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January ScaredyKIT: Gothic Fiction

2018 Category Challenge

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1sturlington
Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 9:01am Top



The gothic novel originated in the eighteenth century with Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis, and Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe. These novels were called “gothic” because they commonly were set in medieval-style ruins, such as mansions, castles, or monasteries. Gothic stories are also characterized by a sense of mystery, terror, and the unknown or uncanny. They typically explore themes such as the existential nature of mankind and the natural world as a remote, wild, and indifferent realm. While the supernatural is often a part of these stories, it doesn’t have to be.

If you’d like to tackle a classic for this category, there are so many great choices, starting with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, which is also a group read for January. Other classics you could choose include the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe, The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

As a category, gothic fiction is still going strong. If you’d like to read something more modern, you could pick a novel by Shirley Jackson, Joyce Carol Oates, or Anne Rice. If you need more ideas, here is a list of gothic works at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_gothic_fiction_works

Please post your selections to the wiki: https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/2018_ScaredyKIT

2sturlington
Dec 13, 2017, 8:05am Top

I am going to focus on Southern gothic fiction for my January reads. The Southern Gothic, set in the Deep South of the United States, is a subgenre of gothic fiction that incorporates the traditional themes of decaying settings, dark romanticism, and the uncanny, but also typically includes elements of the grotesque and eccentric characters. Southern gothic is preoccupied with the decline of the Old South, so themes of race and family are often predominant. Classic Southern gothic authors include William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Carson McCullers.

3majkia
Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 10:53am Top

I'm planning on reading the Scar which is listed as Gothic Fantasy

>1 sturlington: The link to list of gothic works leads to post a new topic instead of Wikipedia.

4sturlington
Dec 13, 2017, 9:02am Top

>3 majkia: That was really weird. The link was right but it seemed to redirect to LibraryThing's internal wiki. It seems to be working now that it's not embedded.

5whitewavedarling
Dec 13, 2017, 10:51am Top

I'm planning to Finally get around to reading The Graveyard Book, but hope to fit some others in, as well. I'm also looking forward to see everyone's reactions to some of the classics. I took gothic and horror lit classes in grad school, and read an absurd number of them--I'll never forget my professor's teaching of The Monk in a horror lit class! It's such a crazy book :) I do still have to read The House of Seven Gables, so that one may come into play next month for me also.

6Crazymamie
Dec 13, 2017, 12:09pm Top

I'm planning on a reread of Frankenstein, but I also have The Picture of Dorian Gray and Rebecca in the stacks.

7katiekrug
Dec 13, 2017, 12:38pm Top

>6 Crazymamie: - Mamie, I might read The Picture of Dorian Gray, too, since it will check both BingoDOG and PopSugar challenge boxes for me :)

8Crazymamie
Dec 13, 2017, 12:41pm Top

>7 katiekrug: Oh! I haven't even gotten that far - which PopSugar challenge box will it check for you?

9katiekrug
Dec 13, 2017, 12:51pm Top

>8 Crazymamie: - The villain/anti-hero one.

10Helenliz
Dec 13, 2017, 1:23pm Top

I'm planning on starting Framkenstein over Christmas, so that may well continue until January, when it's down as a shared read.
This will probably be one of very few books I read in this Kit, I'm not good at scary stuff *hides behind a cushion*

11virginiahomeschooler
Dec 13, 2017, 1:27pm Top

Yay! I'm really excited to get started. I'm torn on what to read for this one. I'd love to reread The Witching Hour (it was my favorite Rice novel, and I've not read it in over 20 years), but I'm not sure if I want to start off the year with a reread. If I decide against it, I'm debating among Dracula, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre. Another option is The Girl from Rawblood which I picked up on a whim because the cover spoke to me (in a deep and spooky you need to buy me sort of way).



Decisions are the worst.

12whitewavedarling
Dec 13, 2017, 2:19pm Top

>11 virginiahomeschooler:, You mention not wanting to start off with a re-read, and then mentioned Jane Eyre as a possibility... does that mean you haven't read it? If so, I can't recommend it enough! I almost never re-read books, but that's one that's drawn me back repeatedly. I wish I could read it for the first time all over again!

