January ScaredyKIT: Gothic Fiction
Join LibraryThing to post.
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
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.
>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.
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.
>7 katiekrug: Oh! I haven't even gotten that far - which PopSugar challenge box will it check for you?
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*
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.
>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!
>11 virginiahomeschooler: I love that cover! *off to check out the book*
>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. :)
I'm one of the very few who HATED Jane Eyre. Good luck with it. Hopefully you won't despise it.
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.
>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.
>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 .... :)
I might read The Minister's Black Veil by Hawthorne since it will fit both the AlphaKIT and the ColorCAT as well as this...
>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.
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)
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.
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.
>28 Kristelh: You've intrigued me with this one. Just downloaded it to my Kindle.
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.
I started The Girl from Rawblood tonight, which I'm enjoying quite a lot so far. It's very dark and broody.
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!
I've set up a thread for the Frankenstein read - http://www.librarything.com/topic/280794
Finished The Monk By Mathew Lewis. My first book for the year and I enjoyed it. Fit a lot of kit cats too.
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.
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.
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.
20th Century Ghosts / Joe Hill
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).
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.
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.
>47 lkernagh:, I really like the cover too. The title Dark Desires makes me think of a regency gone gothic.
>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.
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.
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.
I finished The Girl from Rawblood, which I didn't really enjoy. But I think gothic may just not be my thing.
>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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
>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.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.