iClassics Kickstarter—Interactive Gothic Lit for Students!

A brand new Kickstarter just launched last week with the hopes of using technology to make classic literature fun and accessible for students. iClassics is a Barcelona-based company that works to create an “interactive, illustrated, digital library,” as they explain on their website. At present, they already have several interactive literature collections available as apps for iOS devices. With the Kickstarter, they hope to raise enough funds to make the apps available to Android users, make them available in more languages, create new content, and make them free for as many students as possible.

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Shadowshaper Review–Representation in Urban Fantasy

Shadowshaper coverThe murals are weeping. This is the first thing that tips Sierra off that something strange is going on in her Brooklyn neighborhood in Daniel José Older’s fantastic urban fantasy Shadowshaper. I’d been meaning to read this book since I first heard Older speak on a panel at Book Expo America last summer and its gorgeous cover kept staring at me from large, blown-up posters. I finally got a chance to listen to the audiobook, read by Anika Noni Rose, which I highly recommend! Continue reading Shadowshaper Review–Representation in Urban Fantasy

World Goth Day 2016 and Some Reflections on Goth

This coming Sunday, May 22, is World Goth Day. Yes, you read that right—there’s a whole international holiday all about goths! World Goth Day was created to celebrate the gothic subculture and promote visibility and acceptance of goths—a group who are often feared, maligned, and misunderstood by the general public. The event originated in the UK in 2009, but quickly grew into an international affair. On Sunday, groups all around the world will host local goth events under the World Goth Day banner. You can look around online for events near you, start your own, or just take the day to indulge your inner goth in solitude or with friends. Here at The Gothic Library, I’m celebrating World Goth Day by sharing some of my thoughts on what the subculture means to me and how I got into it.

The official World Goth Day logo. Learn more at worldgothday.com
The official World Goth Day logo. Learn more at worldgothday.com

I know on this blog I tend to mostly talk about Gothic (with a capital G) literature, or gothic works of derivative genres, but not so much about goths, themselves. However, I feel that all of these are intimately related. To me, goth is a mindset. It’s a philosophy and a way of looking at the world that involves seeing beauty in darkness and being fascinated by the taboo (especially the taboo of death). This dark and morbid mindset has existed throughout history, but was especially indulged and brought into the limelight by the Gothic writers of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Separate from, but related to, the gothic mindset is the gothic subculture. The gothic subculture is a music and fashion scene that arose out of punk in the late ’70s and ’80s. The defining feature of a subculture is that it is a community. You can have a gothic mindset all by yourself, but you’re not part of the gothic subculture until you engage with other goths in some way—whether that’s by consuming gothic media, wearing gothic clothing, going to goth clubs, or just sharing your spooky interests with some dark-minded friends. Though goth, in this sense, is expressed largely through music and fashion, even these elements have been heavily influenced by cinema and literature, including by the Gothic novels from which this subculture takes its name.

In my experience, one generally recognizes one’s own gothic mindset first, then discovers the gothic subculture when looking to find others with similar interests. For me, it started (as it always does) with books. I’d been reading horror and mystery for as long as I could read chapter books, but my life-changing moment came when I picked my first vampire romance novel up off the shelf in fifth grade. From that moment on, I was captivated by these creatures of the night and propelled along a path that led to me reading both Anne Rice and Stoker before graduating middle school. It was around the same time that I also began taking on a darker aesthetic (though I’m not sure the two are related). It took me a while to come around to the label of “goth,” but I’ve come to embrace it with open arms. So if you see me next Sunday, I’ll be flying my goth flag high!

What are you doing to celebrate World Goth day? Know of any good gothic events going on in New York City (I’ve actually been having trouble finding some)? What aspects of goth are you celebrating this week? Let me know in the comments!

The Best Bars for Gothic Lit Nerds (NYC Edition)

Some of you may know that I recently moved to New York City to begin my career in publishing. NYC is a great place to be a book nerd. Aside from the career prospects, it’s got amazing libraries, innumerable bookstores–including book-buyer’s heaven: Strand Bookstore, and constant opportunities to meet your favorite authors at book signings and events. The city is also a great place to be a goth, what with its diverse nightlife and themed bars and events. Since moving here, I’ve been looking for places where I can combine these two loves, and I discovered a surprising number of dark, literature-themed bars! Whether you’re specifically obsessed with gothic lit like me, or just a general literature nerd with a bit of a dark side, these bars provide the perfect atmosphere for indulging in languid literary musings over a decadent cocktail. I haven’t made it out to all of them yet, but I’m making my way down the list. If you’ve been to any of these before, let me know your thoughts in the comments! Continue reading The Best Bars for Gothic Lit Nerds (NYC Edition)

Gothic Tropes: Absent Mothers—A Mother’s Day Post

As many of you know, Mother’s Day in the United States is this upcoming Sunday. (If you didn’t know, there’s still plenty of time to buy a card!) I wanted to do a post about mothers in Gothic lit, but I realized…there aren’t many. One of the most prolific tropes of the Gothic genre is the absence of mothers.

Shout out to my awesome mom, who let me goth her up for Halloween!
Shout out to my awesome mom, who let me goth her up for Halloween this year!

Continue reading Gothic Tropes: Absent Mothers—A Mother’s Day Post