13sturlington
Dec 13, 2017, 2:25pm Top

>11 virginiahomeschooler: I love that cover! *off to check out the book*

14virginiahomeschooler
Dec 13, 2017, 2:26pm Top

>12 whitewavedarling: No, I haven't ever read it. I'm not sure how. It's one of those books it seems everyone got to in school, but I never had it assigned. It is probably time to give it a go. :)

15majkia
Dec 13, 2017, 3:44pm Top

I'm one of the very few who HATED Jane Eyre. Good luck with it. Hopefully you won't despise it.

16Helenliz
Dec 13, 2017, 3:45pm Top

I didn't read it until a few years ago. I'm glad I didn't read it as a teenager - I know I'd never have understood Jane or her actions then. It's not what I expected.

17whitewavedarling
Dec 13, 2017, 4:19pm Top

>14 virginiahomeschooler:, I hope you choose it then!

>15 majkia:, lol. That's how I feel about Wuthering Heights.

>16 Helenliz:, I didn't hate it as a senior in high school, but I also didn't really enjoy it. Years later when I read it in college, I finally fell in love with it. I don't know how many times I've read it now--four or five in full, at least. The only other 'classic' I enjoy re-reading like that is Frankenstein, which somehow just always feels a little bit magical and evil, even when I re-read it and even though there are aspects of it that I don't enjoy at all.

18LibraryCin
Dec 13, 2017, 7:30pm Top

Gothic might be tricky for me. Let's see...

Ok, based on tags, I'm leaning toward:
20th century ghosts / Joe Hill
or
Perfume / Patrick Suskind

19mathgirl40
Dec 13, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>1 sturlington: Thanks for starting this thread. I'm very excited about this KIT!

I'll be joining the group read for Frankenstein. I'm also thinking of My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier.

>2 sturlington: Your mention of Southern Gothic reminds me that I've had a copy of Absalom Absalom sitting on my shelves for almost 30 years now. I've read a good number of Faulkner's other books, but this one seems especially intimidating. My library has an audiobook version of this book, narrated by one of my favourite narrators, Grover Gardner, so that might be a better option. On the other hand, trying to read Faulkner in audio might be scary in other ways. Well, I guess that's why this group is called the ScaredyKIT .... :)

20DeltaQueen50
Dec 13, 2017, 11:37pm Top

I'm excited that we are finally planning and talking about the books we are going to read in 2018! For this ScaredyKit I am planning on reading The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells and, if I can fit it in, I would like to read Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

21leslie.98
Dec 14, 2017, 11:34am Top

I might read The Minister's Black Veil by Hawthorne since it will fit both the AlphaKIT and the ColorCAT as well as this...

22sushicat
Dec 14, 2017, 4:42pm Top

I think either Dracula (which I haven't read yet!) or The Turn of the Screw.

23virginiahomeschooler
Dec 14, 2017, 4:57pm Top

>13 sturlington: Isn't it gorgeous? I hate to admit it, but I have a habit of buying books without even reading the blurb if the cover is striking enough. Probably not a good practice, but still. This was one of those. I still don't really know what it's about, but I tend to like most everything, so I'm not too worried.

24sturlington
Dec 14, 2017, 7:02pm Top

>23 virginiahomeschooler: I do that too. :-)

26lkernagh
Dec 17, 2017, 1:50pm Top

Nice theme to start of 2018! Using the LT tag "Gothic", I have the following options sitting on my TBR pile:

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Dark Desires by Eve Silver
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy - apparently this one is considered to be Southern Gothic (also seems to be labelled as Frontier Gothic - that is a new one for me! - and Appalachian Gothic)

27luvamystery65
Dec 17, 2017, 7:31pm Top

I'll be rereading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I have an annotated version that I'm looking forward to. I'll also read some Poe.

28Kristelh
Dec 17, 2017, 8:05pm Top

I am pretty sure I will start with The Monk as my Gothic read. This will cover Alpha Cat for January with 2 M's. It also will be my Reading 1001 Diversity Challenge read.

