Review of From Here to Eternity—Death Around the World

If you’re a fan of macabre content on Youtube, you’ve probably already come across Caitlin Doughty and her popular web series “Ask a Mortician.” In her videos, Caitlin combines absurd, witty humor with professional insight to answer viewers’ questions about death. Apart from being a Youtube star, Caitlin has also founded an organization called The Order of the Good Death, which aims to dismantle the cultural taboos we’ve built up around talking about the fate that awaits us all. In 2015, she published her first book—a memoir called Smoke Get in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory. You can read my glowing review of that book here. Now her highly anticipated second book has finally arrived, and it’s every bit as good as the first! From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death hits shelves tomorrow, October 3. You can also check Caitlin’s website to see if she’s doing any signings at the bookstores or cemeteries in your area. Continue reading Review of From Here to Eternity—Death Around the World

Subscription-Based Web Comic: Mr. Valdemar and Other Gothic Tales

I love new adaptations of classic works of Gothic literature, especially those that bring the stories into a new medium. Mr. Valdemar and Other Gothic Tales does exactly that by adapting short horror stories into webcomic form. The title of this webcomic series takes its name from an Edgar Allan Poe story, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” and will feature stories by Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, W. W. Jacobs, and many more. The project aims to adapt as many classic short stories as possible, posting one new page per week. The scripts are written by Jose Luis Bueno Piña, and each story has a different artist. These days, many webcomic creators are moving to a subscription-based model, and Mr. Valdemar and Other Gothic Tales is no different. The only way to get full access to these stories is to support the project on Patreon. Continue reading Subscription-Based Web Comic: Mr. Valdemar and Other Gothic Tales

New York City’s Brand New Oscar Wilde Bar

Oscar Wilde BarYes, 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

Shadowhouse Fall Review–A Shadowshaper Sequel

A handful of Brooklyn teens must master their new-found ability to wield spirits like weapons in Daniel Jose Older’s Shadowhouse Fall, the highly anticipated sequel to his first YA novel Shadowshaper. I reviewed the audiobook of Shadowshaper, last May and was struck by Older’s ability to bring a new perspective into the often over-saturated genre of urban fantasy. Since the release of Shadowshaper, Older has published two ebook-only novellas, Ghost Girl in the Corner and Dead Light March, which take place between the events of Shadowshaper and its sequel. While not it’s not absolutely necessary to have read the novellas in order to understand what’s going on in Shadowhouse Fall, they do introduce and provide some backstory for a new character who plays a prominent role in the sequel. The novellas are currently $0.99 on AmazonShadowhouse Fall comes out tomorrow, September 12, and can be found at most major book retailers.  Continue reading Shadowhouse Fall Review–A Shadowshaper Sequel

Review of The Dark Nest Chronicles–A Gothic Space Opera

Love paranormal gothic romance? How about paranormal gothic romance in space! In my quest to read and review everything Leanna Renee Hieber has ever written, I recently picked up her first published series, The Dark Nest Chronicles. The Chronicles consist of three novellas, the first of which won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Romance. A couple years ago, the three novellas were compiled into a single volume and released together. That’s the version I got, and I read them all in one fell swoop. Continue reading Review of The Dark Nest Chronicles–A Gothic Space Opera

Back to School Reading List: Short Story Edition

This time of year will always make me think of getting ready to go back to school, despite the fact that I’m no longer a student. One of my favorite things about the beginning of the school year was looking over the syllabus to see what new books and stories we’d be reading in English class. Last August, I wrote up a basic primer of five Gothic novels you might find on a high school syllabus. This year, I want to do the same for short stories. If you’re heading back to school this fall, check your reading lists for these stories to see if you’re in for a treat! And if your school days are long behind you, see if you missed out on any of these great reads. It’s never too late to read a classic! Continue reading Back to School Reading List: Short Story Edition

Gothic Tropes: Madness

Madness is the monster that lurks inside our own minds. And in some ways, it is the most terrifying monster of all. Its intangibility means that it cannot be fought, and its irrational nature makes it nearly impossible to understand. Perhaps this is why insanity crops up as one of the most common themes in Gothic literature. I present it in this post as one trope, but madness is explored in many different ways in both the victims and the villains of Gothic literature, and the way it is presented has changed over time. Continue reading Gothic Tropes: Madness

The Sea Monster Literary Canon

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

See More of My Writing at VampireFreaks

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!Goth the board game

Emilie Autumn’s The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls Ebook Review

The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls coverIf you weren’t mad when you entered the gates, you will be soon enough…. Emilie Autumn tells a complex dual narrative of madness and mental institutions in her semi-autobiographical book The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. If the author’s name sounds familiar, it may be that you know her from her music career. Emilie Autumn has been one of my favorite musicians for over a decade by this point. Her dark lyrics, haunting voice, classically-influenced music, and unusual style appeal strongly to many goths, though Emilie tends to reject that label for herself. One of the recurring themes throughout her music is madness, especially how women struggling with mental illness are perceived and treated by society. In The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, she explores this topic more directly.  Continue reading Emilie Autumn’s The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls Ebook Review