Modern Takes on the Vampire Classic, Carmilla (Part One)

Now you may remember that back when I wrote my Vampire Literary Canon post, I had yet to read one of the celebrated classics of vampire literature—Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. An early vampire tale, this novella was written decades before Bram Stoker dreamed up Dracula. And now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading it, I can say that in my personal opinion, it’s significantly better than Dracula, too. Perhaps simply because it doesn’t drag on as much. And it also seems somewhat better suited to a modern context. For those of you that don’t normally spend your Sundays reading tomes from two centuries ago, you can still enjoy this charming vampiric classic. In this post, I will review the fun illustrated version I found, which would fit in on your bookshelf right beside your twenty-first century vampire novels. If reading the classics still isn’t your thing, stay tuned next week for my post on the modernized Carmilla webseries! Continue reading Modern Takes on the Vampire Classic, Carmilla (Part One)

Winner of the ALL Hallow’s Read Giveaway

Overbite giveaway prize copyCongratulations to Stephanie on winning the All Hallow’s Read giveaway! Stephanie, who has been contacted by email, will be the proud new owner of the humor/horror anthology Blood Lite II: Overbite, edited by Kevin J. Anderson.

Thank you to everyone who entered! I hope you all have a wonderful and spooky Halloween! And maybe this year, consider giving out some books with your candy in honor of Neil Gaiman’s brilliant tradition.

If you enjoyed this giveaway, be sure to let me know. And tell me what kind of books you’d like to see given away on this site in the future!

World War Z–An Epic Zombie Tale

World War Z coverZombies. In some ways they are my least favorite among the multitude of supernatural creatures—they don’t tend to have terribly interesting personalities, and the new trend of zombie romance is just far more disturbing than the classic vampire love stories. Nonetheless, zombies can be very interesting in what they represent. While vampires embody our complicated yearning for immortality and power, zombies represent our fear of death at a downright primitive level—the finality of death and decay, the simple meaninglessness of it, the shift from human to inhuman, and the loss of the self. Meanwhile the survivors of zombie pandemics fight for meaning, and humanity, and for living one more day. My latest read captures this struggle on an epic global scale: World War Z by Max Brooks. Continue reading World War Z–An Epic Zombie Tale

All Hallow’s Read: Neil Gaiman’s Halloween Tradition (Plus a Giveaway!)

Several years ago, one of gothdom’s most reverend authors decided to start a new Halloween tradition. We love books. We love Halloween. Why not combine them? Thus, Neil Gaiman created All Hallow’s Read. Celebrating All Hallow’s Read is simple—just give someone a scary book either on Halloween or during the week leading up to the holiday. To learn more about the tradition and its origins, check out the All Hallow’s Read website. Not sure what books to give? Lists of suggestions abound, but below are some of my favorite spooky stories to share with family, friends, or strangers of all ages.

Also, in the spirit of this tradition, I’ll be giving away a spooky book myself! Read through to the bottom to find out how you can enter to win the horror/humor collection Blood Lite II: Overbite.

Continue reading All Hallow’s Read: Neil Gaiman’s Halloween Tradition (Plus a Giveaway!)

Literary Influences on The Nightmare Before Christmas

Nightmare Before ChristmasHalloween is just around the corner, and you know what that means—time for one of your bi-annual viewings of The Nightmare Before Christmas! Wow, I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far into October, and I haven’t even mentioned Halloween on the site. But The Gothic Library is kind of like Halloweentown—every day is Halloween, here! It was hard to think of how to do something different to commemorate my favorite holiday. But today I’ve decided to explore the literary roots in one of my favorite movies, Tim Burton’s spooky Halloween classic. Some of the allusions are obvious, like the one in the title, but as I began digging, I realized that The Nightmare Before Christmas has a much greater literary wealth than I would have imagined. Read on to learn about the five major literary influences I noticed in Jack Skellington’s story: Continue reading Literary Influences on The Nightmare Before Christmas

