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The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
The Hooligan's Return: A Memoir
Norman Manea, Angela Jianu
Ghost Stories (Wordsworth Classics) - M. R. James I read this book in English around the age of 18, when my mastering of the language was not so good. Yet, I remember being pinned to the couch, sweating and trembling, immersed in the gripping stories. I was in love with the cover, too; it was sort of magical and seemed to tell a story of its own. It's in fact a painting by John Atkinson Grimshaw, untitled Moonlight Walk (the original is not so magical as the cover, though).


I've always had a strong curiosity towards ghosts, mixed with apprehension and fright. Back at my parents' house, I had frequent nightmares involving unseen presences, mostly after my grandmother had died. One of them happened like this: in my dream, I was walking in the dark, past her bedroom door, that was slightly ajar. I tried to close the door, but an unseen hand snatched the doorknob from the other side and I was so startled that I woke up frightened and sweating. I came to believe that my grandmother's ghost was present in the house, so every time I went to the bathroom (that was near her former bedroom), I would glance fearfully at the door, waiting for something wicked to happen.

I'm not consciously admitting that ghosts exist, but my mind seems to think otherwise. One might laugh at me, but I was no longer a child when, sleeping in my old bedroom, I couldn't fall asleep and kept opening my eyes in the dark, searching for a strange form near my bed, materialising as a ghost. For many years, I couldn't walk on the hall at night unless I turned on most of the lights. So I do believe my unconscious is quite inclined towards supernatural and the existence of ghosts.

Over the years, the nightmares that I had at my parents' house diminished and then disappeared altoghether, but each time I go there I remember to bring my earplugs, in order to avoid hearing some strange noises at night. And every time I go to the bathroom I remember that dream.