven. What took me so long? ❤️ Dark Matter and The Looking Glass Wars we‘re also great. 1y
Wattrat Circe and Warbreaker. 1y
read.run.travel June: Little fires everywhere. July: Nobody is ever missing & The sun and her flowers. August: Behold the dreamers, Small great things & The Mothers. 💙 1y
Billypar The Blazing World and The Luminaries were standouts. 1y
Branwen Harry's Trees and The Great Believers are my favorites so far! 😀👍 1y
Pagemasta What are the great books YOUVE read this summer? 1y
156 likes22 comments
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Bianca
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Was this book written for me?

#audiobooks

saresmoore Isn‘t it great? I really enjoyed this. 1y
Bianca @saresmoore Yes! I'm loving it. 1y
49 likes2 comments
review
Kathleenkelly
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Mehso-so

Just OK. I listened to the audible version and when I could actually pay attention, I often wondered if some of the locations described in the book had a gift shop. Merchandise would be perfect for a Litsy swap.

RaimeyGallant Nice review. :) 1y
69 likes1 comment
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khooliha
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I am trying Very Hard to get better about buying a bunch of books (HA), but here's the book haul I came home to.

holarosarita You‘ll have to tell me how the John Darnielle book is. Did you read his other one? 1y
khooliha @holarosarita I haven't read Wolf in White Van yet, but I have a copy. I wanted an oil slick shiny hardcover too much to be sensible and wait to buy Universal Harvester. 1y
1 like2 comments
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rajithr
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Anthropomorphic 👻🤓