Sometimes, we just love to be scared. Especially this time of year, when Halloween has us ready to meet some monsters and explore that flimsy boundary between life and death. But fear is only fun when you’re not in any real danger. That’s why horror fiction is so popular and enduring. But how did this tradition start? Today, I want to take you through the history of the horror genre.
There are many books out there about kids who discover magical worlds and the wonderful adventures they have there. But what happens afterward, when they come back through the rabbit hole and have to return to their normal lives? In Every Heart a Doorway, these children go to a special boarding school where they can share their experiences with those who will understand, readjust to the normal world, and come to terms with the fact that they may not ever return to the land they truly consider home. This novella is the first book in a new series called Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire. I had no idea what to expect going into this book, but it hit almost every sweet spot for me. Continue reading Every Heart a Doorway Review—Macabre Fantasy and Representation
Yes, it’s every bit as extravagant as Oscar would want it to be.
As you may know, Oscar Wilde was a nineteenth-century writer closely associated with the Aesthetic Movement, which focused on the inherent value of beauty and art for art’s sake. He shocked Victorian society with his decadent lifestyle and morally ambiguous writings, the best known of which are his satirical play, The Importance of Being Ernest, and his Gothic novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. And now, a brand new bar has opened in New York City to honor his legacy. Originally slated to debut in June, the bar—simply called Oscar Wilde—finally opened its doors just last month. You may remember over a year ago, I wrote a post on the best gothic literature-themed bars in Manhattan, of which there are a surprising amount. But as soon as I started seeing pictures of this new bar’s interior, I knew it would put them all to shame. I finally got the chance to stop by for a few drinks last week so I could give you all a first-hand review. Continue reading New York City’s Brand New Oscar Wilde Bar
This week I continue my quest to establish a literary canon for each and every monster in the gothic tradition. So far, I’ve done three of the most prominent types of monsters in horror fiction: vampires, zombies, and demons. But now it’s time to venture into uncharted waters and see what I can do for monsters with a less clearly defined canon. And where better to start than with one of the oldest and most pervasive of monsters: the sea monster? Continue reading The Sea Monster Literary Canon
Do you like my writing and wish you could see it more than once a week? Well you’re in luck, because I just became the main content writer for VampireFreaks! VampireFreaks is a social networking site for goths, created by NYC goth DJ, Jet (whom I interviewed back in March). The site uses a nostalgic forum-board format to connect goths around the world, allowing them to make friends, join “cults” based on their interests, and share photos and journals.
I’ll be posting content twice a week from the main VampireFreaks account, so make sure to follow @VampireFreaks if you’re on the site. Also feel free to friend my personal profile @TheGothicLibrarian.
My first post is on “5 Games for the Perfect Goth Game Night.” Not every night can be club night … sometimes you’ve just got to stay in, invite some friends over, and play board games. But just because you’re not at the club doesn’t mean you’ve got to turn in your goth card and play some Monopoly with the mundanes. Click the link to learn more!
Earlier this year, at Steampunk World’s Fair, I wound up inadvertently leading a panel on the overlap of goth and steampunk. Despite one originating in the early 1980s and the other being a fairly recent phenomenon, the two subcultures have a surprising amount of overlap—in everything from music to fashion to social scenes. In fact, I wrote a piece for Steampunk Tourist a few years ago on the overall similarities and differences between the two. But today I want to narrow in on one specific aspect that is at the root of both subcultures: the literature. Continue reading Steampunk vs. Gothic Literature
Tonight is the first night of Passover—the Jewish holiday commemorating the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and freedom from slavery. The story is one of triumph and celebration, but in some ways it’s also one of the darkest tales in the Jewish tradition. You know the story: Moses is called upon by God to free the Israelites, so he approaches the pharaoh with the demand, “Let my people go!” Each time that the pharaoh refuses, God afflicts the Egyptians with a new plague intended to terrify them into releasing their slaves. The ten plagues are the stuff of nightmares—both realistic dangers, like disease and infestations, and supernatural terrors, like rivers of blood and unnatural darkness. Whether you are celebrating Passover this week or not, enjoy these ten short stories to go along with each plague inflicted upon the Egyptians:
It snuck up on me this year, but apparently it’s time for another Bloggiesta! Spring Bloggiesta is a week-long blogging marathon hosted by bloggiesta.com. From today (Monday, March 20) until Sunday March 26, bloggers around the internet will come together to support and inspire each other while working on bettering their own blogs. I always find Bloggiesta events to be a helpful reminder for me to take care of long-term blog-related goals and to get some great advice from more experienced bloggers. Continue reading Bloggiesta To Do List: Spring 2017
Dear readers, I am excited to announce that The Gothic Library is now an IndieBound Affiliate! What does this mean? It means that you can now support both The Gothic Library and your local independent bookstore by purchasing books through the IndieBound affiliate links at the bottom of many of my posts.
IndieBound.org is a website dedicated to connecting you to independently owned businesses around the country. Instead of getting your books from Amazon or large chain stores, you can shop online with the same ease while supporting the members of the industry that need it the most. Buying from independent bookstores has a number of benefits. Independent bookstores are some of the biggest supporters of the little guys! They often take risks on new authors, small publishers, and even the self-published, and help to give them a boost. They are also the foundation of fantastic communities. Workers at independent bookstores are some of the most passionate book-lovers I’ve met, and they are masters at curating and recommending books. Independent bookstores bring readers together, and can help connect authors with a local fanbase. Economically, shopping at a local independent bookstore keeps more money within your own community. On IndieBound, you can plug in your zip code to buy from local stores, even when you’re shopping online! Check out IndieBound.org for more reasons why you should shop indie.
So how does this help The Gothic Library? Well, if you click on any of my affiliate links and then make a purchase, either through IndieBound or on the website of one of the independent bookstores that it links to, I get a small percentage of the proceeds! These probably won’t add up to much, but every little bit helps fuel my book-love. I will be adding links to the end of my book review posts whenever possible, so if my review piques your interest consider taking the opportunity to buy the book! I’ve started adding links to some of my older posts and will be including them in my book reviews going forward.
In the mean time, you can also check out my general IndieBound link below and just browse. As long as you originally reach the website through my link, any purchase you make will support The Gothic Library. Happy shopping!
Death is a strange chapter in everyone’s story. Yet as we read through action-packed novels like the Game of Thrones series where a character dies almost every chapter, literary deaths may start to seem commonplace and we give little thought to how they are presented. For gothic authors, however, a character’s death is an opportunity to explore that fascinating, unknowable state and our relationship with it. What does it mean to be dead? How will this death impact the story? And how should we feel about it? Sometimes the only way to answer these questions is by employing some truly unique literary techniques. Below are three of my favorite unusual depictions of death in literature: Continue reading Literature’s Strangest Chapters on Death