Guest Post: JL Bryan, Author of The Haunted E-Book

For today's post on The Bibliophile's Journal, I wanted to explore something about books in general, since The Haunted E-book delves into those issues—what is it to write and create a book? What is it to read a book? What do these activities mean to us as human beings?

In The Haunted E-book, a nineteenth-century “tramp printer” creates a certain book, with some inspiration from a treatise on the manufacture of black magic spell books. When anyone finds and reads this book, they find themselves stalked by his ghost. He threatens anyone who tries to stop reading the book without finishing it.

Reading the book awakens his ghost, bringing it back to “life.” He draws his strength psychically from the reader. When nobody's reading the book, his ghost becomes dormant until he gets another reader.

This is similar to what happens when we read a book by any deceased author. Reading Milton or Shakespeare or Mark Twain—or, lamentably, Kurt Vonnegut—brings a portion of that author's mind back to life. The reader's mind animates the recorded thoughts, ideas and imagination of the writer, a kind of mini-resurrection.

When the reader stops reading, it all becomes dormant again. When a book has been read for the last time, either because no remaining copies exist, or simply because nobody new ever chooses to read it, then this last bit of the author has finally died.

Reading a book can be a lot like getting possessed by a ghost. For a while we turn our mind and imagination over to another person, and let them shape our experience. The ghost of the writer might be thousands of years old, and from an entirely different part of the world.

In the comments, you might mention some of your favorite authors who are deceased, or books that have given you a window onto other times and places that you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.


  1. Fantastic post. Really well said! That's the enjoyment, no novelty about reading. One can bring back characters or authors that have long since passed for another adventure. As for books that have lended me their window...the list is too long. Almost every one affords the reader a new view since it is the world (real or fantasy) through another's eyes.

  2. Great post. The more I read about it the more I want to read your book. Really looking forward to it.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  3. This is certainly very true. As a teacher, I am always attempting to bring alive dead authors and poets. I love sharing classics to my students, which often is a lot harder than it use to be. Reading Byron, Keats, Shakespeare, Austin, Bronte, Hawthorne and others is sort of like channeling them, and the premise of this book is certainly unique that I am quite interested in reading it. Great post

  4. This is such an interesting topic. In literature, one of the most recognized desires is immortality. From Achilles' obsession with glory to our recent fixation on vampires who live forever, there never seems to be enough time to live and we all want to make our name last. I love reading obscure and off the map stories, simply because that author has a voice, and it wants to be heard. Who that we have the internet perhaps our books/authors works can live on least until it crashes and we all revert back to the stone age lol

  5. I love the idea of keeping spirits alive by reading books! However, Vonnegut and Heller will be around for as long as I am. Their works are forever in my head.

  6. I'm a great fan of Jane Austen and hope to keep her alive for a long time =)

  7. Most of my favorite authors are still alive, but who knows what's going to happen when, say, Stephen King dies? That's a scary thought!

    Loved "The Haunted Ebook"!

  8. Great post, I've certainly felt possessed by quite a few books and most books transport me to a new time and place or a new experience, things I may not have experienced if not for reading.

    One of my favourite historical/historical romance authors passed away a year ago and it's certainly a loss for those who love that genre. Hopefully many will continue to read Kathleen Givens' novels ... keeping her work and her memory alive.

  9. "Reading a book can be a lot like getting possessed by a ghost" <<< cant agree no more for this sentences. There are some book who keep "haunting" me even if I have read them few weeks ago. The emotion was still remind. The bond of the character was always there for sometimes.

    Harper Lee (To Kill A Mocking Bird) and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's (The Little Prince) are the author whose books still possesed me till now

  10. I love the way you say things, it does ring so true to my ear.
    I don't read much literature or have not read much about dead authors, but I,ve read a lot of authors that are getting old today and do not want them to die cause we won,t have anymore books from hem afterwards. Then I will experience exactly what you just said.
    thanks for sharing.