I’ve been thinking lately about a certain iconic character that crops up again and again in gothic literature: the witch. Witches embody the greatest fears of the societies they belong to, from devil worship to the idea of women wielding power. They are some of literature’s most controversial figures, and some of my favorite to read about. Thus, I felt they deserved their own literary canon. (Click here to see the other literary canon lists I’ve done.) Below are a few of the central texts in the body of witchy literature: Continue reading The Witch Literary Canon
Hello, dear readers! I just wanted to let you all know that I’m going to be out of the country for the next couple of weeks. Not to fear, though! I’ve scheduled everything in advance, so posts will be going up as usual every Monday. I just won’t be around to respond to your comments and answer your questions.
I’ll be back by the beginning of February. Until then, stay spooky!
Talia doesn’t believe in the old gods and the legends that her mother used to tell her beside the fire. But just because she doesn’t believe, doesn’t mean they aren’t real.… Ancient curses and buried prophecies rise up from the depths in Joanna Ruth Meyer’s Beneath the Haunting Sea. What better way to start off the new year than with a brand new book from a debut author, right? It’s the perfect time for fresh voices and new perspectives. Beneath the Haunting Sea comes out tomorrow, January 9th. Find it at your local retailer, or scroll to the bottom of this post to buy it online and support the blog by using my IndieBound affiliate link. Continue reading Beneath the Haunting Sea–A Mythic Debut
Another year gone, and another year of new books ahead of us! This week I want to continue my yearly tradition of rounding up all the books that I’m most looking forward to in the new year. I hope to look back at this list when picking out my next read. Continue reading Books I’m Excited for in 2018
Every year, I participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and sometimes in more specific challenges, in addition to my personal reading goals. Last year was the first time I wrote up a recap of how well I met my goals. The end of 2016 was a triumphant time for me: it was the first time I had met my Goodreads Reading Challenge since starting college. This year, I got a little too ambitious and fell somewhat short of my goal. But overall, I would still count 2017 as a success.
If you discovered a door to another world, would you go through it? What if it gave you the opportunity to change who you are, to escape the pressures of who you’re expected to be? Twelve-year-old twins Jack and Jill face these questions in Seanan McGuire’s Down Among the Sticks and Bones. This book, which came out back in June, is the second book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series. (You can read my review of the first book here.) Rather than being a sequel to Every Heart a Doorway, however, Down Among the Sticks and Bones is more of a prequel that can also be read entirely as a stand-alone. Ostensibly a fantasy story about discovering a dark world full of monsters, the book is really a deep dive into questions of identity and family relationships. Continue reading Down Among the Sticks and Bones–A Gothic Tale of Twins
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure to meet N. Apythia Morges, the head of Dark Alley Press. Among other publishing projects, N. Apythia edits a recurring series of dark literary anthologies called Ink Stains. Released quarterly, each volume includes a collection of unconventional short stories in a variety of genres from black comedy to paranormal fantasy and dark literary fiction. I just picked up the most recent volume, which came out back in October, and found it to be an interesting exploration of short form gothic fiction. Continue reading Ink Stains, Vol. 6–A Dark Literary Journal
The holidays are coming up, and it’s time to start thinking about what gifts to get for your friends and family. I’m guessing that most of my readers have at least one person in their circle who might be described as a goth. If you don’t share their dark and spooky proclivities, it can be hard to know what to get for your black-clad friend. Of course, each goth is an individual and I can’t claim to speak for the whole subculture. But I’ve put together a list of a few things that are fairly universally appreciated among the morbidly-inclined.
Maybe it’s our nostalgia for centuries gone by, but most goths love hanging out by candlelight. Candles make good presents for everyone, but you know a goth is going to make good use out of it, and not just stick it in the bathroom for decoration. Your loved one may already have plenty of candles of their own, but in my opinion there is no such thing as ever having too many candles! You have tons of options here—get creative with colors, shapes, and scents. For goths living the height of their aesthetic, tall, tapered black or red candles are perfect for candelabra or ornate candlesticks. Yankee Candle has tons of fun colors and scents, from the dark-hued Midsummer’s Night to the vibrant Summer Storm. Or you can get something truly unique like these animal-shaped candles that melt down to reveal a metal skeleton inside! With so many options, you can never go wrong with candles.
Goth is a particularly literary subculture, and many of us are avid readers. I know I’m always a big fan of books as presents. Why not give your favorite goth the gift of a good horror novel, or some morbid nonfiction? (I particularly recommend From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty.) If you don’t know specifically what kind of books your goth friend likes to read, it’s always a safe bet to stick to the classics. Does Barnes & Noble have a pretty, new gilded-edged collection of Poe? One can never have too many collections of Poe. Or how about some nice, illustrated Edward Gorey? The possibilities are endless.
One thing common to most goths is a passion for their aesthetic. We’re decorative folk, and we usually like to adorn our homes, our belongings, and our bodies with the things we find beautiful—which sometimes can differ a lot from other people’s ideas of beauty. One of the best ways to do this for goths of all genders is through jewelry. The more piercings your goth friend has, the more opportunities for presents! If you don’t know your way around industrial bars and spiral gauges, you can always just stick to rings and necklaces. Does your friend like skulls? Bats? Occult imagery? You can find these kinds of things and more at your local Hot Topic, or check out Etsy for something more unique. You can also never go wrong with black or red gems, even from more mainstream jewelry suppliers. We may love the dark, but we’re not opposed to some shine and sparkle!
Continuing the decorative theme, makeup is another thing that is often appreciated by goths of all genders. If you’re looking for a practical gift, we tend to burn through those black eyeliner pencils pretty quickly.… Many of us also enjoy experimenting with bold, dark lip colors, if you want to get something more personal. The brand ColourPop has some great (and inexpensive!) liquid lipsticks in all sorts of colors, from dark purples and black or silver. If you’re not sure what your friend’s style is, a gift card to Sephora will never go unappreciated.
Music is what’s really at the heart of the gothic subculture. Not all goths listen to the same bands these days, but odds are music in general is still an important part of their lives. If you know what they listen to, go ahead and get them that latest album from the band they like. If you really love them, maybe even get them some concert tickets—there are so many great bands that are touring right now! (I’ll take two tickets to Nightwish, please.…) Even just an iTunes gift card will warm a spooky heart.
But most importantly of all this holiday season, don’t forget to give the gift of love and acceptance. You don’t have to get the whole goth thing, but you can still appreciate your gothic loved ones for who they are.
What are you getting for your goth friends this holiday season? If you’re a goth, what else would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments!
My favorite part of being a book reviewer is when I find a brand new author to absolutely fall in love with. I stumbled upon S. A. Chakraborty a few weeks ago at a reading for the New York Review of Speculative Fiction. After hearing her read the first chapter of her debut novel, I immediately went home and requested a review copy so I could find out what happens next. The City of Brass is the first book The Daevabad Trilogy, a new adult fantasy series that delves deep into Islamic mythology, particularly those devious creatures known as the djinn. The book just came out on November 14th, so you can find it at your local bookstore or click the link at the end of this post to buy it online. Continue reading The City of Brass Review—A Tale of Deliciously Dark Djinn
Move over, vampires—it’s time for mummies to take the spotlight! This week, Anne Rice is back with the long-awaited sequel to her 1989 book The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned. Twenty-eight years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but was it worth it? I can’t speak to how the new book lives up to any expectations set up by the original, but as my first foray into mummy romance, I quite enjoyed it. Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra was co-written with her son, Christopher Rice, and comes out tomorrow, November 21. Continue reading Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra Review