29mamzel
Dec 20, 2017, 1:16pm Top

>28 Kristelh: You've intrigued me with this one. Just downloaded it to my Kindle.

30Roro8
Edited: Dec 25, 2017, 11:35pm Top

I'm thinking of The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova or The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I'm not sure which one I'll go with yet. I don't read a lot of gothic and I don't tend to read the classics, so I will think on it a little longer. I have been surprised to see a couple of books I have read on the gothic lists though.

31avatiakh
Dec 26, 2017, 11:41pm Top

I'll be reading Frankenstein as part of the group/shared read.

32andreablythe
Dec 27, 2017, 1:42pm Top

I'm planning to read The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, because I've adored everything I've read by her so far — but if I finish early and get a gumption I might try to jump into Wuthering Heights since I've never read it.

33leslie.98
Dec 30, 2017, 12:21pm Top

>28 Kristelh: & >29 mamzel: -- I quite liked The Monk when I read it a few years ago but be prepared for a somewhat archaic writing style. In my review, I compared it to the style of Defoe in Robinson Crusoe...

34owlie13
Dec 31, 2017, 4:03am Top

Don't read much in this genre (although I did find a few when I looked at the Wikipedia list posted above). I think I'm going to try The Quick by Lauren Owen.

35hailelib
Jan 1, 9:22pm Top

I'm going to try Frankenstein.

36virginiahomeschooler
Jan 1, 9:47pm Top

I started The Girl from Rawblood tonight, which I'm enjoying quite a lot so far. It's very dark and broody.

37mstrust
Jan 3, 7:02pm Top

I've started The Man in the Picture. I've been wanting to read more from Hill since The Woman In Black.

38Roro8
Jan 4, 6:11am Top

I decided on The Thirteenth Tale and have started listening to it. I'm about 2 hours in and am totally enthralled already. I need to know what happens!

39avatiakh
Jan 4, 3:20pm Top

I've set up a thread for the Frankenstein read - http://www.librarything.com/topic/280794

40Kristelh
Edited: Jan 5, 9:24pm Top

Finished The Monk By Mathew Lewis. My first book for the year and I enjoyed it. Fit a lot of kit cats too.

41sturlington
Jan 6, 8:31am Top

I finished Cold Moon Over Babylon by Michael McDowell, a Southern gothic. This was a crazy read; I didn't like it as much as his novel The Elementals. No real protagonist, the characters weren't very developed, and a lot of gross-out horror. 3 stars.

42mstrust
Jan 8, 2:56pm Top

I finished The Man in the Picture. Short with a sinister atmosphere, and very recommended for anyone who wants a ghost story without the jump scares.

43Kristelh
Jan 9, 9:35pm Top

I finished The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. A Gothic fiction story, a bit of light horror. I think it works here as Lovecraft considered Hawthorne's book to be "weird" fiction and found it to be an inspiration for his short stories.

44owlie13
Jan 10, 12:06am Top

Finished The Quick today. Pretty ambitious for a first novel, and that inexperience shows in some places (could really use some editing). But overall, a good read. Some characters more well-developed than others, but part of that is there are just so many characters. I recommend it.

45LibraryCin
Jan 10, 10:11pm Top

20th Century Ghosts / Joe Hill
4 stars

This is a book of short stories, some horror, some fantasy, some a combination. Some of the stories include: a young Van Helsing, a movie theatre ghost, a boy who wakes up one morning having turned into a bug, two brothers – the younger a savant who builds cardboard box mazes, an inflatable boy, a very reclusive horror writer, a basement with an old nonworking phone that rings, an odd museum, a boy who can actually fly while wearing his cape, and more.

I really enjoyed most of these stories. Collections of short stories often end up ok for me, with a mix of liking some stories and not liking others. I don’t think there were any I disliked in this collection, and most I really liked. Many of the stories don’t quite “end”… with more of a leave-it-up-to-your-imagination kind of thing, which can be extra-creepy with horror stories! I have had “The ants go marching one-by-one...” going through my head since I finished the book (it played a role in one of the last stories).

46DeltaQueen50
Jan 11, 2:13pm Top

I have completed my read of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I really enjoyed this Austen, it had a comedic side and was really more of a satire of Gothic novels than a true Gothic itself.