Death-tastic Book Signing with Caitlin Doughty

IMG_8274Last week, I got to hear author and revolutionary mortician Caitlin Doughty speak at the Strand as she promoted the paperback release of her New York Times best-selling memoir, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory. My review of Smoke was one of my very first blog posts here on this site back in July, and I’ve been a huge fan of Caitlin for several years. Needless to say, I was delighted to have the opportunity to finally meet her and get my advanced reader’s copy of the book signed. But before she signed any books, Caitlin addressed the modest crowd that was gathered in the Strand’s rare books floor to discuss her work in the death industry and answer any questions we might have about our own mortality. Her talk was both fun and informative, as you might expect from an alternative mortician-cum-Youtube star, and I’ve written up some of the highlights to share with you below: Continue reading Death-tastic Book Signing with Caitlin Doughty

Netherworld Review–A Victorian Demon-Slaying Romp

Netherworld coverI’m finally really getting started on my BEA haul, which I first wrote about back in June. One of the books that I was most excited to read was Netherworld by Bram Stoker Award-winning author, Lisa Morton. This little 282-page novel promised to be one of the quickest reads in my pile and a fun little romp through Victorian demon slaying. Netherworld tells the story of Lady Diana Furnaval, whose world changed forever when she married her beloved William. Her late husband had been the guardian of a portal to another world, and he taught her all about the gruesome and dangerous creatures that sometimes cross over. But then William fell victim to some of those creatures, himself. Now it is Diana’s job to take over the family business, find out what happened to her husband, and try to stop the forces of evil. Continue reading Netherworld Review–A Victorian Demon-Slaying Romp

Banned Books Week: Gothic Edition

Banned Books Week is almost over, but I figured I would join in the celebration of being able to read without censorship. Throughout history, gothic books have often been prime targets for book-banners, given that they tend to feature discussions of violence, death, and all things terrifying, as well as related taboos such as sex and sexual desire. Even today, gothic books—especially those that fall under the modern genre of horror—are among those most likely to be challenged or banned. Below are five great gothic reads that show up on the American Library Association’s lists of banned or challenged books: Continue reading Banned Books Week: Gothic Edition

Sneak Peek at The Saga of Pandora Zwieback

So, as you may have seen me mention on twitter, I attended the Brooklyn Book Festival last weekend. It was my first time attending this event, and even though I went all by myself, I had a ton of fun! Not only did I pick up a bunch of new books to add to my immense to-read list, I also got to meet some really cool people—like the representatives of the delightfully goth-y publishing house StarWarp Concepts.

StarWarp Concepts booth

Steven A. Roman, publisher and writer at SWC, directed me to his new dark urban fantasy series, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback. Are you a fan of vampires, werewolves, demons, goblins and other creepy creatures? Do you like reading about teenage goth girls kicking some monster butt? If this description intrigues you, but you’re still not sure you want to commit yourself to a new series—not to worry!  You can check out a sneak peak of Pandora’s story and see how you like it. Just head on over to www.pandorazwieback.com and click the link on the sidebar to download a free introductory comic! Continue reading Sneak Peek at The Saga of Pandora Zwieback

Five Foundational Female Writers of Gothic Lit

Women have been pivotal influencers of the gothic genre from the very beginning. At a time when women’s opinions were largely dismissed and many doors were barred to them in other literary pursuits, writing Gothic novels was one of the few ways in which women could become prolific and popular writers. One reason for this was that the original Gothic genre was closely associated with women, as women made up the majority of its readers. Gothic novels were often regarded much like “chick lit” is today—as sentimental fluff good for entertaining women’s simple minds but completely lacking in literary value. Despite being devalued by critics (and by the members of the general public not yet under the genre’s sway), the works of these female authors have had a profound influence on our perception of the gothic today. Let’s take a moment to celebrate some of these awesome queens of terror! Continue reading Five Foundational Female Writers of Gothic Lit