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

Winner of the Nightfall Giveaway!

Nightfall prize edited copyCongratulations to Emily on winning The Gothic Library’s very first giveaway! Emily, who has been contacted by email, will be the proud new owner of an advanced reader’s copy of the lovely new horror/fantasy novel Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski.

For those of you that missed the giveaway, you can still check out my review of Nightfall and then head out to buy your own copy online or at your local bookstore on September 22nd.

Thank you to everyone who entered! And of course, keep an eye out for future giveaways on the site!

 

 

Lucifer, a Lover of Literature in Alleluia: The Devil’s Carnival

Me with actor Marc Senter who plays The Scorpion
Me with actor Marc Senter who plays The Scorpion

*Contains only vague and minor spoilers*

Some of you may have heard of the latest series of cult classic films to lure the dark and morbid out of their caves and into movie theaters around America. If you haven’t, I highly suggest that you check out The Devil’s Carnival. This project is the brainchild of Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich—the producer and writer behind the beloved gothic musical, Repo: The Genetic Opera. Bousman is also well known to horror-lovers as the director of several of the Saw movies. This new project, however, is not horror in the traditional sense. Much like Repo, The Devil’s Carnival is a musical with dark themes and aesthetics. The first movie, The Devil’s Carnival: Episode One was released in 2012, with Terrance, Darren, and several of the actors touring around various movie theaters with the film to drum up support for this independent project. After a long wait, the sequel had finally arrived and is currently touring around the country. I went to see the show not once, but twice in the past couple weeks and I was not disappointed. Alleluia: The Devil’s Carnival is the perfect film for dark-minded book lovers. Continue reading Lucifer, a Lover of Literature in Alleluia: The Devil’s Carnival

Nightfall Review and Giveaway!

You know the drill–whispered tales of dark creatures that live in the forest and only come out at night. Only in this world, night lasts for 14 years…

Nightfall coverNightfall, a young adult novel blending horror and fantasy, is a joint effort written by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski, best known for their epic fantasy Dormia series. Nightfall comes out in just over two weeks, on September 22, but I managed to pick up a couple of Advanced Reader Copies at Book Expo America this year so I could give you a sneak peek of the harrowing horror that is headed your way. You can preorder the book now from Peter Kujawinski’s website or Amazon–OR you can ENTER A GIVEAWAY to win a FREE ADVANCED READER’S COPY by the end of this week! Read through to the bottom for instructions on how to enter the giveaway. Continue reading Nightfall Review and Giveaway!

Gothic Children’s Books

It’s never too early to start exploring the beauty that can be found in darkness. Some may find death and other macabre topics inappropriate for children, but I feel that being able to talk openly about these subjects is important. Things like death, darkness, and monsters don’t need to be scary, and in fact can be part of fun, interesting, and thoughtful stories for kids. Now I’m not saying to take your four year old to a slasher film, but you don’t need to shield them from everything but rainbows and unicorns either. I’ve compiled a list of children’s books on the darker side that are appropriate for a variety of ages. Check out my list below and let me know if you have any to add! Continue reading Gothic Children’s Books

Gothic Tropes: The Unreliable Narrator

This is one of my favorite gothic tropes. Often used in horror or mystery, an unreliable narrator is a first-person narrator of a story whose words the reader is not meant to take at face value. The narrator may be deliberately lying or their words may be influenced by unconscious bias or delusions. In the case of gothic fiction, it is most often this last reason that causes many narrators to be considered unreliable. Continue reading Gothic Tropes: The Unreliable Narrator