47lkernagh
Jan 14, 6:16pm Top

I finished my ScaredyKIT read this weekend - Dark Desires by Eve Silver.



Good Gothic elements - love the cover! - but wasn't expecting the steamy romance. My own fault. I was too enamored with the fabulous cover art and story description that I completed missed that it is a Gothic romance.

48Roro8
Jan 16, 10:09pm Top

>47 lkernagh:, I really like the cover too. The title Dark Desires makes me think of a regency gone gothic.

49mathgirl40
Jan 18, 10:29pm Top

>47 lkernagh: That's a very alluring cover! Too bad about the steamy romance, if that's not your thing. (It's not my thing either.)

I finished Frankenstein as part of the group read and really liked the gothic elements. Simon Vance's narration of the audiobook really added to the gothic feel; he was great at creating an atmosphere of tension and gloom.

50Roro8
Jan 19, 2:35pm Top

I have finished The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. What an interesting story. The writing style is excellent, I loved the way she describes things and feelings. It made me think of some simple things in a slightly different way. Overall, a very good read.

51Kristelh
Jan 19, 8:23pm Top

>50 Roro8:, I really enjoyed that one, too.

52MissWatson
Jan 21, 4:49am Top

I finished a rather obscure early Gothic novel by Charlotte Dacre: Zofloya, or the Moor. Very interesting and unusual heroine, but the writing was a bit mediocre.

53Roro8
Jan 21, 6:51am Top

>52 MissWatson:, it has an unusual sounding title.

54virginiahomeschooler
Jan 21, 3:42pm Top

I finished The Girl from Rawblood, which I didn't really enjoy. But I think gothic may just not be my thing.

55MissWatson
Jan 22, 3:42am Top

>53 Roro8: It is an invented name, and like so many invented names of the time features a Z. Shelley for instance had Zastrozzi.

I looked at the list in Wikipedia and was surprised to find so many Russian authors there. One of the names was familiar, so I picked up my volume of stories by Wsewolod Garschin and red The Red Flower, which is set in a lunatic asylum. I'm not certain this is Gothic, but the story was great, if sad, and I'll probably read the rest of the stories now, in small doses.

Also on the list was an early German Gothic tale, Das Petermännchen, which I'm reading during lunch breaks. I won't finish this month, though.

56whitewavedarling
Jan 25, 10:41am Top

Well, I finished The Graveyard Book. I've written a full review, but I've got mixed feelings. Maybe it's just that I had such high hopes/expectations, and it didn't (for me) stand up to his other books? I don't know. If you read my review and have any comments, I'd love to hear them--I can't put my finger on exactly why it's left me so disappointed, but nevertheless.

57lkernagh
Jan 25, 11:28pm Top

I finished my second read for this KIT. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy is very much a Frontier Gothic tale, and a very disturbing one at that. Basically, it is a worthy read but should warn people that this anti-western epic is brutally violent with disturbing imagery in its commentary of man’s inhumanity to man.

58MissWatson
Jan 26, 9:55am Top

>55 MissWatson: The third part of Das Petermännchen turned out to be such insipid, sentimental trash that I skim-read it. Not worth your time, unless you read this for academic purposes.

59mathgirl40
Jan 30, 9:08pm Top

I hadn't planned on reading Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward for this month's theme, but after I finished reading it, I realized it has a real Southern Gothic feel. There are many aspects of it that remind me of Faulkner's writing. I wouldn't describe the book as "scary" but it is most definitely disturbing ... and there are ghosts too.

60lavaturtle
Feb 3, 1:13pm Top

I read The Picture of Dorian Gray and I have rather mixed feelings about it. I'm glad to have satisfied my curiousity, at least.

61thornton37814
Feb 3, 7:07pm Top

>60 lavaturtle: I can truly say I don't like The Picture of Dorian Gray. I read it once in high school or college. It wasn't required, but I didn't get into the book. A couple of years ago I thought perhaps my reading tastes had matured to the point I'd give it another chance. I hated it just as much. No mixed feelings. Just real dislike of the work.

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