Guestbook: Ghost Stories

Guestbook: Ghost Stories

What haunts us? What can’t we let go of? A tennis prodigy collapses after his wins, crediting them to an invisible, not entirely benevolent presence, until one day he vanishes. A series of ghosts appear at their former bedsides, some distraught, some fascinated, to witness their unfamiliar occupants. A woman returns from a visit to Alcatraz with an uncomfortable feeling. T...

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Title:Guestbook: Ghost Stories
Author:Leanne Shapton
Rating:

Guestbook: Ghost Stories Reviews

  • Delany Holcomb

    As a printmaker, historian, and bookseller, this book brought together everything I enjoy and adore and fit inside the binding of a book. This work flows like a museum and is curated so carefully with its stories that it performs for itself. An enchanting read!

  • Drew

    5+ out of 5.

    Surprisingly frightening, full of imagination-stoking fragments or tales that light up the darker corners of your mind for just long enough to wonder if you're really alone there. Some of the more traditional stories have their own strengths -- a tennis prodigy whose uncanny abilities are perhaps due to an imaginary friend who might not be so imaginary, a cellphone-video one-page ghost story -- but the real powerful stuff comes from Shapton's juxtaposition of photography and text, f

    5+ out of 5.

    Surprisingly frightening, full of imagination-stoking fragments or tales that light up the darker corners of your mind for just long enough to wonder if you're really alone there. Some of the more traditional stories have their own strengths -- a tennis prodigy whose uncanny abilities are perhaps due to an imaginary friend who might not be so imaginary, a cellphone-video one-page ghost story -- but the real powerful stuff comes from Shapton's juxtaposition of photography and text, from the ways in which the reader must project their own story onto the negative space therein.

    Or maybe I'm just the kind of reader who, when shown a grainy photograph of a room in an old house in a book subtitled 'ghost stories,' wants there to be a bump in that particular night, and will immediately consider all the ways there could be one.

  • Alyssa Staples

    Haunting, beautiful, minimal, innovative, quietly terrifying. Utilizes text, photography and artwork to provide small glimpses into the lives (and afterlives?) of people, places, and things. Enjoyed every page of this book and will be reading again.

  • Callum McAllister

    Leanne shapton: a legend

  • Kelsey

    "Ghosts. Not ghost stories" -- a perfect line for a haunting book. What one might think is a book about ghost stories, it's really an exploration of the ghosts in every day life. That loneliness and haunted feeling a person can have, almost unexplainable. Filled with moments of lush writing and intricately built sentences intertwined with creepy-esque, haunted photography -- Guestbook: Ghost Stories is a wild ride. There are some incredible stories thrown in there (the tennis player story being

    "Ghosts. Not ghost stories" -- a perfect line for a haunting book. What one might think is a book about ghost stories, it's really an exploration of the ghosts in every day life. That loneliness and haunted feeling a person can have, almost unexplainable. Filled with moments of lush writing and intricately built sentences intertwined with creepy-esque, haunted photography -- Guestbook: Ghost Stories is a wild ride. There are some incredible stories thrown in there (the tennis player story being one I was so involved in, I don't think I took a breath while reading it) and there are some moments where I had to take a step back because it was powerfully sad.

    Very interesting read, gorgeous and lyrical and definitely something that feels important.

    FYI -- I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway :)

  • Zoe

    A haunting, shimmering treat. Weighs heavy on the heart.

  • Vikki VanSickle

    A thought-provoking visual delight that contemplates the many ways that people or places can be haunted. Something meaty to ponder and dwell over on a lazy afternoon.

  • Chris Haak

    Strange, dark and wonderful!

  • Krista

    So, to begin with, which is the more disquieting idea in that passage above? That your mother wa

    So, to begin with, which is the more disquieting idea in that passage above? That your mother wants to tell you a ghost story or that she chose some toys for your daughter from the trash? Leanne Shapton has an impressive resume as an artist/writer/art director for well-known publications, and she brings all of these talents to

    ; a sort of scrapbook of found photographs, original watercolours, and added prose that leave the reader with an uncanny sense of dread. I suppose that the book's thirty-three entries can be thought of as “short stories”, and they range from the very short (

    is a prose poem made out of the comments on an Instagram-type star's [unshown] photo;

    ) to longish (

    charts the rise and fall of a tennis prodigy and the presence on the court that helps his game and destroys his mind, complete with

    photos and drawings). Some entries read like traditional ghost stories and some seem to suggest the things that haunt us in our modern lives: In

    , another Instagram-style entry, sixteen black and white photos of a woman from the Sixties (?) and a woman from today (is that Shapton herself?) are shown without more commentary than the number of “likes” each receive – and it makes you wonder about the trajectory of photography and who took the photos of the woman from the past, in a time before every pose was meant to be widely shared; stalker or lover, the male gaze haunts these photos.

    In every case, Shapton is telling stories and making art. I had to fight an urge to scroll too quickly through the picture-heavy entries, and taking these slowly proved particularly rewarding.

    (a series of pictures of beds, some from catalogues),

    (posed pictures from celebrity/high society parties all featuring the same man somewhere), and

    (an online catalogue of vintage dresses for sale) each have

    pictures, but also much small print to read; and each of these entries became more sinister and uncanny as they stretched out. In this

    from

    , Shapton explains her inspiration and thought processes behind this book – I especially appreciated the bits about multi-channel storytelling – and I thoroughly respect her ideas and their results. Not your typical read, but all the better for that. (Note: I read an ARC and passages quoted might not be in their final forms.)

  • Sian Lile-Pastore

    Weird, strange and eerie. Beautiful book

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