Spooky Summertime Stories

Fall might be the most popular season for terrifying tales, but many of the spookiest stories ever told were set in the sweltering summertime. Here are some you can check out with your Livingston Library card:


UsUs – directed by Jordan Peele
(DVD available from Livingston Library)
A girl named Adelaide experiences a frightening encounter with a doppelgänger while on a boardwalk vacation with her parents in the summer of 1986. Over thirty years later, Adelaide (now played by Lupita Nyong’o) returns to the same vacation spot with her husband and children, only to discover that her doppelgänger has been waiting for her…and now has a family of her own. While Us wasn’t quite as highly acclaimed as Jordan Peele’s previous film, Get Out, it’s every bit as disturbing and unforgettable– not least because of Nyong’o’s sensational performance.

Midsommar – directed by Ari Aster
(DVD available from Livingston Library)
A group of young Americans spend the summer solstice in rural Sweden, where they witness some unusual and macabre rituals conducted by a secluded pagan community. The film takes place almost entirely in the broad daylight of Scandinavian summer, which somehow makes it even creepier.

The Ruins – Scott Smith
(ebook available on Overdrive / Libby)
Another group of young Americans take a doomed summer vacation, this time in Mexico. After their recklessness and ignorance leads them to trespass upon Mayan ruins, they find themselves trapped deep in the jungle between armed guards who won’t let them leave the site, and otherworldly species of predatory plant life. As long as you can stand all the visceral and psychological terror The Ruins has to offer, you may not be able to put it down.

The Willows Algernon Blackwood
(ebook available on Hoopla)
Two friends embark upon a nightmarish canoe trip down the Danube during the summer flood season. Published in 1907, this highly-influential novella is a chilling cornerstone of modern horror fiction.

oas_9781645551324_270“The Yellow Wallpaper”– short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman; audiobook narrated by Mackenzie Menter, with original music & sound design by Jennifer Rouse
(audiobook available on Hoopla; also available as an ebook)
This 1892 short story is told through the increasingly-unhinged journal entries of a woman forcibly sequestered by her husband in a house they rented for the summer. In this audio version, the slow and subtle descent into madness expressed through Mackenzie Menter’s narration perfectly captures the startling yet sympathetic subtext of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s proto-feminist prose.

Ghost Summer – Tananarive Due
(available as part of the ebook The Ancestors on Hoopla)
In this powerful coming-of-age novella, two children visit their grandparents’ Florida home, excited to encounter the ghosts they find there every summer. But this time, the ghosts lead them to discover some grisly, long-buried secrets rooted in the racist horrors of American slavery.

Wylding Hall – Elizabeth Hand
(ebook available on Hoopla; also available as an audiobook)
While making an album in a haunted old English country house one summer, the singer of a British acid folk band mysteriously disappears. Years later, the surviving band members and their associates share conflicting accounts of what happened during those dark recording sessions.

–  Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian


West Orange, NJ 07052, USA

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